Los Angeles Chargers 27, New York Giants 22

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ –The New York Giants finally began to gain some semblance of a run game in Sunday afternoon’s battle of imperfection against the Los Angeles Chargers.

A victory, however, remained out of reach.

The Giants picked up 152 yards of rushing, led by 69 from Orleans Darkwa, but once more fell in heartbreaking fashion, dropping a 27-22 decision to the likewise hapless Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday afternoon. With the loss, the Giants are 0-5 for the first time since 2013.

The day was painful, literally and figuratively, for the Giants, as they witnessed four of their receivers go down with injuries. Two of those injuries required a departure via the medical cart, including Odell Beckham Jr., who suffered a brutal ankle injury in the final quarter. Beckham, who earlier scored a touchdown that gave the Giants the lead, was visibly in tears as he left the field to cheers.

However, celebration was in short supply on Sunday, as the Giants’ offense again failed to move the ball consistently. The Giants emerged with a 9-0 lead in the first quarter, after a botched Los Angeles snap led to a safety and Orleans Darkwa scored on a 23-yard rush to glory. That 23-yard score was the Giants’ longest play on the ground this season, and allowed Darkwa to break his career-high, previously achieved in September 2016 against Washington.

Despite this, Darkwa did not get another rushing attempt until the third quarter. He would end the day with 69 yards on 8 carries, while Wayne Gallman added 57 yards on 11 carries.

The Chargers were able to cut the lead to 9-7 on a 10-yard scoring hook-up between Phillip Rivers and Melvin Gordon, but the Giants’ defense was able to hold strong. Brad Wing, responsible for crucially bad punts that led to vital opponent points, also kept Los Angeles’s offense in check, pinning them inside their own 20 on his first four punts.

Despite winning the field position battle, however, the Giants were unable to add to their slim lead, despite starting two separate drives at their own 45 and the Los Angeles 39. The Chargers (1-4) were able to add a short Nick Novak field goal for a 10-9 halftime lead. During the same first half drive, the Giants lost both Sterling Shepard and Brandon Marshall, the latter of whom was carted off the field, to ankle injuries.

After the Giants opened the third quarter with a three-and-out, the Chargers seem poised to extend their lead, but Darian Thompson intercepted a Rivers pass in the end zone. It was the first of Thompson’s career, and the first of the Giants’ season. Perhaps energized by a fiery speech from Beckham, the Giants went 80 yards in nine plays, scoring with a 29-yard Eli Manning pass to receiver Roger Lewis Jr.

Los Angeles struck back with 23-yard Rivers pass to tight end Hunter Henry, but the Giants stole back the momentum with a 48-yard Manning touchdown pass to a wide open Beckham.

Despite the jovial Beckham’s over-the-top celebration, in which he pretended to resuscitate the ball, contributing to a delay of game penalty and subsequent failed two-point conversation, the Giants had a 22-17 lead in the fourth quarter.

After another New York three-and-out, Los Angeles drove to the red zone, but Thompson came up huge again, swiping away another Henry touchdown pass before applying pressure to Rivers on third-and-goal, causing an incomplete throw. Novak’s field goal made it 22-20, but all the Giants had to do was run out a clock that featured just under five minutes remaining.

For the third consecutive week, victory was not to be. To make matters worse, disaster struck thanks to another questionable playcall.

Abandoning the run, an attempted pass to Beckham ended in disaster, as while he was taken down by Casey Hayward, he suffered the gruesome injury. The Giants confirmed that Beckham has a fractured ankle, but also said that Beckham will undergo additional tests to determine the full extent of his injury and if surgery is necessary.

Perhaps deflated by the Beckham scene, Eli Manning was sacked by Melvin Ingram on the very next play, fumbling the ball at the Giants 11, where it was recovered by the Chargers. Three plays later, Rivers found Gordon once more for a 10-yard score that gave Los Angeles the lead for good. The Giants had one more shot, but a fourth down Manning pass was intercepted by Tre Boston, sealing the Giants’ fate.

Manning would finish the game 21-for-36 for 225 yards and two scores. Thompson, part of his stellar day, had 11 tackles to lead all players. Dwayne Harris, who had 122 returning yards and downed two of Wing’s punts deep in Los Angeles territory, left the game with a fractured foot.