For all you worry-warts out there who fretted when the Giants lost two straight, my apologies. You were right. There are some serious questions about the 5-3 Giants right now in light of their 40-17 loss to the Eagles today, and they go far beyond the potential to take the NFC East title. Oh, in case you're wondering, they've now fallen into third place behind Philly and Dallas.
At this point, they'd be lucky to win a minor college championship. It's all ugly. The defense has allowed 112 points in the three-game losing streak, including at least 40 points to each of the Saints and Eagles. The first-half offense has now been outscored 160-85 thanks to a 30-7 drubbing over the first 30 minutes today.
The Giants' troubles have officially gone from a blip on the schedule to full-fledged disaster. And with San Diego coming up before the bye, and Atlanta, Denver, Dallas, and Philadelphia coming immediately after it, one has to wonder where that record will stand in six weeks.
Here is the summary.
Plenty, from the Eagles' end. But start with Leonard Weaver. Never heard of him? Neither had the Giants, apparently. The fullback had carried all of four times going into the game. So what does he do on his first carry of an eight-carry, 75-yard day? Busts one up the middle for a 41-yard touchdown run and a 7-0 lead less than two minutes in. Nobody came close to catching him.
As if Weaver wasn't bad enough, Eli Manning threw his first interception on his third play from scrimmage, which Asante Samuel brought back 37 yards to set up a second touchdown.
Down 16-0, Manning found lightly-used Kevin Boss for an 18-yard scoring pass in the second quarter to get the Giants back into the game.
Oops. That hope lasted all of eight seconds as Donovan McNabb found DeSean Jackson for a 55-yard scoring pass against, who else, C.C. Brown for a 23-7 lead with 1:38 left in the second quarter.
Kevin Boss: He went into the game with 14 catches for 196 yards and no touchdowns, but was a big receiver today, and could have been even bigger had Manning's passes been anywhere near him. He was targeted nine times, but would up with three catches for 70 yards and a touchdown on which he made a great adjustment to turn his body in the end zone and reach for the ball. He was the only offensive bright spot.
Steve Smith: He caught eight passes for 68 yards and emerged again as the only really reliable receiver. He had 12 passes thrown in his direction.
Domenik Hixon: Remember those kickoff returns a couple of weeks ago. Seems like forever now, especially after he dropped the second-half kickoff without the benefit of a big hit.
C.C. Brown: He was victimized all day in the passing game, especially on the 55-yarder to Jackson when he was late getting over to help Corey Webster. Webster had a perfectly horrible game himself, as his missed tackle on Jason Avant allowed the wide receiver to turn a short, first-quarter gain into a 28-yarder and a first down on a 15-play field goal drive.
Eli Manning: The quarterback continues to fiddle and faddle at the line, leading to a complete lack of offensive rhythm. As they struggled to come from behind, he showed no apparent urgency to get the snap off, allowing the clock to run down and then huddling for an inordinate amount of time despite Tom Coughlin's urgings to get going. Add the 19 incompletions, a couple of which barely missed being intercepted, and it was apparent he was a big part of the problem.
Hakeem Nicks: He continues to impress, catching one ball in tight coverage and then fumbling a screen pass, picking it up, and running the width of the field the other way to pick up seven yards. He finished with four catches for 53 yards, including a 35-yarder.
THE UGLY STUFF:
As if letting up a 39-yard kickoff return to Ellis Hobbs and a 55-yard scoring throw to DeSean Jackson on consecutive plays after creeping back into the game wasn't enough, the Giants allowed the Eagles to score another touchdown after Manning's second interception before halftime. That gave the winners 14 points in a minute of possession time, and allowed them to take a 30-7 lead into halftime.
Thanks to a recovered fumble on a kickoff, the Giants got back to 33-17 in the third quarter and positioned themselves for what might have been a miracle finish. But on the Eagles' next possession, Shady McCoy found a huge hole up the middle and went 66 yards untouched for a touchdown just seconds into the final quarter. Combined with Weaver's 41-yarder, the defense allowed 107 yards of rushing touchdowns, this from a unit that was supposed to pride itself on stopping the run.
Not that it would have mattered in the end, but the Giants nearly had a touchdown on Fred Robbins' third-quarter strip-sack on McNabb. Robbins picked up the fumble and lateraled it to Osi Umenyiora, who took it in for an apparent score. But Andy Reid's replay challenge showed that Robbins' flip went forward, and the Giants were given the ball but assessed a five-yard penalty for an illegal forward pass. They eventually settled for Lawrence Tynes' 42-yard field goal.
Domenik Hixon came out of the game in the fourth quarter to have his foot x-rayed and did not return.
Kevin Boss was shaken up on a third-quarter tackle but returned.
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