Like New Year's Eve, The Clock Was Ticking Down Towards A Giants End-of-Game Party In BIG BLUE'S Home Finale:
The Giants' Defense picked-off a Michael Vick pass on Philly's first possession but nothing came of it. It did help get the G-Men off on an early momentum high. Michael Vick was admittedly more conservative after that pass, he'd say after the game.
Over the Giants' first two possessions, Eli was off his mark. He over-threw two passes by considerable margins to begin the game. Then on his second possession he nearly had a tipped pass intercepted. Then with 3:36 left in the first quarter, Eli connected with Mario Manningham on a 35 yard touchdown.
Giants led 7-0 with 56:24 left in the game.
The Giants were comfortably leading in all the offensive categories when the 1st quarter ended. But before the first fifteen minutes expired, Eli had a pass batted and intercepted. To start the second quarter the Giants did well to limit the Eagles to a field-goal off the turnover.
Giants led 7-3 with 43:10 left in the game.
On the Giants third possession of the game, they marched 73 yards on 8 plays. Eli Manning hit Mario Manningham for another touchdown on a 33 yard play. It was their second touchdown connection of the day.
With 8:17 left in the first half, the Giants now led 14-3 (with 36:43 left in the game).
At this point in the game, the Eagles hadn't had a pass play longer than 7 yards. Michael Vick was being harassed and hit. Justin Tuck recorded a sack that had Vick walking off the field with a slight limp. The Giants clearly had the freakish quarterback out of his game.
Before the 2nd quarter wound down, the Giants engineered another drive highlighted by another one of those foolish pass attempts by Eli that could have very easily been his third INT of the day. That pass went incomplete. On the next play on 3rd down and 6 to go, Coach Gilbride called for a nifty screen pass to Ahmad Bradshaw that went for a first down and brought the Giants to the PHI-29 yard line. The drive eventually stalled out but not before the Giants kicked through three more points to increase their lead.
The Giants led 17-3 with .48 seconds left in the half (and 30:12 left in the game).
With less than a minute remaining before the break, the Giants kicked-off. Justin Tuck continued his harassment of Michael Vick with another near sack. Then there was a fumble by the Eagles.
A review of the fumble gave the Giants the ball on the Eagles 8 yard line with .09 left. On the first play from scrimmage, Eli connected with Kevin Boss for his third TD pass. The Giants had just scored 10 points in 43 seconds on this glorious Big Blue afternoon.
The Giants now led 24-3. The remaining .05 of the 1st half was a mere a formality as everyone headed towards the locker rooms.
Big Blue was showered with roars of praise, applause of appreciation and adulation that rained down on them from their jubilant fans as they filed off the field. Thirty minutes now separated New Meadowlands Stadium, this team and their fans from revelry celebrating their avenging an earlier loss to the Eagles and practically assuring themselves the NFC East Title and the chance for a first round bye.
Eli was marvelous to this point passing for three touchdowns and carrying the offense. Mario Manningham was beating his man the whole half as he too was having a spectacular half of Football. It was only a matter of Eli gaining a little more accuracy before they would connect and they did so twice.
The run game was finding yardage hard to come by but they were chipping away, and Coach Gilbride made noticeable efforts to get them going. There was no big play thunder from them yet, but they were pounding out effective short yardage.
This was truely turning into a great day of Giants' Football. Everything was transpiring just as I thought it would! I honestly didn't think Philly could stay close to us for this one particular Giant Sunday. You can take a minute if you like and read my NYG WEEK15 Preview HERE.
Start 2nd Half
In the second half, The New York Giants picked up where they left off with Michael Vick. Justin Tuck and Rocky Bernard combined for another sack of Vick. The third skirmish of the game broke out between the teams five minutes in. And for a while the teams traded punts and field position.
This is when I started thinking to myself, "Here we go again with our customary Third Quarter Offensive Disappearance Act." It's a not so new, but ever growing trend where Coach Gilbride gets impatient with the pace of the run game and starts passing unnecessarily. They've made for seemingly futile third quarters in their appearance.
Que the clock again:
At 5: 50 of the third quarter, the Giants received the ball fresh off a Philly punt. They began the possession with an Ahmad Bradshaw run. Eli then connected with his receiver of the day; Mario Manningham. BUT, inexplicably, HE FUMBLED THE BALL! He made the catch and was going out of bounds when, incredulously, he stuck out his arm, with the ball, and left the Pigskin on the field to be recovered by Philadelphia!
At 4:06 of the third quarter, the Eagles capitalized on the turnover and scored when Michael Vick found a wide open Maclin for a touchdown.
The score was now 24-10 with N.Y. leading, and 19:06 left in the game.
The third quarter would end rather meekly for both teams.
The Giants continued to keep pressure on Vick starting the fourth quarter as they almost got to him again. But on a 3rd down and 13, he eluded a rush and almost connected on a huge play to Maclin if not for a great break-up by Terrell Thomas.
After a 36 yard pass play to Kevin Boss, another Giants' possession fizzled out. Matt Dodge's punt went for a touch-back and the Eagles took over at their twenty.
Soon, a fumble by the Eagles was ruled incorrectly and the ball was awarded to the Giants. Philly Coach Andy Reid, I assume could not get the confirmation from his guys upstairs telling him to throw his red flag and challenge in time. He wound up sticking the flag back in his pocket and the fumble went unchallenged and all the while everyone watching at home knew the Eagles would win the call if Coach Reid had done so.
The Giants then went on a 7 play-47 yard drive ending with Eli Manning hitting Kevin Boss for an 8 yard touchdown. It was Eli's fourth touchdown pass of the game; a new personal best for him and number 28 for the season.
The Giants now led 31-10 and there was only 8:17 left in the game.
The Big Blue Faithful Crowd could hardly contain themselves. Giants Stadium was roaring with delight. The final regular season home game for the Giants and their fans through the first 51:43 was fast becoming one of this franchise's most signature victories. It would be coming against one of their oldest rivals which made this that much more satisfying.
The Giants kicked-off and Philadelphia started their next possession at 8:01 of the fourth quarter.
TIME KEEPER :
Please set the clock to reflect Eight Minutes To Midnight ? Thank You.
7:50 left ~ Eagles first down.
At 7:28 from the Eagles 35 yard line ~ MICHAEL VICK hits Philly TE-CELEK for a 65 yard TOUCHDOWN!! Giants fail to make tackles.
GIANTS 31; Eagles 17
At 7:27 ~ The Eagles line up to kick-off. The Giants offer a five-man front. EAGLES execute an On-Side Kick against a sleeping Giants' Special Teams Unit.
Philly takes over on their own 43 yard line. A pass is good for +13. On first and ten, VICK is almost sacked by DEON GRANT but escapes and RUNS FOR 39 YARDS to the Giants 9 yard line.
At 5:28 ~ Michael Vick runs for 8 yards and a TOUCHDOWN!! Philadelphia had just scored two touchdowns within 2 minutes.
GIANTS 31; Eagles 24
At 5:21 ~ Giants begin their possession. They gain positive yardage running with Ahmad Bradshaw. Philly exhausts all three of their time-outs during this Giant drive.
CLOCK STRIKES 5 MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT!
With a little over three minutes left in the game, the Giant drive comes to a grinding halt forcing them to punt again. The Giants pin Philly back on their own 12 yard line.
At 3:01 ~ Eagles begin their possession.
CLOCK STRIKES 3 MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT!
At 2:56 ~ Vick almost sacked by Cofield. Pass attempt is incomplete.
At 2:50 ~ Michael Vick runs 33 yards to Giant 45 yard line.
At 2:07 ~ From Giant 42 yard line, Vick runs to Giants' 19 yard line.
CLOCK STRIKES TWO MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT!
At 1:36 ~ Michael Vick 13 yard pass to Maclin; Terrell Thomas missed tackle; TOUCHDOWN.
At 1:16 The Score Was Now TIED 31-31.
At 1:10 ~ After Philly kicked-off and D.J. Ware returned the ball 21 yards, the Giants begin their possession.
CLOCK STRIKES ONE MINUTE TO MIDNIGHT!
The next three Giants' plays went like this:
*first and 10 ~ incomplete...no time off clock. (no run to kill clock)
*second and 10 ~ nearly picked off; incomplete; no time off clock (no run to kill clock)
*third and 10 ~ Eli sacked!
At 0.14 seconds left in the game the Giants must punt.
In what I can only guess was an attempt to win the game by going with three consecutive pass plays, the Giants gained no first downs and took little time off the clock.
Tom Coughlin instructs his young punter, Matt Dodge, to kick the ball out of bounds so as to take the game into Over-Time.
At 0.14 ~ Matt Dodge receives the snap from center and disobeys a direct order by punting a low line-drive to DeSEAN JACKSON.
DeSean Jackson momentarily fumbles the ball, recovers, and returns Matt Dodge's punt 65 yards for a TOUCDOWN.
There were no flags. And when everyone looked up, there was no time left on the clock and the scoreboard said:
THE GIANTS' CLOCK STRIKES MIDNIGHT
BIG BLUE's DOOMSDAY CLOCK GOES BOOM!
The Meadowlands Crowd is left
SHOCKED and AWED.
NEW YORK GIANTS: Eagles Stick Talons Into G-Men And Rip Their Fan's Hearts Out.
Silence ~ The party that never was. A silent crowd loitering around like zombies left in disbelief was all that remained in Giants Stadium for what can only be described as a disaster of epic proportion in their last regular home season game of 2010. The Giants all but assured they will not be the NFC East Champs; they will not receive a first-round bye, nor will they now be entitled to a home playoff game, and that's even if they make the playoffs at this point.
The Giants had an opportunity to reclaim greatness this season with this one game and simply BLEW IT! A crowd delighted to near perfect football for 52:00 minutes Sunday afternoon were made to go home dejected, deflated, demoralized, and because the finish was such a complete failure, the crowd also went home deranged and disoriented.
What started out as a game that looked to be one this franchise's most glorious victories, in the blink of an eye, turned on them and became one of this organization's all-time ultimate nightmares.
UNBELIEVABLE LOSS OF HISTORIC PROPORTION!
Giving up 28 points in the 4th quarter; Game ends on a punt return for a touchdown.
Coach Coughlin was right about one thing; There's enough blame to go around for everyone!
* The struggles started in the beginning the the third quarter when Coach Gilbride decided to get away from the running game. Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs combined for 31 carries and 100 yards for the game. It was an honest workman's performance that still required respect on Philly's part. Coach Gilbride all but made Jacobs disappear throughout the 2nd half.
This has been following right along with a mysterious trend of Offensive futility in the third quarters in games of late. Perhaps Coach Gilbride isn't adapting well enough to half-time adjustment made to his schemes? That's totally based on my frustration. This Offense can look so masterful and then so futile all in the same game, quarter or drive.
* How the hell does Mario Manningham fumble that ball? He just laid the ball on the field. I couldn't believe it! This is honestly when my panic settled in....well..., because I've seen these kind of things from the Giants before (reference 2003 playoff game vs 49ers)
* Poor/lack of tackling by Kenny Phillips on Celek's 65 yard Touchdown at 7:28 AND Terrell Thomas on Maclin at 1:16.
* Special Teams Coach Tom Quinn getting caught with his pants down on Philly's on-side kick. He posted a 5-man front. They were all running back for blocking on the assumed, ensuing kick. There's not a person on the unit who was thinking On-Side. Why? Everyone at home knew Philly had to attempt one to stay within reach. The Special Teams have been an Achilles Heal to us all year and everyone knew it. But no one...no one ever expected this. We'd given the unit only glancing criticisms because we've gotten away with their deficiencies. This game we were completely blind-sided. Special Teams finally bit us in the ass at the worst possible time.
* I need to know exactly what Def. Coordinator Perry Fewell had the guys doing out there for 52:00 minutes, then failed miserably at over the last 8 minutes. Maclin and Celek were continually wide open and Michael Vick was suddenly set free to run wild. Does having Justin Tuck dropping back in coverage really make sense to you, the fan and reader?
* With 1:10 left, the failure of the Giants' Offense to get a first down as they stumbled through a three and out series which left the Eagles with 0:14 seconds left. This is the very moment I spent Weeks 3 through 10 screaming about.
* THE PUNT!! What the hell was that? A failure to follow directions...that's what! His job was to kick the ball out of bounds. This also gets thrown back to the Special Teams Coach. This, and the punt coverage that was supposed to tackle the guy with the ball all fall on Coach Quinn.
* Coach Coughlin ~ I thought he was going to beat-up Matt Dodge right on the field. He immediately berated his young kicker and even put his hands on him for a sec... Coach really blew his stack. And I Can't Blame Him! Ya just gotta be careful there Coach.
Coach Coughlin; Coach Fewell; Coach Gilbride; Coach Quinn, the Offense, The Defense and the Special Teams, all contributed in an all-hands-on-deck effort to detonate this season.
I am still short many, many words to truely describe to you how I feel. But like I said, Giant fans have been here before.
So, yeah - the Giants lost their opportunity to have a great season...AGAIN. For this week we get to use words like disgusting; disaster; colossal meltdown, abysmal, atrocious, pathetic, ponderous...etc etc.
You get the picture.
The End...for now.