In a lost 2-12 season is there a singular event that could have changed everything? Our friends at SB Nation are forcing us to consider that idea in regards to the New York Giants with this week’s theme question, which is “The one thing I would change about my team's season is?”
In my view, there are two obvious ways to answer that question.
- The Week 3 loss vs. the Philadelphia Eagles on a miraculous last-second 61-yard field goal by Jake Elliott that pushed the Giants to 0-3 and effectively ended their season.
- Have Odell Beckham Jr. healthy for the entire season.
Beckham’s injuries obviously had a major impact on the Giants’ season. He suffered a high ankle sprain in the second preseason game, missed Week 1 and was obviously not fully healthy in at least the first couple of games in which he did play. Then, his season ended Week 5 when he fractured his ankle.
After three years of relying on Beckham to bail the Giants out on offense, Ben McAdoo never adjusted to either not having Beckham at all or not having him at peak efficiency. That, of course, had a major impact on the season.
For me, though, the biggest thing I would change is the Week 3 loss to the Eagles.
Desperate for a win at 0-2, the Giants played the first three quarters as though the season was already over, trailing, 14-0, entering the final quarter. Then, a 24-point outburst that saw them take a pair of fourth-quarter leads.
This felt like the kind of sudden turnaround that can change a season. Until it fell apart, with the Giants getting a crushing defeat instead of an uplifting victory.
- Leading 21-14, the Giants gave up a four-play, 75-yard drive for a tying score.
- Leading again, 24-21, the Giants allowed an eight-play drive for a tying field goal with :56 seconds to play.
Then, things really fell apart.
- The Giants managed to go three-and-out, with a false start penalty on Ereck Flowers contributing. They managed to leave :19 seconds on the clock, largely thanks to veteran running back Shane Vereen inexplicably stepping out of bounds after catching a 3-yard pass that left the Giants with a third-and-15.
- Brad Wing hit a horrible 28-yard punt that left the Eagles at their own 38-yard line, good enough field position to where one decent mid-range completion would give them a chance at a desperation field goal.
- The Giants managed to allow that completion. Janoris Jenkins and Eli Apple collided on a pass to Alshon Jeffery, allowing both a 19-yard gain and the opportunity for Jeffery to step out of bounds.
- Elliott then made a 61-yard field goal that will always live as one of the great moments in Eagles’ history and one of the worst in Giants’ history.
For me, this has to be the thing I would change. I was in the Giants’ locker room after the game and you could see from the looks on their faces and the quiet, reluctant way they answered questions that the players knew the important part of their season had just ended.
It is hard not to believe that the season could easily have unfolded differently had the Giants escaped Lincoln Financial Field with a victory.