Let me tell you something — this was a great game to watch. And aside from the Giants losing by a touchdown I think it was clear the Giants had a real chance to win that game tonight.
Turnovers were costly.
Special Teams coverage – or lack thereof – costly.
Defensive Secondary – costly.
Receivers with 10 dropped balls or incompletions on perfectly thrown passes — COSTLY.
When the Giants went up at the start of the second half 31-30…. it proved that the Giants had a shot to win this game. A legit shot, too. After all the turnovers and drops and poor defensive coverage — the Giants in that moment took over the game. Brandon Jacobs bulled his way into the endzone… a great defensive stop followed by Domenik Hixon taking a short pass 60+ yards for a score to put the Giants on top.
And then a moment later the Defense gave all the momentum back to the Eagles.
McNabb hit Desean Jackson on a 60 yard pass of his own for what seemed like the 200th big play of the season for Jackson. The Giants COULD NOT cover him at any point.
When the Giants got the ball back, for some reason Kevin Gilbride took a promising drive and then started calling the “forbidden” clutch plays that drive all us fans nuts. Short dump off for Hedgecock on second down…. then a draw play on 3rd and 5. Guess what, didn’t get the first down. THOSE PLAYS don’t get it done, coach. And to make matters worse — the Eagles came back and scored on a 7 minute drive that broke the Giants back.
But let this be said — Eli looked great tonight even thought he fumbled away a great opportunity. Through the air Eli looked like a 100 Million dollar man. And even on the ground the Giants ran well and got into the endzone twice with 2 backs. So what happened?
DROPPED PASSES for one.
Hakeem Nicks and Steve Smith dropped several crucial balls in the first half. Kevin Boss dropped a PERFECT pass from Manning in the second half that would have setup a score inside the 10 yard line. Missed opportunities.
Speaking of which, Mario Manningham had not 1, but 2 touchdown passes overturned because he only got one foot down. His hugging the sideline technique was partially to blame, and that is something he really needs to work on. There’s no question he’s fast — but he needs to work on those little parts of the game that make you truly a deadly and reliable receiver.
On the Eagles 7 minute 4th quarter drive, missed tackles killed the Giants. Not only did they get no pressure, they weren’t able to make a tackle to save their lives. So McNabb and company picked apart the Giants and could not be stopped on a deflating scoring drive capped by Leonard Weaver’s 1 yard touchdown run.
When the Giants got the opportunity, Mario Manningam caught a touchdown pass on the good side of the 2 minute warning. But it was overturned on further review. Getting his second toe in bounds on that play may have been what the Giants needed to keep hope alive. It was not to be. Kevin Boss ended up getting a touchdown but it only left 90 seconds on the clock.
While the Giants wisely used their timeouts and the defense did their job to stop the Eagles’ running game, Eli was strip sacked and the Eagles ran out the clock after they recovered the football.
There were way too many fumbles in this game — and the ones that could have helped the Giants were not capitalized on. Os Umenyiora forced a fumble from Donovan McNabb but Clint Sintim decided not to pick up the lose ball for some reason. Had he done that — it would have saved a score from the Eagles and kept the game in reach.
Eli fumbled twice, Jacobs fumbled, Hixon fumbled twice — lots and lots of turnovers kept the Giants out of it.
It’s a bitter loss because it’s the Eagles, but the Giants still have a shot to make the playoffs. If Dallas loses next week to New Orleans and the Giants beat the Redskins monday night, the Wildcard is still in reach.
Even though the Giants let one get away from them tonight with some mistakes I think there are positives to take away from this game. Eli played really well, the running backs played a good game, and at times the receivers made some plays.
Keep the faith, nothing is over — and I’ll have my Unpacking the Loss column up early this week that goes over some of the finer details of the game.
What a crazy game it was…