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December 11, 2018

Leonard: Giants season is over after disastrous loss to Eagles; time to get head-start on life post-Eli Manning

October 12, 2018

Pull the plug. The season is over.

Time to focus on the future instead of winning this season, which means getting Kyle Lauletta ready to play quarterback to see what the fourth-round rookie out of Richmond has.

Pat Shurmur is not going to win with Eli Manning or the defense that showed up Thursday night at MetLife Stadium, where the offense was serenaded with boos early and the entire team heard it at halftime from a home crowd that is tired and frustrated with years of losing.

The Giants’ depressing 34-13 home loss to the reigning Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles not only confirmed that Manning doesn’t have it anymore. It also brought troublesome lack of effort — or as Odell Beckham Jr. would call it, “heart” and “energy” — from a defense that didn’t always give its all last season before Ben McAdoo was fired.

It’s over. (Julio Cortez / AP)

And Beckham’s troublesome off-field saga continued, with the star receiver seen walking off the field to the locker room before halftime, early enough that the offense had to run the final play of the second quarter without him going in down 24-6.

This coming despite the pre-game news that the Giants had fined Beckham for last week’s ESPN interview on top of chewing him out and forcing him to apologize to his teammates.

Beckham even was the last Giant out of the locker room, not emerging until after the third quarter’s opening kickoff.

The Giants (1-5) in the process wasted an incredible individual performance by No. 2 overall pick Saquon Barkley, who came one yard short of becoming the first Giants player ever to rush for 100 yards and reach 100 yards receiving in the same game.

Barkley finished with 13 rushes for 103 yards and a 50-yard touchdown run, and caught nine balls for 99 yards, including a 55-yard gain.

To illustrate how little help he had, though, when Barkley took it to the house with 6:10 to play in the third quarter, he had accounted for 204 of the offense’s 297 yards.

Beckham, meanwhile, was seen headbutting the large fan on the Giants’ sidelines with his helmet on, and corner Eli Apple had to be held back by teammates and coaches from the officials when a Wendell Smallwood fumble call was reversed in the third quarter.

Most damning, however, were the unacceptable qualities displayed by the Giants, mostly by the defense, plenty of times by corner Janoris Jenkins, and chronicled by the FOX broadcast.

Hall of Famer Troy Aikman called the Giants “a lifeless group.” He said on many plays for the Giants defense, “as far as effort (there’s) not a lot goin’ on.”

And play-by-play man Joe Buck accurately summarized that the Giants are “very much alive in the division but not playing like they are.”

The Giants had entered with a chance to tie all four NFC East teams at two wins apiece and in the process hand the Eagles their third straight loss.

Instead, they let the Super Bowl champs (3-3) get off the mat, fell to 0-2 in the division, and now must watch Washington (2-2) and Dallas (2-3) take their crack at their third wins on Sunday.

And now Dave Gettleman and Shurmur must understand this is about the future. This season is over.

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