Kevin Gilbride, Giants Lose Fourth in a Row

Richard ReschCorrespondent INovember 9, 2009

As the Giants got to the line, up three points with just over three minutes left at the Chargers’ four-yard line, something just didn’t feel right.

Terrell Thomas had just made a huge interception, setting up the Giants with a chance to put the game away. It should have been a joyous moment.

Yet I knew Tom Coughlin, Kevin Gilbride, and the Giants coaching staff too well to know they wouldn’t be putting anyone away.

After a debilitating holding penalty on Coughlin’s son-in-law Chris Snee and three conservative plays, I said to my friends, “If the Giants lose this game, Kevin Gilbride has to be fired.”

The Giants decided to run the clock down and kick the field goal instead of, I don’t know, actually trying to win the game. This strategy does two things:

1) Makes sure that a field goal does not tie the game.
2) Leaves the door open for the other team to still win the game with a touchdown.

My friend described this strategy as “playing not to lose” instead of playing to win. I have a different name for it: “playing to lose.” And that’s exactly what they did.

Of course, the Chargers blew down the door that was left open to find the Giants coaching staff with their pants down around their ankles.

- Remember, Jerry Reese, if you don’t want to fire Kevin Gilbride yourself (or “Kevin Killdrive,” as the kids are calling him), Buddy Ryan’s son is just a locker room away. If you don’t know what I’m referring to, click here .

- One of the worst parts about this game is that we’ll have to listen to football analysts talking about how Philip Rivers outplayed Eli Manning when that is simply untrue. Just look at the stat breakdowns:

Philip Rivers: 24-of-36 (67 percent), 209 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT, 86.5 QB rating

Eli Manning: 25-of-33 (76 percent), 215 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT, 112.6 QB rating

Eli played better, but the coaches took away his chance to win the game. Rivers made the plays he needed to make when the game was on the line. But if Eli was given the keys to the car on that final drive, I have a feeling we’d all be talking about how Eli again came through in the big spot.

Unfortunately, Coughlin and Gilbride showed no confidence in their quarterback. God forbid they actually let him throw a pass in a big spot. But then again, when has Eli ever shown he can make a big play with the game on the line? (Please note the sarcasm.)

- Brandon Jacobs averaged 6.1 yards per carry but was only given 11 carries in a close game. Going away from the hot hand? Sounds like more Gilbride Magic to me!

- Nine penalties for 104 yards. Need I say more?

- Lost in all this hubbub is the fact that you apparently cannot review whether or not a quarterback stepped out of bounds before he threw the ball! I find it hard to believe the NFL really thought about this rule before they made it. It seems like there’s a pretty easy solution to this: Instead of not reviewing it, they should review it.

- It only takes Darren Sproles one play to change a game. In this game, it was his key 21-yard reception on the final drive that set up the game-winning touchdown. Michael Boley had a pretty good game, and it’s good to have him back, but on this play, he was responsible for the blown coverage.

- Didn’t Corey Webster used to be good?

- Speaking of Webster, maybe the little guy should take it down a notch. After Tuck made a big play late in the game, Webster jumped onto Tuck’s back, knocking him into the ground. Later in the game, Tuck could not get off the field with a lower body injury (possibly his knee).

Maybe the two are unrelated, but it’s probably not a good idea to jump onto the back of an unsuspecting teammate, especially one whose arm was in a sling just a few weeks ago.

- As a whole, the entire Giants defense seemed to be a little chirpy during the fourth quarter. Every time they made a big play, they celebrated like they had just won the game. It’s nice to see the emotion, but at one point I thought the Chargers could have snapped the ball during one of the Giants defenders’ 30-second celebrations in the backfield to incur an offsides penalty.

- Kevin Dockery showed absolutely no awareness, running into the punt returner before the ball got there and giving the Chargers 15 free yards of field position.

- Speaking of field position...the question must be asked, no matter how much I want the answer to be no: Is Jeff Feagles done? Feagles was again terrible, punting the ball short and out of bounds. Over the past three games, Feagles is averaging 35.4 yards per punt. For the season, he is averaging 38.9 yards per punt, his worst since 1989 (he’s 43).

Hopefully it is just a prolonged slump (I can say that about the team in general), but this is the worst we’ve seen Feagles look in...ever.

- Kevin Boss might want to retire before he suffers a life-threatening injury. If his body continues to be put through the same kind of treacherous damage it has been so far this season, he is going to have a tough life after football. I like to make jokes and write sarcastic comments, but this is serious.

This is now at least the second time Boss has been hit helmet to helmet while defenseless, and yet again there was no flag. Normally us fans get up in arms about blown calls because it is detrimental to our team’s chances of winning the game, but this is something entirely different.

If the NFL allows this to keep going on, we will continue to see debilitating injuries that are not only tragic but also avoidable. Please NFL, for the good of the players and the game, please crack down on these vicious hits. The last thing anyone wants to see is a young man being carted off the field on a stretcher.

- Like the loss to the Cardinals, this game was close until the end. It was not as embarrassing or hard to watch as the blowout losses to the Saints or Eagles, games in which the Giants looked like they did not belong on the same field.

Yet these two losses to the Cardinals and Chargers concern me more than the two blowout losses. These are the types of close games we’re used to seeing the Giants win.

Even when things were going well for the Giants, they had unexplainable blowout losses (such as the loss to the Vikings in 2007 and the loss to the Browns in 2008).

But when the game was on the line, the Giants would always come through. Eli would make the big throw or the defense would make the big stop, regardless of how they played throughout the entire game.

When a play needed to be made, the Giants made it. But not this year.