Joe Judge loses it over ‘bullsh–‘ Giants penalties
It was a fake, but Joe Judge’s anger was very real.
In the most emotional display he has shown during his first five games as head coach of the Giants, Judge spiked his headset to the ground and screamed “Bullsh–!” at the officials late in the first half Sunday when an illegal shift penalty against right tackle Cam Fleming took the tie-breaking touchdown off the board.
And that was only half of the story: The Giants had another touchdown negated by penalty in the third quarter, leaving Judge shaking his head in disbelief. The NFL’s lowest-scoring team — entering the game with eight straight touchdown-less quarters and 11.8 points per game — gave away two touchdowns (eight total points after field goals) in a 37-34 gut-punch loss to the Cowboys.
“We’ve got to be better than that with the penalties,” Judge said. “I’m not going to get into too much debate with the officials.”
Tight end Evan Engram executed a special teams fake-out perfectly, as he wandered toward the sideline with teammates after a third-down incompletion. But Engram never left the field, coyly stayed on the numbers as the Giants lined up for a 45-yard field goal and was left completely uncovered.
Holder Riley Dixon took the snap, stood up and floated the ball to Engram for a 27-yard touchdown. If only.
The penalty — originally called on center Nick Gates, though replays zeroed in on Fleming’s guilt — forced the Giants to settle for a 50-yard field goal. Fleming failed to get set by a split-second and was standing upright before the snap.
“I was mad at our execution that we took points off the board,” Judge said. “That was it. You prepare for something like that, you call it at a certain time and you want to see it work.”
It would have been the second non-offensive touchdown of the half for the Giants, who received a spark when linebacker Kyler Fackrell returned an interception for a touchdown. But the Giants blew a 17-3 lead in a matter of 86 seconds and sought to regain control.
To add insult to injury, Judge could be subject to a fine under NFL rules for lowering his mask to scream at officials. Judge has been more adherent to the mask rules than many of his counterparts around the league.
Perhaps encouraged by the Giants’ creativity, the Cowboys burned the Giants with a trick play of their own — a “Philly special” touchdown catch by quarterback Dak Prescott — to take a 24-20 halftime lead.
The Giants momentarily struck for the lead in the third quarter, but Darius Slayton’s 31-yard touchdown was erased by Damion Ratley’s offensive pass interference.
“The play is not designed to pick anybody,” Slayton said. “It’s something that happens incidentally. I wasn’t expecting the flag.”
Officials ruled Ratley set a pick to free Slayton but CBS analyst Tony Romo — a former Cowboys quarterback — described a “bad call” because it looked like Ratley was running a slant route.
“I’d like to go back and look at it on tape to see exactly how far downfield we were on the play,” Judge said. “We understand there are some rubs and friction with defensive players based on things they’re doing.”
Graham Gano booted his third field goal of the game from at least 50 yards — the first Giants kicker to do so in the Super Bowl era — at the end of the drive, but the missing points loomed large at the end.
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