Giants-Chargers: New York Loses Must-Win Game

Hot Stove New YorkSenior Writer INovember 9, 2009

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 20:  Running back Brandon Jacobs #27  of the New York Giants at Cowboys Stadium on September 20, 2009 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

What do you do when you lose a self-proclaimed must-win game? The Giants did just that yesterday, wrenching defeat from the jaws of victory.

That’s four losses in a row and counting, and they’ve lost each game in a different way: A bad defensive effort started things off, the offense then followed suit, a total team disaster was next, and now a crushing, last-minute defeat rounds things out.

Let’s count the ways the Giants blew yesterday’s game vs. the Chargers.

The first ominous sign was the botched field goal attempt on the first drive of the game. When the play happened, it looked like Lawrence Tynes just decided to not kick the ball. Was there a fake field goal on, but he was the only one who knew about it? Did the voices in his head tell him a trick play was on?

The announcers were no help, as they didn’t have a clue as to what happened. But on closer inspection, Jeff Feagles mishandled the snap, and everything fell apart from there. Those were the winning three points right there at the beginning of the game.

The Giants can’t score touchdowns. Their red zone foibles are well documented, as they settle for field goals ways too often. They had first and goal at the four-yard line with about three minutes to go in the game, and a TD would have put the whole shebang on ice. Instead of an easy score, they went backwards.

Chris Snee 's holding penalty was the first fly in the ointment. It looks like the guard will be sitting at the kids’ table on Thanksgiving at his father-in-law’s house this year. A short pass followed on first down, and then two handoffs to Brandon Jacobs .

Third and goal to go at the nine and you’re handing off? Yes, it takes time off the clock, but you have to try to score a touchdown there. That’s bad play-calling and way too conservative. They’re trying not to lose instead of trying to win. And what happens when you try not to lose? You end up losing, of course.

Big Blue committed nine penalties for 104 yards. Not good. Where’s the team discipline? The Snee penalty was the backbreaker, but the penalties were going on all game long.

After not trusting his offense in the last few minutes of the game, Tom Coughlin entrusted his defense to stop San Diego on their last drive, and his trust was misplaced.

After looking impressive for most of the game, and especially the two previous times they were on the field, the D couldn’t make the big stop at the end. The pressure on the QB disappeared the last two minutes, as the Chargers marched downfield with ease and scored the TD they needed to win the game. Corey Webster was beaten, and there was no help behind him.

The O couldn’t score the touchdown they needed, and the D couldn’t prevent the one they had to stop.

The Giants have next week off to stew in their own stink. There are only seven games left, but there’s always hope they can stop the downward spiral and turn their season around.

At least I hope there’s hope—because without hope all you’re left with is the Cleveland Browns.