KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Two of the Giants’ first six losses now can be traced directly to an offside penalty.
That’s almost unthinkable when considering all the other things that determine an NFL game, but the Giants have shown an uncanny knack for making a devastating mistake at the worst possible time in close games during coach Joe Judge’s two-year tenure.
The latest culprit is Oshane Ximines, who jumped offside and negated an interception Monday by teammate Darnay Holmes with less than five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Given a do-over, the Chiefs drove for the game-winning field goal in a 20-17 victory at Arrowhead Stadium.
“We have to eliminate the mistakes that we make down the stretch,” coach Joe Judge said. “We can’t allow a team like this to have extra opportunities, and we can’t rob opportunities from ourselves with breakdowns in focus.”
While some stars around the league are using the COVID-19 restrictions keeping media out of locker rooms to avoid accountability, Ximines explained what went wrong.
With the score tied and 4:29 to go, Holmes made a full-extension interception of Patrick Mahomes at Kansas City’s 34-yard line to kick off a defensive celebration that was short-lived.
“I’ve been playing ball for a long time and jumping offside is never acceptable,” Ximines said. “It goes against everything we’re building as a team. We don’t like to make mistakes. It’s something we really harp on. I’m ready to make up for that.”
Mahomes used a hard count — a point of emphasis for the Giants during practice week — on the second-and-20.
“We just can’t have penalties like that. Point blank,” Judge said. “Or any penalties.”
It’s a recurring problem, though. Five weeks ago, the Giants lost to Washington when Dexter Lawrence’s offside penalty on the final snap allowed Washington a do-over on a missed field goal to turn a win into a loss.
The Giants committed 10 penalties for 88 yards — and the Chiefs actually had more (12 for 103). But the Giants’ penalties were especially costly as linebacker Tae Crowder picked up two personal fouls, including one for a facemask on the play after Holmes’ negated interception.
“I’m not making an excuse,” Ximines said, “but I thought they had some [pre-snap] movement on the offensive side of the ball.”
The offense shared in the blame as fullback Eli Penny was called for a taunting penalty that essentially negated a 16-yard gain when the Giants had a chance to take the fourth-quarter lead. The NFL’s emphasis on eliminating taunting has led to some questionable calls and Penny’s — for pointing and flipping the ball signaling for a first down — was no different.
“Tough deal there,” quarterback Daniel Jones said. “Eli was celebrating, and I don’t think he meant that at anyone.”
Giants co-owner John Mara is part of the NFL committee responsible for the stricter enforcement taunting penalties.
“The taunting, that’s tough,” safety Logan Ryan said. “Guys have to control their emotions and not do much, I guess. I heard [Crowder’s unnecessary roughness penalty] was ticky-tacky. The facemask on Tae, I didn’t see it but I heard he was going for the ball. I don’t know how you tell somebody to do that any differently.”