New York Giants still confident that team is ‘right there’ after blowout loss

New York Giants, Leonard Williams

If there’s one loss that puts Dave Gettleman’s job in doubt, it’s this one. The New York Giants took on the 49ers who were missing plenty of players due to injury, and they were still dealt a blowout defeat. The Giants had their own injuries, sure. Saquon Barkley is out for the season and Daniel Jones had more rushing yards than his replacement. But few expected the final score to be as lopsided as it was.

Nor did they expect the Giants to have as bad a second half as they did. They only scored 3 points in the second half and none of the Giants’ running backs had more than 10 rushing yards. A performance like this gives something for detractors of Gettleman to point to. It’s an example of the team at its worst, during a year where Gettleman appears to be on his last chance.

But it’s still the same narratives from the players. Specifically, the idea that the Giants are close to fixing their problems and they just need a little more time. That they’re one step away from getting better.

Leonard Williams claims Giants are right on the edge of success

“I do think we do have a really good team and a tough team, and I never see any quit in this team. I believe that we’re right there and we just need to fix a few pieces and a few little gaps here and there and stop beating ourselves,” Leonard Williams spoke after the game. “It’s already hard to beat a team and it’s going to be harder when we’re making mistakes on ourselves as well, so I just think that we need to overcome a few of those mistakes that we’ve been making and just keep playing hard.”

The Giants have been trying to stop beating themselves for years. That narrative can only stick around for so long before no one believes it anymore. The team is in their first year under a new head coach, but perhaps more change is needed. If only because changing the head coach wasn’t enough.

It might be too late to bounce back much this season, but a loss like this and an 0-3 start may show that it’s time for the team to clean house in the entire organization… Not just within the coaching staff.

The optimism of the players on the field probably doesn’t come from an intentionally misleading place. All players in the NFL are confident in their skills, after all. But there’s a point when only the most diehard optimists can believe the team is really one step away from improving. This might be that point for the Giants.

Yankees’ DJ LeMahieu answers his big free agency question

New York Yankees, DJ LeMahieu

New York Yankees’ slugger DJ LeMahieu made it very obvious that he wants to stay in pinstripes following this season. After Sunday’s loss against the Miami Marlins, LeMahieu said during the postgame interview, “I want to stay here and I’ve said that a few times. You never know how it goes.”

LeMahieu is signed to a 2-year/$24,000,000 contact that will expire after this season. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent for the 2021 season.

Through 49 games, LeMahieu is currently leading all of baseball for the highest batting average where he holds a .359 average. He’s also leading all of baseball in OPS+ at 175. LeMahieu is also in the run for possibly winning his second batting title, where the second closest average is held by Juan Soto at .365.

“If you watch DJ, he’s certainly quiet and business-like, all true. But he’ll show some emotion on the field,” manager Aaron Boone has said about LeMahieu. “I’ve seen a number of times where he’ll come up and he’s pumping his fist. He’s out there to rip your heart out. He plays with an edge, and I think he does love being in this environment.”

“I even said to him maybe before his last at-bat, I’m like, ‘How are you enjoying this environment?’ And he’s like, ‘Yes.’ So, good,” Boone also has said about LeMahieu wanting to stay in New York.

The Yankees will begin their playoff run on Tuesday when they face the Cleveland Indians. The Yankees finished as the fifth overall seed while the Indians are the fourth. Gerrit Cole is expected to start Game One and Shane Bieber will most likely be on the hill for the Indians.

Four plays that decided the New York Jets’ Sunday fate vs. Indianapolis

A scoring drive in the first quarter provided hope, but the New York Jets endured yet another one-sided defeat in Indianapolis.

In a city best known for auto racing, the New York Jets fell off the pace in a hurry.

Sam Darnold threw three interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns en route to a 36-7 defeat at Lucas Oil Stadium at the hands of the Indianapolis Colts. The Jets (0-3) have been outscored by 57 points over their first three games and are the only team in the league that has yet to hold a lead over this young season.

Which plays best personified the Jets’ latest defeat? ESM investigates so you don’t have to, taking one play from each quarter…

1st Quarter: Sam-I-Ran

Whether it’s scripted or (more-often-than-not) improvised, Sam Darnold seems to do his finest work on the rollout. They saw one such play last week against San Francisco, one that could’ve been a rare touchdown had Chris Herndon held onto the ball. The early stages of the game saw Darnold channel some suppressed rushing powers that allowed the Jets to extend some drives…and, by association, rare Sunday hope.

Making a rare visit to the red zone, Darnold sent a clear message to those chanting the name of Trevor Lawrence by escaping a furious rush from the Colts to fire a 16-yard touchdown pass to Braxton Berrios. It’s a small moment that will get lost in the carnage of yet another one-sided defeat, but it was yet another flash of brilliance from Darnold in the murky mess that is New York football. It was perhaps a sign that Darnold knows that the final stretches of the season could be the make-or-break portion of his NFL career.

2nd Quarter: Same ‘Goal Jets

Alas for Darnold, the rest of the game was filled by a dangerously contagious 2020 trope: making throws that a third-year franchise man should never be making.

The Jets trailed 17-7 in the middle stages of the second quarter, but embarked on a red zone trek kickstarted by Josh Malone’s return to the New York 40. This drive seemed to further establish the slot replacement Berrios as a potential silver lining in a stagnant offense, as he and Darnold hooked up for a 28-yard gain that situated the Jets 12 yards away from another touchdown.

Alas, Darnold launched a potential touchdown pass to Lawrence Cager in triple coverage that was instead taken by Colts defender Xavier Rhodes. No points immediately emerged from the disastrous throw, but the Jets never truly threatened the game from there on out. Darnold’s first interception, also taken by Rhodes (albeit that former turnover for a score), was another bad decision tossed into a crowded era, a mistake that the Jets never truly recovered from.

3rd Quarter: Taylor’s Swift

Despite a pedestrian lead at “only” 10 points, the Colts were allowed to more or less run a cooldown lap in the second half. The Jets’ defense wasn’t doing much to inspire fear and the lack of consequences was best on display when the Colts opted to go for a touchdown on fourth-and-goal from New York’s one-yard-line.

The Jets got off to a good start on the tightly packed play, as Bradley McDougald invaded the backfield after the handoff to rookie rusher Jonathan Taylor. But Taylor eluded the diving safety to punch in what was more or less the final blow to the Jets’ dying hopes. McDougald, who has so far been a rare beacon of consistency since coming over from Seattle, left the game in the fourth quarter with an injury, dealing yet another medical blow to a woebegone unit.

4th Quarter: Safety Last

Someone must’ve uttered “how can this get any worse???” during the fourth quarter, because the Colts checked off one of the final boxes in the latter stages.

Another crucial injury loss, that of Mekhi Becton, was on brutal display during one of the Jets’ final drives. Backed up to their own four-yard-line after a Rigoberto Sanchez punt, the Jets advanced two yards before Darnold dropped back to pass on third down. Alas, Becton’s replacement, Connor McDermott, failed to account for the blitzing Justin Houston, taking Darnold down in the end zone for a Pacers/Fever-style two-pointer.

With Becton out for most of the second half, the rushing lanes shut down and Darnold was forced to run for his life. If the Jets miss Becton this much…and they truly have to hope that this won’t be a long-term issue…the first-round rookie might warrant a few MVP votes.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Islanders: 2 Trades Lou Lamoriello Must Make

New York Islanders, Nick Leddy

The number of times I’ve said that the New York Islanders have no cap space is too numerous to count. The Islanders aren’t loaded with pieces to move other pieces. What I’m saying is that the Isles cannot make a Marc Staal-esque trade. Since the Isles are in a difficult cap situation with no great trade pieces, there are only two trades I know the Isles must make, and it involves some defensemen.

Nick Leddy

This may be surprising to NHL fans, but Nick Leddy has trade value. Nick Leddy had a solid year, but it’s Noah Dobson’s time to shine. Leddy’s trade value apparently has been ramping up as of late.

It’s looking like the minimum return for Leddy is a 2nd round pick. The Islanders have zero second-round picks until the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. Now the Isles can either ship Leddy off for cap space or package him. I wouldn’t be surprised if a team like Ottawa would offer up Anthony Duclair for Leddy and maybe Leo Komarov. A Leddy trade is something the Isles must do.

Johnny Boychuk

Johnny Boychuk’s cap hit is absolutely terrible. The fact that Garth Snow believed this contract would help the Isles, in the long run, is ridiculous. Boychuk is a great player and an ageless wonder, but it’s past his time. He’s hurt often now and was benched in favor of Andy Greene during the playoff run.

Now the question is who in the right mind would take on Boychuk’s contract? Well, no one is taking on Boychuk straight up, there has to be a deal sweetener. Josh Ho-Sang seems like someone that has a little trade value. Ho-Sang and Boychuk for I guess a 7th round pick. If the Isles can make that trade, they are complete masterminds of the trade market.

Yankees: Good news and bad news in regular-season finale

New York Yankees, Clarke Schmidt

The New York Yankees wrapped up the regular season with the loss of the Miami Marlins, who are currently 31-29 on the season. The Yankees are only a smidge better, despite having a much more robust and lucrative roster.

Sometimes, the numbers game can be effective, as the Marlins have taken an analytical approach and utilized a youth agenda to their advantage. The Bombers, on the other hand, have dealt with injuries all season, and their star players have been inconsistent at best.

The offense failed to put up any points in the contest, despite putting up 11 on Saturday afternoon. This was a disappointing way to end the regular season, especially with the postseason starting soon. With little momentum, the Yankees will have to find a way to spark their batters.

FINAL SCORE: 5-0

Good news and bad news for the New York Yankees:

GOOD NEWS:

The good news is the Yankees are a postseason team, they finished with the fifth overall seed after the Orioles beat the Toronto Blue Jays 7-5. However, the Yankees are 22-8 at home and a completely different team when playing away. They will have to travel to begin their playoff series.

More positive news, lead-off hitter DJ LeMahieu recorded his 80th multi-hit game since 2019, which is the most in the MLB. He also wraps up his regular season with 8.36 for batting average, which earns him the batting title.

Offensively, LeMahieu had a solid day, of course, recording two hits over three at-bats and a walk.

BAD NEWS:

Pitching remains inconsistent for the Yankees, as youngster Clarke Schmidt tossed four innings of baseball. He allowed four hits and three earned runs, finishing his season with a 7.11 ERA.

The Yankees’ bullpen also contributed to the team’s loss, giving up two runs over 4.0 innings. The Yankees will take on the Cleveland Indians in the first series of the postseason, and considering how fantastic their pitching is, this will be a very difficult matchup.

Prior to falling to the Pirates on Saturday 8-0, Cleveland was on a six-game winning streak and had won their last eight out of nine games.

If manager Aaron Boone wants to make it far during exhibition games, his offense needs to find a way to get on base and produce with runners in scoring position.

Joe Judge and the New York Giants respond to embarrassing loss to the 49ers

New York Giants, Leonard Williams

The New York Giants suffered an embarrassing loss today to the San Fransisco 49ers. The 49ers, starting backup and reserve players all over, blew the Giants out 36-9 as New York’s offense never ran a single play in the red zone.

Head coach Joe Judge met with the media forty-five minutes after the game concluded. Presumably, Judge was chewing into his players after a pathetic Week Three performance that saw the team drop to 0-3, once again.

Joe Judge On The Plan Going Forward

The Giants have yet to stumble into a victory in 2020. New York’s 27-point defeat has left fans disappointed and uncertain about the team’s future. For Joe Judge, it is all about “day-to-day improvement.” Judge recognizes a “tough opponent” is once again on the Giants’ schedule entering Week Four, and the Giants need to be better than they were this week.

We’re not looking for excuses, not pointing fingers, not looking for shortcuts. We’re going to do everything we can to make sure we will put a product on the field people of this area can be proud of. We’ll be working our butt off to improve the product going forward. – Joe Judge via Matt Lombardo

Judge and the Giants are making no excuses. He is holding himself and his team accountable and hoping to improve for the future. Judge plans to “go out there day by day and piece by piece to put this together.”

Leonard Williams

The Giants’ defense struggled to get off the field on third down all game. When asked about this Leonard Williams did not point any fingers, but noted that he needs to get to the quarterback faster and the team as a whole needs to do better.

Per Jordan Raanan, Leonard Williams stated that he thinks the Giants are “right there” and that they need to fix a few “small” errors/mistakes in order to turn things around.

Blake Martinez

Giants linebacker Blake Martinez also mentioned the small little things in his postgame press conference. He suspects they will “show up on the tape,” as does Joe Judge. However, many fans will likely agree that the tape is not needed to identify many of these mistakes.

Daniel Jones

In the first quarter, the Giants made a crucial mistake, turning the ball over on a pitch play to Evan Engram. Jones took the blame for this, stating that it was “just a poor pitch.” Jones and the Giants worked on that play all week in practice.

He also took accountability for his second turnover in the game. Jones conceded that his interception to Evan Engram in the second quarter was a “poor decision.”

Jones and the Giants are “disappointed” but their confidence has not wavered. The Giants must “take [the loss] and learn from it.” Moving forward, the Giants will continue to work hard and prepare for Week Four. Jones said “nothing” will change that. The Giants will try to “not let this situation define” them.

New York Liberty: Jazmine Jones named to WNBA’s official All-Rookie squad

Jazmine Jones, New York Liberty

Jazmine Jones, the New York Liberty’s final pick of the first round, was named to the WNBA’s official All-Rookie team unveiled on Sunday.

Sabrina Ionescu was limited to three games in her rookie game, but the New York Liberty still enjoyed rookie representation in the WNBA’s All-Rookie Team unveiled on Sunday.

Jazmine Jones, the final pick of the WNBA Draft’s first round back in April, was named to the league’s official team, a squad headlined by 2020 Rookie of the Year Crystal Dangerfield of Minnesota. Jones, 23, is the fifth New Yorker to be named to the team’s official All-Rookie squad and the first since current teammate Kiah Stokes went with Brittany Boyd after the 2015 campaign.

After Ionescu was lost to an injury during the July 29 contest against Atlanta, Jones was called upon to spend more time in the point guard spot, a role she hadn’t played extensively partaken in since her high school days at the Florida A&M University Developmental Research School in Tallahassee. Taken 12th out of Louisville, Jones went on to be one of most consistent contributors on a young New York roster.

Jones finished at or near the top of almost every statistical category amongst rookies, leading every first-year players in steals (1.4 per game). She also earned an averaged 10.8 points over 21 games, a tally anchored by six consecutive games in double-figures. The former Cardinal, joined by her fellow rookie and 13th overall pick Kylee Shook, was also praised for her energy, as she was constantly shown dancing and encouraging teammates on the sidelines despite a tough, lost season.

“The main thing about Jaz is her energy,” head coach Walt Hopkins said about Jones when she took over for Ionescu. “When she brings her energy, no matter what, she brings us a lot. It’s defensive, it’s toughness, swagger. Jaz has been huge for us.”

Joining Jones on the All-Rookie squad is Chennedy Carter (Atlanta), Ionescu’s college teammate Satou Sabally (Dallas), and Julie Allemand (Indiana).

The WNBA playoffs continue this week, with the Finals set to begin on Friday night (7 p.m. ET, ESPN2).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Giants: Good news and bad news following embarrassing loss to 49ers

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

The New York Giants were embarrassed in week three against the San Francisco 49ers, despite their opposition being thrashed by injuries. Missing their starting quarterback, running backs, and multiple defenders, the 49ers posted 36 points on Big Blue, holding them just nine.

In what might’ve been the most embarrassing display by the Giants in years, change has to be coming, in one way or another. Moral victories are no longer acceptable for an organization that has now been rebuilding for multiple years. General manager Dave Gettleman must be on the hot seat, with the team starting 0-3.

Having a new head coach and regimen can be used as an excuse for some things, but being blown out by a team decimated with injuries is simply unacceptable.

Good news and bad news for the New York Giants:

GOOD NEWS:

The only good news from the loss to the 49ers is that kicker Graham Gano and punter Riley Dixon were two of the Giants’ best players, which is discomfiting to say. Graham hit all three of his field goals on Sunday and Dixon had a few decent punts. Otherwise, the entire team threw up a dud, with Golden Tate leading in reception yards with just 36. On the ground, Daniel Jones lead the team with 49 yards, as the running backs compiled just 17 in total.

Defensively, the Giants allowed 343 passing yards and 93 rushing yards, an awful display for a unit that entered the game as the 11th ranked defense in points allowed.

The only solace I can fathom is that the NFC East is still wide open, with Washington losing to the Browns and the Eagles losing to the Cincinnati Bengals.

BAD NEWS:

I could spend all week listing the bad factors from the loss to San Francisco. Notably, Daniel Jones threw one interception and just 157 yards. The running game was nonexistent, and the defense fell asleep after the second quarter.

Here are the primary takeaways from the loss:

-Bad penalties (Darnay Holmes 3rd and 22)

-Jones missed multiple throws

-Run blocking is atrocious

-Run stopping was bad

-Secondary was gashed routinely by reserve options

-Isaac Yiadom remains a liability

-Pass rush failed to do its job (2.0 sacks, 8 QB hits against a backup)

-Devante Downs cannot cover at the linebacker position

-Too many missed tackles

-Jabrill Peppers injured

There are plenty more cons to list, but these are the primary ones. The entire team played under their weight class and showed zero fight in a game that should’ve been more competitive.

New York Yankees’ DJ LeMahieu on the verge of making history

New York Yankees, DJ LeMahieu

New York Yankees‘ infielder DJ LeMahieu, despite missing a handful of games with a thumb injury during the 2020 season, has been the Bombers’ best and most consistent pure hitter whenever he’s been on the field.

The Yankees’ hitting machine is currently leading not only the American League, but the entire MLB in batting average with a .359 mark. He is set to be the first player to win a batting title in both leagues, having already taken the crown back in 2016 when he played in the old circuit with the Colorado Rockies.

Crazy things need to happen for LeMahieu not to take his first batting crown in the American League. Only Juan Soto (.346) and Freddie Freeman (.343) approach his register in the major leagues, but they both play in the NL. Among his direct AL competition, his closest competitor is Chicago White Sox’s shortstop Tim Anderson, with .328.

Yankees’ manager thinks LeMahieu’s batting title should be celebrated

Yankees manager Aaron Boone thinks the fact that the season is a shortened version of what the league usually plays year in and year out should not take any credit from LeMahieu, who is currently sporting a 174 wRC+ and is an MVP candidate in the AL.

“DJ has a chance to be the first guy ever to win it in both leagues,” Boone said, according to NJ Advance Media. “This game has been around for a long time and I think anyone who has watched just knows how special of a player DJ LeMahieu has been for us in these two years.”

LeMahieu is set to become a free agent after the season ends, so the New York Yankees would need to make a decision on his future. Boone will surely welcome him back, as he is a valuable player both on offense and on defense.

As the Yankees are set to play in the postseason, LeMahieu will surely want a different ending to last year, when despite homering off All-Star closer Roberto Osuna to tie game 6 against the Astros, they were eliminated an inning later in the American League Championship Series.

What’s next for the losing fighters of UFC 253?

Last night at UFC 253, we saw two incredible title fights. The promotion’s first PPV back on Fight Island featured a fight for the vacant light heavyweight title and the undisputed middleweight crown. It was a huge night for the UFC.

In the end, Israel Adesanya (20-0) and Jan Blachowicz (27-8) walked out with UFC gold wrapped around their waists. That left Paulo Costa (13-1) and Dominick Reyes (12-2) behind. Both fighters were finished in the second round of their title fights last night.

It was a rough night at the UFC office for those two. Also, it was a rough night at the office for my predictions as I missed both title fights. I predicted Costa and Reyes to walk out as champions. It was not meant to be for either man at UFC 253.

What does the UFC do with Costa?

Dana White had been pumping up the main event as a potential fight of the year because of the two men’s styles. I was extremely excited for UFC 253 because it seemed like a true bull versus matador matchup. It was anything but that last night.

Paulo Costa normally fights with reckless abandonment as he did at UFC 241. He normally pushes forward and throws bombs that causes his opponents to fold. That’s what he needed to do at UFC 253 against Israel Adesanya.

Instead, Costa stayed tentative on the outside. Adesanya had his way with Costa as he was just picking him apart. Eventually in the second round, Adesanya put Costa down for good in what was a bizarre finish to UFC 253.

This is going to be a tough fight to get over for Costa. He didn’t fight like himself and he played right into Adesanya’s hands. It’ll be interesting to see what’s next for him, but I think there’s a good fight that could be already materializing.

Derek Brunson (21-7) makes a lot of sense for Costa. Brunson is currently ranked seventh in the division and is on a three fight winning streak. His last loss is also against Adesanya. To me, this would be the perfect fight for the UFC to make for Costa’s return. Brunson has already called for the fight.

What’s next for Dominick Reyes?

It’s been a tough 2020 for Dominick Reyes. Back in February, Reyes got the shot of a lifetime against Jon Jones. Reyes fought his heart out and many people believed that he defeated Jones back at UFC 247. However, the judges disagreed and Jones walked out with the belt.

After Jones vacated the title, Reyes got another chance. It was almost looked at like a title defense for Reyes. Reyes was stifled from the very beginning by Jan Blachowicz. Blachowicz hurt Reyes bad with kicks and combinations.

The Polish Power was in full effect last night. In the second round, Reyes succumbed to Blachowicz’s power. It was a crushing defeat for Reyes and he has now gone 0-2 in UFC title shots in 2020. So what’s next for The Devestator?

There are a couple of options out there for Reyes. I think one that makes a lot of sense is taking on the loser of the Thiago Santos – Glover Teixiera fight which takes place in November. The winner is likely to get a title shot, so it would make sense that Reyes fights the loser.

A couple of other possibilities could be Aleksandar Rakic or Jiri Prochazka. Although, I think the UFC would be better served making those two fight each other next. I think Reyes will need a little time off after this one which would lineup perfectly with facing the loser of the Santos – Teixiera fight.