The Giants & Jets: A Tough Game to Watch


Daniel Jones (above) and Sam Darnold could be the futures of their teams. (Courtesy of Flickr)

The 2019 National Football League (NFL) season in the New York area has made it almost impossible to be enthusiastic or even care about football. Playing in the same region, the same city and even the same stadium, are two franchises that have no idea what direction they are going in, nor do they care enough to truly have a direction.

The result was an unwatchable Sunday afternoon on the gridiron.

Those two teams met on Sunday: the New York Football Giants and the New York Jets played at MetLife Stadium as they do every four years in a game that has been dubbed the Snoopy Bowl. Every football fan knew coming in that this was going to be a rough one. And it was.

In a game that can only be described as unclean, it was the Jets who walked away victorious, defeating the G-Men 34–27. While the loss set the Giants at 2–8 on the season, the win improved the Jets to 2–7.

It was the kind of game that makes you question if it was better to win or lose.

Within the last two seasons, we’ve seen both squads make changes at the two most vocal positions on a football team: the head coach and quarterback.

After the Giants’ immediate replacement for Super Bowl-winning head coach Tom Coughlin, Ben MacAdoo, did not work out, the team turned to Pat Shurmur, who had won the AP NFL Assistant Coach of the Year Award in the year prior as the offensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings. In his first season, with his quarterback an aging Eli Manning, Shurmur led the Giants to a 5–11 record (nothing particularly special).

In the next season, he and his team drafted a quarterback, much to the surprise, and chagrin, of many fans. And the quarterback they drafted was not who many would have taken with the sixth-overall pick they had. They selected Duke QB Daniel Jones, a player who many considered a second-round caliber pick who would not even be an NFL starter.

Even then, Shurmur and the Giants made it very clear that Manning would remain their starting quarterback. At that point, the selection of Jones in the draft seemed like a waste of a high pick, especially for a team that had plenty of issues to fix at other positions on the field.

Two weeks into 2019, the Giants were 0–2, and Shurmur named Daniel Jones the starter of the next game. With that, he became the full time starter and won his first two games. Since that point, and coming into the matchup with the Jets, he was 0–5.

As for those Jets, the last year or so has been no cake walk either.

Entering 2018, the team was in its fourth season under head coach Todd Bowles, who was hired just a handful of days after the firing of Rex Ryan in 2015, and in those first three years, the Jets were 20-28. But 2018 seemed to be a year that would be etched in the start of something new — something to reinvigorate the franchise. That something was Sam Darnold.

Drafted by the Jets with the third overall pick in 2018, just after the Giants had selected running back Saquon Barkley with the second pick, Darnold came to New York out of USC and immediately made what seemed to be a huge positive impact. Starting the Jets’ first game of the season on a Monday night against the Detroit Lions, Darnold became the youngest player to start in the opening week since the AFL-NFL merger of the early 1970s. While his first career pass resulted in an interception, he finished the game with two touchdowns and 334 passing yards, helping his squad win 48–17. It was enough to make Jets fans think they had found their winning ticket and that the period of nothingness and what seemed like front office indifference since their last playoff appearance in 2011 was over.

But it’s not about how you start.

The Jets’ final record on the year was 4–12. Darnold had thrown 15 interceptions, including four in Week 9, and had missed three games due to a foot injury.
Todd Bowles was fired almost as soon as the season was over.

About two weeks later, the Jets hired their interim general manager Adam Gase as their new head coach. It has not been going well. They entered the matchup with the Giants 1-7. It does not take Ron Jaworski to know that this was going to be a difficult game to watch.

At the end of the day, the matchup was just odd. After one quarter, the Jets had taken a 14–0 lead. They had scored all 14 points before the Giants offense had even touched the ball.

If it was a battle of quarterbacks, the game was a clear Giants win. While Darnold threw 230 yards and a touchdown, Jones had an outstanding game, throwing for 308 yards and four TD’s.

What lost the game for a Giants team that clearly had more scoring power was the ineffectiveness of their offensive line. They had allowed Jones to be sacked six times for a total loss of 50 yards.

This enabled a Jets team that had totaled less than 300 total offensive yards to beat a Giants team that had scored four touchdowns.

It was a rough affair for both squads, as is evident from the fact that the Giants are now 2–8 and that we can use the word “improved” to talk about the Jets record of 2–7.

These are two franchises that clearly lack wins in recent years, but even worse than that, they seem to be lacking direction more than anything. It’s a struggle to find consistency in the moves of either team, and it is impossible to be successful without that.For the sake of New York football and local interest in it, one can only hope one or both of these teams figure it out.