As a Giants fan, I can’t say I wanted Philly to win yesterday. To keep it light let’s just say I wanted to see Green Bay move on, and they have. But at the same time I’m not made of stone – and part of my heart goes out to David Akers today and the Philly fans that watched their team lose a tough one at home. Michael Vick threw an interception in the end zone to end the season for the Eagles, but in my opinion that’s not the reason why the Eagles lost. The 6 points left off the board due to missed field goals, now that’s significant. Field goals made can be devastating, missed field goals even more so.
If it’s any consolation, we all remember the 2008-09 Divisional Playoff game where the Eagles visited the Giants and won. Many people look in the rear view mirror and say Eli Manning cost the Giants that game more than any other reason. However, give the 2008 Eagle defense credit where it’s due. Regardless of why the Giants were unable to reach the end zone the bigger issue was kicker John Karney. While Karney went 35/38 for the regular season, he missed 2 critical field goals in a playoff game when it mattered most. The Eagles of course capitalized on the Giants misfortune, utilized the short field, and NY watched their chances at repeating in the Superbowl vanish before their eyes. For all Giants fans who remember sitting there two years ago, in disbelief at the sight of your lights-out kicker miss the two most important field goals of the year… im confident that David Akers’ 2 missed field goals against the Green Bay Packers this past weekend has exactly the same bitter taste to it for Eagles fans.
So how do you think David Akers feels this morning? Already there are reports of Akers dealing with a family health issue, perhaps to the point of distraction. Quintin Mikell said of the matter:
“He was dealing with a lot of stuff this week, and he came out, he fought and he did as well as he could. I’ll let everybody else talk about it, but he was going through a lot this week.”
But never mind the reason for the misses right now — the fact is that Philadelphia’s ace kicker who hardly ever misses, missed. TWICE. And as it turned out, those 6 would-be points would have been enough to win the game had Akers executed. Now I’m not trying to rub it in, but there is certainly a correlation between the Karney misses from 2008 and the Akers misses from yesterday. Both kickers had a bad day, and it cost their teams the game.
And this is why the overtime rule changes in the post season don’t make a whole lot of sense to me. Look at it from the kicker’s perspective. Points are points and field goals are not automatic, especially in the post-season. This game didn’t make it to overtime of course, just saying… the Packers played well but a couple of field goals would have made a world of difference for Philadelphia.
As loyal Giants supporters, we know the feeling. Even as a fan to see your team’s season unravel in this way, it’s a feeling of total failure that takes more than a day to fully cultivate. I’m debating in my mind which loss to the Eagles was worse — that 2008-09 Playoff loss or the New Meadowlands Collapse just weeks ago. The latter is too fresh in my mind to be totally fair, both in the end were catastrophic.
As for Akers and the Eagles, it may take more than a season to recover from this loss. But to the Eagles fans that feel bitterly disappointed that your team lost a game at home they could have won, I understand. We Giants fans know the pain.