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Ranking the Worst New York Giants Losses Against This Year's Opponents

This latest walk through New York Giants history has a few thorns along the way as historian John Gidley picks out the Giants' worst losses against their 2021 opponents.

Two weeks ago, we reminisced about the Giants’ greatest all-time wins against each opponent on their 2021 schedule.

Well, in the interest of being fair, this week we, unfortunately, have to go there, so if you have a weak stomach, you might want to leave the room.

That's right, this week, we're going to rank the all-time worst losses pre- and post-AFL-NFL merger against the opponents on the Giants' 2021 schedule.

If you can make it through this thorny walkthrough of Giants history, we promise there will be a nice little payoff at the end of the article.

Denver Broncos: November 21, 1976

By this point in the 1976 season, the Giants had only won one game. In Week 11, they made their first-ever visit to Mile High Stadium to face the Denver Broncos.

Denver jumped out to a 14-0 second-quarter lead. The Giants scored on a blocked punt returned for a touchdown, but Joe Danelo’s extra point was blocked. Another touchdown came later on a one-yard run by Larry Csonka.

These were the days before the NFL adopted the two-point conversion, so the Giants had to settle for an extra point by Danelo and an ugly 14-13 defeat.

at Washington: November 27, 1966

For this one, we have to go back before the AFL-NFL merger.

The NFL record for most points scored in a single game by one team is 73, set by the Chicago Bears in the 1940 Championship game in Washington.

Twenty-six years later, again in the nation’s capital, the Giants allowed the second-most points ever scored by one team. What’s worse was that New York themselves scored 41 points.

Thanks to a historically bad defense that surrendered 501 points--in 14 games, mind you--the Giants lost to Washington, 72-41.

They weren’t done yet, either, as they lost 49-40 at Cleveland the following week.

Ouch!

Atlanta Falcons: November 20, 1966

Do you know what’s not good? Giving an expansion team their first win in franchise history.

The week before their debacle in Washington, the Giants suffered this fate at Yankee Stadium against the first-year Atlanta Falcons.

Future Giants quarterback Randy Johnson--no, not that one-- threw three touchdown passes, two to former New York fullback Ernie Wheelwright, and Atlanta earned its first-ever win, 27-16.

New Orleans Saints: November 1, 2015

In 2015, the Giants scored the sixth-most points in the NFL while allowing the third-most. That same year, the New Orleans Saints put up the eighth-most points on offense while surrendering more points than any other defense in the league.

It’s no wonder that when these two teams met in week eight at the Superdome, the result was one of the highest-scoring games in NFL history.

The Giants entered the fourth quarter trailing, 42-28. Eli Manning, who already had four touchdown passes under his belt, threw two more to Dwayne Harris to tie the game, and Trumaine McBride returned a Drew Brees interception 63 yards to give the Giants the lead.

With 36 seconds left, Brees threw his record-tying seventh touchdown pass of the game, a nine-yard toss to C.J. Spiller, to tie the game again.

After a quick three-and-out, the Giants punted, New Orleans got into field-goal range, and Kai Forbath’s 50-yard kick at the gun gave the Saints a 52-49 victory.

The Giants set an unfortunate record for most points scored in a losing effort, broken three years later by the Kansas City Chiefs in a 54-51 defeat to the Los Angeles Rams.

at Dallas Cowboys: September 13, 2015

That season began, as it usually does, in Dallas on Sunday Night Football. The Giants had a 16-6 lead in the third quarter that dwindled to a 23-20 lead late in the fourth.

On a third-down-and-goal at the Cowboys’ one-yard line, New York inexplicably called a passing play, clearly not learning any lessons from the Patriots-Seahawks Super Bowl seven months earlier.

Manning threw the ball out of the end zone with no open receivers, and the Giants had to settle for a field goal and a six-point lead. With a minute-and-a-half to play,

Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo engineered a 72-yard game-winning drive, capped off by an 11-yard touchdown pass to Jason Witten, that gave the Cowboys a disgusting 27-26 victory.

Los Angeles Rams: January 7, 1990

After starting the 1989 season 8-1, the Giants lost three of their next four games, one of which was a 31-10 shellacking by the Los Angeles Rams in Anaheim. New York regained their composure to win each of their last three and clinch both the NFC East and a first-round bye.

An upset win by the Rams in the Wild Card game at Philadelphia set up a rematch the following week at the Meadowlands. O.J. Anderson’s two-yard touchdown run gave the Giants a 13-7 lead in the third quarter, but two L.A. field goals in the fourth sent the game to overtime.

In the extra period, Jim Everett threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Flipper Anderson, his second score of the game, and the Rams went to the NFC Championship game with another road upset, 19-13.

Carolina Panthers: January 8, 2006

How do you make a home playoff loss even worse? It’s easy: get shut out.

The Giants bounced back from two straight losing seasons by going 11-5 in 2005 and winning their first NFC East title in five years. This set up a date with the Carolina Panthers in the Wild Card round at the Meadowlands.

The Giants’ defense, which was not one of the league’s best that year, gave up 23 points, including a touchdown run and reception by Steve Smith.

The offense, which scored the third-most points that season,- couldn’t get anything going against a suffocating Carolina defense. Eli Manning threw three interceptions.

Tiki Barber, who tallied a mind-boggling 2,390 yards from scrimmage in the regular season, was limited to 69 yards on this day, and the Panthers left New Jersey having dominated the Giants, 23-0.

Kansas City Chiefs: September 10, 1995

Since the Giants have only lost three times to Kansas City, there’s not much room for a heartbreaking defeat.

That doesn’t excuse the outcome of this one, though. In week two of the 1995 season at Arrowhead Stadium, the Giants had built a 17-3 lead on the Chiefs with just under 11 minutes to play.

However, the Chiefs came alive in those final minutes as Marcus Allen scored on a one-yard run. Quarterback Steve Bono threw a short touchdown pass to Danan Hughes to tie the game, and kicker Lin Elliott’s 23-yard field goal in overtime gave the Chiefs a 20-17 comeback win.

Raiders: December 3, 2017

The Giants were 2-9 entering their 2017 Week 13 game against the Raiders on the road, so what did head coach Ben McAdoo do to shake things up? He went with quarterback Geno Smith over Eli Manning,

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Never mind that the running game was nonexistent, or that receiver Odell Beckham suffered a season-ending injury in Week 5, or that the defense was one of the worst in football.

McAdoo was searching for a spark, and he tried to find it in the inexplicable decision to bench Manning in a game the Giants went on to lose anyway. That ill-fated decision was the cherry on the cake and one that ultimately led to McAdoo becoming the first Giants head coach fired during the season since 1976.

As for the game itself, while Smith turned in a decent performance, the defense couldn’t hold up their end of the bargain, and the damage had been done in the form of a 24-17 win,

The following week, order had been restored in East Rutherford as Manning was named the starting quarterback by interim head coach Steve Spagnuolo despite the Giants limping to a dismal season.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: November 2, 2020

With 28 seconds to play and Tampa Bay leading, 25-17, Daniel Jones threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Golden Tate. The Giants naturally lined up to go for two and tie the game, and it looked as though Tom Brady’s lifelong struggles against Big Blue would continue.

Jones’ two-point pass was intended for Dion Lewis, who was interfered with by Buccaneers safety Antoine Winfield, Jr. A penalty flag was thrown, but after a long conference by the officials, the flag was negated to give Tampa Bay a 25-23 victory.

Philadelphia Eagles: December 19, 2010

There are many, many choices for the Giants’ worst home loss to the Eagles. One came in 1960 when Chuck Bednarik knocked out Frank Gifford. 1978. Another is the first “Miracle at the Meadowlands.”

Another is in 1988 when Clyde Simmons recovered a blocked field goal and scored in overtime. Or how about in 2003, when Brian Westbrook saved Philadelphia with an 84-yard punt return for a score? What about in 2008, when the Eagles thwarted the Giants’ hopes for another Super Bowl run with a stunning win in the Divisional round?

These are all worthy candidates, but our vote goes to a 2010 game when punter Matt Dodge inexplicably punted the ball down the middle of the field to a waiting DeSean Jackson. Jackson then took it to the house for a come-from-behind victory in what was dubbed as the "Miracle at the New Meadowlands" by Eagles fans.

After this loss, if you thought Giants head coach Tom Coughlin's face was red beyond recognition from the stinging cold air in the 2007 NFC Championship game in Green Bay, well, let's just say Coughlin came close to matching that shade of red, albeit for a different reason.

Miami Dolphins: December 10, 1972

A long-lost fact in NFL history is that the Giants gave the 1972 Dolphins, the greatest team of all time and the only one to go undefeated, a run for their money in the second-to-last game of the regular season.

Miami jumped out to a 17-6 lead, but Ron Johnson’s second one-yard touchdown run of the game made it just a four-point deficit at halftime.

This 17-13 score carried into the fourth quarter when two Garo Yepremian field goals cushioned the Dolphins’ lead and put the game out of reach. But to think that history was nearly thwarted on that raw December day at Yankee Stadium sure does ease the sting of that loss, if just by a little.

Chargers: December 23, 1995

Entering the final game of the 1995 season, the Giants were a measly 5-10. An upset bid the week before at Dallas came up just short.

Hosting the Chargers in a Saturday afternoon game that meant nothing for New York and everything for San Diego, the scene quickly turned ugly.

Giants Stadium was only two-thirds packed on a cold, windy day. Successive snowstorms in the New York area meant that despite the best efforts of the grounds crew, many seats were still covered.

Snowball fights among fans in the stands eventually spilled onto the field, where the players, coaches, and stadium attendants found themselves ambushed.

The Chargers’ equipment manager was knocked unconscious, and ten security guards were injured. This wild scene was only slightly halted after the officials threatened a forfeit win for San Diego.

Fourteen arrests and 175 ejections later, the Chargers won, 27-17, and reached the playoffs by winning “The Snowball Game.”

Dallas Cowboys: September 15, 2003

In Week 2 of the 2003 season, Bill Parcells returned to the Meadowlands as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys.

Early in the fourth quarter, Dallas led this Monday-night affair, 29-14, but the Giants quickly rallied. Kerry Collins threw two touchdown passes, and Matt Bryant’s field goal with 11 seconds left put New York ahead, 32-29.

Bryant’s ensuing kickoff then dribbled out of bounds, and after the Cowboys got into field goal range, Billy Cundiff’s 52-yarder tied the game at the gun.

Halfway through overtime, Cundiff kicked an easier 25-yarder to give Dallas a 35-32 win, rendering a furious comeback effort moot.

at Philadelphia Eagles: January 7, 2007

There have been several bad Giants losses in Philadelphia, but few have been as gut-wrenching as the losses at home.

In the 2006 Wild Card round, the Giants visited Philly for only the second time in the postseason. They were lucky to be there, having lost six of their final eight games after starting 6-2.

Trailing 20-10 after three quarters, a field goal, and a touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress tied the game with just over five minutes to play.

The Giants only had one timeout remaining, though, so the Eagles were able to milk the clock and set up David Akers’ game-winning 38-yard field goal as time ran out.

Chicago Bears: January 5, 1986

Speaking of “lucky to be there,” the Giants faced the unenviable task of playing the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field in the 1985 playoffs. No disrespect to the Giants, who had a fine year at 10-6, but we’re talking about one of the greatest teams ever on the other side of the field.

As soon as Sean Landeta swung and missed a first-quarter punt attempt from his own end zone, it was over.

The Bears won, 21-0, on their way to perhaps the easiest playoff run in the Super Bowl era--what followed was a shutout of the Rams in the NFC Championship game and a throttling of New England in the Super Bowl.

Washington (home): December 19, 1943

The 2005 game mentioned above against Carolina was not the only time the Giants have suffered a shutout playoff loss at home. Similar circumstances reared their ugly heads in the 1943 NFL Championship game at the Polo Grounds against Washington.

Andy Farkas, who only tallied five touchdown runs in the regular season, scored three in this game, and Slingin’ Sammy Baugh’s scoring pass to Ted Lapka made up the rest of the offensive effort.

The Giants’ championship hopes were unceremoniously dashed with a 28-0 home defeat.


If you've made it this far, here's a little something to ease any upset you might have felt reading this article.

Feb 2, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; Detailed view of Super Bowl XLVI ring to commemorate the New York Giants 21-17 victory over the New England Patriots at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind. on Feb 15, 2012.

Remember the good times, Giants fans. And plenty are still on deck.


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