By Brad Carroll
The New York Giants were back.
Finally, the Giants offense had woken up from a more than two week slumber, scoring a whopping 24 points in the fourth quarter Sunday afternoon against the Eagles in Philadelphia. Shut out until that point, the Giants suddenly had two fourth-quarter leads, one by a touchdown midway through the quarter and the next by a field goal with just over three minutes to play.
But all of the good vibes coming from the team and the fanbase didn’t last long. The Eagles kicked a field goal with 51 seconds to go, and then after a punt by the Giants, set up for a potential game-winning field goal from 61 yards. But in yet another huge disappointment, Jake Elliott knocked home the longest kick in Lincoln Financial Field history to give the Giants their third loss in as many games.
It would be difficult to count a team out after three games, but starting a season 0-3 and going on to make the postseason don’t mix, as history says the Giants will come up short of the playoffs. For a team which had Super Bowl dreams coming into the year, that fact and this season has become a shocking disappointment.
But if you’re looking for positives, the fourth quarter proves the Giants can be explosive on offense, and if they can find themselves heading into the fourth game of the season, maybe there is still hope for Big Blue.
There’s no denying the fact the Giants are in trouble, however, and climbing out of an 0-3 hole will be extremely difficult, especially heading to Tampa Bay next week.
While the disappointment is still fresh, let’s take a look back at the Giants’ key to victory and if they actually played out that way on the field during a devastating loss.
Did Eli Manning Have A Vintage Performance
Through three quarters, Eli Manning was having anything but a vintage performance, but then came the fourth quarter, where everything changed. Manning hit Odell Beckham Jr. twice in less than two minutes early in the final quarter to tie the game. Just about three minutes later, Manning connected with Sterling Shepard for a 77-yard touchdown pass to give the Giants a shocking lead. After the Eagles tied the game, Manning drove the offense down the field again, finishing it off with a go-ahead field goal with 3:08 to play. The Eagles went on to kick two field goals in the final minute to win the game, however, which included a quick series by the Giants after the Eagles tied it. It was certainly an up-and-down performance by Manning, and the fact he couldn’t play like he did in the fourth quarter earlier, ultimately cost the team the victory.
Did The Giants Defense Create Turnovers?
The Giants got one turnover, which turned out to be a huge one, as a Zach Ertz fumble and Eli Apple recovery led to a game-tying touchdown in the fourth quarter, but that was it. The Giants couldn’t force an interception, and while the one turnover was a game-changer at the time, they could have used one earlier in the game, considering the offense was shutout for three quarters and needed a short field to work with. The Giants defense couldn’t close after getting that turnover, however, as they allowed 13 fourth-quarter points to ruin what was a masterful comeback by the Giants offense. It’s not all on the defense, of course, as they allowed just 14 points through three quarters to keep the team in the game in the first place, but it wasn’t good enough in the end.
Did The Offensive Line Protect Manning?
The offensive line certainly protected Manning enough, as they didn’t allow a sack and allowed just four quarterback hits. That’s probably the best the offensive line has done this season, especially considering they had to mix and match due to injury. But it wasn’t all positive, as Ereck Flowers was called for an illegal motion penalty on the Giants’ final drive, and on the following play was called for a critical holding penalty, which played into the finish. The running game was held down again, rushing 17 times for 49 yards, a 2.9-yard per carry average. The offensive line protected Manning, but didn’t do enough in the other areas to help get the Giants their first win of the season.