The magnanimous Giants continue to give games away.
The storyline for this game is turnovers. The Giants had a total of FIVE turnovers. And Eli Manning continues to be a turnover machine. Out of the five turnovers committed by the Giants, Eli was responsible for four of them. ( Three interceptions and one fumble) His partner in crime, Ahmad Bradshaw had yet another fumble. Thus far, Bradshaw has left the ball on the turf a league high SIX times. Besides Manning and Bradshaw, the turnoveritis has spread to the rest of the team. Against the Eagles, Hakeem Nicks and Will Blackmon fumbled too. Thankfully, their miscues were recovered by their teammates. If we count Bradshaw's cough up which was overturned by replay, the Giants had a total of EIGHT miscues. If the Giants plan on getting to the playoffs, they cannot continue this careless behavior. Otherwise, they are going to continue to lose football games.
Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell deserves tremendous credit for devising an outstanding defensive game plan. On Saturday, Pete outlined the gameplan that Fewell would end up implementing:
"With Vick, the way to control him is to make him throw. I agree that you need to get a lot of pressure from the middle of the defense. Tuck will play a big role in this game, as he lines up at left end and must not over commit. Fewell needs to mix it up. There are a number of things he can do including blitzing a DB, blitzing Goff, stunting/blitzing Osi and keeping him in the pocket. Boley must play at his peak and can be used to blitz as well. You mix up your blitz packages as the one place Vick can’t hurt you is up the middle."
Pete's analysis was spot on. Indeed, Justin Tuck played a big role and was fantastic. Tuck had 6 tackles and one assist. More importantly, Tuck had THREE sacks and TWO forced fumbles. Additionally, cornerback Terrell Thomas stepped up his play. After a meager performance against the Cowboys, Thomas rebounded and had a team high 9 tackles. And his splash play of the night was a blocked field goal. Right before the half, with the Eagles leading 13-3, David Akers field goal attempt was blocked by Thomas. This was a huge play because it kept the Giants in striking distance-only 10 points down.
Overall, the Giants defense played extremely well against this potent Eagles offense. Compared to last week's game against the Redskins, Vick looked pedestrian. Although the Eagles gained a total of 392 yards of offense, the Giants contained Vick. Vick threw for 258 yards and drops in the endzone by some of his receivers caused the Eagles to settle for field goals instead of touchdowns. However, JPP's offsides blunder cost the Giants this game. With the Giants holding on to a precarious 17-16 lead, the Eagles had a 3rd and 6 on their 46 yard line with 4:42 remaining in the game. When Michael Vick's pass fell incomplete, it appeared the Giants' defense made a critical stop. Not so fast. Rookie Jason Pierre-Paul made a grave mental error. Pierre-Paul was flagged for jumping offsides. His gaffe gave the Eagles life. Two plays later, McCoy took it the the house and sealed an Eagles victory.
The offense was offensive. With 208 yards of offense, the Giants had trouble running and passing the ball. Most likely, this could be attributed to the Giants patch work offensive line. A few weeks ago, NFL analyst Phil Simms exclaimed:
"If your offensive line is not getting it done, your NFL team is not getting it done."
Needless to say, the Giants offensive line did not get the job done. One of their bread and butter running plays is a counter. With their best pulling guard Rich Seubert playing center, the Giants were limited with reserve Kevin Boothe playing guard. Moreover, when the line was healthy, Shawn Andrews would come in as a tackle eligilbe. When Andrews would be in the game, the Giants were having better success running the ball as well as providing pass protection for Manning. Last night, with all the injuries, Andrews started in place of injured Pro Bowl tackle David Diehl. Therefore, they could not use this tackle eligible formation which has helped spark this offense.
To sum up, considering key injuries to the offensive line and wide receiver position, the Giants still had a good chance of winning this game. If O'Hara, Diehl, and Smith come back from injuries, will it be too litte too late? With their second consecutive loss, the Giants are 0-2 in the second half of this season.
Without question, this was an extremely disappointing loss. If the season ended today, the Giants would not make the playoffs. Right now, the Giants are 6-4 and 1-2 in the NFC East. Right now we are all asking- can the injured and mistake-prone Giants make the playoffs?