Giants no-show in Baltimore, leaving playoff hopes on life support

Pat Leonard, New York Daily News

The Baltimore Ravens and the Giants are in the same professional sports league.

At least that’s what the NFL’s website says.

Watching Baltimore’s 27-13 demolition of the Giants on Sunday, however, it was difficult to distinguish the Giants from any common scout team until midway through the fourth quarter.

That’s because the disparity in talent between these two teams is that great.

This was an embarrassment, an indictment of everything GM Dave Gettleman has failed to build since his hiring in Dec. 2017.

Whatever mojo Joe Judge got out of his team in that four-game winning streak from Weeks 9 through 13, has completely disappeared.

The rebuilding Giants are incapable of scoring points: one touchdown in their last nine quarters. And they couldn’t tackle a single purple jersey nearly all afternoon at MT&T Stadium as the Ravens (10-5) racked up a stunning 249 yards rushing.

A win by either Washington or Philadelphia in the 4 o’clock hour of Sunday’s game would officially eliminate the Giants (5-10) from playoff contention.

As of the end of Sunday’s game, it was still possible the Giants could finish in last place in one of the NFL’s worst divisions ever, the 2020 NFC East.

It wasn’t a surprise that the Giants had trouble containing reigning MVP Lamar Jackson and the Ravens offense, of course.

What was jarring was that Judge’s team was not ready to tackle or play in arguably one of their worst no-shows of the season, up there with their Week 3 home embarrassment against the Niners’ backups.

Sunday’s tackling by coordinator Patrick Graham’s defense was pathetic.

Players like linebacker Tae Crowder and corner Isaac Yiadom looked like they didn’t belong in the league, regularly slipping off Jackson and Ravens backs JK Dobbins and Gus Edwards — or not getting to the play at all.

Rookies safety Xavier McKinney was late to make plays on the ball in the air.

Throw Logan Ryan, Blake Martinez, Jabrill Peppers and the defensive line the Giants love to talk about in there, too, as players who didn’t show up. That includes Leonard Williams, Dexter Lawrence and Dalvin Tomlinson.

Daniel Jones finally threw his first touchdown pass since Week 9 late in the fourth quarter, snapping a Giants skid of eight straight quarters without a TD. That drew the Giants within 27-13 with 8:40 to play.

Martinez then finally made some impact plays, forcing the Ravens’ only three-and-out with two key tackles late in the fourth quarter and giving the offense the ball back.

But Darius Slayton dropped a downfield pass, and Gettleman’s offensive line collapsed for six sacks allowed, including three straight at one point in the early fourth.

The Giants offense turned the ball over on downs on their final two possessions, including their last series after Ryan recovered a goal line Edwards fumble.

While the fourth quarter actually resembled a football game between two professional teams, though, it was far too late for the Giants to push for a win — even with Jones playing fairly effectively on his bad left ankle and right hamstring.

The first quarter was an abomination.

The Giants ran only three offensive plays in the first quarter, the fewest by a Giants team in the last 30 years, according to FOX Sports.

The Ravens led 14-0 after 15 minutes, and their advantages across the board were staggering: 13:17 to 1:43 in time of possession, 147 to 13 in yards, 11 to one in first downs, and 23 to four in offensive plays.

For the game, the Giants did not convert a single third down (0-for-5). Everyone on the line outside of center Nick Gates made critical mistakes. And their defense’s first takeaway in three games in the fourth quarter was far too little too late.

The most frustrating part of watching this defeat, though, was that the Giants had no one else to put on the field for these underperformers.

Players like Yiadom and Crowder aren’t starters on good NFL teams. Neither is right tackle Cam Fleming, just as another example on the opposite side of the ball.

They are playing here, though, because the Giants are in phase one of a rebuild that co-owner John Mara and Gettleman the GM waited three years to honestly take on.

Judge and Graham seemed to do a good job of concealing their personnel weaknesses for a time, and that 17-12 Week 13 win in Seattle certainly instilled hope that Judge had this team pulling in the right direction.

And that still may be so in the long term.

But if Mara intends to evaluate Gettleman by what progress he sees, he could not watch Sunday’s performance in Baltimore and see anything but a gross mismatch.

The Ravens had a two-time All Pro offensive guard Marshal Yanda retire in the offseason. They lost prized starting left tackle Ronnie Stanley for the year due to injury. Their 2020 starting running back Mark Ingram was inactive on Sunday.

And Baltimore gashed the Giants for 432 yards of offense including 249 on the ground anyway on Sunday.

That’s depth. That’s talent. That’s something the Giants are nowhere close to emulating or being as an organization.