There is no happy recap today--only a sick, sad, unbelievably painful feeling in our collective gut. The Giants just gave away a game they had won, but they did it in remarkably heartbreaking fashion. Today was easily the most painful loss I can remember in the history of the Giants. More painful than the Joe Pisarcik Fumble. More painful than Flipper Anderson. More painful than the blowout in the Super Bowl against the Ravens. More painful than the playoff loss two seasons ago, or any other game against the Eagles, or any other game against anyone. Well, that's how I feel right now and I know all of you do, too. We had the NFC East locked up, tied up in a nice blue bow, and we choked it away.
It's not even therapeutic typing this, and I think it will be a long time before most of us recover from this loss. But for the sake of recapping and because I have this obligation to do so, let's give you the gory details.
The Giants led 31-10 with less than eight minutes to play. Eli Manning had just thrown his fourth touchdown pass, to Kevin Boss, following a questionable non-challenge by Eagles' coach Andy Reid on a DeSean Jackson fumble. The Giants had not really been able to run the ball all game, but Manning was brilliant most of the day, converting several key third down plays to keep drives going. The defense was opportunistic in pressuring and containing Michael Vick, creating three turnovers.
But then, it all just unraveled before our eyes. Vick completed a 65-yard pass to Brent Celek to make it 31-17 with 7:28 left. But what happened next may wind up costing Tom Quinn his job, and put Tom Coughlin's job in jeopardy--the Eagles successfully recovered an onside kick. Not only did the Giants not see it coming, but there were no Giants anywhere near the ball. That's fine, but then the Eagles had fierce momentum, and Michael Vick rushed for a score to make it 31-24 with 5:28 left. Then the Eagles used all their timeouts while the Giants were trying to eat the clock and get into field goal range, but they had to punt, and then the Eagles drove down the field again, scoring on a 13-yard pass from Vick to Jeremy Maclin. Tie game. But the Giants went three and out, with Manning being sacked, letting the clock wind down to leave 12 seconds. Let me ask you guys something. Where the hell was our defense on those last few drives? Anyway, we still punt, let it get to OT and have a shot to win, right?
Wrong. Not in 2010, not ever against the Eagles. Matt Dodge hits a line drive to center, which Jackson bobbles before taking it to the house and then showboating into the end zone, taking the Giants' dwindling playoff hopes with him. I'm not ashamed to say this -- I wanted one of the Giants to punch Jackson in the mouth right then and there. I kind of feel like he already did that to me, and to all of us. But more than that, the Giants -- in every phase but mostly on special teams and defense -- gave the game away. They choked. They lost a game they had already won.