It's just one play of many for Daniel Jones, but it said so much. And not just about him.
In the third quarter on Monday night, the New York Giants called a baffling play. It was Jones rolling right, then looking back to the left where Saquon Barkley was running a wheel route on the opposite sideline. That's practically an impossible pass and it's hard to figure out what offensive coordinator Jason Garrett wanted out of the play.
That doesn't fully excuse what happened next. Jones threw it right to Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive lineman Steve McLendon, a 310-pounder who is in his 12th NFL season and had never intercepted a pass. McLendon didn't even have to move, he just had to hold onto the ball thrown into his stomach.
The Giants have been bad for a while and it's not getting better. As they fell to 3-7, being easily outplayed by a far superior Buccaneers team in a 30-10 loss on Monday night, you had to wonder if everything might be changed in the offseason, including coach, general manager and quarterback.
Giants continue to get worse
There was a key coaching mistake in the third quarter that cost the Giants dearly. They had a fourth-and-1 at the Buccaneers' 25, trailing 17-10. It was clear on the broadcast that the coaches hesitated on their decision, sent in the play with about 20 seconds left on the play clock. The offense had to rush and ran a bad play that never had a chance.
It wasn't a glaring mistake, but a mistake nonetheless, the type of sloppy attention to detail that costs teams games and could cost Joe Judge and his assistants their jobs if the Giants' season doesn't improve.
The Giants were set up for a good effort against the Bucs. They were reasonably healthy after the bye, including getting Saquon Barkley back from an ankle injury. It was Monday night, a chance to put forth a decent game in prime time. And it was ugly. The worst moment was the Jones interception, which sums up the uneven career of a player GM Dave Gettleman controversially drafted sixth overall and hasn't lived up to that draft pedigree.
New York probably doesn't want to start over from the top down, but they might not have a choice if the rest of the season looks like Monday night. There's not much to like about the Giants these days.
Buccaneers get easy win
The Buccaneers are a franchise that has figured things out. That's what happens when you pair Bruce Arians and Tom Brady.
Monday night was easy for the Buccaneers. Brady had an efficient night, which started with a touchdown to Chris Godwin. He even had a 10-yard run for a first down, and the 44-year-old quarterback got the crowd fired up after his rare rushing attempt. The Buccaneers' defense didn't have much trouble bottling up Barkley for anyone else.
The Bucs are 7-3 and on their way to a likely division title, and maybe another deep playoff run. It didn't take long Monday to see the difference between the two teams on the field.
The Giants have been to the playoffs once since winning the Super Bowl at the end of the 2011 season. In 2016 the Giants made the playoffs and lost in the wild-card round. They're likely not going to the playoffs this season either.
The Giants would love to reclaim some of their past glory. If it happens soon, it probably won't come with many of the key figures we saw on Monday night.
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