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Eagles 35, Giants 30: "Kudos & Wet Willies" review

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Let's do this one last time to close out the 2015-2016 season.

Rashad Jennings celebrates a touchdown Sunday against the Eagles
Rashad Jennings celebrates a touchdown Sunday against the Eagles
Al Bello/Getty Images


It seems like ages ago with all of the coaching rumors that have been swirling around, but the New York Giants lost to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, 35-30. Let's look back on that loss in our traditional "Kudos & Wet Willies" style.

Kudos to ...

Rashad Jennings -- Jennings has spent the final month of the season making the Giants look foolish for not allowing him to be a true workhorse running back in the first 12 games. Sunday he put an exclamation point on that with a 27-carry, 170-yard performance.

I mentioned these on Sunday night, but here are some Jennings' numbers worth noting:

Over the final four games, Jennings carried 79 times for 432 yards (5.5 yards per carry) Jennings finished the season with career highs in yards (863) and carries (195). That is an average of 4.4 yards per carry.

Will Tye -- Has anyone missed Larry Donnell for the past few weeks? When injuries strike that offers opportunities to the next players in line. Perhaps if other players had been able to grasp their opportunity this season the way the undrafted free agent from Stony Brook did the Giants would have gone 10-6 instead of 6-10. Tye caught five passes Sunday, one for a touchdown. That gave him 42 for the year, 32 in the final seven games. Tye has gone from the sixth tight end on the roster back in the spring to a guy who looks like the tight end of the future.

Robert Ayers -- Finished the best season of his career (9 sacks) with a monster game. He had a sack, seven tackles (three for loss), and two hits on Philly quarterback Sam Bradford. As bereft as talent as the Giants are on defense it is hard to imagine them not making a serious effort to keep the free-agent-to-be from going elsewhere.

Brad Wing -- Three times the Giants had fourth down in Philadelphia territory Three times the MetLife Stadium crowd booed. Three times Wing rewarded his coach with great punts that pinned the Eagles inside the 10-yard line, two of which were downed inside the 5-yard line. You can't place the ball more perfectly than Wing did on Sunday.

Shane Vereen -- The Giants' third-down back caught six passes for 72 yards. There was a "what could have been" sequence late in the second quarter that made you wonder why the Giants, looking for playmakers, went through so many stretches this season where Vereen seemed to be an afterthought. In the two-minute drill at the end of the half, Vereen caught passes of 13, 13 and 15 yards on successive plays. Three targets, three first downs, 41 yards. In all, four of Vereen's receptions led to first downs.

Wet Willies to ...

Giants' defense -- I won't bother going through the awful full-season numbers as Chris has already done that. Sunday was an atrocious performance by a defense that has been helpless to get stops when they were needed all season, and once again could not do so on Sunday. The Giants surrendered 502 total yards, the second-most they gave this season behind the 608 the New Orleans Saints racked up in Week 8. The Giants gave up touchdown drives of 80, 85, 80 and 91 yards. They allowed a 54-yard touchdown run by DeMarco Murray and a 60-yard pass to Zach Ertz.  The Eagles converted on 10-of-13 third-down plays, 77 percent.

Injuries played a part in the poor play of the defense. So, too, did questionable roster decisions at safety, linebacker and backup cornerback.

Ability to finish -- Once again the Giants showed that they don't have the ability to finish winnable games with, you know, wins. We know all about those five last-minute losses. This wasn't one of those and isn't even a fourth-quarter loss since the Giants never led in the final stanza. Still, it was a game they had in their grasp.

This one reminded me of the Week 2 loss to the Atlanta Falcons when Eli Manning fumbled at the Falcons 8-yard line with the Giants leading, 20-10, late in the third quarter. The Falcons went on to win, 24-20.

Against the Eagles the Giants led 27-21 and were driving when Connor Barwin beat Ereck Flowers off the edge, hit Manning as he threw, the ball popped up into the air and Walter Thurmond returned what was ruled a fumble 83 yards. Rather than a potential 34-21 lead, the Giants found themselves trailing, 28-27. They never regained the lead.