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Giants Had One Hand on a Win But Lost by a Knee to the Cowboys


Giants lost by 1 point yet again, this time to the Cowboys in Week 17. Here are, like, my opinions man…

I was *this* close to coming through on my Bob Costas prophesy from last week.

Of course, we should know by now that the odds of 2018 Eli Manning leading a last-minute, game-winning drive are slim pickins, son. He had the opportunity last week against the Colts and threw a game-ending pick. Since 2012, Eli’s been on the losing end of the scoreboard when it comes to game-winners far more times than he hasn’t.

2018:

  1. Panthers
  2. Eagles
  3. Colts
  4. Cowboys

2017:

  1. Eagles
  2. Bucs

2015:

  1. Falcons
  2. Saints
  3. Patriots
  4. Jets
  5. Panthers

2014:

  1. Cowboys
  2. Jaguars

2013:

  1. Cowboys

14 last-minute or last-second losses in 6 seasons. HAS to be a record.

You’d think losing so many heartbreakers would’ve hardened me. Turned me into a man of steel. But, this one still stung. Still irked me. Everyone said this was a meaningless game but that meant nothing to me when Giants came up 1 point short for the second week in a row. I can’t not feel fury.

I’ve never been good at rooting for my team to tank. I don’t know how people do it. Weirdly enough, once the Giants were officially eliminated from postseason contention, I was like I want to see good football, I’m okay with losing as long as we put up a fight and make it interesting. Sans the Titans game, the Giants have done just that and it’s disintegrating my insides.

Unlike the 2017 season – when it was unbearable to watch – the 2018 season has given us a lifetime’s worth of highlights in 16 games a la Saquon.

And how about backup QB Kyle Lauletta lining up at wideout and throwing a block. I have no idea what that was all about but I was really looking forward to some real wacky shenanigans out of Shurmur. But, that was it. I’ll be thinking about that for the next 8 months.

From NFL.com:

“Saquon Barkley is the 3rd rookie in NFL history to gain 2,000+ scrimmage yards in a season (HOF Eric Dickerson (2,212 in 1983) & IND Edgerrin James (2,139 in 1999).”

“Saquon Barkley has surpassed Reggie Bush (88) for the most receptions by a rookie running back in a single season in NFL history”

Barkley’s like the complete opposite of Groundhog Day. We all know he’s unlike any other player to ever play the game. Yet, we’re stupefied when he breaks off a run because we’ve never seen it before. Can you imagine if his games weren’t televised or broadcast? Imagine the nitwits who see the play-by-play in print or on gamecast and think ho-hum, Barkley with another dull 1-yard gain. Meanwhile, he juked half the defense out of their skeletons and defied physics for 20+ yards en route to that 1-yard. The NFL has to start awarding points for style. My man’s got more flair than a TGI Friday’s birthing a Benihana’s.

As bedazzzling as Barkley is, Eli is just as maddening. I feel like I’ve typed that a million times this year. Opening drive, 3rd and 4 from the Cowboys’ 6. Eli stares down Sterling Shepard in the corner and gets picked. Manning got GOT by the corner who was watching Eli’s cold, lifeless eyes the entire play. Bennie Fowler was building a goddamn fort out of medical equipment he was so wide open underneath for the first down and possible TD.

Prior to the game, Eli was 38 of 82 for 250 yards, 18 TD, and 1 INT in the red zone. That said, Big Ben has 4 picks in the red zone and Stafford has 3. I wouldn’t be able to handle that kinda blue-ballin’ from my QB.

With the first quarter winding down, Eli strafes (?) left, doesn’t see the rush and has the ball knocked loose mid-throw. Dallas recovers.

Dallas has 3rd and 1. Curtis Riley comes up and has Rod Smith dead to rights but doesn’t wrap up. Throws him a shoulder. I know it seems like I’m picking on Curtis. And I am. The guy has multiple plays per week that are hard to overlook.

Feels like all I saw all day long was a Giants linebacker trying to keep up with a small, speedy wide receiver. Not sure if that’s Dallas dialing up genius schemes or the Giants being woefully out of place. Why is Tae Davis on Tavon Austin? Why is BJ Goodson on Cole Beasley?

Remember when I said Eli has that one perfect pass per game that somehow convinces people he’s got 15 more years in him? The dime to Latimer was this week’s career extender…

I got irrationally angry when Pam Oliver said she talked to Pat Shurmur and he told her that his guys are playing hard. The broadcasters made sure to repeat this no less than a dozen times. Hey Pat, super awesome your guys are playing hard fo ya but ALL YOUR STARTERS ARE LOSING TO MOSTLY BACKUPS!

While the offense was just starting to come around, the defense could not decode Blake Jarwin. He’s the first tight end since Billy Joe Dupree is the 70s to have 3 touchdowns in one game.

Another 3rd down for the Cowboys, another conversion. Curtis Riley straight up Olé’s Blake Jarwin. I think I saw a Spaniard toss a rose at Curtis. Riley’s second on the team in INTs and third in total tackles and I’d prefer it if he never wore a Giants uniform again. Maybe I’d consider letting him wear one for group celebrations in the end zone.

Some drives you’d think the Giants forgot how to football. Then, other drives, they steamroll. It’s one of life’s greatest unexplained mysteries. One thing that mystifies me most is how extraordinary Evan Engram is and why he’s not targeted more often. Double E had 8 targets and that somehow doesn’t seem like enough. Some of his catches come on pretty simple routes and he just leaves his defender in the dust. If we’re throwing the ball 30-40 times, I’m good with Engram getting 10-12 looks. 56 targets in 10 games played prior to Sunday. Stop dumping the ball off the Barkley well behind the LoS and praying for miracles.

The Giants finally got a pass rush. We won’t mention how it was against backups. 4 sacks, 2.5 from Olivier Vernon.

Of course, the defense also has this incredible ability to let the opposing team drive right down the field and score right after the Giants take the lead.

So, with 3:25 on the clock, Barkley believes that he can fly. And he also believes that he can touch the sky. He thinks about it every night and day. Spreads his wings and flies away. He believes that can soar. Something about an open door.

Cue the Giants defense politely escorting the opposing offense down the field, right?

WRONG.

Kerry Wynn with the big time clutch hit to jar the ball loose. Giants recover in Dallas territory. Touchdown here *SHOULD* ice the game. Instead, we get three bland Barkley runs (IF THAT’S EVEN POSSIBLE) so the Cowboys burn through all their timeouts and the Giants settle for a field goal. The moment that happened I knew the Giants were going to lose. More than 2 minutes on the clock + 2 minute warning = disaster.

4th and 15 from the Giants 32. AT WORST, the Cowboys maybe pick up the first down. And, my picture went out. Screen went black. Video buffering. By the time, I get it back up and running, I see a slow-motion replay of Cole Beasley catching the ball and getting one knee down in the end zone.

 

Decades of hearing John Madden say that and fully knowing he wrote a book with that title and I refuse to believe it.

I have to wait to see the full replay and it’s every single near-victory the Giants have ever squandered rolled into one tight sushi.

It’s only fitting that BW Webb is the one getting beat on that TD.

It’s only fitting that a guy wearing Eli Apple’s number gets beat on the 2-point conversion.

But, there’s 1:11 left on the clock! That’s plenty of time for Eli Manning to lead a game-winning drive! After all, he has 42 in his career! We won’t mention how only 2 of those have been orchestrated in the last 2 minutes!

As soon as the broadcast team brings up that stat / fact, I know the game’s over. Of course, I can’t fight the hope that twinkles inside my appendix. The Cowboys had a penalty that pushed back the kickoff. Mr. One Hand Man Cody Latimer fields the ball at the 14 and takes it to the Giants’ 49. All we freaking need is like 15 yards. FIFTEEN YARDS. 45 FEET! IN 1 MINUTE.

And we got:

Pass incomplete short left to B.Fowler.
Pass incomplete deep right to E.Engram.
Pass incomplete deep right to S.Shepard.
Pass incomplete short middle to C.Latimer.

 

From NFL.com:

“Eli Manning is one of two QBs in NFL history with 4 seasons of 10+ losses in his career, joining Jim Everett.”

Look, I get it. If Eli had the top defenses from 2007 and 2011, maybe he wouldn’t be on the short end of the stick 14 times in 6 seasons. Maybe he wouldn’t have lost 10+ games in four of his last five seasons. I blamed Jerry Reese for not providing Eli with the supporting cast to ensure the twilight of his career would be his Golden Years. But, damn, man. 15 yards. 2-3 completions tops. Play the hits. Don’t lean on Fowler and Latimer. Why go for the home run when you know THREE of your weapons can win the quick route.

I have a whole ‘nother post coming about what the Giants should do in the offseason to be competitive in 2019 but the QB situation is fairly straightforward in my mind:

Make Eli Manning Great Again.

What does that mean? It means drafting Giants fanatic Dwayne Haskins and signing either Teddy Bridgewater or Nick Foles. It means forcing Eli to take a paycut. It means getting Eli out of his comfort zone. It means lighting a fire under Manning’s fanny.

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