Defensive captain Alec Ogletree slammed Peter Morelli and Sunday’s officiating crew with a harsh indictment of their integrity and performance in the Giants’ 33-18 defeat to the Saints.
Ogletree said, amid what the Giants felt were some questionable penalty calls, that one official “explained to me that you wouldn’t make that call in the Super Bowl.” And worse, Ogletree believes those shifting standards were due to the officials’ concerns about their own resumes.
“Honestly, I think it’s basically they’re worried about reffing in the Super Bowl game,” Ogletree said. “If you ask them why they call a call, they tell you they wouldn’t make that call in the Super Bowl. I think that’s bad. That’s bad all around.
“That’s definitely what was explained to me,” Ogletree continued, “that you wouldn’t make that call in the Super Bowl. And I don’t think that’s right. I think you should call the game as it’s being played and if you do that, everything will work itself out.
An NFL spokesperson said the league had no comment.
NFL officials are graded throughout each season to determine who will work The Big Game. Ogletree felt, based on the whistles and what he was told Sunday, that Sunday’s crew applied different standards to a regular season game than they would to a Super Bowl in order to bolster their own case.
Ogletree appeared to be referring to a fourth-quarter pass interference call against corner Donte Deayon on third down, with the Giants trailing 26-18, that extended an eventual Saints touchdown drive to put the game out of reach.
Co-defensive captain Landon Collins, told of Ogletree’s conversation with the official, couldn’t believe his ears.
“Psh, I’m done. I’m done. That’s it,” Collins said. “How— next question. Next question.”
Collins (14 tackles) and Ogletree (12 tackles) led the team in tackles, and Collins was a beast in the second half, but it wasn’t enough.
Collins said of the Deayon penalty: “That’s a bad call … You got some bad refs sometimes and it happens.”
Deayon added: “It was pretty deflating. You’re trying to get the ball back for our offense, and they call a pass interference, and it negates all of that.”
Bad calls certainly weren’t the reason the Giants lost this game, though. In fact, Giants fans were clamoring about a bad horse-collar tackle penalty call on Janoris Jenkins in the second quarter when it was actually the right call.
Jenkins dangerously hauled down Saints RB Alvin Kamara by his right shoulder pad backwards. He didn’t grip inside Kamara’s collar, but it is still a foul by the letter of the law.
The NFL rule states: “No player shall grab the inside collar of the back or the side of the shoulder pads or jersey, or grab the jersey at the name plate or above, and pull the runner toward the ground. This does not apply to a runner who is in the tackle box or to a quarterback who is in the pocket.”
The rule adds a note that states: “It is not necessary for a player to pull the runner completely to the ground in order for the act to be illegal. If his knees are buckled by the action, it is a foul, even if the runner is not pulled completely to the ground.”
The Saints finished that drive with a field goal, one of four they kicked in the first half.
More likely the Giants’ defense was venting its frustration from playing so well early in this game and getting almost no help from the offense. They held Drew Brees without a touchdown pass, but the dam eventually broke for the Saints offense. Kamara specifically scored three rushing touchdowns and had 181 yards from scrimmage.
“It’s hard, it’s hard,” Collins said. “At the same time we’ve got to continue working, (keep) a hold of this team and figure it out.”
Pat Shurmur got his back up at a question about whether “massive changes” were necessary for his offense.
“No. We need to get better. What does that mean, massive changes? We need to get better,” Shurmur said defiantly.
On the other hand, Shurmur later was told that everything looked difficult for his offense on Sunday and he answered: “Yeah, well, I wouldn’t disagree with that. We didn’t score enough points. We’ve got to do some things differently maybe.”
This is no doubt not what Shurmur foresaw from his offense. The Giants are averaging 18.25 points per game and, after Sterling Shepard’s 2-yard TD catch on Sunday’s first possession, they did not score another point until Aldrick Rosas’ 33-yard field goal with 2:02 to play in the third quarter.
Saquon Barkley added a late 1-yard touchdown run, and Eli Manning and Shepard connected again on the two-point conversion. Shepard had 10 catches on 10 targets for 77 yards to lead the team, but again he referenced the Saints defense — like Dallas in Week 2 — sitting back and dictating terms to the Giants offense.