Accountability doesn’t win football games.
It cannot alter the order in the NFL standings.
The Giants cannot get last week’s blowout loss to the Chargers in Los Angeles back nor can they get any of their nine losses back entering Sunday’s game against the Cowboys at MetLife Stadium.
Logan Ryan, the Giants veteran safety and a team captain, cannot reverse the result of the back-breaking 59-yard touchdown pass Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert threw to Jalen Guyton that sailed over his head and doomed the Giants just before halftime last Sunday.
But Ryan, in the immediate aftermath of that loss, took ownership of his gaffe on the play. He was who he always has been since the Giants brought him here: He was accountable.
“I wear that one heavy,’’ Ryan said after the Chargers game. “It’s on me.’’
The Giants, despite being 4-9, are better for the kind of accountability. It’s part of the culture head coach Joe Judge is trying to instill in his locker room, which is better for having a leader like Ryan.
“That’s just what I believe in,’’ Judge said Friday. “I believe in when you make a mistake, you own up to it. Look, I make mistakes all the time. I make a point of when I screw up, I make sure the team understands that I’m going to own it in front of them. We come out of games and I tell them all the time, ‘Guys, that’s a mistake on my part, it’s not going to happen again.’
“I expect the coaches to do the same thing, which they do. That way I expect the players to understand, you make a mistake, you don’t hide behind it. You own it, you move on, you make the correction. People respect people who own their mistakes.’’
Now the trick — for Ryan, Judge and the rest of the Giants — is to reduce the errors and do the things on the field to win games so they don’t have to be accountable for their mistakes afterward.
The Giants, 44-20 losers at Cowboys in October, will need to be a lot better Sunday if they’re going to put an end to their current two-game losing streak. The Cowboys, who are running away with the NFC East at 9-4, are second in the NFL in both points scored (29.2 per game) and yards (408.1 per game).
That puts added stress on Ryan to rebound from his tough outing in L.A. — not to mention a Giants secondary that, as of Friday, was down to five defensive backs because of the COVID-19 outbreak and the flu this week.
“It’s a short memory,’’ Ryan said Friday. “When you’re a fan of football like me and you study the game and you prepare, you give credit where it’s due. It was a great pass. But to be a defender in this league, you can’t expect that great players aren’t going to make some great throws, great catches on you.
“You respect the game. You respect the throw. You learn from it, and you move on, but you don’t let it discourage you from going back out there the next game or the next week. I’ve played in thousands of snaps, some good, some bad. That’s just the nature of any athlete in any sport, you’ve got to move on to the next play.’’
And the next game.
Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott is completing 67.9 percent of his passes with 24 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Receiver CeeDee Lamb has 64 catches for 890 yards and six TDs and Amari Cooper has 51 for 675 yards and six TDs.
Ryan surely hopes he has nothing negative for which to take ownership after Sunday’s game. If there is, though, he’ll own it.
“I would just hate to be on a team where the best players or the older players, the veteran players, don’t take accountability for what they’re doing,’’ Ryan said. “I believe in taking ownership. I’m comfortable in my abilities, in my own skin and when I mess up. I’ve learned a lot in marriage, you’ve got to apologize sometimes when you’re wrong. … I just want to let everyone know that accountability is necessary to be a leader and those are the best leaders in my opinion, the people that aren’t afraid to make mistakes and admit when they do.’’