ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The New York Giants' second southern Californian disaster in three games made the painful loss to the Los Angeles Raiders two weeks ago look like a day at the beach.
Sunday's was no demoralizing defeat to an inferior team that hinged on one or two key plays. The Los Angeles Rams so manhandled the Giants, 38-17, at Anaheim Stadium that it would be foolish to isolate any key call or series.
There were no critical moments. Correctly calling the pregame coin toss was the last thing the Giants did well.
The offense generated very little, but the defense was the more atrocious of the two units. The Rams held the ball for 33:45, gained 356 yards and and converted seven of 10 third downs. Tailback Cleveland Gary gained a career-high 126 yards on 31 carries and scored two touchdowns. Quarterback Jim Everett completed 18 of 21 passes for 242 yards, threw two touchdowns, and between the middle of the first quarter and middle of the third completed 11 consecutive passes.
The 38 points allowed were the most since Sept. 25, 1988, when the Giants lost, 45-31, to the Rams at the Meadowlands.
"We [bleep], period," Carl Banks said after the Giants fell to 2-4 and lost an opportunity to pull within one game of the 4-2 Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins in the NFC East. "That's my summary. Ask me any question, that's my answer."
"They played damn good," Lawrence Taylor said. "We played like [bleep]. I made more mistakes today than I've made in the 12 years I've been playing. A couple of assignment mistakes, a couple of bad decisions. I made a couple of really, really bad decisions, lost a couple of people in pass coverage. I did nothing to help the team win."
"Embarrassing," said Mark Collins, who didn't have to be reminded of what figured to be a long trip home similar to the flight after the loss to the Raiders. "That's the most embarrassing part about it. We knew what we had to do. And you get outplayed, you get outhit, everything. We can't blame this on no one but everybody."
The Giants never led, even though the Rams came into the game having been outscored 48-0 in the opening quarter this season. Gary capped a 67-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run with 4:20 left in the first, but the Giants answered early in the second on Rodney Hampton's 10-yard burst.
Everett answered by going four-for-four on an 82-yard drive that ended with his 9-yard play-action, rollout touchdown pass to an uncovered tight end Pat Carter. Matt Bahr's 31-yard field goal with 0:45 left in the half whittled the Rams' lead to 14-10.
But the Giants managed only six plays in the third quarter, when Los Angeles used Tony Zendejas' 46-yard field goal and Everett's 19-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jeff Chadwick on third-and-inches to build a 24-10 lead.
Safety Anthony Newman intercepted a Jeff Hostetler pass that rookie cornerback Steve Israel tipped away from Mark Ingram and returned it to the Giants' 29. It took Gary two runs to negotiate the 29 yards that made it 31-10 with 10:29 left.
New York coach Ray Handley had little to say afterward. But the clenched teeth and steely-eyed stare made it quite obvious how unhappy he was with his badly beaten crew.
"The Rams just beat the hell out of us," the coach said.
And that raises an obvious question: Are the Giants as good as they think they are? After losing their first two games to the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys, they beat Chicago, 27-14. Then they were upset, 13-10, by the previously winless Raiders to spoil any notion of a four-game run against a few NFL weaklings. After they whipped Phoenix last week, 31-21, they vowed not to forget their last Los Angeles visit.
"We can talk all we want," Steve DeOssie said. "We're full of talk. We're full of [bleep], is what we're full of. Talk is nothing. To come out here and play like that, that's when the truth comes out. Words can be manipulated anyway you want. I don't have to tell you reporters that. We just have to face the reality that we [bleep]."