The Collapse of 2010, Making Sense of It All

Think about this, last week the Giants were poised to capture the division title and secure a playoff spot with a little less than 8 minutes to play while hosting the Eagles.  Now, they’ve squandered control of their destiny and need outside help to just make the post season.  6 quarters of football after dominating their division rival from Philly, the Giants have let their opponents outscore them to the tune of 73-20 in what may be an even more disastrous finish than the 2009 NY Giants.

Top defense?  What defense could possibly excuse that statistic? Hardly any pressure was generated on the QB, tackles were missed all over the place, no one could stop the run, there was clearly miscommunication among the players, and the Giants defense looked completely incapable of their team in the game whether the offense was up 21 points or had just tied it up after a slow start, as was the case yesterday in Green Bay.

Give credit where it’s due, the Packers receivers made some tremendous catches that even with good coverage from Giants corners, they made it happen for their team. Rodgers was able to find a way to get the ball into his weapons hands consistently, efficiently, and brilliantly — for missing two games with a concussion Rodgers was tremendous.

Oh well, still one more game to play right?  In 2007 the Giants made the post season at 9-7 and won it all by overcoming their miscues, misfortune, and mistakes. This year they can actually finish 10-6 and with a little luck, secure a wild card spot. While the Giants have one game to play against the Washington Redskins, a game for which I will be in attendance, it disheartens me to think of what this NY team had in their grasp little over 7 days ago and 90 minutes of football.  What’s more, with a win the Giants still need the Chicago Bears to win in Green Bay, a feat that looked nearly impossible yesterday afternoon with the way the Packers moved the ball.  I’m not sure anyone could have stopped that offense yesterday, on the ground and certainly not through the air.

There is one other path to the playoffs for the Giants however.  The New Orleans Saints play in Atlanta tonight, and the Falcons are notoriously difficult to beat at home.  If the Saints lose tonight, and let Tampa Bay beat them at home next week — coupled with a New York victory in D.C. next week the Giants would actually, surprisingly, miraculously make the playoffs.  But as Michael Strahan accurately said last year after the 2009 collapse, when you play defense like the Giants have been playing “You don’t deserve to make the playoffs!”

Forget talent, forget play calling, forget everything.  The only saving grace for the Giants next week in Washington is that the Redskins have been inconsistent in creating turnovers on defense.  I can scarcely believe that it will be a game the Giants show up for and minimize their mistakes though.  Coming off two game stint where a total of 8 turnovers were given away by the Giants, the Redskins may have a banner day in the turnover ratio and snuff out what remains of the 2010 season for the Giants.  Along with it, any semblance of playoff hope.

All I can say is, miracles have happened for this team before — they have hit the right strides at the right time in seasons past.  Tom Coughlin is in fact still here for that reason alone.  But by my estimation, that stride fell through the Giants fingers 6 quarters ago in New Meadowlands Stadium when they let the Eagles take their seat at the head of the NFC East table.

I’ll be there next week in the flesh, cheering them on in the front row, as optimistic as I can possibly be.  But Strahan was right last year, he’s right this year.  The Giants should be ashamed of their performance these last two weeks.  And the way they’ve played, they certainly do not deserve to make the post season.

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