The Philadelphia Eagles couldn’t let Eli Manning and the New York Giants have one nice moment in a lost season. They couldn’t let Manning author a feel-good victory in what might have been his final start in the NFL.
The Giants, 2-10 and riding an eight-game losing streak entering the Monday Night Football game, were somehow must-see TV. Manning returning to the lineup made them that way.
The Chase for Chase (Ohio State defensive end Chase Young) is nice. in my view, it would have been nicer to see Manning have what might be a final feel-good moment in what could well be a Hall of Fame career, a Monday Night Football victory over the rival Eagles.
Alas, it wasn’t to be.
Manning gave us some vintage moments in the first half, especially a 55-yard touchdown strike to Darius Slayton that gave the Giants a 17-3 lead in the second quarter. Manning finished the first half 11 of 19 for 179 yards and 2 touchdowns, both to Slayton.
In the second half, the Giants reminded us why they are the Giants. Why they are 2-11 and have tied a franchise record with nine straight defeats. Why coach Pat Shurmur will likely be out of a job at season’s end.
They couldn’t do anything offensively. The Giants punted on six straight second-half possessions, managing just two first downs along the way.
Maybe it was play-calling that seemed more conservative than what we saw in the first half. Maybe it was just that they hardly had the ball and kept knocking themselves backwards with penalties and mistakes. Maybe it was just that Nate Solder couldn’t block anybody. Maybe it was that the Eagles tightened up their coverage over the final two quarters, challenging the short, quick throws the Giants had completed in the first two quarters.
Maybe it was all of that.
Eli Manning discusses making plays early on pic.twitter.com/H4aqhUn2ZE— New York Giants (@Giants) December 10, 2019
“Just didn’t hit the big plays. They (the Eagles) did a good job in the second half,” Manning said. “Played a little more zone in the second half, kinda keeping everything in front of them.”
You had to know that with the Giants’ offense stymied in the second half, the underwhelming defense would eventually not be able to hold up. It couldn’t, giving up a pair of second-half touchdowns and then being helpless as the Eagles drove 75 yards in 8 plays for the winning score in overtime.
It all wrecked what felt like it might be at least one more feel-good moment in a season that long ago went off the rails.
Even the Eagles’ second-half comeback, rallying from a 17-3 deficit to tie the game with 1:53 left on a 2-yard pass from Carson Wentz to Zach Ertz with 1:56 to play seemed to set the stage for a Manning feel-good finish.
And the Giants went three-and-out.
That’s how things have gone for the Giants. It’s how way too much of the last eight years have gone for Manning and the Giants.
When the Giants won their last Super Bowl with Manning at the helm back in 2011 it seemed like they were poised for so much more, and it just didn’t happen.
After the first half Monday night it looked like Manning and the Giants were poised for what at least would be one small moment to feel good about. Sadly, that didn’t happen either.