The media will always look for locker-room division, especially after the start the New York Giants are enduring currently. At 0-4, the Giants have been badly beaten in three of their four losses, and have been outscored 69-7 in the last two games. The first sign on friction among the team came on the comments from Victor Cruz after the game.
“I thought we should have gone for it on that fourth down,” Cruz told reporters after the game. Cruz was talking about a fourth and inches situation that occurred in the third quarter with the Giants only down 10-7. On 3rd and 17, Eli Manning completed a pass to Cruz in which was originally ruled a first down. However, Kansas City Chiefs’ head coach Andy Reid challenged the spot, knowing Cruz did not get to the 31-yard line like he needed to.
The referees correctly ruled that Cruz only got a little past the 30-yard line, which was a half yard short of the first down. At their own 30-yard line, head coach Tom Coughlin did what 31 other head coaches in the league probably would’ve done in that scenario. He called for the punt team, and the ensuing punt return from Dexter McCluster, which he returned for a touchdown, put the Giants down 17-7.
The Giants never recovered from that punt return touchdown, but it certainly isn’t Coughlin’s fault the players on special teams didn’t get to McCluster. It was Steve Weatherford’s best punt of the day as well, and probably one of his best punts of the season. Weatherford has struggled this season, but his booming punt gave McCluster room to navigate through the oncoming defenders.
As an offensive player, Cruz would’ve loved to have the opportunity to pick up the first down and keep the chains moving. However, it’s a huge risk if you fail to pick up the first down and hand the Chiefs the ball in field goal range. No one could’ve saw McCluster’s return coming. But it happened, and it was a momentum swinger in the Chiefs’ favor.