Eli Manning, Tom Coughlin and the New York Giants turned in yet another gutless performance in yesterday's 33-14 loss to Joe Flacco, Torrey Smith and the Baltimore Ravens, in what may be the penultimate gutless performance of the season.
The Giants have only one long shot to make the playoffs next week, after they made Flacco and the struggling Ravens look like world-beaters yesterday. There's not much to say, few words to find to describe that pit in our stomach that usually signifies the end of the season, but we'll try.
Tom Coughlin's Giants teams have taught us to expect them to come to life when their backs are finally up against the wall, and many were expecting as much heading into yesterday's game…but when it mattered most, this team put up the kind of stinker you'd come to expect from them this year, after the Cincinnati Bengals debacle and last week's thrashing at the hands of Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and the Atlanta Falcons.
The Giants spent all year bending reputations they'd earned over the last few years and last night was the breaking point for many of them: the pass rush is officially gone and the front four needs to be rebuilt; the offensive line could use a rebuilding of its own; Corey Webster is nowhere near a #1 cornerback anymore, and the Giants secondary isn't the same without Kenny Phillips on the field; the offense doesn't work without a healthy Hakeem Nicks, and in a season where he was playing to prove he was worth a big contract, Victor Cruz has been mostly invisible for months.
As this team has circled the drain for the last few weeks, desperately trying to hang on, one thing has been noticeably absent: leadership. And spark. Where was it? Who was it supposed to come from?
Justin Tuck is a shell of his former self, Ahmad Bradshaw's production doesn't match his passion, and Eli Manning hasn't been playing well enough to pick up the guys around him. Even Ol' Steady, head coach Coughlin, seemed to be hanging his head after last week's Falcons debacle.
The long shot the Giants make the playoffs isn't a total impossibility…but it's hard to see this team being competitive even if they do back into the playoffs.
Also…Ahmad Bradshaw, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Corey Webster, Eli Manning, Football, Hakeem Nicks, Julio Jones, Justin Tuck, Kenny Phillips, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Victor Cruz