Monday, October 1, 2012

Eagles Hold Off Comeback, Drop Giants

Sunday, September 30 2012
Post Game Recap
Final Score: New York Giants: 17 Philadelphia Eagles: 20
Eagles Hold Off Comeback, Drop Giants

It was another classic game in the rivalry between the Giants and Eagles that ended in a way becoming too commonplace for Giants fans.  The Giants were outplayed and lost a heartbreaking game, giving them nine losses in the last 10 games including the playoffs.
The Giants had their opportunity to win, as Eli Manning put the Giants ahead half way through the fourth quarter, but the Giants defense could not contain the Eagles offense.  Manning put the Giants in place for a game winning field goal from Lawrence Tynes, but had them in better position before a questionable throw to Ramses Barden that resulted in 10-yard offensive pass interference on Barden.

Manning had a good game, but had an opportunity to make it an excellent game if not for some uncharacteristic mistakes by the usually calm and cool-mannered Manning.  Manning started the fourth quarter with an ugly interception, not seeing Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on a pass intended for Martellus Bennett.  The Eagles converted that turnover into a field goal, giving them a 16-10 lead.  That was a big shift in the game, as it was at least a six point swing, potentially 10 as the Giants were banging on the door of the end zone.

Manning was able to redeem himself following the Eagles’ field goal, as he manufactured an 83 yard drive on five plays, giving the Giants a 17-16 lead.  Manning hit both Barden and Domenik Hixon for big plays, ending the drive with a six-yard touchdown pass to Bear Pascoe.

After the defense was unable to hold the Eagles scoreless, Manning had his shot to win the game.  Manning was able to drive the Giants down to the Eagles 27 yard line thanks to two pass interference calls against the Eagles trying to guard Barden.

Manning went to the well one too many times, attempting another deep pass to Barden on the sidelines, this time resulting in an offensive pass interference and moving the Giants back to the Eagles 37 yard line, setting up Tynes for a 54 yard field goal instead of 44.
It was a moment of lapse in judgment for Manning, who if given the opportunity would definitely do it different next time.  The Giants were already in field goal range for Tynes, so the deep pass was unnecessary; a running play to set up Tynes in the middle of the field would have sufficed. Also, Barden was well covered and was put into a bad position by Manning, who took responsibility saying it was not the correct throw. 

The penalty also put the Giants in a tough position, as they had no timeouts remaining and with only 15 seconds left in the game.  Running a play was too risky, as it was third down so the Giants would not have been able to spike the ball to stop the clock and if the player was unable to get out of bounds the game would have been over.

People will criticize head coach Tom Coughlin for the decision, but he made the correct decision in my opinion because he at least gave his team a chance to win the game with the 54 yard kick.  Had he ran another play, Tynes may not have even had an opportunity to kick.

Manning was missing his best weapon in Hakeem Nicks for the second straight game, but saw a big performance from Hixon in his place.  Hixon led the Giants in receiving tonight, gaining 114 yards on six receptions.  Hixon stepped up much in the way Barden did last week against the Panthers.  Even with the strong performance by Hixon, Manning and Giant fans alike are anxious to see Nicks return to the field.

The secondary became even more of a mess tonight; yet another starter went down with injury.  The Giants entered the game without rookie Jayron Hosley, who had a hamstring injury and Kenny Phillips suffered a gruesome looking knee injury in the first half and was replace by Stevie Brown.  Michael Coe and Antrel Rolle were dealing with hamstring and knee injuries entering the game, but were active.  Corey Webster was also active even with a broken left hand.
The Giants secondary is decimated and losing Phillips would be the most devastating blow of the bunch.  Terrell Thomas being lost in training camp hurts, but Phillips is who sets up the defense and is an intimidating presence in the defensive backfield.  He is a leader out there and the Giants were visibly affected after he left the game, becoming gun shy against the speedy Eagles’ offense.

The Giants return to MetLife Stadium for their week five game against the Cleveland Browns.  This has trap game written all over it, as the Giants have a huge match-up with the San Francisco 49ers in week six.  After the loss tonight though, full confidence should be stored in Coughlin and the coaching staff to come out strong against a very young and inexperienced Browns team.

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