It could have gone either way. As it turned out, it did not go the way Joe Judge and the Giants wanted it to go in their 17-9 loss to the Rams at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif.
The Giants, trailing 10-9 in the fourth quarter Sunday, were on the move (at least for them) after Wayne Gallman’s 26-yard burst — their longest rushing play of the season. Two more Gallman runs and a Daniel Jones pass to Golden Tate for a 1-yard loss made it fourth down and 4 yards to go from the Rams’ 48-yard line.
Go for it? No. Judge opted to punt the ball away, and pinned the Rams on their own 9-yard line with 9:46 left. You know how this story ends. The Rams put together a 91-yard touchdown drive to get the cushion they needed to beat the Giants.
“It’s just the best decision we thought at the time for the team,’’ Judge said. “Our defense was playing good, we were winning the field position, we wanted them on down there, on a long field and let our defense play. We’ve gone for it on enough fourth downs. … We’re not afraid to go for it at the right time, but I’ve got to call based on what I think is best for the team at that time.”
Judge and his coaching staff did not stand pat as struggling players brought the Giants down. Rookie Tae Crowder got the bulk of the playing time at one of the inside linebacker spots, replacing ineffective Devante Downs. Crowder, a seventh-round pick from Georgia who was designated “Mr. Irrelevant” as the final selection in this year’s NFL draft, nearly had a diving interception early in the third.
Isaac Yiadom got the start at the troublesome second cornerback spot, but struggled. After Yiadom barely made a move to prevent an easy first-down reception by Josh Reynolds, Ryan Lewis moved in at corner and played well.
Late in the first half, rookie Matt Peart took a few snaps at right tackle, replacing veteran Cam Fleming during the two-minute drill. Fleming was back on the field to start the third quarter.
Rams DT Aaron Donald did not wreck the game; he had two tackles and one-half sack. … OLB Oshane Ximines left in the third quarter with a shoulder injury. The position took another hit when Kyler Fackrell left with a neck injury. … S Adrian Colbert (neck) also made a premature exit.
The last time the Giants started a season 0-4 was 2017, when Ben McAdoo lost the first five games of his second year as head coach. McAdoo lasted only 12 games that season before he was fired and replaced on an interim basis by his defensive coordinator, Steve Spagnuolo.
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