If you watched the first 52.5 minutes of the game between the Giants and Eagles for first place yesterday and then shut the TV off, you would surely be thinking today the Giants are atop the NFC East soundly in first place as they were leading by 21 points with a score of 31-10. But as they say in this league, you have to play all 60 minutes to win in the NFL and whoever they are must be right as the Eagles came all the way back to score 28 points in the final seven and a half minutes to beat the G-Men 38-31 in what is now being coined the new miracle in the Meadowlands.
The Giants through the years have suffered some devastating losses to the Eagles, anyone remember the original miracle in the Meadowlands back in 1978 when then Giants QB Joe Pisarcik, fumbled a kneel down play having the ball bounce right into Eagles Herm Edwards for an incredible loss. How about more recent history such as 2003 when Eagles RB Brian Westbrook returned a punt with less than a minute to play to beat the Giants once again. Mark the date down, December 19th, 2010 has erased all the history and replaced it with the worst loss of all time for the Giants and Eagles rivalry.
The Giants dominated in this game from the opening kickoff, with an offensive display led by Eli Manning who threw for 4 TD’s (Mario Manningham with two TD’s, Hakeem Nicks and Kevin Boss with one a piece). The defense dominated Michael Vick and the Eagles offense shutting them down to only 74 yards (33 passing from Vick) when the Giants in the same time frame had 222 yards and a 24-3 lead in the first half. The third quarter was more of the same as the Giants held a 31-10 lead with 7:12 to play in the game, but then it started to unravel. The Eagles simply kept plugging away and scored one 65 yard TD from Vick to TE Brent Celek, then they tried and recovered an onsides kick that the Giants weren’t even expecting (How is that possible?) and the tides started to turn. Michael Vick then took over the game showing everyone why he is undoubtedly the NFL MVP rushing for 94 yards in the fourth quarter capped off by a 4 yard TD run with 5:28 remaining. The Giants still were up by 7 with the ball and were driving but stalled at the Eagles 40 yard line. A punt to the 12 yard line started the drive for the Eagles where Vick finished with a 13 yard strike to Jeremy Maclin tieing up the game at 31 points each stunning the Giant crowd. The Giants abandoned the run when they needed it most keeping the Eagles in the game and it was three and out for the Giants with 12 seconds left in the game. So you would think kick it out of bounds and the game will go to overtime, not so fast as punter Matt Dodge finally decided all his terrible punts this year were not enough for the Giants fans to endure, he chose this time to do the unthinkable and kicked the ball on a line drive to Desean Jackson who returned it 65 yards all the way to the house rubbing it in the Giants faces by taunting them with a slow sideline to sideline run on the 1 yard line before scoring the winning TD with no time left on the clock.
The Giants did the unthinkable, they lost a game they almost couldn’t lose with first place in the NFC East, the 2nd seed in the playoffs and a least one home game in the playoffs on the line. They simply cannot beat the Eagles as this is the 6th consecutive loss to the hated rival from down the NJ Turnpike. This kind of a loss will either galvanize a team around a common cause changing a season for the good or will destroy the season and probably the head coaching job for Tom Coughlin as well. We should know pretty early on where they stand next week against the GB Packers. The Giants still control their destiny for a wild card birth. A win against the Packers all but assures them a playoff spot. One day after this horrific game, the Giants are saying and doing all the right things. Eli Manning for the first time ever in his career held a players only closed door meeting today where he was the lone speaker and spoke of only looking ahead to GB and getting ready to get back on track. This game hurt a lot, but it is time for the Giants to not let it linger. If the Giants don’t make the playoffs, it will be this game that crushed their hopes and will go down as the worst loss in their storied franchises history, but if they get back on track next week this game can be a mere footnote in the history books. It is up to the players to respond; only time will tell.
About the Author
Written by Dennis Napoliello
Graduate of Providence College with a BS degree in Business Administration. While at Providence College, I co hosted the #1 radio program titled "The Sports Page". I make my living in the fitness industry as National Vice President of Sales at David Barton Gym located in New York City. On a personal note, I have been a long standing Giants fan as my family has held season tickets since the opening of Giants Stadium in 1976. I now own the tickets and enjoy going to the game with my three children (Peyton, Trevor and Camryn), wife (Michelle), Dad (Al) and brother in law (Chris). Other than college, I have lived my entire life in NJ and currently reside in Roxbury, NJ. My objective with this blog is to have fun writing, along with my two sons, about the team we love, and to be as objective as possible always trying to give you the fans point of view,