The New York Giants have lost to the Philadelphia Eagles--again. The Giants are now 1-8 in their last nine games against the Eagles. At least this time the game ended in dramatic fashion. The last time the winner of the Giants-Eagles had a margin of victory of three points or less was in 2007, so the Giants are getting closer at least. It feels like I should make some snarky comment about how the Giants have the most Super Bowl titles in the entire NFL since 1987 and how I have as many Super Bowl victories from my couch as the Eagles have in their franchise history, but that would be lazy, immature analysis. And I'm a mature adult.
As they say the NFL is a game of inches and there are many plays that can alter the outcome of the game. Here are the five play that stick out the most to me.
[Related: Studs and Duds -- SB Nation New York]
Kenny Phillips gets injured
Whether the Giants won or lost this was a play that could impact the Giants season in a very negative way. Phillips is the team's best player in the secondary, one of the best safeties in the league. I also think that Phillips' presence was missed in this game even though Stevie Brown and Will Hill performed admirably. Phillips plays terrific in run support. Brown and Hill did not cost the Giants the game, however.
Eli Manning's interception in the red-zone by Dominique Rodgers Cromartie
This play wasn't exactly a killer, but it didn't help. The fact that the Giants weren't able to score points here ultimately had a huge impact on the game. If the Giants kick a field goal, the Eagles can't settle for the game-winning field goal towards the end of the game. The Eagles would have tried to score a touchdown on fourth down. Would they get in the end zone? Who knows, but with the bad pass here by Eli Manning, the Eagles were able to settle for the field goal. Eli Manning has become Elite because he doesn't make too many of these types of mistakes anymore, but this play was bad. There is no way that Eli saw DRC there, and I don't expect to see too many of those kinds of plays again this year.
12:17 left in the third quarter - LeSean McCoy runs to the right end for 22 yards.
Seems a simple play enough. A run on the edge of the defense for 22 yards, but up until that point the Eagles had a difficult time running the football. After that run, the Eagles figured out the Giants run defense and McCoy ran rampant around and by the Giants' run defense. McCoy is a special player.
Any of David Wilson's kickoff returns
I don't think after tonight anyone is wondering why David Wilson was a first-round pick for the New York Giants in the 2012 NFL draft. Yes, he has a long ways to go in learning how to run in the NFL, but if any Giants fans are worried about Wilson and his lack of effective touches so far, go watch some rookie tape of C.J. Spiller and then watch Spiller in his last 10 games. These kinds of speed players can often take longer to adjust to the NFL game.
Any time the Giants don't play the Eagles, Wilson might be the most athletic player on the field. The Giants' offense did not do enough tonight with the wonderful field position that Wilson provided them all night. And it's exciting to have a player returning kicks with that kind of dynamic ability.
Ramses Barden offensive pass interference
This had to be included. Do I think it was a bad call? Not at all. Regardless if you agree with the call or not, the importance of that play can't be understated. Tynes has been automatic this year and I have no doubt that without the pass interference call, Tynes splits the uprights. The one thing I would not do is blame the play on Barden. Eli threw the ball too far inside on that play and Barden was put in a bad position. If he doesn't climb over Asmougha that might be an interception.
The Giants are now 0-2 in the division and have an uphill battle to win the division, but there is plenty of season left to play and the Giants can't dwell on this loss with Cleveland Browns coming up next Sunday at 1 p.m. ET (they apparently still play games at 1 p.m. on Sundays). And, hopefully, this time next week we'll be discussing the five important plays that led to a Giants' victory.