5 Random Thoughts on New York Giants Week 4 Loss to Philadelphia Eagles
It's tough to write about a loss like the one the New York Giants went through against the Philadelphia Eagles. They got beat 19-17, and several stupid mistakes in the fourth quarter cost them a chance at going on the road and beating the Eagles for the second straight year. The Giants lost this game more than the Eagles won it. Sure, the Eagles drove down for the go-ahead field goal late in the game, but a couple big time mistakes on the final offensive play for the Giants blew the game for Big Blue.
I should follow that statement up by commending the Eagles on playing a near-flawless game. They made very few mistakes and did enough to win. These games typically come down to the wire, and the Eagles came through where the Giants could not. The Eagles limited their mistakes (save for a couple plays at the end) while the Giants made multiple crucial errors.
The Giants fall to 2-2, but more importantly are 0-2 in the division and have a huge hole to climb out of. They've shown they can play lights out at times, but as has been the case with every Giants team under Tom Coughlin, they are wildly inconsistent.
Here are five random thoughts on the game. Disclaimer: If you're a Giants fan, you will probably only enjoy one of these.
The Giants Needed Hakeem Nicks
Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks missed his second straight game with knee and ankle issues, and it was clear the Giants desperately missed him. Yes, Domenik Hixon ended up with a great second half and had over 100 yards, but the Giants struggled in the first half and punted on their first five possessions. Nicks is the Giants' best receiver at beating press coverage, and the Eagles excel in that department. Nicks missing this game was huge, and he better get healthy quick.
The Giants Missed Kenny Phillips
Kenny Phillips hurt his knee during the game and while it is not considered serious, he did sprain it and is considered week to week. The difference in the run defense with and without Phillips was night and day. The Giants held LeSean McCoy to two yards on six carries in the first half, but in the second he exploded for 121 yards on 17 carries. Replacement safeties Stevie Brown and Will Hill have played well at times, but they are not the same player that Phillips is.
Victor Cruz Owns the Eagles
Despite the Giants losing two of the three meetings, Victor Cruz has demolished the Eagles in all three contests. It's quite clear he loves playing them or the Eagles just cannot cover him, though it's probably a combination of the two. Cruz has his coming out party against the Eagles in 2011, sparking a season that saw him shatter the Giants' record for receiving yards. In three career games against the Eagles, Cruz has 18 catches for 347 yards and four touchdowns. That's an average of 19.2 yards per catch. Maybe he'll get labeled an Eagle killer if the Giants can actually start beating them on a consistent basis.
Lawrence Tynes Is NOT To Blame
True, Lawrence Tynes missed a 54-yard field goal to win the game, but you absolutely cannot place blame on him for missing it. For one, Tynes' career long is only 53 yards. He just does not have a big leg and it's always been an issue. Rarely will you see the Giants attempt a field goal longer than 50 or 51 yards because, well, Coughlin just doesn't trust Tynes from much longer. Tynes is money from inside 50 and been one of the best kickers in Giants history. I do not blame him for missing the kick, nor do I blame Coughlin for making the decision to kick it.
Eli Manning Deserves Most of the Blame
Who do I fault most for the loss in yesterday's game? Eli Manning. As much as he's done for this franchise, Manning still makes mistakes that just make you shake your head in disbelief. Hey, it happens to the best of quarterbacks, but we've gotten so used to Manning making all the right plays in the clutch that it becomes frustrating when he makes a rare mistake. Though he made two catastrophic errors in this game that ultimately cost the Giants the game.
The Giants were down 13-10 at the start of the fourth quarter. Manning had just completed an incredible 30-yard pass to Cruz on a 4th and 1 as the third quarter ended and the Giants were taking the wind out of the Eagles home crowd as they were about to score. They were in position to tie it or take the lead, but Manning threw one of the worst interceptions I've seen him throw. For some reason he thought he had Martellus Bennett breaking open to the corner, but Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was right there and Manning threw it right to him.
The second awful mistake Manning made, and he admits this himself, was going deep to Ramses Barden on what amounted to the final offensive play of the game for the Giants. The Giants were already on the 26 yard line, down by two and in position to send Tynes out to win the game with a very manageable 44-yard field goal. But, for some reason, Eli threw it deep to Barden and Barden ended up interfering with Nnamdi Asomugha in what looked like an attempt to prevent Asomugha from intercepting the ball. Whatever the case, it moved the Giants back 10 yards and made the field goal a much more difficult task for Tynes. Even with two chances at it (Andy Reid attempted to ice Tynes) he didn't make it.
The penalty also forced Coughlin to send out Tynes on third down to try and win it with the 54-yard attempt. It was third and 19 with just 15 seconds left, so if the Giants did not get out of bounds they could not run up and spike it. There was no way the field goal team could get out there either. Too many risks were involved, so the Giants could not run a final play to try and get closer. The Eagles would have taken away all the routes to the sideline. Coughlin's hand was forced with the penalty, and it was all Manning's fault.