Adding to the mystique of what is continuing to be a physical and true rivalry, the Giants suffered an eight-minute lapse Sunday that cost them what appeared to be an easy win, their pride and a sure playoff berth. Big Blue wins next week and they are in. Do they deserve that after this game? In many aspects, yes.
Defensive coordinator, Perry Fewell, had an amazing game plan and the defense was shutting down a potent offense. Michael Vick was feeling pressure and making mistakes. The offense did not capitalize on all of them, for if they did, the game would have gone further out of reach. LeSean McCoy was getting stuffed at the line and DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin were not doing any damage.
Eli Manning may have tied his personal record for interceptions form a glorious 2007, but he was getting hotter as the game progressed and he again threw some passes that were scorching and on the money, but dropped. He did tally 28 points on nice drives and a consistent Lawrence Tynes kicked for three more points. Then there was one of the most embarrassing collapses of any team that one could imagine.
One needs to take a look at the enigma of Mario Manningham. This is, no doubt, a talented young man. However, his score on the Wonderlic of a six cannot be denied here. How many times has he made a cut short of the first down marker, cut off his pattern into coverage and now literally dropping a live ball on the field of play after a catch?
Granted, he had an amazing first-down grab, two touchdowns and can run after a catch. Manningham can and will continue to hurt the team. I am not sure if it was he or Derek Hagan that Manning blew a gasket on when the perfect play was called on a blitz on a third and six. Manning backpedaled and appeared to throw the ball to no one. Someone did not break off with a "hot read." That resulted in seven points for the Eagles. The perfect score on the Wonderlic is 50; 10 means you are literate.
Then disaster kept striking. Tom Quinn thought the game was in hand. David Akers kicks off and executes the postcard onside kick. The Giants can be seen when this took place turning and running for a return. The Eagles could have let that ball bounce and improve their field position before a Giants player turned around. That is awful coaching and a lack of preparedness. It seems that special teams were not a concern until the proverbial crap hit the fan.
The defense wore down and could not contain Vick, who appeared to have a Herculean effort. However, there were a few missed tackles, a catch and run touchdown with single coverage and the game was tied by the Eagles almost single-handedly by Vick. Then the play calling with plenty of time left was confounding. The Giants had three timeouts and were assisted by an excellent return by Danny Ware and had field position on their side.
All they needed was a field goal. There was a sideline pass that was off and a floater over the middle to Kevin Boss that was overthrown and nearly intercepted, setting up a sack. How can you abandon the run at this point of the game and with three timeouts? One very well may have broke off for a nice gain followed by a time out.
Then came the punt. Matt Dodge has been steadily, and I use the term loosely, improving. The snap was not great, the punt was not out of bounds and Jackson made Swiss cheese out of the special team and the game was over. I did not like his goal line posturing at all. There are children watching and learning how not to act all the time.
The Giants need to reevaluate their motivation and how to go for the jugular. Changes need to be made in the coaching department and someone needs to be very careful on who is selected and how in the draft.
Dodge and Manningham are examples of the thought process not being all there during the draft. This is an excellent Giants team with very little leadership on special teams, missing a key component on offense (Steve Smith) and may have turned in an indicator for a short run in the playoffs, if they make it.