Giants fans were hoping for major improvement on offense and defense when the team took the field in Week 4 against the Kansas City Chiefs. Eli Manning and company were coming off a 38-0 shellacking at the hands of Carolina and anything short of a complete turnaround was likely to result in another defeat.
Big Blue was able to force some turnovers and run the ball a little bit against the Chiefs, but that wasn’t enough to avoid another lopsided loss, this time by the score of 31-7. New York accumulated 98 rushing yards on 21 carries and turned the Chiefs over three times, but Manning completed only 18 of his 37 pass attempts and the defense unraveled in the second half on Sunday.
As if problems on offense and defense weren’t enough, the Giants allowed Kansas City to break the game open in the third quarter with an 89-yard punt return for a touchdown. It was already the second time this season that New York had allowed a punt to be taken back for a score, and Dexter McCluster’s incredible dash turned a 10-7 score into a 17-7 rout-in-the-making.
The Giants got on the scoreboard in the second quarter when Manning hit Victor Cruz for a 69-yard touchdown strike. That made the score 7-7 after Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith found tight end Sean McGrath in the end zone just seconds earlier. The sides exchanged field goal tries before the end of the first half. Kansas City’s Ryan Succop hit his, but New York’s Josh Brown missed from 44 yards away to grant the Chiefs a lead at the break.
The two sides exchanged punts and turnovers in the third quarter until McCluster’s punt return swung the momentum firmly in the Chiefs’ favor. The turning point came right after a play that was initially ruled a first down. Manning connected with Cruz over the middle on a 3rd-and-17 for what appeared to be a first down. However, Kansas City coach Andy Reid challenged the call and the referees ruled that Cruz was actually inches shy of the first down marker.
New York punted on its first possession after McCluster’s score and the Chiefs embarked on a 90-yard, nine-minute touchdown drive to put the game out of reach. Kansas City initially settled for a field goal at the Giants 35-yard line, but an illegal formation penalty on New York allowed the Chiefs to continue their march towards the end zone. Smith eventually passed to halfback Jamaal Charles for a touchdown on 3rd-and-goal to send the Giants to an 0-4 record.
New York will try to right its sinking ship next Sunday when the team takes on the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium.