New York Giants: Shurmur Apparently Never Intended To Convert Controversial Fourth Down Attempt

The New York Giants suffered a demoralizing week seven loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. The final score was 27-21 and the Giants’ offense was only able to account for 14 of the team’s points.

The game was close to the end. The Giants were down only 24-21 with possession of the ball late in the fourth quarter. But this is when things went south for the Gmen:

Fourth And Fifteen With 2:36 Remaining

At this point in the game, the Giants were down 24 to 21 with two timeouts and the two-minute warning still remaining. Instead of being aggressive and attempting to gain a chunk of yards on 3rd and 18, the Giants ran a halfback draw, then tried to throw the ball on 4th and 15, resulting in a sack-fumble.

The Giants’ offense was at its own 30 yard-line and decided to risk turning the ball over to the Cardinals and giving them prime field positioning. The Giants, of course, failed to convert on 4th and 15, turning the ball over to the Cardinals.

The Giants’ defense was able to hold strong, holding Arizona to only a field goal. New York then got the ball back with lousy field positioning after a bad decision by Darius Slayton to take the kickoff out of the end zone. Of course, the Giants’ offense then crumbled.

New York’s offensive line let up two sacks and one quarterback hit in the final four plays. Daniel Jones was given no time to throw and the game was lost. Obviously, the Giants’ poor field position and lack of time remaining played a factor in their failed final drive. This had led to much criticism of head coach Pat Shurmur’s decision making, which he attempted to respond to post-game.

Pat Shurmur’s Response:

When asked about this controversial fourth-down attempt in his post-game press conference, Pat Shurmur gave a peculiar response. According to Pat Shurmur, the play on fourth-down “played out exactly as [he] hoped.”

Pat Shurmur also defended the previous play, a halfback draw on 3rd and 18. Shurmur’s defense was that he “wanted to keep Saquon involved.”

Pat Shurmur also conceded that he was treating this drive as a four-down territory. Shurmur said he “had planned to go for it” and also pointed out that the Cardinals “actually ran the same type of run against us and got it.” The difference is, the Giants tried this play with an injured Saquon Barkley and an inferior offensive line when compared to the Arizona Cardinals.

It is difficult to understand why Shurmur believes this fourth downplayed out correctly. It ended with the Giants turning the ball over deep inside their own territory, allowing the Cardinals to waste time and kick a field goal to make it a six-point game.

Last week, Pat Shurmur defended his decision to punt on 4th and 2 in a similar situation. This week, he decided to go for it on 4th and 15. The logic behind this is hard to find. Had Pat Shurmur elected to punt the ball on 4th and 15, the Cardinals could have gotten the ball back deep inside their territory, up by only 3 points.

If the Giants’ defense were to have stopped the Cardinals in Arizona territory, rather than in the Giants’ red zone, the Cardinals would have been forced to punt and give New York a better field position. The better field positioning could have been crucial and highly beneficial for the Giants’ offense while running its final two-minute drill. Additionally, New York would have only needed a field goal in this scenario, giving them a shorter distance to cover in order to tie the game.

Ultimately, Pat Shurmur’s 4th and 15 decision did not play out as any fan at home hoped it would. Fans would have hoped to see Pat wise up and punt the ball, giving the Giants a chance to get the ball back in prime position to tie the game with a field goal. Pat Shurmur’s empty explanations and unaccountable alibies are starting to wear down on this loyal fanbase. If these mistakes and insoluble explanations of said mistakes continue, Pat Shurmur could find himself on the hot seat sooner than later.

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