Written by: Glenn Warciski & Peter Scott Furman
Undaunted by the pressure, Eagles rookie placekicker Jake Elliot made a franchise record 61-yard field goal as time expired, giving the Eagles a 27-24 comeback win against the New York Football Giants. With this win, the Eagles improve to 2-1 overall (more importantly, 2-0 in the NFC East). On the other hand, this crushing loss drops the Giants record to 0-3 overall (0-2 in the NFC East & 0-3 in the NFC Conference). Needless to say, Elliot’s leg drove the penultimate nail into the Giants 2017 playoff coffin.
For the Giants to make the playoffs, it is going to be a steep climb. Over the next four weeks, the Giants play at Tampa Bay, home vs. the Chargers, at Denver and home vs. the Seahawks. In our opinon, the Giants have to win three out of the next four games to revive their once-promising season. If they continue the avalance of losses, without question, there will be major changes made by the organization once the season ends.
Speaking of endings, before we get into McAdoo’s lapses in judgment against the Eagles, we have to go back two years ago, when the Giants major blunder cost them a victory against the Cowboys. Recall, in the opener to the 2015 season, the Giants lead the Cowboys 23-20 with 1:54 seconds left in the game. The Giants have the ball first and goal on the Cowboys four-yard line. Keep in mind, Dallas had two time outs remaining. If the Giants scored a touchdown, the game was over. Instead, there is confusion with Eli Manning, RB Rashad Jennings,Tom Coughlin and OC Ben McAdoo.
New York Giants running back Rashad Jennings said he was told not to score near the end of the Giants’ loss to the Dallas on Sunday night. Jennings carried the ball twice inside the Cowboys’ five-yard line around the two-minute mark of the fourth quarter but avoided the end zone because Giants’ coaches lost track of Dallas’s remaining timeouts.
So with a third and one on the Dallas one yard line and Dallas with NO timeouts, Ben McAdoo dials up a passing play. What happens? Eli inexplicably throws the ball away as an imcomplete pass, which stops the clock. Keep in mind that prior to this play, there was a timeout. What the heck was the head coach, quarterback and offensive coordinator discussing? Dinner plans. Did they go over scenarios? Did they discuss what happens if the intended receiver was not open or if Eli is under pressure, what to do with the football?
Reading Steve Young’s book, My Life Behind the Spiral, Young discussed his quarterbacks coach, Mike Shanahan. Because Shanahan was a stickler for detail and annoyingly repetitive, Young referred to him as “Let’s go over it again.” We do not see this with McAdoo. What choices should Eli make? No. The rest is history. Dallas had enough time to mount a fantastic finish, defeating the Giants, 27-26. To this day, we have not uncovered McAdoo’s role in this fiasco. Coughlin covered for Eli and vice versa. One would think McAdoo would have learned from this major gaffe. Unfortunately, he did not.
Last week, the Giants were trailing the Lions 17-7 with the Giants on the Lions’ two-yard line. It is fourth and two with 5:20 left in the game, with the crowd urging McAdoo to “go for it.” He bows under the fans’ pressure and pulls the trigger. But what happens? The Giants screw up. A delay of game penalty is called, which forces the Giants to kick a FG. Two years ago, McAdoo was involved with a blunder, and it repeats itself again. What preparations were the Giants making in goal-to-go situations? Was McAdoo ready? Were both coach and quarterback clear on what the play call was? Evidently, no, as the result was an unacceptable delay-of-game penalty. After the game was over, McAdoo did not take the hit for his involvement. He called out Eli Manning for the mistake.
Sloppy quarterback play, “McAdoo said. “Quarterback and the center need to be on the same page there. We’ve got to get the ball snapped.”
Why not call timeout yourself?
“Because we have a veteran quarterback who has played a lot of football. I expect us to get the ball snapped,” McAdoo continued. “Usually the clock goes from three, two, one, zero. Once it hits zero, they look at the ball, then look at the clock. Usually we have a tick once it hits zero to get the ball snapped without being a delay of game. I thought we had a chance to get it off.”
This brings us to the Eagles game. With 24 seconds remaining in the first half, the Giants have fourth and goal to go on the Eagles one-yard line. Trailing 7-0, coming out of a timeout, McAdoo decides to go for the touchdown and not settle for a field goal. Why? What was he thinking? Coming into this game, the Giants have scored a total of 13 points. Kick the field goal and go into halftime down FOUR points. The Giants were also receiving the second-half kickoff. The right choice was to gain momentum by putting points on the board and parlaying that into more second-half scoring. As my friend at UltimateNYG.com, Andy Furman, stated, “Fassel actually explains this…the FG is the correct choice on fourth down because you can’t take the field position into the second half if you miss.”
Should McAdoo have gone for it on fourth down? Based on his previous experience with goal-to-go situations (except for the Bengals game last year), the Giants have not executed. Perhaps McAdoo is a fan of Cal-Berkeley professor David Romer. According to the economics professor, a team facing fourth-and-goal within five yards of the end zone is better off, on average, trying for a touchdown.
What’s mind boggling is McAdoo still had confidence in the offensive line. From the one-yard line, McAdoo called a running play. Giants running back Orleans Darkwa was tackled for a loss. This resulted in a turnover on downs. Philly 7 and Giants ZERO at the half.
Bill Belichick backs up Fassel’s claim: “I think, basically, he was saying that if you get down there and don’t score, you’re putting the other team 80, 90 yards away from the goal line anyway, and the chances of them scoring aren’t very good. You’ll probably get the ball back in good field position. And the percentages added up to his conclusion, which was to go for it.”
So what happens on the first Giants possession of the second half? Three and Wing. The Giants come out flat and continue to look like crap on offense. We believe this play affected the Giants because after three quarters, the Giants scored ZERO points on 186 yards of offense.
Down 14-0 in the 4th quarter, Eli Manning caught fire. Manning finished the game with 366 yards passing with three touchdowns and two interceptions. The Giants scored 24 unanswered fourth-quarter points, but the heroic effort fell short as the Eagles won the game.
Over the last four games, which includes the Green Bay playoff game, the Giants have been outscored 108-50.
OBJ: His talent was on display once again. As we have written here before, he is an outstanding football player. He finished with nine catches for 79 yards, including two incredible touchdown grabs. But we have to question his lapse in judgment. What the heck was his thinking with his dog-urinating celebration? This celebration cost the Giants a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty. Furthermore, McAdoo gave him an earful on the sidelines. His antics are unacceptable. We hope managment has a talk with him about personal conduct. He needs to clean up his act.
Special Teams: Last week, the Giants surrendered a punt-return TD. Since 2012, this is the fifth-punt return touchdown the Giants have given up under Tom Quinn’s watch. Yesterday, what did he say to punter Brad Wing? Although Wing did admit his 28-yard punt was a “shit kick,” the crappy punt set up the game-winning field goal. Was Wing trying to kick it out of bounds? We think so because of what happened last week. Instead of kicking the ball deep and sending the game into overtime, Wing gets too cute and shanks the punt.
The Giants defense cannot stop the run. Are they missing DT Hankins? You bet. Over three games this season minus Hankins, the Giants have allowed 129, 138 and 193 yards rushing.
Flowers is a train wreck. On the Giants final drive, Ereck Flowers was flagged with TWO costly penalties: illegal shift and holding. Again, he cannot open holes for the Giants running backs and commits foolish penalties when the game is on the line.