“We just didn’t make enough plays today,” Shurmur said after the loss. “Early on the defense battled…we came back out after the half and didn’t make enough plays.”
That seems to be an understatement. The Giants offense came out firing on all cylinders with a 75-yard touchdown drive on their first possession. They only managed 22 yards of offense for the remainder of the first half and finished the game with just 299 yards of total offense.
No one would have confused New Orleans’ defense with the ’85 Bears entering Week 4. They allowed 34.3 points per game in their first three contests. On Sunday, the Saints made the Giants offense look anemic, holding them to 18 points at home. New Orleans lost 12 of 16 games lifetime against the Giants at the Meadowlands entering Sunday.
Eli Manning, who moved into sole possession of seventh place on the all-time touchdown passes list, was the target of fans’ ire at MetLife Stadium. He was thoroughly booed after a checkdown on third-and-long in the third quarter. Manning also heard the boo birds in the fourth quarter after a New Orleans victory was in the bag.
Shurmur was quick to defend his 37-year-old quarterback.
“I thought (Manning) did a lot of good things. He’ll come up and tell you he missed some things, but he battled through it.”
The Giants defense held Drew Brees and the Saints’ wide receivers in check for most of the game. Unfortunately, they had no answers for Alvin Kamara. Kamara had 134 yards rushing on 19 carries and three touchdowns. His final touchdown was a 49-yard run that completed a 97-yard drive and sealed a Saints victory.
The 1-3 Giants failed to score 20 points for the third time in four regular season games and failed to score 30 for the 37th consecutive game. This is an all-too familiar refrain for a Giants team that wanted to erase the memory of last season’s 3-13 stinker.
Shurmur coached conservatively throughout the contest. It seems like he’s coaching not to lose instead of coaching to win. James Bettcher’s defense kept the Giants in the game early but the offense has performed under expectations for much of this season. The explosiveness so often spoken of has resembled a firecracker.
Shurmur’s grasp of the obvious is frightening.
“We need to score more points,” he said. “We need to score more points throughout the game…we need to get better.”
The frustration of dropping three of four games to start the season is already starting to build. Some fans have already equated Shurmur with his predecessor, Ben McAdoo. This is an assessment that isn’t fair to Shurmur.
It is easy to forget Shurmur has coached just four regular season games. Four. Regular. Season. Games.
If the Giants were any good last season, then McAdoo would still be the head coach. Shurmur inherited a roster with more holes that can be fixed in the span of a single offseason. The excitement of drafting Saquon Barkley combined with the return of Odell Beckham Jr. may have raised expectations to an unreasonable level.
It gets no easier for the Giants, who were missing three starters against New Orleans. They face the last three NFC Super Bowl representatives in their next three games (Week 5—at the Carolina Panthers, Week 6—at home against the Philadelphia Eagles on a short week, Week 7—at the Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night Football).
Despite the turmoil, Shurmur is confident it’s not too late to turn it around.
“You just keep working. You play your way out of it and you coach your way out of it. Period,” he said.
The Giants are performing well below expectations. McAdoo went 2-2 in his first four games as Giants head coach and was shown the door after 28 games. At this time, equating Shurmur with McAdoo is simply not wise.
Four games are nowhere near a big enough sample size to evaluate a head coach. Giants fans want the quick turnaround all but promised by Shurmur and general manager Dave Gettleman. The team’s issues are deeper and more invasive than anyone realized. It might be time to face the facts: the Giants may not fully avenge last season in 2018.
– Curtis Rawls is a Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage and covers the NFL, the New York Giants, and the NBA. Please like and follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Twitter. Curtis can be followed on Twitter @CuRawls203.