Diary of a Giants Fan: Giants Lose a Heartbreaker to Eagles – Grades
In a fashion that can only be described in expletives, the Giants fell to the Eagles 19-17 on Sunday.
As football fans it is occasionally our duty to deal with a loss the requisite gut punch from which we know will stick around for a while. Tonight, regrettably, is one of those nights. For what was a defensive struggle throughout much of the first half devolved into a race to the defensive bottom - the winner of which remained up in the air until the game's penultimate play.
At first look, the Giants seemed the runaway winner of said cruel race with their inability to keep contain allowing Mike Vick and company to march up and down the field. The Eagles D kept pace, however - their less specific yet equally poor play keeping this a neck and neck struggle. They looked to take a slight lead midway through the third with Manning finding Cruz to tie the game at ten, but the Eagles being the beneficiaries of a brutal, inexcusable Manning interception in the end zone at the start of the fourth quarter put the Giants back on the lead - at least in the race for poorest defensive play.
But then, while Giant fans lamented their poor defense and the six point deficit with which they were currently saddled, an old feeling began to surface. A wonderful feeling. An exciting feeling - like the budding of a new love. Eli Manning was orchestrating a second half win, the exclamation point a touchdown pass to Bear Pascoe - because when the Black Unicorn is covered, you throw it to the White Bear. 17-16 Giants...But with time left on the clock.
And as the Eagles took systematic advantage of the Giants' inability to contain Philadelphia's speed another feeling set in. Less wonderful, less exciting, and more like that of budding love headed on a fast track to the friend zone. And it all began to make sense - in a strange, tragic way that we fatalistic Giant fans understand.
DeSean Jackson hadn't caught a touchdown pass all season. Of course he'd collect his first against the Giants - a second quarter score. The Eagles had committed 12 turnovers in the first three games. Of course they hadn't turned the ball over against the Giants. And up until the final drive, Lawrence Tynes was ten for ten on field goals this year. After the Eagles made their try to take a 19-17 lead and Eli Manning drove the team into field goal range, of course he'd miss his first of the season. It just makes so much sad, sad sense. Like a damn Greek tragedy. Giants defense first to the bottom by a nose. Eagles the win by two. Sigh.
Grades: Offensive Line - C-: Their play at the start of the game was downright awful. It improved throughout, but, especially with Nicks out, Manning needs more time with which to throw than he was given Sunday.
Running Backs - C: It's hard to lay any of this at the feet of Brown or Bradshaw. They got little help from their offensive line, and both ran hard and took what they could. But still, "meh," is about the best I can say.
Wide Receivers - B: Some poor routes kept the offense sputtering in the first half, but overall, not a bad game for this unit. Hixon and Cruz made some quality catches; though perhaps a crunch time abusing of the cornerback should be avoided next time, Barden.
Eli Manning - C-: Manning did his best to put the Giants in position to win this game, but the imaginative mind can't help but wonder what this game would have been like had he not popped one up for Rodgers-Cromartie to camp under in the end zone.
Special Teams - B+: Ladies and gentlemen, David Wilson. Not since Dave Meggett have the Giants had a return game like the one they hinted at tonight. Additionally, It's hard to blame Tynes for missing a 54 yard field goal, especially when he's been so good up until that kick. Overall, good punts, quality coverage, quality night.
Defensive Line - D-: At some point, the Giant defensive line will figure out how to keep contain, and how to break down when one-on-one with Michael Vick. When they do? Look out. Until then: Ugh.
Linebackers - C-: I think some of the same contain hate I spelled out above should spill to the linebackers - who seemed, at times, unwilling to honor cutback lanes - but I don't think Boley and crew had the same mess of a game the defensive line did. Yes, one or two second half tackles of Shady McCoy would have been nice - but not a terrible game.
Defensive Backs - C+: Given the speed of the offense and the injuries running roughshod through this secondary, it's hard to lay a lot of blame at the feet of the secondary. They gave up under 250 yards passing and only one touchdown. Great? No. Enough? Yes. This ain't on them.
And so a tough night from Philadelphia, one that likely won't soon feel better. Check back mid week to see if it has as we preview Big Blue's next game against the Browns. Until then, here's a summation of tonight's game.