Piece by John Farrow-Giants lifer.
On a weekend when what happened between the goal posts seemed rather irrelevant compared to what was firstly being said in a room in Alabama, and then actions occurring along the sidelines up and down the country before kick-off, the Giants went from the ridiculous, to the sublime, and then back to ridiculous again. This week Big Blue went to Philadelphia in the hope of kick starting their season after two lifeless displays. The Giants have an awful record in Philadelphia recently, and the feeling going into the game was that this was not likely to change on Sunday.
The last two times the Giants have won the Superbowl, they started the season at 0-2, and the Giants had started the season as a few people’s dark horses for a Superbowl win. Only the most positive of fans will think that this is still possible. No team has made the playoffs at 0-3 since 1998.
As it happens, the Giants are now the worst team in New York, with Buffalo at 2-1 and even the New York Jets pulling off a win against an incredibly poor Miami to make a mockery of their tanking, and leaving the Giants alongside the Bengals, Chargers, Browns and 49ers at 0-3. Of the teams that have played 3 games, only the Bengals have now scored less points than the Giants.
For the first time in 9 games, the Giants put up more than 20 points, but this was still not enough, as Jake Elliott rose to stardom with the final kick of the game, going between the uprights from 61 yards, a franchise record. This must make Jake the most popular Elliott playing in the NFL now, apart from with a few people in blue shirts.
A quiet first half ended with a LaGarrette Blount TD, running in from a yard. Throughout this time, the worst of Eli was on show, with him getting picked a couple of times, and no momentum created on offense. After the second pick my friend turned to me and said Eli has fallen off the cliff, Davis Webb will be starting before the end of the season. A bit of an exaggeration maybe, but Eli falling off a cliff like his older brother Peyton, seemed quite real. Of course, this is a much shallower cliff, but the evidence was still pointing in that direction. This was an Eagles defence that was short of some useful players, but the Giants were not able to move the ball at all. In the third quarter, Zach Ertz scored a TD, to make it 14-0.
Suddenly, in the 4th quarter, Eli and his receivers hit their stride, scoring on 3 straight possessions, with a brace from Odell Beckham Jr, before a Sterling Shepard 77 yard TD put New York into the lead. A blistering 21 unanswered points, and Beckham was looking like the Beckham we all know he can be, with both his TD catches showing his natural ability. After being called for pretending to be a dog whilst celebrating the first, he followed with a more sombre salute for the second, to remind everyone watching what was happening this weekend.
The usual failings were still evident, with the complete absence of an effective running game, and an Offensive Line that was still getting crushed far too easily. It’s not just Giants that are struggling with a poor offensive line, with half the league struggling here, but the Giants’ O-Line is especially poor. Paul Perkins and Orleans Darkwa only rushed for 22 yards each, whilst Shane Vereen only managed 5. Have you dropped your Giants RB from Fantasy…I warned you last week!
The run defence really struggled this week, with Philadelphia able to hold onto possession for long periods early by using their running backs to peg back the defence and keep moving. At the end of the game, this extra time on the pitch showed as they tired and allowed Eagles to score from three straight possessions, this being a 15 yard running TD, and then following a Rosas 41 yard Field Goal for the Giants, it was time for Jake Elliott to take centre stage. A 46 yard Field Goal for the Eagles was followed by a shanked Giants punt. There was still much for the Eagles to do, with Alshon Jeffrey connecting well with Wentz to leave Elliott a 61 yard Field Goal with seconds to go, and overtime looking likely.
This was too much for Giants fans to hope for, with Elliott scoring with the most ridiculous of long range kicks, and allowing the Eagles to walk off the field with the win that at one point looked like they had let slip from their grasp.
Next weekend a trip to Tampa Bay awaits. With Beckham back to a place where he can punish the opposition, and Shepard, Engram and Marshall bringing in catches, there could be an upturn. This result felt more like one where we cost ourselves the win, compared the limp showings in games 1 & 2, if we can cut out the mistakes and silly penalties, the talent is there to start a run, but at quarter number 4 in the third game, have they waited too long to kick into life?