On a night where the Giants and the Eagles met for what seems to be the last time at Giants Stadium the stakes were as high as ever. The closing act did not seem to disappoint for this high anticipated backyard brawl (literally...Trent Cole) between the G-Men and the Birds.
The only disappointment that was taken away from this game were the countless miscues, blown coverages, and dropped balls by the Giants. It is tough to walk away from this game thinking about how many opportunities the Giants left on the field that easily could have changed the outcome of the game.
Brandon Jacobs played an effective role in the running game tonight, yet made what was most likely the biggest error of the game. He coughed up a fumble early in the first quarter that was run back for a touchdown by Sheldon Brown. Before the Giants could blink the game was already 14-0 Eagles, which seemed to be reminiscent of the previous match up between these two teams earlier in the year.
The Giants defense played horribly throughout most of the game giving up huge plays the entire game.The secondary did not play well tonight with many communication errors and blown coverages that the Eagles exploited all night. McNabb had just about all day back in the pocket to throw and took advantage of it. The drive that summed it up in my perspective was the twelve play, ninety-one yard drive orchestrated by McNabb in which the Eagles never faced a third down. The Giants also dropped a key forward fumble and neglected to pick up the ball, which seemed to be one of the main controversial calls of the game. The one big play that the Giants made was when Jonathon Goff picked off McNabb inside Eagles territory and they still were unable to capitalize. The very next play Eli fumbled the ball and gave it right back to the Eagles.
The fumble by Eli seemed to be the only blemish on what was one of his personal best performances of his career. He was effective in reading coverages and throwing the ball in perfect spots for his receivers to have an opportunity to make plays. The receivers did not always come up with those plays though. Hakeem Nicks had three drops and one incredible sixty-eight yard catch and run. Steve Smith had a nice game and became the Giants franchise leader in receptions passing Amani Toomer. Mario Manningham struggled with route running, which seems to be a recurring theme with him this year as he failed to stay in bounds in the end-zone twice in the game.Domenik Hixon made another big play by breaking a few tackles and running sixty-one yards for a touchdown. He also fumbled twice on kick returns, which he needs to improve on.
The punt return by Desean Jackson was a killer when he made a cutback near the sideline and dashed seventy-two yards for a touchdown to extend the lead to fourteen. This was another momentum killer for the Giants. One week ago, Domenik Hixon had a huge punt return for the Giants and just a week later Jackson burnt the Giants for an equally important run-back.
The Giants were still in it down to the finish. They fought hard til the end, which shows that they do have heart. If they can cut down on the mental errors and buckle down on defense then they have a chance to run the table and make it to the playoffs. As a fan you have to believe that the Giants can do it, but it does not help make it any easier to wonder what could have happened if the Giants had pulled this one out.