Pat Shurmur: Giants' defense 'gave us a chance to win'

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  • By Adam Maya NFL.com
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As famous Brooklyn poet Shawn Carter once stated, moral victories are for minor league coaches. Pat Shurmur, in the second year of his second head coaching stint, wants nothing more and nothing else but to win games. They've been hard to come by at both his stops, neither of which would be confused with his Week 6 opponent.

So after seeing his team actually give the unbeaten defending champs a game Thursday night -- the Giants trailed by just a touchdown as late as the nine-minute mark of the fourth quarter -- Shurmur scoffed at the idea that he'd take solace in how hard his team "battled" while falling to 2-4 on the season.

"No, no. I don't. I don't," he said. "This is the second week you've asked me these questions. I don't. We didn't win. We didn't make enough plays. That's what this is about."

Shurmur then walked away, cutting his postgame news conference short after a long night. But to dismiss how well his 30th-ranked defense performed in a 35-14 loss to the New England Patriots would be throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

New York managed to make Tom Brady uncomfortable for much of the game on a night in which he surpassed Peyton Manning for second on the NFL's all-time passing list. Brady would throw for 334 yards and complete 31 of 41 passes. But he also was picked off, had a fumble returned for a touchdown and failed to throw a touchdown.

Late in the second quarter, linebacker Lorenzo Carter plowed through New England's Ryan Izzo and strip-sacked Brady, leading to Markus Golden's 42-yard scoop-and-score. It briefly tied the game, before Brady and the Pats offense woke up and drove the length of the field to go ahead 21-14 before halftime.

The defense bent but didn't break during a 16-play drive that resulted in a 40-yard missed goal, as New York blanked the Pats in the third quarter. Big Blue then stopped Brady and Co. on a fourth-and-5 just outside the red zone to give its offense another opportunity to tie the game. Three plays later, Giants running back Jon Hilliman squandered that as he fumbled a screen pass that New England turned into its second defensive touchdown of the evening.

The Giants were fielding a junior varsity offense without the likes of Saquon Barkley, Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard, so it'd be misguided to draw firm conclusions on rookie Daniel Jones after his primetime debut. While he dropped a few dimes to Golden Tate, he also delivered three ducks to the Pats. New England's defense again looked like it might be the league's best, holding the Giants to a mere 213 yards of total offense and about 20 minutes of possession.

That dominance inevitably weakens New York's D, which took down Brady three times and held feature back Sony Michel under four yards a carry. The Giants allowed just two sustained TD drives in all, and only one until the final minutes of the game.

It didn't produce a win, as Shurmur noted, but it's the type of effort needed to be victorious. For someone with a 17-38 career record, he knows its importance.

"I thought they battled," Shurmur said, ironically using the very word that he would later take exception to. "They gave us a chance to win the game."

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