Giants head coach Ben McAdoo looked at the film of his team's "historical loss" to the Los Angeles Rams, and examined every snap of the 51-17 disaster. He's likely to spend all week trying to figure out what went wrong and how he can fix it.
But he was emphatic about one conclusion he's already reached:
His team, he said, absolutely did not quit.
"I watched the film," McAdoo said on his regular Monday conference call with the media. "I saw no sign of quit."
Few others who witnessed one of the worst home losses for the Giants in their 92-year history agreed with that assessment. Though the players insisted that they fought hard to the end, most outside observers felt they had given up. And why not? They are a disgruntled, depleted team spiraling downward with a 1-7 record and no shot at the playoffs, and that game very quickly got out of hand.
Even former players and coaches piled on, like former Colts coach Tony Dungy and former Patriots safety Rodney Harrison, who chimed in on NBC's "Football Night in America" on Sunday night.
"They did look like they quit," Dungy said. "But they've been dysfunctional the whole way through -- players getting suspended, not being able to play, punts blocked, breakdowns, a lack of hustle. This was embarrassing today."
"When you don't respect your coach, players will quit on you," Harrison added. "I believe the Giants just flat out quit."
McAdoo strongly disagreed.
"At the end of the day, the players did not quit," he said. "They have fight in them."
McAdoo even seemed to think "fight" was evident on the most troublesome play of the entire game, when the Rams scored a 52-yard touchdown a screen pass from Jared Goff to Robert Woods on third-and-33. From afar, it looked like the effort to stop woods from running untouched through the middle of the Giants' defense was lacking. That seemed particularly true of cornerback Eli Apple, who appeared to back away from the play before getting pushed aside.
McAdoo did say that Apple "needs to attack and tackle right there." But he refused to place the blame for that play on his second-year corner, adding, "It's more than just one guy."
So if that wasn't quitting, what would be quitting in McAdoo's eyes?
"Giving up on plays," he said. "I saw a team that fought to the end. … Our guys played hard. They fought to the end."
Will they continue to fight? There are still eight games left in this miserable season, including four home games in what likely will be a mostly empty and potentially angry home stadium. Even the road schedule isn't welcoming. They have to endure three West Coast trips, including one this weekend to face the winless San Francisco 49ers and a terribly timed trip to face the Arizona Cardinals on Christmas Eve.
McAdoo said he believes his players will continue to play hard.
"This is pro football. This is our job," he said. "We only have 16 opportunities to go out and compete. This is one of them."
Besides, he believes the Giants are capable of a much better second half.
"We're only halfway through the season," he said. "Everything is fixable. Everything will be addressed."