Odell Beckham Jr. Is Injured as Giants’ Season Keeps Spiraling
The fan in Lot G10 outside MetLife Stadium was not taking any chances, not with these Giants, in this calamitous year, when a full month had already frittered away without a win.
He pulled his rosary beads out of a small leather pouch along with a pewter cross pendant and a pocket coin depicting “the blessed mother.” He rested them on the bed of his pickup.
“All to help the Giants win,” the fan, Mike Melnick, 74, of Tamaqua, Pa., said.
“It still might not be enough,” his friend Barry Lehman, 54, mumbled under his breath.
Turns out, it wasn’t.
At home against the Los Angeles Chargers, another winless N.F.L. team, the Giants tested the depth of their misery this season and found out, in a 27-22 loss, that there was still a ways to go.
After an 11-5 season in 2016, fueled by young playmakers and a stalwart defense, the Giants swaggered into training camp as the prohibitive favorite to overtake Dallas for the N.F.C. East division crown. Now, a swift, dizzying five-game skid effectively has obliterated all that.
What they are offering fans are painful ways to lose in the final minutes. And the loss of prominent starters to injuries foretells perhaps more gloom to come.
The clinching blow Sunday occurred when Odell Beckham Jr. had to be carted off the field, face in a towel, with a fracture to his left ankle with four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. On the next play, the Chargers’ Melvin Ingram sacked Eli Manning, forced a fumble and recovered it on the 11-yard line to set up Los Angeles’s go-ahead touchdown.
A funereal silence enveloped MetLife Stadium, which had remained upbeat as the Giants (0-5) had threatened to pull away but never did. It was replaced, as the players left the field, by full-throated boos.
One might say these are distressing times for a typically confident fan base. It went through this before, in 2013, when a bumbling Giants team began 0-6. But the expectations were different this year, within and without the locker room.
There, the shock, anger, even humiliation poured forth, along with the confusion.
“This was a game we really needed,” cornerback Eli Apple said. “This was the one. To let it slip through our fingers is definitely heartbreaking.”
The Giants tried going back to basics during practice last week, simplifying the calls, homing in on the fundamentals, even turning off the music that typically blares at points so that the players could better focus.
Reviewing film from previous games, the defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo let his players run the session, critiquing their own performances as they saw them on screen.
But there were events that fell beyond the control of the coaching staff, such as injuries. In 55 minutes, the Giants lost four of their top receivers: Sterling Shephard and Brandon Marshall (ankle injuries), Dwayne Harris (broken foot) and, of course, Beckham, who may need surgery.