Joe Judge was disgusted.
The Giants coach and his players had just trotted off the MetLife Stadium field to a chorus of boos from the fans who’d bothered to show up to see a 1-4 team going nowhere fast, headed to the locker room for 15 minutes of halftime.
The Giants were trailing the Rams 28-3 in a game that would end in a 38-11 result to drop them to 1-5 and Judge was searching for something to say to his players, a message.
“I challenged guys at halftime,’’ Judge said. “I wanted to see who’s going to finish the game. I wanted to see what type of fight some of these guys have.’’
Judge wanted to see who — if anyone — may quit in a game (and season) that had become a lost cause.
“We’ll go through the tape,’’ Judge said when asked what he saw. “But there are some guys I could see with the eye test right away that fought and finished. That’s how we’re going to do things around here. We’re going to compete for 60 [minutes].
“We’ve got to do some things technically better, fundamentally better, better calls at times. But I wanted to see who was going to finish this game and who was going to fight.’’
Asked if, through that “eye test’’ to which he referred, he saw any players who didn’t give maximum effort, Judge predictably responded: “I’ll wait until I finish the tape before I go ahead and give you that answer.’’
The fact is this: Judge will never give that answer publicly — not verbally, at least.
If there are lineup or playing-time changes in next Sunday’s home game against the Panthers, then you’ll have the answer to that question.
“I think it’s more of [Judge] trying to create an identity,’’ Giants defensive lineman Leonard Williams said. “He knew that we were down. He wanted to see who’s going to go out there and keep fighting and represent for the guy next to them. You know, don’t hang your heads, don’t drop your shoulders, don’t look like a quitter out there on the field and keep playing.’’
Asked how this team can get the execution to match the effort and preparation, Williams said, “I think that’s the question we’re all trying to answer right now, is executing.
“I don’t question anyone on this team’s work ethic or how they approach the work every day. We just have to find a way to execute it.’’
Receiver Sterling Shepard said he took Judge’s halftime message to mean “we’re going to see who has heart, who is going to try to finish the game and make something happen.’’
“When you look up at the scoreboard, you can tend to get down,’’ he said. “People’s heads start to drop, but one thing that we talk about a lot through the week and what we’ve talked about since we’ve gotten together as a team is fight. No matter what the situation is, we have to fight.
“It just starts with communicating to the guys that we cannot give up on each other and we cannot start pointing the finger at each other and saying, ‘It was this guy’s fault or that guy’s fault.’ Or this thing can really go downhill. I’ve been on teams where that has happened and you can really start to see it snowball.
“We have to keep each other’s heads up and keep the energy high.’’