Don’t kill the punter, the Giants were simply outcoached last week in their epic meltdown against the Eagles. Matt Dodge was #1 on Giants fans “Who I want to murder this holiday season” list after his inexplicable punt to DeSean Jackson which led to the winning score as time expired. Note to the Tisch family: I can punt the ball out of bounds on a volunteer basis, saving you money and perhaps saving last week’s game.
If Dodge overlooked or was not aware of the team’s need for him to kick the ball out of bounds, then that is simply inexcusable. If he meant to kick the ball out of bounds but was grossly unable to execute the simple directive, then franklly that is inexcusable too. The image of the game was a beet-red Tom Coughlin blowing a gasket as he verbally scorched Dodge, while Dodge was unable to make eye contact with his coach. Coach Coughlin, its your job to get the team mentally ready to play, your job to get them all on the same page, your job to make sure everyone knows what their job is. When these basic team concepts disappear, its not a question of choking, getting burned by a superhuman Michael Vick or bad luck. The Giants were just outcoached.
While Philly was mentally tough the Giants were soft. While Philly brilliantly executed an onside kick down 21 with 7 to play, the Giants special teams unit was snoozing.
So now the Giants slip behind the Eagles in the NFC East, and instead of coasting into the playoffs they now have a showdown with a team that can knock them out of a Wild Card spot, the Green Bay Packers. That means one more pregame speech from Coughlin and one more chance for Big Blue to prove their critics wrong.
Aaron Rodgers returns to the Packers lineup after being sidelined with a concussion. While that lifts Green Bay it also means Rodgers will have a target on his back as the Jints try to recapture their quarterback-terrorizing ways that earlier this season led to a string of 6 opposing QBs getting knocked unceremoniously out of the game.
Sunday’s game is about one more chance for the Giants to be mentally tough. The great thing about this team is they can be terrible one week and then somehow pull an amazing performance out of their ass the next week. I’m not a “fire Coughlin guy” at all, but I will be if the Giants come out flat against the Packers or turn in another sloppy and incomplete effort.
While the running game has carried the Giants much of this season, it was Eli Manning and a stellar passing attack that excelled during the Giants three quarters of competence. I think Jacobs and Bradshaw must lead the way this week, its gotta be a “back to basics” grind it out type of Giants game for Big Blue to triumph
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Written by Mark Reichman