Tom Uddo, ContributorComing into Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs had yet to turn the ball over. Three games, three wins and zero turnovers; for a reinvigorated and restructured Kansas City team that has done a complete 180 degree turn from disastrous season just a year ago in which they finished 2-14.
The Giants were looking to bounce back from a 38-0 loss against the Carolina Panthers last week and attempting to win their first game of the season to avoid starting 0-4 for the first time since 1987.
Three Kansas City turnovers, only one Eli Manning interception, 62 yards for Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles and 164 yards, plus a little salsa dance for Giants WR Victor Cruz…all signs would point to Big Blue’s first win of the season; but looks can be deceiving.
The Giants would suffer their fourth straight loss to start the season as they were blown out again, losing by a final score of 31-7, in what turned out to be a lopsided second half that featured a punt return for a touchdown, poor tackling, bad decision making and overall embarrassing play from a team that looks like a shell of themselves and the expectations that they faced coming into the season.
The game was within reach at halftime, as the Giants were only down by a score of 10-7. Their defense did a solid job of watching over Charles (18 carries, 65 yards) and WR Dwayne Bowe (4 receptions, 58 yards, one touchdown), a duo that is as gifted as they come in the NFL, but it was the lack of offense that caused headaches all around.
Make no mistake about it, the defensive line, for the fourth straight game, didn’t put any pressure on QB Alex Smith and left him ample amount of time in the pocket, but the secondary did a good job of reading Smith and S Antrel Rolle and CB Prince Amukamara finished with one interception a piece, while the defense also forced a fumble. LB’s Spencer Paysinger and Mark Herzlich were involved in every big play and the defense did a good job of setting the tone early.
But when setup with good field position, the Giants wasted away their opportunities with three-and-outs; multiple times.
Besides a 69 yard bomb to Cruz that resulted in the Giants’ only touchdown of the day, their offense was anemic. Even worse, the problems of the offensive line are worsening each week
RB David Wilson had moments were we thought he would break free for a long run, only to get tripped up, and finished with just 55 yards on 13 carries, while WR Hakeem Nicks, who was targeted nine times, only caught three passes for 33 yards. Manning couldn’t keep a grip on the ball, fumbled twice and was sacked three times on the day. An even more telling statistic was the team’s third down efficiency, completing just one third down on 14 opportunities.
The Giants were keeping pace until the end of the third quarter, when they were forced to punt the ball away on a fourth down opportunity that many believed the team should have gone for. Giants punter Steve Weatherford directed the kick down the center of the field and after several missed tackles that left one entire side of the field open, Chiefs returner Dexter McCluster took the ball to the house for an 89-yard touchdown. Two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter would seal the deal for Kansas City and push them to their first 4-0 in a decade.
Justin Tuck talked about the Giants ”shocking the world” after this disastrous 0-4 start that pins the Giants at the bottom of the NFC East, but if the offense, a unit that is stacked with talent and ability, can’t put points on the board and counter on the opportunities that they are given, the Giants may be facing bigger problems than we think.