STINKER IN THE SWAMP

HAP­LESS GIANTS TORN APART BY EA­GLES

New York Daily News - - FRONT PAGE - PAT LEONARD GIANTS

Pull the plug. The sea­son is over.

Time to fo­cus on the fu­ture in­stead of win­ning this sea­son, which means get­ting Kyle Lauletta ready to play quar­ter­back to see what the fourth-round rookie out of Rich­mond has.

Pat Shur­mur is not go­ing to win with Eli Man­ning or the de­fense that showed up Thurs­day night at MetLife Sta­dium, where the team was ser­e­naded into half­time with boos by a home crowd tired and frus­trated with years of los­ing.

The Giants’ de­press­ing 34-13 home loss to the reign­ing Su­per Bowl cham­pion Philadel­phia Ea­gles not only con­firmed that Lil Wayne’s fa­vorite quar­ter­back doesn’t have it any­more. It also brought trou­ble­some lack of ef­fort — or as Odell Beck­ham Jr. would call it, “heart” and “en­ergy” — from a de­fense that didn’t al­ways give its all last sea­son be­fore Ben McA­doo was fired.

“They beat us on ev­ery play, and we beat our­selves,” said Beck- ham (six catches, 44 yards), who had lit­tle im­pact on the game.

And Beck­ham’s trou­ble­some off-field saga con­tin­ued, with the star re­ceiver walk­ing off the field to the locker room be­fore half­time, early enough that the of­fense had to run the fi­nal play of the sec­ond quar­ter with­out him, go­ing in down 24-6.

This hap­pened de­spite news that the Giants had fined Beck­ham for last week’s ESPN in­ter­view on top of chew­ing him out and forc­ing him to apol­o­gize to his team­mates. Beck­ham didn’t even emerge from the locker room un­til af­ter the third quar­ter’s open­ing kick­off.

Shur­mur and Beck­ham said for the sec­ond time this sea­son that he had gone in early for an I.V. be­cause he was de­hy­drated. “I was cramp­ing,” Beck­ham said.

But the postgame locker room was tense. Co-owner John Mara could be seen hov­er­ing just out­side the locker room, ob­serv­ing from across the room as Beck­ham talked to the me­dia. It feels like Beck­ham is on no­tice.

The Giants (1-5) in the process wasted an in­cred­i­ble in­di­vid­ual per­for­mance by No. 2 over­all pick Saquon Barkley, who came one yard short of be­com­ing the first Giants player ever to rush for 100 yards and reach 100 yards re­ceiv­ing in the same game.

Barkley fin­ished with 229 yards from scrim­mage and a 50-yard touch­down run: 13 rushes for 130 yards and nine catches for 99 yards, in­clud­ing a 55-yard screen pass. To il­lus­trate how lit­tle help he had, though, when Barkley took it to the house with 6:10 to play in the third quar­ter, he had ac­counted for 204 of the of­fense’s 297 yards.

“We’re 1-5. It’s not ac­cept­able at all,” Barkley said. “But we’ve got to stick to­gether as a team. We can’t come apart."

Beck­ham, mean­while, was seen head­but­ting the large cool­ing fan on the Giants’ side­lines with his hel­met on. “I was just try­ing to get my­self go­ing,” OBJ said.

“I didn’t see that. He can’t do that, shouldn’t do that,” Shur­mur said.

And cor­ner Eli Ap­ple had to be held back by team­mates and coaches from the of­fi­cials when a Wen­dell Small­wood fum­ble call was re­versed in the third quar­ter. Ap­ple then de­clined to an­swer ques­tions from the Daily News postgame.

Most damn­ing, how­ever, was the un­ac­cept­able con­sis­tent ef­fort dis­played by es­pe­cially by cer­tain mem­bers of the Giants de­fense and chron­i­cled by the FOX broad­cast.

Hall of Famer Troy Aik­man called the Giants “a life­less group.” He said on many plays for the Giants de­fense, “as far as ef­fort (there’s) not a lot goin’ on.” And play-by-play man Joe Buck said the Giants are “very much alive in the divi­sion but not play­ing like they are.”

Shur­mur con­tended “every­body fought” and there was “noth­ing wrong with the ef­fort.” Then he grew testy when asked about ef­fort again, which is un­der­stand­able, be­cause he has been de­fined all his ath­letic life as tough and lack of ef­fort is the last qual­ity he will tol­er­ate in a team.

“I just said I’m not wor­ried about their ef­fort,” Shur­mur said. “Lis­ten, didn’t (an­other re­porter) ask me about ef­fort? And then I said I wasn’t con­cerned about their ef­fort, right? Here we go again. I wasn’t con­cerned about their ef­fort. I was con­cerned about how they ex­e­cuted, and how we didn’t get in the end zone and how we let them in the end zone.”

De­fen­sive cap­tain Alec Ogle­tree said: “I don’t ques­tion any man’s ef­fort out here. I’m proud of the guys that stayed and fought the whole way through to the end.” But even with Olivier Vernon adding a sack and two QB hur­ries to help the pass rush in his sea­son de­but re­turn­ing from a bro­ken an­kle, Thurs­day’s team per­for­mance was far from ac­cept­able.

“It felt great to get back. I just got to get my legs back,” Vernon said. “But I was ex­pect­ing to win.”

Now they are firmly in the NFC base­ment, and Dave Get­tle­man and Shur­mur must un­der­stand that the long-term is all that mat­ters now. This sea­son is over.

Giants rookie Saquon Barkley was lone bright spot in 34-13 loss.

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