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Pat Shurmur of New York Giants — No regrets for 2-point attempt in loss


ATLANTA — New York Giants coach Pat Shurmur had no regrets about his decision to go for a two-point conversion down eight points late in Monday night’s 23-20 loss to the Atlanta Falcons or two straight failed quarterback sneak calls that cost them valuable seconds in the final minute.

The decision to go for two was a situation Shurmur said they discussed internally prior to the game. He went with the same approach used by Doug Pederson and the Philadelphia Eagles two weeks ago against the Minnesota Vikings.

“I just felt like, we’d discussed internally the math on that,” Shurmur said. “I felt like we had a good play, and I liked our two-point play selections, and we just didn’t quite get it done.”

Shurmur came into his postgame news conference ready to defend his decision. Pederson was also criticized after the Eagles lost to the Vikings but said the decision was backed by analytics.

The math backs up Pat Shurmur’s decision to go for two down eight points with less than five minutes to go. Going for it then gives Shurmur an informational advantage. If the Giants convert, then on their next touchdown they know they only need to kick a PAT to take the lead (assuming no other scores). If they fail, which they did, they have an opportunity to go for it again to tie. The long and short of it: converting once is much more likely than failing twice.

Seth Walder, ESPN Analytics5h ago

The Giants ended up failing on the first two-point conversation attempt and converting the second. It proved irrelevant because the Falcons kicked a field goal in between.

“I think it’s an aggressive approach,” Shurmur said. “I’m going to take myself back to the one game where we didn’t use timeouts before the halftime. I told you I’d never do that again and I think from a head coaching perspective I want to be aggressive for our guys.”

That’s what the players seemed to like. They had no problem with the decision.

Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. dropped the difficult two-point conversion catch with 4:52 remaining.

“I like the call. I love being aggressive,” Beckham said. “I don’t know if I can be a coach because I’m going for it on fourth. We’re going for two. That’s why I’m not a coach. I like the call. I’m always going to ride with him. Wish I could’ve came up with it.”

There are analytics that backed up Shurmur’s decision.

“You increase your chances by 50 percent if you go for it and make it there, so that’s what you do,” Shurmur said. “Because then if you score a touchdown, we just kick the extra point and win. I felt good about the two-point play. You guys saw that, I think we got the ball in there, right? And we just didn’t connect on it.”

Maybe the more costly late-game decisions came with less than a minute left to play. Down 23-12, they had the ball at the Atlanta 1-yard line with 45 seconds remaining. That’s when Eli Manning ran a quarterback sneak and was stuffed on first down. Second down was a repeat as valuable time ticked off the clock.

The Giants were finally forced to throw on third down, when Manning connected with Odell Beckham for a touchdown with five seconds remaining. They converted the two-point conversion to make it 23-20, but without much time left.

“We got to get them in, right? We got to sneak it from the 1,” Shurmur said. “I don’t … again I just saw a mush pile there, so I don’t know why it didn’t work. But from the 1-yard line there, we got to get it in.”

Shurmur wouldn’t have preferred a pass in that situation to protect from getting stuffed and the clock ticking.

“No, that’s a defeatist deal,” he said. “You should be able to convert on a sneak. We’ve all seen him do that, and for whatever reasons we didn’t get it done.”

After years of not being asked to do quarterback sneaks under Tom Coughlin and Ben McAdoo, that has been a staple of the Giants’ offense this season. And they have been generally successful.

Manning was on board with the calls.

“We’ve been pretty good with the sneaks all year and, in that scenario just try to surprise them and just get that one yard with the sneak,” he said. “Obviously we just didn’t have success with it.”

The Giants (1-6) lost their fourth straight game and remain tied with the San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals for the worst record in the NFL.



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Saquon Barkley staying humble despite rapid ascension into stardom – New York Giants Blog


NEW YORK — It was a Tuesday afternoon in early October and New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley was sitting in the back seat of an old-school yellow taxicab stamped with logos for Campbell’s Chunky Soup and the NFL’s Play Football initiative. This was supposed to be his off day, a respite from the craziness of a promising — but often frustrating — rookie season filled with losses.

Barkley was filming a commercial, and he was set to pop out of the cab to surprise the Cardinal Hayes High School football team in the Bronx.

As the young Giants star waited, he admitted to nerves. Barkley had been in the NFL for only a short time. Maybe the rookie would be an unfamiliar face.

“You never know. That’s embarrassing if nobody notices and is like, ‘Who is this cat?’” Barkley said.

It didn’t go that way. He was met with a reaction befitting a rising star.

It’s this vulnerability — and more — that makes Barkley such a likable and impressive addition to the Giants. At 21, he’s as self-effacing as he is talented, with the world seemingly at his disposal.

As an example, Barkley works with the Covenant House of Newark, New Jersey, to get tickets for every Giants home game for three homeless children. Then he goes out of his way — win or lose — to spend 15 minutes or so with them after the games.

All that attention he’s receiving from being the No. 2 overall pick in the draft and having early success hasn’t blurred his focus.

“So far, what I’ve seen is he has handled it like a real pro,” Giants running backs coach Craig Johnson said recently.

Barkley entered Week 7 leading all NFL running backs with seven runs of 20-plus yards. He was tied for the league lead with three rushes of 40-plus yards.

To Barkley, those are just numbers. After rushing for 130 yards and adding another 99 yards receiving last Thursday night, he was hardly content. In his estimation, it meant nothing because the Giants had lost 34-13 to the Philadelphia Eagles.

The jump cuts that made defenders look silly and the 50-yard touchdown weren’t any sort of consolation prize. Not for this rookie running back, who became just the second player in NFL history to top 100 total yards in each of his first six career games.

Barkley will have a chance to tie Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt’s record on Monday night (8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN) against the Atlanta Falcons. He has already proved capable of doing things on the football field through his first six games that leave everyone, including the opposition, in awe.

“Saquon is a beast,” Eagles running back Corey Clement said. “It’s hard not to say it. If I was saying anything otherwise, I’d be a hater.”

That’s what makes the situation in the Bronx all the more extraordinary. Barkley seems to be keeping it together despite all that has come at him over the past year — praise, fame, money, on-field success and a newborn daughter. His trademark smile, flashed for the teenagers during the commercial shoot when they trailed him with their phones, seemed sincere.

“That’s what it’s about,” Barkley said. “I was able to have genuine conversations with some kids, give them stories about how I got here, what drives me, what motivates me. That is something I want to continue to do.”

He took as much away from that moment as the young men he was there to advise.


Life was different at Penn State, where Barkley was the big fish in a small pond. He was a student tucked into a campus in central Pennsylvania, an amateur getting a taste of what was about to come.

“I was able to have genuine conversations with some kids, give them stories about how I got here, what drives me, what motivates me. That is something I want to continue to do.”

Saquon Barkley

A lot has changed since. Barkley signed endorsement deals with Nike, Pepsi and Visa, among others. He’s financially set, and even bought a new home for his parents in his hometown of Whitehall, Pennsylvania, and vowed to save or invest all his paychecks, a la Marshawn Lynch and Rob Gronkowski.

Barkley quickly became part of a circle that includes Giants wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard. They have become fast friends, even hanging out before the draft. He has a close-knit team that begins with his family and childhood friends.

They’re all within a reasonable car ride. New York/New Jersey is Barkley’s new home. He lives in an apartment on the Jersey side with a picturesque view of Manhattan. His girlfriend, Anna Congdon, and their 6-month-old daughter, Jada, live with him.

The days of being a faceless star are gone. Barkley notices the stares, points and pictures when he’s out and about. He oddly doesn’t view himself as famous, but more as a recognizable face or body. He knows his every move matters — on the street, at home, or on the sideline.

“It’s different than in college. More of a spotlight. National attention,” Barkley said. “It reminds you that you have to be responsible. There are people that view you in a different way, look at you in a different way and you are a role model to some kids. You have an impact on kids. Little things like what you say. Things you’re doing. And you have to be aware of that.”

It’s all still strange, in a way you would imagine when people continually ask to see your quads and calves. That happens to Barkley more than he ever expected.

He’s had people approach him in airports and say, “Hey, nice legs.” He’s almost unsure how to respond. He usually just replies with a thank you. While the exchange is odd, he figures compliments come in different forms. This is his new norm.

Barkley believes being a father helps keep him grounded.

“He’s a good dad,” Barkley’s mother, Tonya Johnson, added. “He changes diapers. So far, so good. He’s doing what he needs to do.”

No matter how disappointing a loss might be, there are always those private moments when baby Jada looks at him without any idea he’s something special. The yards and touchdowns don’t matter to her or his family.

“[Fatherhood] humbles you. Brings you back down to life,” Barkley said. “Makes you understand what really matters. The spotlight, attention, all that doesn’t really matter. You go home to your daughter, even after a loss when you’re upset and you don’t want to talk to anybody. You see her crack that smile, and it changes your day.”

Shepard, who’s also a new father, has admired his teammate’s approach.

“He’s a great father to his daughter,” Shepard said. “Very family-oriented. That is what I admire most about him, how close he is with his family. He always talks about his daughter.”

Shepard says Barkley is sneaky funny. He talks a lot. Never shuts up, really, but is always upbeat, and there is rarely a dull moment when he’s around.

This is the beauty of Barkley, capable of being as measured and reserved when needed off the field, explosive and elusive when on it. As the football legend grows (and the early returns suggest he’s destined for big things), so will the pressure, demands and fame.

“I tell him, ‘Don’t think about what other people think of you,’” his mother said. “Think about what you would want for yourself, and you also have a child. Because people are going to judge you regardless. But you have a child, be the role model you want for your child.”

Barkley said: “There will be times when I mess up. I’m human, but I want to be a role model for the good things I do and the bad things I do. And the times I do make mistakes, learn from those mistakes.”

Beckham, who is just two lockers down, is an example of how difficult stardom can be. Beckham has compared it to living life as an animal on display at the zoo.

Barkley has said since he was drafted that his approach was to be himself.

The nerves before getting out of the taxi and surprising a high school football team? It shows he’s doing pretty well so far.



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Dick Modzelewski, star defensive tackle for New York Giants, dies at 87


Dick Modzelewski, a star defensive tackle for the New York Giants in the 1950s and ’60s, has died at 87.

The team said in a statement Saturday that Modzelewski died Friday at his home in Eastlake, Ohio, outside Cleveland. No cause was given.

Modzelewski spent 14 years in the NFL, eight with the Giants, which included six title games. He teamed with Andy Robustelli, Rosey Grier and Jim Katcavage on one of the great defensive lines.

Modzelewski also appeared in two championship games with the Cleveland Browns. He joined the NFL with Washington in 1953 and also played for Pittsburgh, never missing a game in his career.

He starred at Maryland in college and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1993. He coached in the NFL for 22 years, including the 1978 season as the Giants’ defensive coordinator.

Modzelewski is survived by his wife of 64 years, Dorothy Jane, and four children.

A funeral is set for Oct. 26 in Mentor, Ohio.



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New England Patriots’ head coach won’t put Chicago Bears linebacker Khalil Mack in same class as former New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick has been impressed with Chicago Bears outside linebacker Khalil Mack this season, but his plaudits for Mack have limits.

When asked Wednesday if Mack is up there with Pro Football Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor, Belichick seemed almost offended by the question.

“Wait a minute, we’re talking about Lawrence Taylor now,” Belichick said. “I’m not putting anybody in Lawrence Taylor’s class. Put everybody down below that. With a lot of respect to a lot of good players, we’re talking about Lawrence Taylor.”



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Debate: Has Darnold made Jets kings of New York over Eli, Giants? – New York Giants Blog


While the clouds continue to hover over East Rutherford, the sun appears to have peeked through in Florham Park. The New York Giants sit at 1-5 and in last place in the NFC East while their aging quarterback struggles. The New York Jets are 3-3 and realistically thinking of the postseason with their promising rookie leading the way. These are two franchises seemingly headed in opposite directions, and their fates can be traced back to the offseason.

The decisions that will be debated for decades occurred atop this year’s NFL draft. The Giants passed on a quarterback with the No. 2 overall pick and selected running back Saquon Barkley out of Penn State, in part because they had Eli Manning on the roster. Barkley is proving to be a breathtaking playmaker, no doubt, but his star has been shining in defeat. The Jets happily grabbed quarterback Sam Darnold out of USC with the very next pick. He is proving to be the franchise pillar that they’ve desperately desired for decades. They’re happy with what they’ve received from him this season and even more excited about what the future might hold.

Now six weeks into the season, we’re able to see a bit more clearly where these teams stand and the long-term effect these picks will have on each franchise.

Does the development of Darnold and decline of Manning keep hammering home the mistake the Giants made in not drafting a quarterback?

Hell, yeah. The Giants made a shortsighted decision, thinking they could squeeze another productive year or two out of Manning to fulfill their win-now game plan. Now, the organization and its fan base have an up-close view of what might have been, as Darnold continues to make progress in the same city. Look, the Giants wouldn’t have been a contender this season even if they had drafted Darnold. He would be backing up Manning or experiencing on-the-job growing pains, which has been the case with the Jets. But at least they’d have a succession plan. Now, in a case of role reversal, the Giants will go into the offseason in quarterback limbo, desperate to find an answer in free agency or the draft. Desperation makes teams do dumb things. Look at the Jets; they drafted Christian Hackenberg in 2016, for crying out loud — and they were desperate last offseason too, but they aggressively traded up and benefited from a little draft-day luck to escape potential disaster. The Giants will have to do the same thing in the offseason, which means they might not be a viable contender until 2020 — if everything goes right. It’s compelling to note that Darnold passed Manning this week in ESPN’s QBR rankings, which take into account all aspects of quarterback play, not just passing. They’re ranked 25th and 27th, respectively, with Darnold at 44.7 and Manning at 41.4. Using this objective measure, Darnold already is as good as Manning, which is stunning. — Cimini

Until the Giants find a suitable replacement to build their franchise around, yes. It’s the most important position in football by a wide margin. The opportunities were there for them to find their franchise quarterback at No. 2 overall. Instead, they chose a running back. It’s not that Barkley isn’t a sensational player. He is. It’s just that he plays a position that they’re realizing isn’t nearly as vital to winning as quarterback.

Just look at Thursday night, when Barkley was the best player on the field. He had 130 yards rushing and 99 yards receiving. What kind of outcome did it have on the game? The Giants lost by 21. If a quarterback is the best player on the field, you don’t lose by 21. Darnold has shown signs of being everything the Giants need and the Jets wanted. He has the arm, the mobility, the smarts and temperament that would suggest he’s on pace to have a successful career in New York. That might leave serious envy on the other side. The Giants are stumbling badly with Manning. He’s 37 years old and eroding behind a leaky offensive line despite having perhaps the best weaponry in the NFL. It has become hard to watch. The Giants have scored fewer than 20 points in four of six games, but they are standing behind their quarterback through the struggles. “We believe in Eli,” Giants coach Pat Shurmur said on Friday. The Giants wanted to desperately make one more run with Manning. It didn’t matter that the timing was perfect to take a quarterback with a new coach, a new general manager and an aging quarterback, coming off a 3-13 season and with the No. 2 overall pick in a strong QB draft. They didn’t. And now they’re paying for the mistake while simultaneously watching Darnold shine across town with the Jets. — Raanan

Which team appears to have a stronger foundation on which to build and why?

I’d give a slight edge to the Jets, but this is tricky because there’s some projection involved. Let me explain. Right now, I’d say the Giants have better talent on paper than the Jets, but Darnold’s presence tilts the scale in the Jets’ favor because we all know the NFL is a quarterback-driven league. This, of course, is based on the belief he will develop into a playoff-caliber quarterback. No one can say for sure after only six games, but he certainly seems to have the traits –- tangible and intangible –- to be that kind of player. And that gives the Jets an edge in the rebuilding process. In terms of non-quarterback talent, the Giants have more blue-chip players than the Jets — Odell Beckham Jr., Landon Collins and Barkley to name three. Jamal Adams is approaching Collins’ stature, but the Jets don’t have anyone close to Beckham and Barkley. Those are terrific building blocks for the Giants. To complete the puzzle, they need the quarterback, and that could cost them significant assets if they have to trade up in the draft.

Another reason to favor the Jets: In cap space, they have approximately $150 million more than the Giants in 2019 and 2020, according to overthecap.com. — Cimini

The Jets. The Giants have the skill position players (Barkley, Beckham, Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram). The Jets have the quarterback who appears will be their centerpiece for years to come. The latter is significantly more important and harder to find. Just ask the Jets. They had trouble locating the next Joe Namath; they’ve been searching for a true franchise quarterback for almost 50 years. Maybe they finally did. The Giants passed on their first opportunity to find the next Manning. Who knows how long it will take for them to find his successor. Maybe he’s in next year’s draft or already on the roster. Or maybe he has not even been born yet. Anything is possible in the search for a QB. The Giants are in a spot that nobody in the NFL envies with uncertainty at the quarterback position. Aside from that, the Giants’ roster has the better building blocks. Beckham and Barkley are among the league’s top playmakers. Collins has proved to be a Pro Bowl player on defense. The Jets can build around safety Adams, defensive lineman Leonard Williams and linebacker Darron Lee. They need to add a difference-making playmaker (or two) to support Darnold and a dominant pass-rusher. Still, overall, they’re in better shape because they appear set at the most important position in football. —Raanan

What should/can the Giants do with Manning in the short term? It’s kind of funny when Shurmur gives a strong vote of confidence to Manning. I mean, really, what are his options? Alex Tanney? Kyle Lauletta? It’s not like he has a Josh McCown on the bench, a capable veteran who can win games.

The Giants should ride Manning until they’re mathematically eliminated. Remember, this is a new coach, trying to change the culture. Winning matters, and Manning gives them the best chance to win. When they’re eliminated, give Lauletta a shot, assuming he’s more prepared than Davis Webb was a year ago. It won’t be pleasant for Manning, a franchise icon, but the Giants must think of the future, not the past. — Cimini

It’s becoming clear that the Manning era in New York is nearing a close. If the Giants can trade him (a big if … but maybe to the Jacksonville Jaguars?), they should. If not and they continue to sputter along offensively, they need to put Manning on the bench. They have no choice. The Giants won’t be able to justify starting Manning much longer if they remain impotent offensively over the next two weeks against the Atlanta Falcons and Washington Redskins. At least some players in the locker room already have lost confidence in their quarterback. The Giants will need to look at rookie Lauletta after the bye week for a Monday night matchup on Nov. 12 at the San Francisco 49ers. Lauletta might be able to make some plays with his legs; that could reinvigorate the offense, to some degree, for the final eight games of the season. The Giants can then give Manning one final goodbye later in the season in their final home game. The two-time Super Bowl winner deserves a better farewell than where it appears to be heading right now. One last hurrah at MetLife Stadium on Dec. 30 against the Dallas Cowboys would be a good way to say goodbye to a Giants legend. —Raanan



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New York Giants sticking with Eli Manning as starting quarterback


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The New York Giants are standing behind quarterback Eli Manning despite the team’s 1-5 start and his early-season struggles.

Manning has six touchdown passes and six turnovers through six games. He struggled badly in a 34-13 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday night, when he completed 24 of 43 passes for 281 yards and an interception. The Eagles sacked him four times.

A change at quarterback is still not on the table for the Giants, who will play a week from Monday on the road against the Atlanta Falcons.

“No. We believe in Eli,” coach Pat Shurmur said Friday.

The Giants don’t have much experience behind their longtime starting quarterback. Alex Tanney has served as the backup the first six weeks, with rookie Kyle Lauletta inactive. Tanney has appeared in one career game. Lauletta is a fourth-round pick out of Richmond who has yet to suit up for a regular-season game.

Shurmur isn’t about to throw either of them into the mix this early in the season.

“Listen, we’re not talking about a quarterback change yet,” he said.

Manning’s struggles will only fuel the argument that the Giants should have drafted a quarterback with the No. 2 overall pick. Instead, they selected running back Saquon Barkley, who had 130 yards rushing and 99 yards receiving against the Eagles. He has scored six of the Giants’ 11 offensive touchdowns this season, but it hasn’t led to victories or cured the Giants’ offensive woes.

The Giants haven’t flinched about their draft decision.

“The idea that Saquon Barkley was a mistake? I don’t see the logic in that, and I just told you that I believe in Eli,” Shurmur said.

Manning, 37, said he will take a few days off and return energized. He is committed to helping the Giants improve and believes there are still reasons to be optimistic despite being in last place in the NFC East and ranking 28th in the NFL with 19.5 points per game.

The two-time Super Bowl winner concedes he needs to do better and isn’t doubting himself.

“Confidence is always the same,” Manning said. “I know I can play better. I didn’t play well [Thursday] night. I have to make better decisions and just get back to doing my job, not trying to force things, find completions, move the ball and try to score more points.”

The pressure on Manning is building. His struggles were on full display Thursday night. The frustration from his wide receivers is palpable.

The veteran quarterback still insists he is not affected by the calls for his job from critics and their opinions that he is past his prime.

“It bugs me that we’re 1-5. What people say has never got to me or bothered me. But you work extremely hard and go have a big year and you’re excited about things. To be in this situation, yeah, it bothers you and it’s tough,” Manning said. “The only thing you can do is keep working, keep grinding, try to bring this team together.”



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End of Eli Manning with New York Giants


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Four more years, Eli Manning predicted in the summer of 2017. He said he still loved the training, the film work, everything about being a starting NFL quarterback, and he figured he could compete at a high level until age 40.

“So I don’t see it slowing down,” he told ESPN.com at the time.

Yet now, at 37, it is slowing down to a grinding halt. Manning has devolved into a shadow of his two-time Super Bowl MVP self, and it was clear Thursday night to every fair-minded fan in the house that his time as the New York Giants‘ franchise player is coming to an end.

Actually, that time has already expired. In professional sports there is no such thing as a franchise player for a 1-5 franchise, or for a team that has lost 18 of 22 games over the past two seasons. As much as it hurts to say it about an athlete who has always carried himself with grace in the world’s noisiest market, Manning’s exit is no longer a question of when, but how.

Eli will play out the rest of the year, and in the spring the Giants will pick his replacement at the top of the NFL draft. Start tracking top quarterback prospects such as Missouri’s Drew Lock and Oregon’s Justin Herbert and NC State’s Ryan Finley, Giants fans, because Manning won’t be earning $23 million under center in 2019, the final season on his deal. His employers will try to put the best possible face on the divorce after the mess they made of the marriage in 2018. Most likely, they will try to persuade Manning to retire as a Giant, to go out with his dignity and his body intact, while eating the $6.2 million in dead-cap hit they’ll take by releasing him.

The son of Archie and kid brother of Peyton has never wanted any other job but the one he has. It’s why he cried last season when Ben McAdoo and the Giants’ hierarchy took it away, botching an attempt to keep alive his consecutive starts streak while giving some of his playing time to Geno Smith and Davis Webb. Eli ended up on the bench for a singular Sunday that sealed the terminations of McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese.

But Manning has to be replaced after this season, just like Tom Coughlin had to be replaced after the 2015 season. Eli is 43-58 in the regular season and 0-1 in the playoffs since winning his second Super Bowl title with Coughlin in the 2011 season, and despite the talent deficiencies around him over the years, especially on the offensive line, he has become a conspicuous part of a problem that has no easy solution.

“My confidence in myself is good,” Manning maintained after his Giants were embarrassed at home by the defending champion Philadelphia Eagles. “I know I can play. It’s just a matter of we’ve just got to figure out how to be more consistent and be better at home.”

The Giants fielded one spectacular player in this 34-13 defeat Saquon Barkley, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 draft. Barkley made like Red Grange out there, running the ball 13 times for 130 yards, catching it nine times for 99 yards, and zigging every time the Eagles zagged as he made Manning’s numbers look better than they truly were. Eli threw an interception on his second pass of the night, and he didn’t manage a single touchdown pass while his whirling dervish of a counterpart, Carson Wentz, threw three.

So the Giants ended up 1-5 for a second straight season, and breathed new life into the argument that they erred terribly in the draft by passing on Sam Darnold in favor of Barkley, a near-perfect prospect who happens to play the wrong position. All that was missing Thursday night was Manning striking the haunting pose of an aging, balding Y.A. Tittle on his knees, separated from his helmet as blood trickled down his face.

At the end of the first quarter, Eli had a passer rating of 7.8 while Wentz checked in with a rating at 128.8. At one point in the second quarter, Manning was 0-for-7 with an interception on any attempt deeper than two air yards.

“Throw the ball,” the exasperated Giants coach, Pat Shurmur, was caught by a Fox camera barking after Manning threw painfully short on a second-and-20. “I’m sure the cameras could’ve caught me upset a bunch of times,” Shurmur conceded later.

At halftime, Eli had converted none of his eight dropbacks in third-down situations. The same fans who rallied around him last season and had cheered him in MetLife and in the old Giants Stadium booed him after he delivered a few of his many wayward passes, a number of which should’ve been picked off.

“That’s something I don’t get caught up in,” Manning said when asked about the boos. “Hey, we’ve got to play better football, I understand that. And we’ve got to find ways to be in better situations and move the ball and be a more explosive offense and a better team.”

Manning was under duress for much of this rainy, foggy night, and didn’t respond to the heat. He was sacked four times, and when pressured he went 2-for-14 for 16 yards. This was not your older brother’s Eli, the opportunistic quarterback who could defy his lack of athleticism with great escapes and memorable heaves. Frankly, Manning spent most of the game doing a spot-on impression of a shot player.

“I’m not concerned about Eli,” Shurmur said without any apparent conviction. The coach seemed more concerned about Odell Beckham Jr., who reportedly was fined for questioning the team’s heart in an interview with ESPN’s Josina Anderson. Of course, Beckham and his friend Lil Wayne questioned more than the Giants’ desire. They questioned an old Eli’s ability to be the Eli of old.

Beckham left the field with two seconds remaining in the first half and with his teammates preparing to run a final play (he needed another IV, according to Shurmur), and he was seen head-butting a sideline cooling fan on his way to finishing off a lousy six-catch, 44-yard performance.

Still, this night was about Eli’s flaws, not Beckham’s. Manning hasn’t aged like Tom Brady and Drew Brees have aged, and there is certainly no crime in that. He will still go down as co-owner John Mara described him after the second Super Bowl title — as perhaps the best offensive player the Giants have ever dressed.

But it is indeed time for Eli Manning to go down, no matter how much it really stinks to have to say that out loud.



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Carson Wentz returns to dominant MVP form as Eagles smother Giants


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz looked like his old MVP-caliber self Thursday night, slicing through the New York Giants defense to post three touchdowns, no interceptions and a 122 quarterback rating as the Eagles rolled past their division rival, 34-13, improving to 3-3 in the process.

It was clear Wentz was back to form right out of the gate. Facing a third-and-7 at the Giants 13-yard line on the Eagles’ first possession, Wentz rolled out right, extended the play and then threw across his body and into the back of the end zone to a tightly-covered Alshon Jeffery for the touchdown.

According to NFL Next Gen Stats, he took 6.77 seconds to throw that touchdown pass, the third-longest by any player on a TD this season.

Wentz found Jeffery again in the second half and also threw one to tight end Zach Ertz.

Suddenly, an offense that sputtered through the first five games looked like its old self. The Eagles had failed to post 24 points in a single game entering Thursday. They hit that mark before halftime. They had slipped towards the bottom of the league in red zone and third-down efficiency, but bounced back by scoring four times in the red zone and converting nine third downs.

Wentz, playing in his fourth game since returning from an ACL/LCL injury, was the catalyst. He went 10-of-10 for 155 yards and two touchdowns on third down through the first three quarters. Coming in, he was completing 44 percent of his third-down passes.

Granted, the Giants have been somewhat giving on defense this season — they ranked 19th in average points allowed coming in (25.6) — but the Eagles’ offense was dealing with some issues of its own. Right tackle Lane Johnson was playing through a high ankle sprain suffered just four days prior against the Minnesota Vikings and was unable to finish. Standout left tackle Jason Peters also left early with a biceps injury. And Philly was down two of its top running backs with Jay Ajayi on injured reserve (ACL) and Darren Sproles (hamstring) still working himself back.

The mounting injuries are a concern for the Eagles, whose schedule picks up with games against the Carolina Panthers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints over the next four weeks.

But on Thursday, the 2017 Eagles offense showed up, and just in time to potentially save the 2018 season.



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Odell Beckham walks into locker room before halftime in Giants’ loss


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. walked off the field and into the locker room before the final play of the first half in a 34-13 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday night. He did not return to the sideline until after the opening kickoff of the second half.

The Giants and Beckham said he needed an IV for the second time in three games.

“I was cramping, so I was trying to get an IV,” Beckham said. “The halftime break is really only five or 10 minutes. If I can use a couple of extra seconds to go and get an IV and come out, that’s really all it was.”

There were two seconds left in the first half and the Giants were trailing 24-6 when Beckham strutted into the tunnel. He didn’t appear happy. The Giants ran one final play before halftime with their offense on the field.

Beckham was nowhere to be seen when Sterling Shepard caught a desperation 20-yard pass on the final play of the half. Two weeks ago, Beckham left early in a loss to the New Orleans Saints to get an IV. He returned in that game for the start of the second half.

“He had an IV. Just dehydrated again,” coach Pat Shurmur said.

When asked if he could’ve stayed on the field, Shurmur only added: “He went back to the locker room.”

It all seems to be spiraling out of control once again for Beckham and the Giants, who at 1-5 own the worst record in the NFL.

ESPN confirmed a Fox Sports report Thursday that the team fined Beckham for comments he made in an interview last week with ESPN’s Josina Anderson and Lil Wayne.

Shurmur wasn’t happy that his star receiver spoke candidly about being unsure if the Giants’ offensive problems were related to quarterback Eli Manning and that he didn’t feel as if the Giants were using him in a way that maximized his abilities.

Beckham later said that he didn’t regret his comments, saying that he felt his words helped the Giants “come together as a team” in last week’s loss to the Carolina Panthers.

Beckham had two catches on four targets for 12 yards in the first half Thursday night, as the Giants’ offense was a discombobulated mess. Quarterback Eli Manning was 10-of-23 passing for 163 yards with an interception as the Giants managed only two field goals in the opening 30 minutes.

But Manning was just 1-of-10 on passes of three or more air yards in the first half, according to ESPN Stats & Information. He had at least five passes that came close to being intercepted before halftime.

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Odell Beckham Jr. continues to express his frustrations on the sidelines as he head-butts a cooling fan.

The Giants were clearly frustrated, from their quarterback to their receivers to their coach. Manning at one point showed a rare display of emotion when he yelled at running back Wayne Gallman after a miscommunication between the two on a second-quarter play.

Shurmur was even caught on camera in the second quarter appearing to say, “Throw the ball!” after Manning dumped a second-and-long pass to Cody Latimer in the flat. Manning then dumped a third-and-long pass well short of the first-down marker before the Giants punted.

The frustration spilled into the second half, when Beckham banged his head and threw light jabs at a fan on the sideline. He needed to be calmed by rookie running back Saquon Barkley, who had just run for a 50-yard touchdown to make it 31-13 in favor of the Eagles.

“I was trying to get myself going,” Beckham said. “I feel like some of those plays right after I was getting myself going was some of my best stuff. I was trying to get myself fired up. I did that, and it helped me. There was a lot of things that had me fired up. Like I said, it helped me bring out the energy — I don’t know a way around it but to get myself going.”

Barkley, who finished with 130 yards rushing and 99 receiving, was the Giants’ lone positive from the disappointing effort. He had two 40-plus-yard runs and 229 total yards. The Giants had only two 40-plus-yard runs from 2015 to ’17.

Beckham had six catches on 10 targets for 44 yards.

There was optimism with the Giants’ offense heading into Thursday night’s game. It had scored 30 points for the first time since the final week of the 2015 season Sunday against the Carolina Panthers.

Beckham said earlier in the week this was their opportunity to “reshape the season.” No NFC East team is above .500.

But instead of reshaping it into a positive, it only got worse for the Giants.



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New York Giants fine Odell Beckham Jr. for comments on team’s heart


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The New York Giants have fined wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. for comments he made last week questioning the team’s heart, according to a report by Fox Sports.

Speaking to ESPN’s Josina Anderson last week, the Pro Bowl wide receiver said the 1-4 Giants lacked passion.

“A lot of it has to do with the energy that we don’t have, that we don’t bring every single day,” he said in an interview that aired Sunday. “And you know me. I’m a passionate, energetic person. I always have to have that. If I don’t, it’s gonna be a problem for me. And just playing with some heart. We just need to play with some heart.”

Beckham also said in the interview, conducted alongside rapper Lil Wayne, that the Giants needed to throw the ball downfield more often.

When asked if quarterback Eli Manning was the problem, Beckham said, “Uhh, I don’t know. I feel like … He’s not going to get out of the pocket. We know Eli’s not going to run it. Can he still throw it? Yeah. It’s cool catching it shallow and trying to take it, but I want to go over the top of somebody.”

Coach Pat Shurmur expressed his public disapproval of Beckham’s actions over the weekend.

“All right, listen, I’m going to answer all the drama questions right now and I’m going to go back to what I said. I addressed it with Odell. I addressed it with our team,” Shurmur said in an animated tone after Sunday’s loss to the Carolina Panthers. “I publicly declared that I didn’t agree with his comments and I asked anybody that was interested if they wanted clarification [to] go to Odell because he’s a big man.

“Now, I’m not going to give the public a pound of flesh on this, all right. … These are the kind of things, in my opinion, when we have the locker room that we have that will help galvanize them because the locker room took care of it, and that is all I’m saying on it. Finito. Done.”

Beckham didn’t apologize or take back his comments, and said he thought it had a positive effect on the team.

“I don’t regret anything,” he said. “I don’t regret anything that I said. If it took that for us to come together as a team like we did [Sunday]. I can take that every single time.”

Manning brushed off the comments, saying he and Beckham “have a great relationship.”

Beckham led the Giants with 39 catches for 462 yards and a touchdown entering Thursday night’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

But his frustration was visible in that game. With two seconds left in the first half and the Giants trailing 24-6, Beckham was seen walking off the field and into the locker room before the final play. He did not return until after the opening kickoff of the second half.

They ran one final play before halftime with their offense on the field. Beckham was nowhere to be seen.

Beckham also left early two weeks earlier in a loss to the Saints to receive an IV.

Beckham had two catches on four targets for 12 yards in the first half, when the Giants were a discombobulated mess. Manning was 10-of-23 passing for 163 yards with an interception as they managed only two field goals in the opening 30 minutes.

Shurmur was even caught on camera in the second quarter appearing to say, “Throw the ball!” after Manning dumped a second-and-long pass to Cody Latimer in the flat. He then dumped a third-and-long pass well short of the first-down marker before the Giants punted.



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