The scoreboard says that the Giants got blown out again on Sunday by the Chiefs, but the game was close deep into the second half before Kansas City blew things open.
One of the key moments in that switch was Dexter McCluster’s 89-yard punt return for a touchdown that opened the Chiefs’ lead up to 17-7 on the way to a 31-7 final margin. Immediately before the fateful punt, the Giants thought they had converted a third-and-17 on a pass to Victor Cruz but a replay challenge by Chiefs coach Andy Reid was successful and the Giants were a little less than a yard short. Tom Coughlin elected to punt, McCluster scored and the Giants were on the fast track to 0-4.
Cruz said after the game that he thought the team should have gone for it even though they were on their own 30 and have had no success on short third and fourth downs so far this season.
“I don’t know,” Cruz said, via Gary Myers of the New York Daily News. “It was Coach’s decision. I’m not getting in Coach’s head. It was Coach’s decision to do what he has to do. He’s the head honcho. He makes the call and I just go out there and abide by his rules.”
It’s not often that you hear Giants players criticize their coaches publicly, but, then, it’s not often that the Giants are 0-4 to start a season. Cruz’s criticism was light, but any player who might want to step things up in that regard might want to keep their head on a swivel to make sure defensive end Justin Tuck isn’t in earshot.
“If anyone turns on our coach, I would be the first one to punch him in the mouth,” Tuck said. “And put that in print. It better not happen, I know that.”
If Cruz’s preference as an offensive player is for the offense to play is as bad as things get, Tuck will probably be able to avoid dishing out any knuckle sandwiches to his teammates. He might even find a way to channel some of that aggression onto the field where it could help the Giants win a game or two and eliminate the need altogether.