Dysfunctional Giants sneak into offseason with sixth straight loss

It’s hard to conceive of a more appropriate way for the Giants’ 2021 season to end.

Not the gloomy day in a quarter-filled stadium against another playoff-denied team that served as the backdrop for the culmination of five months of drudgery and disappointment. That was just the scenery. It was the last play itself, the one only the most masochistic of Giants fans stayed in place to see or remained tuned in to watch.

Jake Fromm ran around the backfield with the clock winding down, only to throw a pass with no one around it except for Washington Football Team safety Bobby McCain, who caught it for his second pick of the day and took a knee to pull the plug on the campaign.

It was an ugly play that capped an uglier season with a sixth straight double-digit loss, this time 22-7 to Washington.

And now begins the clean-up. Or at the minimum the attempt at it.

In the coming days, decisions will be made that will shape the franchise for an attempt at crawling out of the now-decade-thorough hole without a postseason victory that has swallowed it.

“Ultimately it’s not good enough,” coach Joe estimate said. “The fans deserve better. It doesn’t meet our expectations as a program. It’s not going to be permissible. And the things we have to correct, we’ll start on closest into the start of next season.”

Things are so shaky, though, that there seems to be no guarantee that estimate will be around to supervise that plan. On Sunday he became the first coach in team history to lose 13 games in a single season. The only other time they dropped 13 was 2017, when Ben McAdoo was fired at 2-10 with four games left.

Co-owner John Mara left MetLife Stadium without giving any indication of his leanings regarding the coach whom, two years ago on Sunday, he had said he needed to treat with patience.

Asked about his confidence in returning, estimate said: “I’m not going to worry about hypotheticals.”

There were plenty of other signs of the changes that are about to take place. Before the game, general manager Dave Gettleman spent time on the sideline taking photos with family and friends, as close to a formal retirement announcement as someone can make without truly hitting send on the email. He was unavailable for comment.

And then there was the on-field product, which clearly cannot move forward without drastic adjustments.

That last interception served as the curtain closer, but a series of plays in the second quarter best illustrated the futility of this team. With the Giants pinned thorough in their own territory, estimate decided to fill the backfield with offensive linemen to run a quarterback sneak with Fromm on second-and-11 from the 2 — and then did it again on third-and-9 from the 4!

Besides setting the sport of football back a century or more, many saw the strange play-calling as a forfeiture — that dreaded “tap out” that estimate and others have been fighting so hard to prevent this past month.

The sneaks were unsightly, but in a strange way also shrewd. So many bad things could have happened to the Giants from that precarious perch just outside their own end zone. Pushing the quarterback forward a few feet and punting was the best outcome imaginable.

Fromm emphasized that point later in the game when he tried to throw a pass and had the ball slip from his hand for a fumble.

Calling the sneaks — which, by the way, worked exactly as planned — was an illustration of how bleak things have gotten.

There were a few things for the Giants fans on hand to cheer, but already those were tinged with sarcasm. After offensive lineman Korey Cunningham was flagged for not properly reporting as an eligible receiver early in the game, he afterward did so with emphasis and gusto, and every time referee Adrian Hill announced Cunningham’s presence, the greeting he received was as if Bruce Springsteen had walked on stage. It became a running joke to help pass the miserable day.

There also was a chance to applaud when Fromm hit Darius Slayton for a 22-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter that not only averted what was shaping up to be a possible shutout but cut Washington’s rule to 12-7. But before anyone could already course of action the idea of a reappearance, the Giants allowed an eight-play, 72-yard excursion for a touchdown that put the rule back out of reach at 19-7.

As has been the case all season, though, there was plenty more to boo and hiss at.

After Washington’s only offensive touchdown, Fromm had the ball slip from his hand in the time of action of cocking his arm for a pass and it was recovered by Washington at the 6 to set up a field goal.

There also was some sneering when Fromm unloaded the one respectable NFL-quality throw of his day on a thorough route for Kenny Golladay, only to have the ball go just beyond the not-quite-outstretched hands of the receiver, who had gotten a step on the secondary.

The Giants will be back on the field at MetLife Stadium in September. Not these Giants, though. Change is coming, and it will not be kind to those who played a part in this wretched season. already the ones who return will carry its scars.

“Ultimately it wasn’t good enough,’’ estimate said, “and my focus is on next season closest and changing everything we have to, making every necessary adjustment, so that when we come out here next year, we play the kind of football and have the kind of results we want as an organization.”

They have eight months to come up with something better than what they showed Sunday.

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