New York Giants Notebook | Daniel's Downfall, Veteran Mistakes and More
New York Giants tight end Evan Engram quickly became the scapegoat for the Giants' loss to Philadelphia on Thursday night, dropping a would-be first-down pass that would have essentially iced the game for the Giants.
Earlier in the game, Engram also had another gaffe when a pass that bounced off his hands and resulted in a costly interception.
As bad of a look as it was for Engram--and as furious as the fan base has been toward the fourth-year tight end over the past 12 hours--head coach Joe Judge refused to call out Engram for his effort.
"I thought [Engram] made a lot of plays to keep us in the game and bring us back when we were down and struggling on offense," Judge said.
"He had a lot of production for us tonight. We'll keep playing with him; he's a guy that we have to keep involved in our offense and keep giving targets like we did tonight.
"He's definitely a guy that helped us. Obviously, we'll look at the tape and make any corrections possible, but we all have to do a better job coaching and playing. We have to make more plays and keep putting them in a position to be successful."
Judge's defense of Engram shows just how far he will go to publicly support his players, even in the wake of inexcusable mistakes that ultimately wasted a sound effort by quarterback Daniel Jones.
However, Judge's and the Giants' approach with Engram behind the scenes could prove to be a different story as the Giants approach the trade deadline.
Engram has only amassed 131 receiving yards this season and still hasn't hauled in a receiving touchdown, as his play has become more of a detriment than an asset at this point.
"It's tough, you know," Engram said. "Don't want to be on the short end of a turnover. I got to be better with mechanics and small things. It sucks. It's a sucky feeling right now, just got to get back to work and correct the mistakes."
Jones' 80-yard run became the highlight and the folly of the night for the Giants.
With a chance to score an unforgettable go-ahead touchdown, Jones tripped inside the Eagle's red zone in a play that rapidly spread around the internet for good and bad reasons.
"I just tried to run faster than I was running and I got caught up. We finished the drive and scored a touchdown. That was a relief to me for sure," Jones said.
Overall, Thursday was one of Jones' better performances this season, throwing for two touchdown passes and recording a season-best 91.9 passer rating.
Still, he committed two turnovers. The first being the interception that bounced of Engram's hand wasn't his fault, but his fumble issue reared its ugly head on his last snap of the game.
"It's disappointing to lose these close games," Jones said. "We battled, and to not get the result is certainly disappointing. We've said that we can't let that disappointment turn to discouragement or let that affect how we prepare and how we come back and improve as a team going forward.
"We have to learn from it. We have to use it to motivate us but to not let it discourage us. I'm confident in the guys in our locker room and the guys on offense. I'm excited for the opportunity to continue to improve. I know our team will attack the challenge."
In the final minutes of the game, the Giants needed poise out of their main veteran players and instead got big-time mistakes.
Engram, safety Jabrill Peppers, and cornerback James Bradberry all committed costly errors in the final two minutes that led to the Eagles' comeback.
Jones did his part to help the Giants build the lead they needed to get a huge road win but was let down by his veteran teammates in a stunning collapse.
"That's why it hurts," Peppers said. "We felt like we got a good enough lead. We can close it out. With everything that happened in the game, we were still in a position to close out the game and I didn't make the play. It hurts, but I'm a man, I'll take it on the chin. I'll learn from it and make sure that it never happens again."
Judge hasn't placed all the blame on his veterans' backs, as he believes every player on the roster bears blame for the loss and needs to improve if the team is going to hope to get better.
"We count on every player on our roster to help us win the game," Judge said. "My message to the team is that it takes every single one of us, every coach, and every player, to be successful. We can't all have a one-off.
"I can't make a bad call. A player can't say 'my bad'. That adds up throughout the course of the game. We just can't do that right there. We have to coach better and play better, and finish out the game when we have an opportunity."