The New York Giants are just 2-9-1 against the spread in their last 12 home games after falling by a score of 27-21 to the visiting Arizona Cardinals in Week 7. Despite the fact that the Cardinals were traveling from the West Coast, they were the team who came out more prepared — they jumped out to a lead with 17 unanswered points. The Giants battled back with 14 unanswered points, led by a Daniel Jones long touchdown pass and a blocked punt recovered for a touchdown, but then both offenses shut down in the second half.
The Jones vs. Kyler Murray battle didn’t turn out to be the shootout most expected, however, with the Cardinals rookie throwing for just 104 passing yards and the Giants rookie throwing for 223.
Why the Cardinals won
Chase Edmonds, the Cardinals running back who was supposed to be the backup behind David Johnson, is the MVP of the game. After the first series, Johnson never saw another offensive snap after missing most of the practice week with an ankle injury. The Cardinals didn’t need Johnson in this one, and it’s tough to say if he would’ve produced at the same level as Edmonds. The 2018 fourth-round draft pick out of Fordham had his breakout game with 27 rushing attempts for 126 yards (4.7 yards per carry) and three rushing touchdowns. Edmonds also added 24 yards on two receptions. Edmonds deserves a lot of credit, but the Cardinals offensive line and coaching staff also deserve their due. While Arizona struggled to create blocking room up the middle, they did an excellent job creating space on outside runs — that’s where Edmonds was a consistent winner.
Why the Giants lost
A combination of things decided this game for the Giants. Those factors were poor situational coaching, poor ball security by the rookie No. 6 overall pick at quarterback, a missed chip shot field goal, and poorly-timed penalties. Jones turned the ball over three times with one interception and two lost fumbles. On the second lost fumble, Jones gave up an opportunity for the Giants to grab momentum for the first time all game in the third quarter.
On the coaching side of things, it was a bad day at the office for head coach Pat Shurmur. Just before halftime, Shurmur played things conservatively after the Giants had moved the ball into field goal range and the team left the half without a field goal attempt. In the fourth quarter with fewer than four minutes remaining, Shurmur called a draw play on third-and-18 before deciding to go for it on fourth-and-18 from around his own 30-yard line. Earlier in the game, Shurmur wasted another timeout by challenging a pass interference call. He is now 0 for 5 on pass interference challenges this season.
With the Giants driving into Arizona’s territory midway through the third quarter, down just three points and ready to take back momentum — by potentially grabbing a lead for the first time all game — Cardinals pass rusher Chandler Jones forced a sack and fumble. The Cardinals recovered and would later convert this turnover into seven points with another Edmonds touchdown. The Giants called a designed screen pass on this play and it just never developed. Jones held the ball for too long and the end result was disastrous for the Giants’ chances of fighting back in this game.
Play of the game
Edmonds showed patience to let his blocks develop before bursting through the hole to the outside for his third rushing touchdown of the game. The second-year running back displayed excellent burst throughout the game and this meshed well with a Cardinals run game designed to attack the Giants on the edges and put pressure on their injury-depleted linebacker corps.
Quote of the game
“It played out exactly as I hoped,” – head coach Pat Shurmur when asked about his fourth-and-15 play, via Paul Schwartz.
Shurmur has developed a reputation for being ornery with the New York media, and this quote is not going to over well. Shurmur’s decision to run a draw play on third-and-18 for three yards, keeping the game clock moving under three minutes, and then rushing a play on fourth-and-15 that had no chance will be heavily scrutinized all week. Shurmur’s decision was to attempt a fourth-and-15 from the Giants’ own 30-yard line. A free blitzer was sent from the secondary and Jones never had a chance. The result of the play was a sack and a forced fumble.
The Giants (2-5) will try to regroup fast for a road game against the Detroit Lions (2-3-1). The Cardinals (3-3-1) will travel to New Orleans for a matchup against the NFC South’s first-place Saints.
In case you missed any of the game, catch up with our live blog below where we broke down the game on a minute-by-minute basis.