INGLEWOOD, Calif. — It will all come to an end on Jan. 9. Between now and then, try to avoid watching the Giants. What they are putting out on the field is not worth much of your attention.
They spent nearly an entire week in Tucson, Ariz., after their loss to the Dolphins in Miami, hoping to reset their bodies and minds staying far from home. But they brought their same shabby team on the trip further west and that once again proved to be their downfall.
A bad team is a bad team, no matter when it practices and where it plays its games. To state the Giants are a bad team is to point to the sky and call it blue and stick your hand in water and call it wet.
The 37-21 loss to the Chargers on Sunday at magnificent SoFi Stadium was another numbing day of work for a team that needs a complete overhaul. The Giants (4-9) saw what a playoff contender looks like, and also saw what a true franchise quarterback looks like, as Justin Herbert torched them with three touchdown passes and the Chargers (8-5) strengthened their grip on a postseason berth. Herbert completed 23 of 31 passes for 275 yards and his passer rating was 133.1.
Perhaps Daniel Jones in the coming weeks can return from his sprained neck and then at least the Giants can find out a bit more about their third-year quarterback. They know far more than they need to about Mike Glennon, the career backup thrust into a starting role the past two games. The less said about this, the better.
There was nothing for the Giants to feel good about. Their offense could not do much against one of the NFL’s worst run defenses, as Saquon Barkley again failed to launch, although he did surpass 60 rushing yards for the first time this season. Glennon was painful to watch and his wide receivers were all pretty much no-shows. This was the first time since Week 3 that Kenny Golladay and Sterling Shepard played in the same game and their presence together was insignificant.
It was all woeful, but the last 1:40 of the first half was as bad as it gets. Worse. Atrocious. Disgusting. Vapid. Take your pick. The Giants had the ball on the Chargers’ 41-yard line with 1:40 remaining before halftime. Great field position, plenty of time to at least dig into a 17-7 deficit. Instead, the Giants held the ball for exactly 60 seconds and lost 2 yards. The third-down play was a Glennon pass over the middle thrown so far behind an open Devontae Booker that all Booker could do was reach back and get a finger on the ball as it sailed on by.
That was pathetic. What followed was just plain sad.
The Chargers took possession on their 25-yard line with 40 seconds to work with. They needed only 22 seconds to humiliate the Giants, again. Herbert put on display his cannon of a right arm. He was hit from behind by Lorenzo Carter just after he unleashed a 59-yard touchdown pass to Jalen Guyton, who split safeties Logan Ryan and Xavier McKinney to haul in a pass that fell directly into his hands at the 2-yard line. Guyton took it the rest of the way and it was 24-7.
It was the seventh time an opponent scored a touchdown in the final two minutes of the first half this season. The Giants have not scored in the last two minutes of the first half. The unsightly numbers: 59 for the other team, 0 for the Giants.
The Chargers did not score on the ensuing series but they did the next time they got the ball, outmuscling the Giants’ defense on a nine-play, 60-yard drive, as Austin Ekeler scored on a 1-yard run.
After two empty series, the Giants needed a spark and they got it on a 60-yard catch-and-run from tight end Kyle Rudolph, who carried bodies the last few yards and stiff-armed defensive back Trey Marshall before going down. That set up Glennon’s 3-yard lob to fullback Eli Penny for a touchdown to make it 7-7.
This past week, special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey heaped praise on Graham Gano, calling him “a weapon’’ as a kickoff specialist. On cue, Gano’s first kickoff of the game rolled out of bounds, giving the Chargers the ball on their own 40. An 18-yard run by Ekeler fueled a 60-yard drive that ended with Herbert finding rookie Joshua Palmer, who raced around fill-in cornerback Jarren Williams for an 8-yard scoring play.
A three-and-out on offense was lowlighted by Barkley tripping over his own feet on a run for no gain. Next, Glennon was flushed out of the pocket. He had Barkley open short but threw the ball away on third down.
With the Giants’ defense looking gassed, the Chargers held the ball for 12 plays before Dustin Hopkins hit a 27-yard field goal to put the Chargers ahead 17-7. The next time they had the ball, the Giants decided to try and pound away against the NFL’s 31st-ranked run defense. Barkley gained 7 yards, lost 1 and then, on third-and-4, did not read the blocking correctly and picked up only 2 yards.