By: Kyle McMorrow
A first-round bye, two weeks of preparation, and a roster full of rested players translated into one of the worst losses in recent memory for the New York Giants Sunday afternoon.
In a game that featured two teams who know each other all too well, it was the Philadelphia Eagles who seemed to know just what to do in every situation they faced, as they took down the defending super bowl champions at home.
If their was ever a time to expose the Giants offense for what it really is, the Eagles picked a great day to do it on. With no receiving threat, Eli Manning reverted to his old form by throwing passes off his back foot, and making big mistakes in key parts of the game.
The Giants quarterback threw two interceptions, one that translated into points for the opposition, and struggled to hit his targets all day. The Plaxico Burress ripple effect has clearly affected his performance way beyond the numbers.
Without a big threat wide receiver, Manning didn’t have a security blanket to protect him from a pass rush. Adding to Manning’s inability to make the Eagles defense pay for blitzing, he seemed to never be in any kind of sync with his receivers. The offense seemed to be out of rhythm, falling inches short of making key plays that could have swung the game into the Giants favor heading into the second half.
As the Eagles defense crowded the box with their safeties, Eli tried a number of times to beat them deep, but you can’t make role players into star players, and that’s what made Burress irreplaceable on the offense. His presence alone used to be enough to create havoc in the secondary, causing the safeties to play over the top of him, freeing up the box for the Giants running game. With Dominic Hixon taking the place of Burress, the defense showed no respect, and thus the Giants offense paid the price.
But even with a lack of star power at the receiver spot, the Giants still had more than enough opportunities to put the Eagles away. With five trips inside the Eagles 20-yard line, the Giants were only able to score a measly nine points. Manning squandered his team’s chances in the red zone with poor decisions and a lack of trust in his passes. His performance against the Eagles is reminiscent of his earlier years, when most of the time it left everyone scratching their head in disbelief of his decisions.
In short, the Giants “passing attack” Sunday afternoon could be compared to the cold war, a lot of scares but no actual blows were thrown.
It was a sad end to a promising season, a season that every Giant fan should chalk up as the season that could have been.
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