EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — There were a lot of people who believed there would be a winless team in New York four games into the NFL season.
It just wasn’t the Giants.
The Jets? Sure. They were supposed to tank the season and get the No. 1 overall draft pick. They’re 2-2, though, and thinking turnaround.
The Giants were coming off an 11-5 season that got them into the playoffs and had high expectations. Now, they are in big trouble. They are off to their worst start since going 0-6 in 2013, and coach Ben McAdoo is hoping his players aren’t overwhelmed by the task in front of them.
Only one team since the NFL and AFL merged into one league in 1970 has started 0-4 and made the playoffs. That was the San Diego Chargers in 1992.
Coincidentally, the winless Chargers — they play in Los Angeles now — are coming to MetLife Stadium to face the Giants on Sunday.
“We’re the only ones who can do anything about it,” McAdoo said Monday, a day after the Giants lost their second straight game on a last-second field goal. “We got to get back out there on the practice field and we got to work through the fundamentals. We can’t get numb. We can never get used to this feeling or accept it. We have to get back to work.”
Watching the tape of the 25-23 loss to the Buccaneers (2-1) in Tampa, Florida, McAdoo isn’t surprised his team is winless.
The mistakes are obvious: missed blocks, poor tackling, dropped passes, mistakes punting and kicking, blown fourth-quarter leads the past two games, and slow starts. New York has not scored in the first quarter and has played behind for most of the first month of the season.
McAdoo hopes to simplify things for his team so they can just play and showcase its ability.
Unlike two weeks ago when he said he believed he still had a good team, this week he said he has a team that needs a lot of work.
“It’s fight or flight time,” the second-year head coach said. “We have talented men of integrity in the locker room. It’s not going to be easy. But we have to go out there and we have to fight. I expect us to fight. The biggest thing that I get concerned about is guys going numb. We can’t go numb. Can never accept this. You got to fight through it. You got to work for that first one. Work for the first win.”
The Giants are also dealing with injuries more than season. Odell Beckham Jr. missed the season opener with an ankle injury that has bothered him all season. Defensive end Olivier Vernon sprained an ankle and missed the end of the Eagles’ game last week and the second half of Sunday’s loss. Center Weston Richburg sustained a concussion Sunday and starting halfback Paul Perkins has bruised ribs.
Rookie Wayne Gallman played well replacing Perkins.
“It’s a game of confidence and you build confidence through the way you practice,” McAdoo said. “And then it has to transition to game day, and that’s really been where we’re struggling. Falling behind early and then hanging on late. Second and third quarters we’re playing some pretty good football. We just have to start better and finish stronger.”
NOTES: McAdoo said the Giants are asking the league for clarifications on two penalties. They wonder how cornerback Janoris Jenkins can be called for pass interference after Mike Evans shoved him and was called for offensive interference. “When it’s OPI, then the defender just kind of hangs on for dear life at that point. I think that’s a tough two-way call,” McAdoo said. He also wants to know how a defender can push Beckham out of the back of the end zone on a 2-point conversion and not get called for illegal contact. Beckham caught the pass and was called for illegal touching … McAdoo said D.J. Fluker did some good things starting at right guard. … The Giants did not allow a sack, nor did they commit a turnover. Yet they lost.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)