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Giants’ inexcusable 100 seconds of football becoming all too familiar

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Giants’ inexcusable 100 seconds of football becoming all too familiar

One hundred seconds.

That’s the time it took for the Giants to disintegrate on Sunday.

It was a sickening — but agonizingly familiar — sequence that was their downfall. It was the difference in yet another loss. And it served as a glaring symptom to the litany of things wrong with this wayward franchise.

The final 100 seconds of the first half the Giants authored in their 37-21 loss to the Chargers — that was far more lopsided than the final score indicated — represented a clinic in how to lose a football game.

They were an utterly inexcusable 100 seconds and led to a ninth loss in 13 games for the Giants, who are now guaranteed a fifth consecutive losing season.

Here’s how it went down:

A 63-yard punt by Riley Dixon that pinned the Chargers back on their own 4-yard line with 2:04 remaining in the half led to a three-and-out stop by the Giants defense that forced an L.A. punt.

A poor Chargers’ punt gave the Giants possession of the ball at the Los Angeles 41-yard line with 1:40 remaining trailing 17-7.

Even the most challenged of offensive teams — such as this Giants team that has scored the fewest touchdowns in the NFL this season — figure to get at least a field goal out of a possession that begins at the opponent’s 41-yard line.

Not these Giants.

Jalen Guyton
Jalen Guyton stands in the end zone after scoring a touchdown against the Giants.
AP

First-and-10: Quarterback Mike Glennon was unable to connect with receiver Sterling Shepard.

Second-and-10: A Glennon screen pass to running back Saquon Barkley in traffic was sniffed out by the Chargers’ defense and stopped for a 2-yard loss.

Third-and-12: Glennon threw a short pass miserably behind running back Devontae Booker, who was wide open for a first down and more, but the ball bounced off his shoulder pad.

Fourth-and-12: An 18-yard Dixon punt.

Now the Chargers had the ball back at their own 25-yard line with 40 seconds remaining and two timeouts.

Four plays and 23 seconds later, the Chargers took a commanding 17-point lead on a back-breaking, soul-crushing 59-yard Justin Herbert scoring pass to Jalen Guyton, who beat Giants cornerback Logan Ryan.

The pass, which traveled some 65 yards in the air, was a work of art.

And just like that, the game was essentially over before Giants head coach Joe Judge had a chance to speak to his troops inside the halftime locker room.

“You can’t let one play be the thing that defines the entire game,’’ Judge said afterward.

Yet it did.

“At the end of the day, I get paid to make that play,’’ Ryan said. “I wear that one heavy. It was on me. You don’t get to have them back in sports. I feel like I let a lot of people down with that.’’

Instead of the Giants shaving the Chargers lead to 17-10, the Chargers skipped gleefully into the locker room for the halftime intermission leading 24-7.

Chargers Giants
Jalen Guyton hauls in a 59-yard touchdown pass with 17 seconds left in the first half.
Charles Baus/CSM/Shutterstock

“We put ourselves in position that we should have capitalized on,’’ Judge said of the killer sequence. “We had good field position. We weren’t far off of field-goal range and had a couple plays on that drive we needed to make more out of. Ultimately, we didn’t do it.’’

Bad teams like the Giants cannot overcome 10-point swings.

“That’s on us as an offense,’’ Glennon said. “We need to get points there. That falls on me. It’s disappointing.’’

Glennon then couldn’t help but marvel at what he saw out of the quarterback on the other sideline.

“Not many guys on this planet that can throw the ball like him,’’ Glennon said of Herbert. “He’s special. He’s a fun quarterback to watch.’’

Not for the Giants on this day.

Judge and the Giants surely have gotten used to stomaching these demoralizing end-of-half moments because they’ve become such a theme to what has devolved into another wasted season.

That 100-second sequence left the Giants having been outscored a mind-boggling 59-0 inside the final two minutes of the first half this season.

You know what a common denominator to the best teams in the league has been since the beginning of time? Making opposing teams pay in the final two minutes of the first half.

Judge witnessed — and was a part of — this dynamic up close during his eight seasons as an assistant coach with the Patriots, who used to feast on opposing defenses in those precious final moments of the first half by scoring game-turning points.

Judge’s Giants are the opposite of those New England teams in that they regularly trudge into the locker room at halftime ticked off, stunned, demoralized or a combination of all of the above.

“We’ve got to be better in that sequence as a team, play better complementary football,’’ Barkley said of those final 100 seconds of the first half. “That’s kind of been the theme all year.’’

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Sports world reacts to John Madden’s death

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Sports world reacts to John Madden’s death

Legendary NFL coach and broadcaster John Madden died Tuesday morning at 85, the NFL announced. News of the football icon’s passing hit Twitter on Tuesday evening, and athletes, coaches and broadcasters from across the sports world reacted.

Fellow broadcasting legend Dick Vitale, who is currently battling cancer, called Madden “the greatest analyst of all time of any sport” in his Twitter tribute.

Former Yankees pitcher and notable Raiders fan CC Sabathia said “your legacy will live forever.” Madden coached the then-Oakland Raiders from 1969-78, a couple of years before Sabathia, a Vallejo, California native, was born. Lakers star LeBron James had similar words about Madden’s lasting legacy, adding an infinity emoji.

Former tennis star and social justice activist Billie Jean King recalled meeting Madden as a “privilege.”

Radio voice of the Rangers Kenny Albert, a five-sport broadcaster who’s been with FOX Sports since its inception in 1994, shared a photo circa 26 years ago to remember Madden.

ESPN’s Bomani Jones took a bit of a shot at current color commentators, noting that Madden “set an unreachable standard.”

Frank Caliendo, who’s made a career out of impersonations, including one for Madden, said he was surprised how emotional he felt.

Several football players, and others, including Saints running back Mark Ingram II and former Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, credited Madden with being part of the reason why they love football.

Rams wide receiver and NFL MVP contender Cooper Kupp quote the late coach in his tribute: “The road to Easy Street goes through the sewer.”

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Miles McBride’s Knicks role will lessen with Kemba Walker’s resurgence

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Miles McBride’s Knicks role will lessen with Kemba Walker’s resurgence

MINNEAPOLIS — The Knicks got back another body in rookie point guard Miles McBride, who was cleared from protocols Tuesday and rejoined the team in Minnesota.

But there is no longer any hype for the rookie’s return. Kemba Walker is back as the starting point guard and coming off winning Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors with four standout games, including his Christmas Day spectacular. The Knicks have gone 2-2 since Walker regained the starting job.

“It’s great,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said. “He had a great week. He’s playing great basketball. The team winning helps him get recognized and he was a big part of driving that winning. It’s great for the team.’’

McBride was also spectacular in his last outing before getting COVID-19, when he played the entire second half Dec. 16 in Houston and seemingly earned a spot in the rotation. In fact, McBride had strung together two decent outings before he was ruled out. But things have changed since his emergence and McBride is likely back to being a bit player.

Without a practice, McBride wasn’t even expected to see time when the Knicks faced the Timberwolves to kick off a four-game road trip.

Miles McBride
NBAE via Getty Images

Of course, with Walker’s arthritic knee, anything is possible. The Knicks play Detroit on Wednesday in a back-to-back, so it’s uncertain whether Walker will complete both contests. In addition, Immanuel Quickley is out of COVID-19 protocols but Thibodeau wasn’t sure he was ready for meaningful minutes.

That left Walker against the depleted Timberwolves, who were missing their three top players (Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell), all because of COVID-19 .

Kemba Walker
Kemba Walker
USA TODAY Sports

When McBride got sidelined by the virus and Derrick Rose needed ankle surgery, Walker was resurrected by Thibodeau and it’s been a stunning comeback story.

Though Thibodeau has clear reservations about Walker based on his nine-game banishment due to his defensive malaise as an undersized point guard, he admitted after the Christmas Day triple-double against Atlanta that Walker is playing “much more aggressive.”

Walker’s triple-double that featured 10 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds was a lot different than his prior outing, when he scored 44 points against Washington.

“I thought his passing was terrific,’’ Thibodeau said before the Knicks resumed their schedule.

“Kemba had control of the game. The game tells you what to do. That’s what I loved about the way he played. I don’t think he forced anything. They puts size on him and were aggressive in their pick-and-roll coverage. He didn’t fight it. He attacked pressure the way you like to attack pressure. You don’t fight pressure with pressure. Don’t try to split it. Get rid of it, go to the backside. Let the game tell you what to do.’’

The Knicks coach is finally seeing all the elements of what Walker can do. Before his demotion, Walker was nothing more than a no-defense, 3-point shooter whose plus-minus was an abysmal minus-122.

Thibodeau was also concerned about his durability in sitting out two of the three back-to-back sets. The last load management game in Atlanta in late November triggered Thibodeau’s decision.

But now it’s only superlatives from Thibodeau in judging the last four games.

“Sometimes it’s going to be his shooting, sometimes it’s his penetration and getting in the paint to force a collapse and sometimes they’re being aggressive with their traps get rid of the ball quickly,’’ Thibodeau said. “The overall play, his rebounding. When your guards rebound, those are key to fast breaks. The more guard rebounding we get the better we can be. ‘’

The Knicks still have three players in protocols — centers Nerlens Noel and Jericho Sims and the newly infected Wayne Selden. Quickley and Kevin Knox were cleared on Christmas but were held out for conditioning.

No matter. The Knicks go as Kemba goes.

“He’s much more aggressive,’’ Thibodeau said. “That was the challenge. At the beginning of the year he and Evan were two new starters. Sometimes guys are trying to fit in. he’s being very aggressive which is the way we want him to play. Not deferring at all. When he and Julius [Randle] are aggressive like that our team is different.’’

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Bar raises dramatically for Zach Wilson in matchup with Tom Brady, Buccaneers

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Zach Wilson and Tom Brady

When Zach Wilson stares across the MetLife Stadium field at the opposite sideline this Sunday, it won’t be Trevor Lawrence he’ll be looking at as his game-day counterpart.

Lawrence, drafted by Jacksonville one spot before the Jets selected Wilson at No. 2 overall last April, is a contemporary.

This Sunday at MetLife, the Jets rookie quarterback won’t be staring at a contemporary on the other sideline. He’ll be staring at the GOAT.

Tom Brady.

The bar raises dramatically for Wilson and the Jets, who are coming off of their feel-good, get-well win over the woeful Jaguars and Lawrence this past Sunday.

Brady and Buccaneers, who are 11-4, NFC South division champions and seeking to repeat as Super Bowl champions, play the Jets, who are 4-11 and seeking more signs of development from their rookie quarterback.

To say this is a step up in competition for Wilson and the Jets going from Lawrence and the Jags to Brady and the Bucs is as obvious as pointing out that Tampa Bay receiver Antonio Brown has had a few off-the-field incidents during his otherwise stellar NFL career.

There hasn’t been a lot to keep the interest of the Jets fan this season — other than watching Wilson’s development. That took an unfortunate pause for the four games Wilson missed with a knee injury, but he’s been back for five games and has looked like a better quarterback, throwing only two interceptions in those games (none in the last three) since returning from his injury.

The problem, though, is that Wilson hasn’t been producing enough touchdowns, throwing for three of them and rushing for four others in the past five games.

Zach Wilson and Tom Brady
Zach Wilson and Tom Brady
N.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg; AP

Baby steps, though.

Wilson was the better quarterback this past Sunday when matched up with Lawrence, who threw for more yards than Wilson did, but Wilson ran for 91 yards, including his electric 52-yard scoring jaunt, and made key throws when he needed them.

Wilson will not win Sunday’s game against Brady and the Bucs throwing for the 102 yards he had against the Jaguars. He and the Jets will need more.

Consider this: Brady enters the game having thrown 37 TD passes and for 4,580 yards this season and averages a league-high 305.2 passing yards per game.

Then this: The Buccaneers average 29.5 points per game this season, second most in the NFL.

And this: Wilson doesn’t have a single 300-yard passing game, averages 183 passing yards per game and has thrown seven TD passes in 11 games.

Seven TD passes is a pedestrian two-game total for Brady.

Wilson and the Jets are playing with house money anyway in what always has been a developmental season, so Sunday against Brady should, at its very least, be a great measuring-stick learning experience for Wilson, who’s studied Brady on tape.

Wilson revealed this month that he watched film of Brady before the Jets played the Eagles on Dec. 5 in an effort to pick up tips on how Brady worked against the Eagles defense when he played them earlier in the season.

“I thought it was really cool to see kind of how he went through his whole process, how he navigated the pocket, different things like that,” Wilson said at the time.

On Sunday, Wilson gets to see that process up close as Brady tries to dissect a Jets defense that has yielded 29.9 points per game this season, the most in the NFL.

That puts an added onus on Wilson to produce on the other side of the ball, because he knows Brady is going to get his. Wilson will likely need to produce four TDs — any way he can — for the Jets to simply remain competitive with the Super Bowl champs.

That’s a lot to ask of a 22-year-old kid who’s produced just 11 TDs in his 11 starts, up against Brady, who’s thrown 618 TD passes and for 83,784 yards in his remarkable career.

It, too, is a lot to ask playing against an aggressive Tampa Bay defense that’s ranked No. 9 in the NFL in points allowed (20.8 per game) and is led by former Jets head coach Todd Bowles, who’d surely like to send a holiday message to his former employer.

If you don’t think Bowles will be blitzing the bejesus out of Wilson, then you probably think Antonio Brown is a living saint.

The good news for the Jets is that Wilson has shown incremental improvements, particularly when it comes to his decision-making and quicker releases on his throws.

“He’s coming along, he’s getting more comfortable, he’s calmer back there,’’ Jets coach Robert Saleh said Monday. “He’s in a great headspace and it’s going to be fun to watch him grow, continue to grow.’’

A big part of that growth will take place this Sunday as he watches the GOAT operate from the opposite sideline at MetLife.

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