Moeller: An Ugly, Wet Afternoon Washes Away Giants’ Hopes

This was as ugly as the driving rain and cold that engulfed Met Life Stadium Sunday afternoon.

The weather was supposed to be a perfect backdrop for a traditional late fall Giants’ afternoon in which the home team would take advantage of the elements.

Run the football and let Eli Manning have a high-percentage passing day.

Instead, the Tennessee Titans followed the script to perfection in a stunning 17-0 shutout of the Giants, marking the first time they have been blanked at home since 1995. The Titans had the ball for over 18 minutes in the first half and just over 35 minutes for the game.

The Giants did the opposite with 16 runs and 44 passes on a slick turf. It produced 260 total yards. The streak of four wins in their last five games was suddenly washed away.

Ugly, simply ugly.

“They outplayed us,” said wide receiver Sterling Shepard, who caught a 37-yarder among his two receptions. “It was tough for us to run the ball. They had a better game plan.”

The aspiring and desiring playoff run is officially over. The Giants fell back to the reality of a 5-9 team. The team that scored 67 combined points in their last two games was pathetic on offense and adequate on defense.

Tennessee inched closer to a playoff spot as they played ball control behind an effective day from quarterback Marcus Mariota, who did just enough with a 12-for-20 afternoon with just 88 passing yards.

Running back Derrick Henry shredded the Giants’ defense for 172 yards and scored both of their touchdowns.

Manning has a bad day as he couldn’t get anything on his throws, uncorking his share of floaters and those looking more like jump balls. He finished completing 21-of-44 for 229 yards and a quarterback rating of a miniscule 16.7

In the Giants’ final attempt to score, they were truly inept as Manning couldn’t find the end zone with three attempts from the Tennessee four-yard line, missing tight end Evan Engram on a seemingly well set-up screen play.

“Obviously it hurts,” said Manning. “You want to try and make the playoffs and obviously we didn’t play well enough early in the year to put ourselves in a good position.”

Saquon Barkley found a hole to the outside once for a 17-yard burst in the first half, but he was swarmed by a penetrating Tennessee the rest of the day, netting his second-lowest total as a pro with 31 yards on 14 carries.

About the Author

Jeff Moeller

Jeff Moeller has been covering the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and college football and basketball as well as high school sports on a national and local scene for the past 39 years. He has been a Jets and Giants beat reporter for the past 13 years.

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