‘From the Pressbox’
By Ernie Palladino
» More Ernie Palladino Columns
Ernie is the author of “Lombardi and Landry.” He’ll be covering football throughout the season.
Three years now. Same thing.
The Giants have control of a playoff spot, they come across an eminently beatable team like the Redskins, and away they go.
Right down the rabbit hole.
Sunday’s misadventure turned into a 23-10 loss, a setback where neither defense, an exploitable entity all season, nor the usually reliable offense produced.
Brandon Jacobs said this 7-7 team played without passion. Justin Tuck said he was at a loss for words to describe the lack of fire the Giants showed after the Redskins went up by a very recoverable 10-0.
They all seemed shocked of course. That’s how players are. Lay an egg. Wonder where it all went wrong.
But the fans who populated MetLife Stadium shouldn’t be puzzled at all. The Giants were simply following their recent history. It’s been three years now that we have seen similar flubs, some even worse than Sunday’s where a 5-9 team ran and passed and intercepted the 7-7 Giants to complete a season’s sweep.
Let’s take ourselves back to the tail end of 2009. The Giants weren’t in horrible shape back then, playoff-wise. They were, despite numerous injuries, 8-6 and within perfect range to earn a playoff berth. All they had to do, really, was beat Carolina, which was struggling then at 6-8.
What happened in the final game at Giants Stadium was a disaster of the most embarrassing type. Essentially folding their tents, the Giants lost 41-9.
They still had a shot the next week in Minnesota, but another folderoo resulted in a 44-7 blowout, leaving Tom Coughlin’s bunch on the outside looking in.
And does anyone want to remember last season? All they needed to do to clinch the playoffs was beat Philadelphia. And the 9-4 Giants were in perfect position to as they took a 31-10 lead into the fourth quarter.
We all know what happened then. Twenty-eight points by Michael Vick and company, and the Giants went down to arguably the most humbling defeat in their history.
Still, they held their playoff hopes in their own hands going into Green Bay. That didn’t work out, either, as the Packers ripped them up for 21 unanswered points down the stretch of a 45-17 setback.
What would be relatively new for the Giants would be a recovery from Sunday’s loss, a Christmas Eve win over a Jets squad that got run over by the Eagles and a season-ending, New Year’s Day victory over the Cowboys.
It may well come down to that. Two wins in the last two weeks. The Giants haven’t ended that way since 2002, after which Jim Fassel’s 10-6 squad melted in the playoffs to San Francisco.
Coughlin’s Giants will have to duplicate that feat now if they expect to get into the playoffs via the NFC East title. And that would involve sweeping Dallas. Not an easy road considering how the Cowboys manhandled Tampa Bay Saturday.
Losing five out of six is hardly the way to go into the playoffs. Despite lingering hopes, any playoff projections off the way the Giants played Sunday would have to involve long odds.
“I still have confidence,” Justin Tuck said. “We laid an egg today, but I’ve seen us rebound from things like this a lot of times.”
Not in these circumstances. History is against them in this case.
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