Time to memorize those playoff scenarios
The Giants’ loss sends everyone back to those NFC playoff scenarios. The Giants will make the playoffs if any of the following happen this weekend:
Atlanta Falcons loss
If all of those teams manage to win over the weekend the Giants still control their own destiny. Win Week 17 against the Washington Redskins and they are in. Lose and they can still get in. If, however, the Giants lose to Washington there is a nightmare scenario in which the Giants could be the odd team out in a tiebreaker.
It really is flag football sometimes
I hate even mentioning penalty calls. The Giants did not lose Thursday night because of the roughing the passer penalty on Olivier Vernon or the unnecessary roughness call against Eli Apple. How either of those plays were penalties on the Giants I have no idea.
What was Vernon, who had his hands on Carson Wentz before the quarterback released the ball, supposed to do? There was nothing there but two guys falling to the ground. And how is that not intentional grounding by Wentz?
As for the Apple “hit” on Wentz that might be the softest unnecessary roughness penalty in league history.
Looks like the correct call guys, Olivier Vernon was supposed to stop himself mid-tackle. Freeze time, if you will. pic.twitter.com/Iu1aVONGZH— ClampSZN Ethan (@EthanGSN) December 23, 2016
Eli couldn’t make magic happen
Eli Manning had two opportunities to erase a lot of the Giants’ offensive frustration and propel the team to the playoffs in the closing moments. He and the Giants couldn’t get it done either time.
First, Sterling Shepard couldn’t hold a Manning pass on fourth-and-6 from the Philly 36-yard line with 1:54 to play. Maybe that had something to do with defensive back Nolan Carroll having a vise grip on Shepard’s left arm. With one final chance, a pass intended for Will Tye from a pressured Manning was short of the mark and turned into a game-sealing interception.
Coach Ben McAdoo said after the game that the “quarterback got hit too much.” He wasn’t kidding. Manning was never sacked, but he was constantly harassed. He was hit 10 times on his 63 pass attempts, many of which he was forced to short arm or throw without being able to step into. Pro Football Focus said Manning was pressured on 19 of 63 dropbacks (30.1 percent).
Bobby Hart had a particularly rough night as he was unable to handle Eagles’ defensive end Brandon Graham. Graham had four of the hits on Manning and added four hurries.
There was still, however, too much Bad Eli in this game. The early Pick 6 intended for Will Tye was a terrible decision and a worse throw. There were missed opportunities as well, including a first-quarter pass for Sterling Shepard that appeared to be a touchdown until it hit the helmet of Philly defensive back Leotis McKelvin.
Sometimes stats can lie
The Giants outgained the Eagles, 470-286 yards. They ran 88 plays to Philly’s 55 and held the held for 34:04 compared to 25:56 for the Eagles. With those numbers you would think the Giants should have won easily.
The Giants, though, went just 1-of-5 in the red zone, settling for four Robbie Gould field goals. They turned the ball over three times, all Manning interceptions, while getting just one takeaway. Per the Giants post-game show, New York dropped seven passes.
The defense finally cracked ... a little
The Giants gave up a combined 13 points in their two previous games. It stood to reason the defense couldn’t keep that up, and they did not on Thursday night. Missing Janoris Jenkins and Jason Pierre-Paul, the Giants missed more tackles than they usually do. They surrendered a 25-yard run for a touchown by Darren Sproles and a 40-yard touchdown pass.
The Giants did make a brilliant stand on fourth-and-goal inside the 1-yard line in the third quarter, but there were more missed tackles than we have become accustomed to. With Olivier Vernon largely neutralized by Jason Peters no one else was really able to step up and provide pressure on Wentz with any consistency.