Once last season in the regular season. Once in the opening round of the playoffs and once this season. What has gone wrong? What does it mean? And, most importantly, what can the Giants do about it?
Here is how Giants.com summarized last season's 20-14 regular-season loss to the Eagles.
The Giants team that faced Philadelphia didn’t look like the Giants of 2008. The NFL’s highest-scoring team couldn’t score, getting its only offensive touchdown with 15 seconds remaining. The league’s leading rushing team ran for only 88 yards, about 72 less than their per-game average. The Giants were second in the NFL in average time of possession, but owned the ball for just 25:06. And the team that hadn’t allowed a 100-yard rusher in 14 games saw an opposing back, Westbrook, run for 131 yards. The Giants had season-low totals of 211 yards and 14 first downs (they also had 14 at Pittsburgh). They converted only three of 11 third down opportunities and went zero-for-three on fourth down. Manning completed less than half of his passes (13 of 27, 48.1 percent) for the first time this year, though at least three of his throws were dropped.
To sum it up, the Giants didn't play like the Giants.
From that same summary, here is how Giants.com captures the playoff loss.
The Giants picked a bad day to have a bad day and saw their season end with a 23-11 loss to the Eagles in a divisional playoff game in Giants Stadium.The Giants outgained Philly, 307-276, including 138-59 on the ground, but failed to score a touchdown, despite advancing as far as Philadelphia’s 17-yard line three times – and had a first down on the 11 on their initial possession – but settled for field goals each time. The Giants converted only three of 13 third down opportunities. Their last five possessions ended, in order, with a missed field goal, twice on downs, an interception and a fumble.
This season's 40-17 loss to the Eagles in the 8th game of the season? If you'll recall, here is how bad it it was.
Let me start with an admission. This is probably the first 'Kudos & Wet Willies' in Big Blue View history that is being written without my having watched the entire game either live or via the DVR. When LeSean McCoy went 66 yards for a score to make it 40-17 I packed it in. I had seen all I could stomach, and all I needed to see to write this edition of 'K&WW.' I'm not going back and watching any of it again, either.
How bad was it? I actually spent the fourth quarter out in my back yard cleaning up leaves. That was more fun than watching that embarrassment.
After the game Tom Coughlin sounded pretty much the way I felt. He didn't want to watch the carnage, either.
"We didn't tackle well, our secondary didn't tackle well," said Coughlin. "We had created holes in the line of scrimmage, we didn't cover kicks well; we again threw interceptions...that's not the kind of football we teach. We definitely put ourselves in this funk -- whatever you want to call it."
What is it about the Eagles that seems to bring out the worst in the Giants? I certainly don't know. I do know, however, that it has been a long time since the Giants looked like themselves when Andy Reid's Eagles were on the other side of the line of scrimmage.
(E-mail Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org)