Believe it or not, folks, the Giants still have a shot at the playoffs, even after their defense-less 45-38 loss to the Eagles. As long as Dallas continues its December swoon, and the Giants beat Washington and Carolina, they've got as good a shot as any to sneak into that sixth playoff spot.
"It's still going to matter how we end the season," Eli Manning said. "Whether we're in first place tonight or not, these next three games are going to be important and they're still important to us right now. We just have to handle our business."
None of that is going to happen unless the defense finds some answers. It gave up another 374 total yards, not to mention a long touchdown strike from Donovan McNabb to DeSean Jackson that had safety Aaron Ross beaten by five yards. They played the run better, allowing 77 yards, but again failed to make key stops.
Can't blame this one on the offense, though. Hakeem Nicks, Brandon Jacobs, Ahmad Bradshaw, and Kevin Boss all contributed touchdowns as Eli Manning threw for a career-high 391 yards and three touchdowns. But the Giants lost the turnover battle 4-1. And they allowed a 72-yard punt return for a touchdown to Jackson to neutralize whatever tackling and coverage problems the Eagles had themselves.
Losing the turnover battle 4-1 was deadly, especially since one of the fumbles was returned for a touchdown.
"I'm disappointed with all the balls on the ground," Tom Coughlin said. "That's not what we preach. But we were in position to win, and then the clock became a factor."
Start with Jackson's 72-yard punt return for a touchdown in the second quarter on which he got a block and made a little move toward the sideline, and then ran right past punter Jeff Feagles for a 24-10 lead.
Then things got interested as the Giants answered with a touchdown, only to see Donovan McNabb answer that with a touchdown set up by his 44-yard throw to the deep sideline to Jackson.
Domenik Hixon's 61-yard touchdown catch put the Giants in the lead 31-30 with 5:12 remaining in the third quarter. But on the next play from scrimmage, Jackson caught his 61-yarder to pull ahead of the Giants for good at 37-31.
After Manning found Kevin Boss alone on a four-yard touchdown pass with 1:31 remaining in the game, Lawrence Tynes knocked his onsides kick attempt out of bounds to allow the Eagles to run the clock down to 28 seconds before punting the ball away. The Giants wound up getting the ball at their four, thanks to a roughness call on C.C. Brown, and were unable to move it from there.
Brandon Jacobs: He ran 15 times for 60 yards and a touchdown, but also had an early fumble that Sheldon Brown returned for a touchdown.
Steve Smith: With his seven catches for 74 yards, he eclipsed Amani Toomer's single-season franchise record for catches by three. Smith now has 85 catches for 1,053 yards.
Jonathan Goff: He started a second game at middle linebacker and came up with his first career interception.
Mario Manningham: He continues to have trouble finding his way on the sideline as his end zone catch for an apparent touchdown was reversed on replay when it was determined his second foot came down out of bounds.
Eli Manning: Despite a career-high 391 yards passing, he lost a late fumble on a scramble that kept the Giants at bay. "I'm disappointed because we did a lot of good things," Manning said. "We started off bad again, down 14-0, but we fought back. There's a lot there to take from, but we had a lot of missed opportunities, too. I just hope we can build from this."
Kevin Boss: He had seven catches for 70 yards and a touchdown as he became a viable option in the passing game for only the second time in the last four games.
Hakeem Nicks: He made a sparkling 68-yard touchdown catch to go along with his four catches for 110 yards in his first career start.
THE UGLY STUFF:
Can't get much uglier than an opponent who answers you at every turn, especially on the snap after you've fought all the way back from 14-0 to take a 31-30 lead. McNabb put together way too many easy drives.
RT Kareem McKenzie went out in the second quarter with a sprained left knee and did not return.
CB Corey Webster sprained his knee in the fourth quarter and did not return.
DE Justin Tuck suffered a neck injury in the second quarter and returned.