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Joe Judge: Giants burned timeouts early in loss to Chiefs because 'headsets were going out'

Trailing by three in the final minute and change of a prime-time game, the Giants sure could've used even one of their timeouts.

The problem: They didn't have any left to burn in what appeared to be another case of poor clock management forcing Giants coach Joe Judge to spend them earlier than he'd like. But Judge had a revelation to share when he took the postgame podium in Kansas City after Monday night's 20-17 loss to the Chiefs.

It was the headsets' fault.

"The headsets were going out," Judge said, via "This has been happening in every game so far. We deal with the league and they keep telling us about different software updates or whatever it is."

The Giants first struggled with stashing timeouts for timely use in the first half, when Judge was twice forced to spend them to make sure the correct substitutions and play calls were made because his staff's headsets weren't functioning properly.

"That's the issue right there," Judge said. "We are trying to make the right call. ... We have to make sure the hardware is working. So whatever the issue with that is, the people involved better get it fixed fast."

By the time New York regained possession with 1:36 left in the first half of a 14-10 game, the Giants didn't have any timeouts remaining. They had been used at the 8:27 mark in the first quarter, and 10:35 and 3:09 in the second. What appeared to be a chance to put three points on the board just before half ended up melting away near midfield thanks in part to two penalties and an inability to stop the clock when needed most.

New York ended the half with a Daniel Jones kneel-down.

In hindsight, it makes much more sense that the Giants didn't have any timeouts left to use on their final possession of the game. Trailing 20-17 with 1:07 left to play and 75 yards of field in front of them, the Giants gained a total of three yards before two sacks on their final three plays forced New York to turn the ball over on downs. The lack of available timeouts forced the Giants to go no-huddle, adding to an already chaotic situation that truly never had a chance.

"If we can't rely on the equipment then we'll try to figure something else out," Judge said. "We tried at one point to go back to the old equipment but they told us we weren't allowed to do it for whatever reason. We didn't have issues with it last year. Hopefully we figure it out.

"Whoever is in charge of it, I don't know if it's through the league or us exactly, but they've gotta fix it fast. That's it."

In football lore, there have been plenty of claims of opposing teams attempting to finagle with the visitors' communication methods. The earliest helmet radio -- invented by Paul Brown -- even used to struggle with unintentionally picking up nearby taxicab communications during games. It's not a foolproof method, even though the technology has advanced significantly over time.

What was once seen as an experiment and a controversial new communication method is now considered an essential part of gameday operations. According to Judge, his staff hasn't been able to rely on it. But at 2-6 overall, it hasn't only been about hardware issues; the Giants' operating system as a whole needs examining.

New York's latest loss wasn't only "about the stupid headsets," Judge said. "That's not what this is about. That wasn't the factor of the game, we gotta do other things on our own to make sure we have success."

There are indeed many other things to be done better than the Giants have done so far. Headset issues -- something Judge said had happened in every game this season, home and away -- certainly don't help.

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