By Paul Dottino
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Coach Tom Coughlin made no excuses for how his Giants, specifically, the offense, failed to bring the proper intensity needed to beat the desperate Philadelphia Eagles. The horror show was all on tape, anyway.
The result? An ugly 17-10 loss Sunday night at MetLife Stadium.
The Eagles (4-6) came out from the opening kickoff and played as if their postseason lives depended on it. The Giants (6-4), who fell into a first-place tie with the Dallas Cowboys, played this game as if it were one of those preseason matchups in August. Well, almost.
The defense did an admirable job of keeping the Giants in the game, allowing Victor Cruz to tie it at 10 with a 24-yard TD pass early in the fourth quarter.
But then, even the defense caved in. It allowed an 18-play, 80-yard drive that took nearly nine minutes off the clock. Philadelphia backup quarterback Vince Young converted six first downs, the last an 8-yard touchdown strike to Riley Cooper with 2:45 on the clock.
Would it be Eli Manning’s time once again? Almost. He took the Giants down to the Eagles 21 before Jason Babin beat Kareem McKenzie for a strip-sack and Derek Landri sealed the win with his recovery with 1:17 left.
So let’s get to our weekly review:
Offense – WR Victor Cruz. The Paterson, N.J. native continues to produce, no matter how teams try to defend him. He has the ability to get open and Manning is comfortable enough to throw him the ball in any spot, regardless of the circumstances.
He snared the tying touchdown pass (he beat Nnamdi Asomugha in the left corner of the end zone) and finished with six catches for 128 yards. And let’s not forget how he came through on the Giants’ final drive and put them in scoring position – executing a 47-yard catch-and-run on 3rd-and-3 from the Giants 32.
Defense – LB Mathias Kiwanuka. The Giants had three interceptions (Kenny Phillips, Prince Amukamara, Aaron Ross), so it would be easy to take one of the members of the secondary.
First-rounder CB Amukamara, on his first NFL series, made a veteran play to grab an underthrown pass down the left sideline intended for DeSean Jackson. But we’re going to go with Kiwanuka for his consistent production throughout the night, registering seven tackles (including three for losses) while doing a sensation job of containing dynamic RB LeSean McCoy. And yes, we saw Kiwanuka trailing Steve Smith on a crossing route for a TD but it’s hard to imagine the scheme called for him to be responsible for the receiver on that play.
Special teams – P Steve Weatherford. He averaged 51.4 yards on nine punts, dropping four inside the 20 and posting a net of 44.4.
And how about how he forced Jackson out of bounds at the Giants 14 to save a touchdown late in the second quarter? Jackson raced 51 yards and sliced up the right sideline, but Weatherford did enough to force one of Jackson’s feet to touch the white stripe. Unfortunately, for the Giants, the next snap resulted in a TD pass to Steve Smith and a 10-0 Philadelphia lead.
Offense – Offensive line. The stats will show that Manning was sacked just three times, but it’s to his credit that he had the Giants in position to tie the game – given that he was battered throughout the night.
The Eagles did not even have to blitz, allowing their front four to close on the quarterback from the edges. RT Kareem McKenzie and LT William Beatty had a very difficult night and Manning rarely had time to pick out an open receiver. Even worse, the running game managed just 29 yards on 17 carries. It’s time for Coughlin to start thinking about inserting Stacey Andrews into the starting lineup at one of the tackle spots.
Defense – SS Deon Grant. It appeared there was a miscommunication on Riley Cooper’s touchdown catch, with him splitting Grant and FS Antrel Rolle. Did the Giants have man coverage or a zone on the play? Either way, Grant was caught near the end line in the back of the end zone while Cooper settled into an open space in front of him for the winning score.
Special teams- LB Greg Jones. He made the Giants’ final drive more difficult by getting called for a holding penalty with 2:45 to play. It negated Da’Rel Scott’s 22-yard return and forced the Giants to start from their own 9.
Who do you blame for the loss? Sound off below…