By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Last week, Joe Judge insisted that the ship he’s running in New York is not a clown show. The on-field evidence in Week 18 might say otherwise.
The Giants took the field Sunday for their final game of the year. Sporting a 4-12 record and a five-game losing streak, and playing without their staring quarterback and their backup quarterback, it wasn’t exactly a moment for celebration in New Jersey.
The empty parking lots outside MetLife Stadium were a good indication of that lack of enthusiasm surrounding Big Blue:
Been covering Giants since 1985 and can’t recall the parking lots being this empty this soon before kickoff. Apathy has set in on a dank, damp overcast day for the 4-12 home team. pic.twitter.com/KUULKsXSPo
— Bob Glauber (@BobGlauber) January 9, 2022
Nevertheless, the game must go on. And during that game, the Giants’ offense ran what may have been the saddest play in NFL history.
Facing a third-and-9 at their own 4-yard line, the Giants lined up in a formation with three players surrounding quarterback Jake Fromm, who was lined up under center. Only a kneeldown or QB sneak could come from that formation, really, and with nine yards needed for a first down … neither option made sense.
But the Giants — who have the 31st-ranked offense in the NFL — were resigned to the fact that they couldn’t get the first down. So they ran a QB sneak.
It gained one yard.
And it was very sad.
The 4-12 Giants just ran a very obvious QB sneak on third-and-9 in the second quarter of Week 18.
I’m in awe of how sad this is pic.twitter.com/4fLaHuyYDi
— Pete Hailey (@PeteHaileyNBCS) January 9, 2022
The Washington Football Team — which caught some ricochet shots from Judge during his tirade last weekend — were likely thankful to have faced an utterly non-competitive play in the middle of an NFL game. That kind of gift comes around just about never. Unless the 2021 Giants are involved.
(This QB sneak also came right after … a QB sneak. The Giants don’t have the confidence to run real plays when backed up to their own goal line. There are high school teams with more fortitude. Nevertheless, free agents are sure to be knocking down Judge’s door, begging to sign up for this program ASAP, even if it means taking less money.)
It’s been a rough stretch for the Giants. Mike Glennon was 4-for-11 for 24 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions last week, when the team got waxed, 29-3, by the Chicago Bears. The week before, Glennon and Fromm combined to go 23-for-44 for 118 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. The team gained 84 rushing yards in that 34-10 loss to the Eagles. That QB duo combined for no touchdowns and three interceptions the week before that, in a 21-6 loss to the Cowboys.
Since their bye in Week 10, the Giants averaged 10.3 points per game. Turns out, Jason Garrett — who was fired after one of those seven post-bye games — wasn’t the problem.
While one play can’t determine a coach’s entire fate, that QB sneak is indicative of … well … it’s kind of indicative of a clown show.
We’ll all have to wait with bated breath to hear how Judge spins that one in the postgame press conference.
Update: After the Giants lost 22-7, Judge did explain the decisions, saying the team just wanted to create some space for the punt team. No regrets.