Pharoh Cooper’s gaffe exacerbates Giants’ woes: ‘Not going to be tolerated’

One of the few things the Giants have mastered this season is getting crushed by opponents in the final two minutes of the first half.

But even Sunday’s edition, which pushed the deficit to 76-0 this season under those circumstances, was a doozy.

Keyed by a special teams gaffe from kickoff returner Pharoh Cooper, the Giants gave up eight points — on three scores — in the final 61 seconds of the first half on the way to a 29-3 loss to the Bears in Chicago.

The Bears had just scored a field goal to extend their lead to 17-3 with 1:01 left in the second quarter when they kicked off to Cooper. The experienced return man, who was elevated from the practice squad on Saturday, was just short of the 5-yard line when he began walking forward, thinking the kick was going into the end zone for a touchback.

Instead, the ball bounced and stuck around the 2-yard line, forcing Cooper to scramble for it and muster a return to the 5-yard line. Two plays and a false start later, Devontae Booker was unable to get out of the end zone on a handoff as the Bears secured a safety.

“That definitely demonstrates that we didn’t know where we were on the field at that moment in time and letting that thing go,” coach Joe Judge said.

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“That’s not acceptable. That’s not acceptable.”

It got worse as the Giants had to kick off to the Bears and then gave up another field goal before time expired, pushing the deficit to 22-3 at the half.

Joe Judge (top right) said Pharoh Cooper’s gaffe that led to a safety will ‘not be tolerated.’
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“That’s a five-point mistake,” Judge said. “We can’t do that. It’s not acceptable, it’s not going to be tolerated.”

It marked the latest special teams miscue this season for the Giants, who are led by a former special teams coach in Judge. Riley Dixon has cost the Giants in a few close games with bad punts and Dexter Lawrence also had the crucial offsides penalty on a missed kick to give the Washington Football Team another chance to win the game in Week 2.

LB Oshane Ximines, WR Kadarius Toney (shoulder), WR John Ross (knee/COVID ramp-up), WR Collin Johnson (hamstring) and C Billy Price (personal) were inactive. Ximines was the only healthy scratch, sitting out his fifth straight game.

Left guard Matt Skura moved to center to fill in for Price while Wes Martin started at left guard. Ben Bredeson and practice squad call-up Derrick Kelly also saw time at left guard.

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