Everything that is wrong with the 2013 New York Giants was on full display Sunday during their 37-14 loss to the San Diego Chargers. The Giants watched themselves be eliminated from the playoffs for the fourth time in five seasons on Sunday, drowning helplessly in a sea of bad football.
Think of everything that has been problematic for the Giants this season, and almost all of it was on display in Sunday's loss.
"We got beat up in all phases of the game," said defensive end Justin Tuck.
How right he was.
Turnovers. There were three of those. There were two Eli Manning interceptions, and could have been a third if not for a review that overturned a pass originally ruled an interception. Blame whoever you want for Sunday's picks, it doesn't matter. This is now the third time in Manning's 10-year career he has thrown at least 20 interceptions. Manning's career high in interceptions for a season is 25. With three games to go, no one will be surprised if that mark gets obliterated.
Bad penalties. Charles James cost the Giants three points in the first half with an offside penalty after Nick Novak of San Diego missed a 41-yard field goal. Novak made the subsequent 36-yarder to make the score 10-0. Spencer Paysinger had a pass interference in the end zone. Mathias Kiwanuka took a foolish unnecessary roughness penalty, something that has been an all-too-common occcurrence for the veteran this year. There was yet another delay of game penalty.
Breakdowns in pass coverage. Terrell Thomas let Keenan Allen run right by him for a 43-yard touchdown. Thomas and Prince Amukamara got fouled up in the coverage on a 4-yard touchdown catch by Allen. Why was Paysinger left to try and cover a wide receiver 40 yards down the field in the end zone, anyway, on the play where he was penalized? The Giants could handle either running back Danny Woodhead (4 catches, 52 yards) or tight end Antonio Gates (4 catches, 50 yards).
Poor offensive line play. This has been a constant all season and it continued Sunday. Manning was sacked just twice, but was pressured on a number of occasions. Left tackle Will Beatty surrendered his 11th sack of the year. James Brewer, trying to take advantage of a showcase at left guard, completely whiffed on blocks at least twice. David Diehl surrendered a sack from the right guard slot.
Poor special teams play. The Giants didn't give up any long returns, but they didn't help themselves on special teams. James' penalty cost them three points, and an opportunity to shift momentum. The miss would have been Novak's first in 10 tries outside 40 yards this season, and would have set the Giants up with an opportunity to drive for a game-tying score. Instead, it was 10-0 San Diego. The Giants were awful returning kickoffs, with a long of only 23 yards in six returns. Cox is far from a great returner, but the blocking for him was non-existent.
Inconsistent offense. Manning completed 64 percent of his passes, but was off the mark slightly on many throws. He missed a long ball to Louis Murphy Jr., under-throwing it. There were drops by receivers. There seemed to be receivers not in places where Manning expected them to be. There were the blocking issues. There were struggles to get playoffs off before the clock ran out. Listening to the San Diego fans booing Manning was really funny -- they should have been cheering the futility of the Giants when they had the ball.
Defensive struggles. The 0-6 start was peppered with awful defense. The recent stretch of five wins in six games featured much better, at times dominant, defense. Sunday, the Giants reverted to their old ways. San Diego scored on seven of nine possession, discounting the game-ending kneel-down. San Diego's Ryan Mathews ran 29 times for 103 yards. The defense surrendered four drives of 11 plays or more, the Chargers went 10-of-15 on third down and held the ball for 35:56.
The Giants deserved their fate on Sunday. Ultimately, they also deserve their playoff-less fate this season. They deserve credit for their resilience in winning five of six after their terrible start, but that's all. They aren't a playoff-caliber football team in any area.
We have many months now to diagnose and discuss what, exactly, is wrong with the Giants and what needs to be done to fix it. With only one playoff appearance in five years -- albeit a Super Bowl-winning one -- whatever the Giants are doing isn't working.
It is obvious some things need to change. What those are, and how deeply they impact both the roster and the coaching staff, we will find out in the coming months.
The Giants, however, can't go forward from here continuing to try to fool themselves into believing they are a championship-caliber team undone by injuries or bad breaks. They have been undone by their own ineptitude.
All we can do now is wait to see how they deal with it.