By Steve Silverman
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There’s some good news for the New York Giants.
At least they are not the Chicago Bears.
While the Giants went out to Seattle and came up 21 points short, they left it all on the field on offense. They had a third-quarter lead over the defending Super Bowl champions and the game was tied at the start of the fourth. They gave as good as they got for the majority of the game.
Eli Manning threw the ball 44 times, completed 29 passes and threw for 283 yards and a touchdown. Odell Beckham Jr. had another impressive game as he caught seven passes for 108 yards against the physical Seahawks secondary. Beckham is still learning, and his explosive speed means he will be a factor for years to come.
Then there’s Chicago.
The Bears put on a poor performance for the ages. They came off the field at halftime trailing the Green Bay Packers by a 42-0 margin, and that’s the biggest deficit that the Bears had ever faced after 30 minutes. By the time it was over, the Packers had hung a 55-14 defeat on the Bears. It was the second consecutive game Chicago had given up 50 points or more, something that no NFL team had done since 1923.
The Bears have a quarterback in Jay Cutler who looks like he doesn’t care, and I would dare anyone to put forth one iota of evidence that demonstrates that anything about football matters to him other than receiving a hefty paycheck.
They have a coach in Marc Trestman who is simply overwhelmed by the task of running an NFL team. His players have tuned him out, and the team has no leadership.
The Giants, on the other hand, have an outstanding quarterback who continues to bring it game after game. Manning wins playoff games on the road and Super Bowls. Tom Coughlin has demonstrated that he knows how to lead a team and reach his players.
The Bears thought of themselves as Super Bowl contenders at the start of the season, but they may not be able to win a game the rest of the season. Perhaps they will beat their old coach Lovie Smith when he brings his hapless Tampa Bay Bucs to Chicago. Perhaps not.
The Bears and the Giants were the benchmark franchises in the NFL for years. George Halas and Tim Mara were two of the league’s founding fathers and among the most prominent figures in league history.
Both teams are suffering through hard times right now, but at least the Giants are playing the game with effort and a desire to win. The Bears play as if pride doesn’t exist.
OK, so we know that the Giants are better than the Bears. That and $3.95 is going to get you a small coffee at Starbucks.
The Giants defense just got punched in the gut repeatedly by the Seattle running game in the second half, and they gave up 140 yards and four touchdowns to Marshawn Lynch, and another 107 rushing yards and a touchdown to quarterback Russell Wilson.
That’s the first time in NFL history a running back ran for four touchdowns and a quarterback ran for 100 yards in the same game.
The defense got pushed all over the field in the second half, and the Seahawks just kept pouring it on.
The Giants showed some fight, but they are still in the gauntlet part of their schedule. They get the 49ers next week before the Cowboys come calling. They don’t get a break until they go to Jacksonville in Week 13.
Coughlin has many decisions to make in the future. The short-term decisions are nothing new. He has to decide who he’s going to play and who he’s going to bench. He has to figure out who he can trust the rest of the season.
The long-term decisions will be difficult. Coughlin is 68, and this will be the third straight season that the Giants fail to make the playoffs. He has to figure out how much he wants to coach this team in the future.
A coaching junkie like Coughlin may not want to leave. That could work against him, because Giants general manager Jerry Reese has to decide how much he wants to keep Coughlin.
In the end, if Reese decides it’s best for the franchise to bring in new coaching blood, it’s something that would have to go upstairs to John Mara and Steve Tisch. You don’t just fire a head coach who has brought you two Super Bowls and is one of only 13 coaches in NFL history to win multiple Super Bowls.
But football is a results-oriented business. The idea is to win regular-season games, get to the playoffs and win the Super Bowl. If the powers that be in the organization believe that Coughlin has the energy and ability to turn the team around after three disappointing seasons in a row, they keep him around.
If not, they will make the hard choice and either remove Coughlin or let him have the option of resigning/retiring on his own.
Whatever happens the rest of the way, at least the Giants are not the Bears.
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