That was beyond appalling. While it isn't true, from the stands it sure seemed like the players and coaches cared less about the outcome of our matchup with the Skins than the fans did. No sense of urgency, no sense of pride, no sense of the PLAYOFFS BEING ON THE LINE. There are some who will look at the bright side and think well, our backs are pressed as far against the wall as they'll ever be, and that's when we play our best, right? I suppose, but I expect better. We shouldn't have to be the team who only plays well when no one expects us to, and when our season is riding on the outcome.
The View from the Meadowlands
I flew home for the holidays and therefore was able to go to the game on Sunday. With my buddy Jon in town, we got there and parked around 12:30. With a CD playing "Proud to Be (a New York Giant)" on repeat, we pulled in amped as ever for the game to begin. It was imperative we beat Washington to keep pace with the Cowboys after their dismantling of the Bucs Saturday night. Jon had actually mentioned to me on Saturday that he felt this game might be tricky. Washington was a team who had nothing to lose, and was probably riding high after taking New England down to the wire the week before. True, but so what? This was a new Giants team, ready to shake off the stigma of playing down to the level of their competition. Ready to start beating the teams they're supposed to beat, and looking like a legitimate contender in the process.
Unfortunately, it turned out Jon was onto something after all.
Things started off great in the seats. Good atmosphere, good vibes, no Redskins fans anywhere near us. The first play from scrimmage, Corey Webster made a great play to intercept a deep pass from Rex. Everyone was going nuts, sure Sunday would be a great day. Unfortunately, the next offensive series was three incomplete passes and a punt. Wasted opportunity, but still okay. A good punt pinned them at their own 30, but they drove down the field and settled for a field goal. Not great, but manageable. We only gave up three. Time for the offense to shine.
First play, seventeen-yard rush for Ahmad Bradshaw, followed by a decent four-yard gain. Then it happened. On 2nd and 6, Eli threw a perfect ball to a wide-open Jake Ballard that he dropped. Not only would it have been a first down, but maybe a huge-gainer as well. Then, on 3rd and 6, Eli went deep down the middle to Hakeem Nicks, who had beaten the defense. It was a perfect ball that landed (for a moment) right in Nick's outstretched arms, until he DROPPED IT! We were already celebrating the touchdown in the stands. No chance a number one receiver, with the playoffs on the line, could possibly drop such a perfect opportunity. But he did just that. Our defense got us the ball back right away though with a clutch interception by Kenny Phillips. When we got the ball back we got into a 3rd and 2 but thanks to a false start by Jake Ballard (what a day for him so far) we got pushed back to a 3rd and long and wound up having to punt the ball back again. Halfway through the first quarter, our offense had zero receptions while our defense had two. But after we punted back, the defense let up.
Jon and I switched seats many, many times throughout the game, to no avail. It was an ugly shocker, and made for a very quiet ride home. Yet again, with high hopes, I went to the stadium and was let down by the team I love so much. I'm sure the other 80,000 fans in attendance felt the same way.
A Disturbingly Familiar Sight
A bad team with nothing to play for comes to town against us, after we get a huge win to put us back on track, and we embarrass ourselves in front of the home crowd. This is getting ridiculous. Our defense is so bad it's hard to watch. Seeing the secondary bicker with one another both on and off the field is like watching a junior varsity high school football team.
I started to feel that Coughlin should maybe start fining players for playing that badly. If you think about it, it's like any profession. You get paid to perform. If a player isn't earning his paycheck, either missing assignments or tackles, he should give some of it back. If a guy gets fined for being late to a meeting, why not fine him for leaving a receiver wide open? I also think that the defense (and offense, after Sunday) should be told not to talk to the media this week unless they're apologizing. I know it seems extreme, but man I'm getting sick of this. Something should be done to wake these guys up.
Ahmad returned this week but only carried the ball ten times. Despite being down by twenty rather early in the 3rd quarter, we didn't go to the no-huddle until the fourth. Our secondary gave their receivers huge cushions on every third and long. The middle of the field was once again completely open. Eli finally came back down to earth and threw three interceptions, two of them coming on pretty bad decisions. Can't completely fault him though, because his star receiver kept him from having a great start to the game. Hard to play quarterback and have any confidence in your receivers when no one can make a clutch reception. On the interception he threw to the back corner, Mario should have turned around and caught the ball in front of the defender. Instead, he watched Josh Wilson go up and catch it before making a very feeble attempt at swatting it out of his hands. Coughlin made a horrible decision on his challenge in the first half. Bottom line, no one played well.
It's a game worth forgetting. No game balls. Let's just flush it.
Non-Gmen Thoughts of the Week:
- Had a doctor's appointment on Monday morning. Saw some medical equipment that read, "delivered by Tony Gamboni." You know you're back in Jersey when the medical supplies are being delivered by a guy who sounds like a made-up character from a Sopranos parody.
- Nice win for KC, finally handing the Packers their first loss of the season. On the same day, the Colts got their first win of the season. Good for both cities and Romeo Crennel. Bad for Todd Haley and Tyler Palko. Needless to say I did very poorly in my picks this past weekend.
- Loved the Tim Tebow sketch on SNL this past weekend, but upset that it was the last sketch of the show. Means a lot of people probably missed it. Very, very funny.
- Saw Hugo, loved it. Still need to see MI: 4 and Sherlock Holmes 2 before this holiday is over. Still think The Muppets is the best film I've seen this year (so far).
Crazy as it sounds, we still control our own destiny. Have two incredibly important games coming up against the Jets and Cowboys. We win them both, we win the division. Have to forget all about this loss and move forward. If we can get hot these last two weeks, we have a chance. I'm not giving up hope, and you shouldn't either! Just ignore all sports media outlets this week (except giants.com, of course!) and you'll be amazed how much less the loss stings. To talk all things Giants, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, find me on Facebook under the name "Gmen Superfan," and follow me on Twitter under the name "@gmensuperfan1." Have a great holiday weekend everyone, and until next week, GO GMEN!
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