Pat Shurmur makes another late-game decision aimed at avoiding an uglier final score

AP

For the second time in less than a month, the Giants played in prime time. For the second time in less than a month, the Giants trailed by two scores with less than half of the fourth quarter remaining. For the second time in less than a month, the Giants faced fourth down when trailing by two scores with less than half of the fourth quarter remaining.

For the second time in less than a month while facing fourth down when trailing by two scores with less than half of the fourth quarter remaining, Giants coach Pat Shurmur opted to punt.

Yes, it was fourth and 16 on Monday night; against the Patriots on October 10, Shurmur punted on fourth and two. Still, with only 5:50 to play and trailing by 12, Shurmur was more concerned about not giving the Cowboys a short field than he was trying to win a game that would have been winnable if the Giants had converted, had continued the drive, had scored a touchdown to cut a 30-18 deficit to 30-25.

Ultimately, Shurmur was more concerned about keeping the final score at 30-18, not 37-18. The same thing happened against New England, when the 14-point deficit became a 21-point margin.

In both games, the Giants played a superior opponent closer and tougher than the outcomes indicated. In both games, Shumur opted to swap the longshot chance to win for an opportunity to keep the score close. In both cases, it didn’t work.

14 responses to “Pat Shurmur makes another late-game decision aimed at avoiding an uglier final score

  1. Scheme, X’s and O’s are only part of the equation on what makes a good coach. Decision making and Judgement is what separates a Head Coach from a Coordinator. Moves like this is why Shurmur is not HC material. and add Kitchens and Matt Nagy into that category too…

  2. Would love to see the analytics on this. There was enough time left to get the ball back twice. The odds of completing a 4th and 13 have to be below 20%.

  3. There is playing to win, and there is taking insane, huge odds against you risks to win a game you probably can’t anyway.

    Statistically, the Giants probably had a better chance at getting two more possessions than converting a fourth and 16.

    After this year, you probably won’t have Pat Shurmur to kick around anymore, guess you better get your shots in now.

  4. Disagree. The GM might tank but the players and the coaches are not. We’ve seen this time and time again in the NFL… the coach that coaches his team to a top 3 pick most likely will not coaching that player the following season. Pat Shumur punting when trailing is foolish, but he is hardly saying “but this puts us in better position in the draft”

    And this is the other thing: a star player can turn around a franchise in the NBA. Not the case in the NFL. Sure… you can end up drafting Tua but we’ve seen how often those guys turn out to be JaMarcus Russell, Mark Sanchez, Jameis Winston, etc etc

    ——–
    solo681 says:
    November 5, 2019 at 10:48 am
    Teams are tanking this year for a higher Draft position, Giants included.

  5. It’s a little disingenuous to leave out the detail of where they were on the field when they made these decisions.

    Against the Pats, they were on their own 33 yard line. Against Dallas, they were on their own 15 yard line.

    4th and 16 from your own 15 yard line. Sure, you can argue that converting that gives you the best chance to win. And it would certainly make things more exciting for the fans. But those are long odds and it would have been a devastating gimme to the Cowboys if they’d failed.

    As it turned out, they stopped the Cowboys after that punt (3 and out), and got the ball back with more than 4 minutes left, and drove to the edge of the red zone. The fumble returned for the TD by Dallas at that point undid that progress, but take away that mistake and it’s a reasonable strategy that could have worked.

  6. this article is nauseating… pat shurmer is trying to develop his young team

    why should anyone expect him to try and win games this season?

  7. backintheday99 says:
    November 5, 2019 at 11:11 am

    No one remembers the final score.

    Everyone remembers you didn’t give your players a chance to win and you quit on them.

    ==============

    Except they did give their players a chance. After that punt, the Giants defense forced Dallas to punt, and the offense drove close to scoring position. The subsequent fumble (and taking too long to get down the field on their last offensive drive) killed their chances, but they did have a chance.

  8. kevpft says:
    November 5, 2019 at 11:27 am
    It’s a little disingenuous to leave out the detail of where they were on the field when they made these decisions.

    Against the Pats, they were on their own 33 yard line. Against Dallas, they were on their own 15 yard line.

    4th and 16 from your own 15 yard line. Sure, you can argue that converting that gives you the best chance to win. And it would certainly make things more exciting for the fans. But those are long odds and it would have been a devastating gimme to the Cowboys if they’d failed.

    As it turned out, they stopped the Cowboys after that punt (3 and out), and got the ball back with more than 4 minutes left, and drove to the edge of the red zone. The fumble returned for the TD by Dallas at that point undid that progress, but take away that mistake and it’s a reasonable strategy that could have worked.
    —–
    This correctly refutes the thesis of this post.

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