Giants Vs. Eagles: Five Plays That Led To Catastrophe

NFL Clip Of The Week Eagles vs. Giants Highlights! (Michael Vick Beastin) December 19, 2010 (via Eboi90)

This will be painful, no doubt, but every New York Giants fan remembers what happened the last time the Giants met the Philadelphia Eagles. The epic fourth-quarter collapse by the Giants that -- for all intents and purposes -- imploded the Giants 2010 season.

Let's go through the five fourth-quarter plays that doomed the Giants, along with my thoughts on each play. If you can stomach the memory, the 'Five Plays That Led To Catastrophe' are after the jump.

First, we set the stage. Eli Manning fires an 8-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Boss to give the Giants a 31-10 lead over the Eagles with 8:23 to go. The five-game losing streak to Philadelphia seems like it is over ... as long as the Giants don't do anything stupid. From there, we know what happened.

Play No. 1

Brent Celek's 65-yard touchdown reception: On the second play from scrimmage after the Giants took a 31-10 lead, the Eagles got the one thing they needed to give them hope -- a quick score.It made the score 31-17 with 7:32 remaining.

My thoughts: First, what is it about the 65-yard thing? A 65-yard score started, and ended, the collapse. Anyway, this is a play that never should have happened and this one is on defensive coordinator Perry Fewell. This was a zone blitz in which Justin Tuck was trying to cover Celek man-to-man all the way down the field, an utterly impossible task for Tuck who was still chasing Celek when he crossed the goal line. Kenny Phillips also deserves from blame for a total whiff on a tackle of Celek at the Giants' 35-yard line.

Play No. 2

David Akers onside kick: The Eagles caught the Giants by surprise here with the onside kick, and recovered it easily at their own 43-yard line with 7:28 to play.

My thoughts: Tom Coughlin fell on his sword here, taking the blame for deciding against having the Giants 'hands' team in the game in anticipation of a possible onside kick. I still maintain this one was on special teams coordinator Tom Quinn, and that it should have cost him his job. How the Giants could not have at least lined up their 'hands' team and tried to take that option away from the Eagles is completely indefensible. The Giants were unprepared, obvious when you watch Duke Calhoun and Gerris Wilkinson peel back as Akers approaches the ball.

Play No. 3

Michael Vick's 35-yard scramble to the Giants 9-yard line: Two plays after the onside kick Vick escaped a blitz and took the ball inside the 10-yard line, setting up the next Eagles' score.

My thoughts: You have to give Vick credit for tremendous athleticism, but this is a play Deon Grant clearly should have made. Grant blitzes untouched up the middle and has Vick nailed, until he inexplicably leaves his feet and tries to go high. Vick ducks under Grant and takes off. All Grant has to do here is stay on his feet and Vick has absolutely nowhere to go.

Play No. 4

Vick's 33-yard scramble on third-and-10 from his own 12-yard line: Still trailing by a touchdown, the Eagles face third-and-10 from their 12-yard line with 2:50 left in the game. The Giants blitz again, but Vick escapes the pocket and runs all the way to the Philadelphia 45.

My thoughts: This was a defensive breakdown by the Giants, specifically an Aaron Ross breakdown. The one thing you cannot do against Vick is allow him to break contain and run to his left. Ross blitzes from Vick's right and has the contain on that side, with linebacker Michael Boley bearing down on Vick from the inside. Ross, inexplicably, jumps to the inside and gives Vick the opportunity to escape.

Play No. 5

DeSean Jackson's game-winning (or losing for the Giants) 65-yard punt return: Jackson muffs a punt on the final play of the game, picks the ball up, breaks the initial wall of Giants defenders and is gone, showboating his way into the end zone to the horror of the Giants and their fans.

My thoughts: Sooooooo many thoughts on this play. It is so easy to blame everything on rookie punter Matt Dodge, who took the brunt of the blame and has, basically, been run out of town because of the play. If Dodge kicks the ball out of bounds, the game goes to overtime, of course, but the blame cannot all go on the punter.

Start with Pro Bowl snapper Zak DeOssie, who chose that moment to give Dodge one of his worst snaps of the season. A ball high and to the right that the mechanically inconsistent Dodge has to leap and reach for, screwing up his technique on the punt and allowing him a clear look at an Eagles rusher coming off the edge in the direction he wants to kick the ball.

Dodge clearly wants the ball to go out of bounds to the right, but mis-hits it. Jackson muffs it and picks it up. What I noticed very clearly in watching the replay, which I did several times, is that the Giants have Jackson surrounded and the player who makes the absolutely fatal mis-step is Deon Grant. Grant is the middle player in the troika of defenders who get to Jackson first. When Jackson starts to his right, Grant over-pursues and leaves the middle of the field wide open. Jackson sees this, cuts back to the middle and is gone. I believe it was DeOssie who was the last player tohave a chance at the tackle, but also over-runs Jackson.

Final thoughts

This was a calamity of preventable mistakes by the Giants. Give the Eagles credit for taking advantage, but it never should have happened. Giants fans can only hope they never live through another experience quite as miserable as that one.

Now, you guys can go ahead and kill me for making you re-live it.

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