It looked like the end of the losing streak, the New York Giants had a 21-0 lead in the beautiful sunshine of Jacksonville. The Giants were having their way with the Jaguars, in a season that had been anything but easy, the Giants had it made. Until the Jaguars shocked them with a last second field goal that ended the game 25-24 in the Jaguars favor.
That was the seventh loss in a row for the Giants in the 2014 season. The losing streak featured a 16-10 game to the struggling 49ers, a three point loss to the Dallas Cowboys and three games where the Giants got blown out of the water.
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Think about the close games though. If the Giants could have just found a way to win the games they had a chance in, the postseason could have been a reality. The Giants lost three games by six points or less. If they could have just found a way in these games they could have been 9-7.
The Giants lost a game to the Cowboys by ten points, a game in which Eli Manning threw for three touchdowns and the teams were tied 14-14 at halftime. The game was winnable and the Giants got trampled in the second half. DeMarco Murray ran for 128 yards and Dez Bryant had nine receptions for 151 yards.
Then losing to the Eagles 34-26 to finish the season was the epitome of frustration. The season was already over, they could have just given the fans something to cling to as the prepared to watch other fans’ teams in the playoffs. But no, they had to lose that game too.
So that’s five inexcusable games in which the Giants could have won, but let it slip away. If the Giants could have gotten those four wins 11-5 would be there record. The Giants almost seemed committed to losing. Stupid turnovers, untimely sacks for Manning, no running game, inconsistent pass rush and horrible run defense were synonymous with the Giants last season.
The Giants need to learn how to win again. They need to learn how to make that key stop in the second half. They need to learn how to take care of the football when they have a lead. They need to learn to grind out a victory in the tough moments.
Nov 16, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; San Francisco 49ers defensive end Ray McDonald (91) causes New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) to fumble during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
The Giants could have won those 5 games. The other 5 losses were pretty substantial losses, the Giants didn’t even show up in those games. But if you’re a Giants fan, how angry did those 5 winnable games make you?
And it comes back to the Jaguars game, the perfect example of a team that doesn’t know how to win. An Eli Manning fumble, a Larry Donnell fumble, a defense that let them score and an offense that never found the stride it had in the first half. How does that even happen?
Football is a game where the little things matter. The Super Bowl was decided on the one yard line, what is a better example than that? The Giants need to learn how to win again. They had the talent to be better than 6-10.
Now I know bad luck found the Giants, and it found them hard. Jon Beason, Geoff Schwartz and Victor Cruz’s injuries (along with others) were devastating to this team. But its hard to forgive the Giants for failing to take care of what they could control. The team needs to learn how to win again, it’s that simple.