It should have been easy. The Giants were up 21 points, with 8 minutes left in the game. Should have been easy. But, as it always with this team, it wasn’t easy. 8 minutes later, the Eagles are on top, walking away with a victory. A 31-10 lead became a 38-31 loss. Just like that.
It started off nice. The Giants put up the first strike, as Eli Manning hit Mario Manningham for a 36 yard touchdown. After an Eagles field goal, the Manning-Manningham connection was at it again, this time on a 33 yard strike. After a Lawrence Tynes field goal, the Giants scored a touchdown with 5 seconds left, on a 8 yard pass to Hakeem Nicks, to make it 24-3 going into the half.
Jeremy Maclin scored the first touchdown of the second half for the Eagles, on an 8 yard reception. The Giants answered right back, however, when Kevin Boss scored on an 8 yard touchdown, to make it 31-10 with 8:17 left.
This is where it all fell apart. Just minutes later, Mike Vick hit Brent Celek for a 65 yard touchdown. After recovering an onside kick, the Eagles marched down the field again, this time scoring on a 4 yard Vick run. They tied it up a few minutes later, this time on a 13 yard pass to Maclin.
After a 3 and out by the Giants, with 14 seconds left, the Giants decided to punt it. Instead of kicking it out of bounds, and going to overtime, our favorite punter Matt Dodge punted it right to DeSean Jackson, who ran it back 65 yards for the touchdown and the win as time expired.
It’s as bad of a loss as you can imagine. Trust me, I was there. The crowd was just stunned, shocked. I’m still a bit speechless, a few hours later. The Giants were up 21. With 8 minutes left. That should be a win. That’s in the bank. But, Mike Vick decided to play like SuperMan, and the Giants couldn’t stop him. If he’s not the MVP, I have no idea who would be.
The punt by Dodge, while awful, is the least of our worries. It should not gotten to that point. You can’t give up 21 points in 8 minutes. You can’t not be ready for an onside kick. You have to make a stop. This was the Giants problem last year. Couldn’t make a stop when they needed to. It hadn’t been a huge problem this year. Until now.
Giants can still make the playoffs. If they beat the Packers next week, they’ll be in. Pretty simple. But, you feel confident in predicting a win for the G-Men, with the way they’ve been playing? I don’t.
It’s just an awful loss, and one that you think could have lasting effects, both on the team and the fans. The coaching staff has to be on pins and needles. Special teams coordinator Tom Quinn has to be let go. Can’t be that unprepared.
It’s still a 9-5 team. A good football team. The frustration is understandable. I’m frustrated. But, we’re still in the hunt. And it could be a lot worse. How the team responds next week will tell us a lot about this football team.