There is no reason to believe that Pat Shurmur's fate at all hung in the balance on Sunday afternoon, that the game against the Eagles would be enough to sway his bosses in one way or the other. But if it was the last chance for Shurmur to make his case, or one last advertisement for him to stick around another season, it hardly was convincing.
Instead, the 34-17 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles was an advertisement for everything that plagued Shurmur's Giants over the last two years.
Pick your poison: An anemic offense, questionable play calling, a stunning under use of Saquon Barkley for most of the game. There was also some bad offensive line play, a complete lack of a pass rush, terrible tackling throughout the defense and miscommunications in the secondary.
Not all of that could be attributed to Shurmur, of course, but those are problems thehead coach simply couldn't overcome all season long. And so he ends his second, and probably last, year with the Giants with a 4-12 record, one year after he debuted at 5-11.
His 9-23 record is the worst record in the first two seasons for any head coach in Giants history, narrowly beating out Ray Perkins, who went 10-22 in 1979-80.
He's likely to pay for that come Monday morning. He was probably going to pay for it regardless of what happened on Sunday. But in what could have been his last chance to make a statement, the Giants didn't really give him much of a chance at all.
Here are a few more takeaways from the Giants' 12th loss of the year ...
- Daniel Jones had an outstanding rookie season, really. In his final game against the Eagles he padded things with some garbage-time numbers, but finished with 301 passing yards, completing 28 of 47 passes and throwing one touchdown and one interception (when his receiver fell on the wet turf). But obviously he's got to work on his fumbling problem. He fumbled for the 17th time during the fourth quarter, and lost a fumble for the 11th time when he dropped a low shotgun snap. The Eagles recovered at the Giants' 2 and scored one play later to basically put this game away. Jones actually was credited with two fumbles on that play, after he recovered the first one. If that stands, it's 18 fumbles on the season, 11 lost. Brutal either way.
- Golden Tate has definitely been up-and-down this season and that showed on the field again Sunday. First, he had an early drop on a pass right into his stomach, but then he followed that up with an incredible catch down field where he held on while being completely flipped over. He finished with five catches for 68 yards and a touchdown, and finished the season with 49 catches for 676 yards in 11 games. The Giants can get out of his contract, thanks to his PED suspension this season. But they shouldn't. He's still a good receiver and can help a receiving corps that is improving with Sterling Shepard and rookie Darius Slayton, but isn't quite as good as it likes to think it is.
- Saquon Barkley's 68-yard touchdown run in the third quarter was impressive and his acceleration was dazzling. It feels like the Giants have been waiting for that play all season long. That play is a reminder of why it's always been foolish when Shurmur shies away from running Barkley, especially in a close game. Up until that point, Barkley had 10 yards on 11 carries. Obviously that's bad, but in a one-score game why only run him on 10 of the team's first 43 plays? He's a threat to break one like that every time he touches the ball. Whoever coaches him next year has to keep giving him the ball.
- Really rough game for the offensive line which didn't clear much room for Barkley (except for that big run) and gave up far too many big hits on Jones. The rookie quarterback took a beating, really, but kept showing his toughness by getting up for more.
- Loved the flip-cup, napkin toss celebration by the Giants after the 20-yard touchdown pass to Tate in the third quarter. If you didn't understand it, do a Google search for Daniel Jones and Eli Manning playing flip cup in a Hoboken bar last week.
- The Giants think they've found a gem in TE Kaden Smith, whom they claimed off waivers from the 49ers back in mid-September. He had eight catches for 98 yards on Sunday, and finished with 31 catches for 268 yards in just nine games this season. And all but one of those catches (for one yard) came in the final six games. Interesting note from the Fox broadcast: In their production meetings, GM Dave Gettleman apparently told them that in the sixth round, with pick No. 171, he was deciding between Slayton, a receiver out of Auburn, and Smith, out of Stanford. He took Slayton. The 49ers took Smith four picks later, and four picks before the Giants took CB Corey Ballentine. But Gettleman loved Smith, so when the 49ers cut him on Sept. 14, the Giants pounced.
- The Giants will pick fourth in the 2020 NFL draft in April, which probably puts them out of the Chase for Chase Young, the Ohio State pass rusher they so desperately need. It's really way too early to figure out which other players will end up in the top five, but a couple of names likely to be associated with the Giants for a while: Georgia tackle Andrew Young and Iowa edge rusher A.J. Epenesa. Young is considered by many to be a franchise left tackle and the best offensive lineman in the draft, and Epenesa is thought to be the second-best edge rusher. It's not clear if either of them will end up as Top 5 picks yet,but they'll both get some consideration over the next few months.