Sunday was the latest test of wills for Giant fans as the Blue snatched defeat out of the jaws of victory once again. It's a disturbing trend that everyone hopes will reverse itself and quickly. Last week in Dallas, they had the Cowboys beat, and this week, they had the Falcons beat. What happened? Perhaps it can be summed up by the coach of the Atlanta Falcons, Dan Quinn:
"This league is all about finishing, so today is a great example. Let’s give New York a lot of credit, too – they took this as far as it can go and we had to battle with everything we could to come back. We kind of got set off there in the third quarter – had a pivotal sack, a forced fumble, and it ended up being like a twelve-play, 90-yard touchdown drive right after that to give us a chance to get right back into the game."
Uh, yeah. It was obvious. The offense goes into a shell and ignores it's best players at crunch time and the defense lays back and waits to get beat. Beautiful. Jobs are on the line this year and if things continue the way they are, coaches and perhaps some executives are going to be sent packing.
I know it's too early to start this line of chatter, but the frustration level is high right now. They have to clean this up and fast. The division can be had by any of the four teams, now, and if the Giants can find a way to play 60 whole minutes of clean football every week, they can actually get in the mix.
The season began with the Cowboys and Eagles clear contenders with the Giants and Redskins eating their dust. After two weeks, several developments have caused many to alter their forecasts.
Dallas (2-0) has lost its two best players for what appears to be the better part of the season. WR Dez Bryant (foot) may be out up to 10 weeks and QB Tony Romo (clavicle) could be out that long as well.
The Eagles' (0-2) high-flying offense has been grounded. The league may be catching up with Chip Kelly. They cannot run the football and QB Sam Bradford looks very uncomfortable in this offense so far.
Washington (1-1) has played hard vs. two of the NFL's most physical teams. They lost a tough one to Miami in Week 1 then bossed around the Rams on Sunday. Suddenly, the Skins are a team not to be taken lightly.
Speaking of Washington, they will be here Thursday to play the Giants on national television. Tom Coughlin is still digesting the recent implosions, so how can he get his team ready to play in just three days this week?
"We’re not going to feel sorry for ourselves, we didn’t do that last week," Coughlin said after the game. "There was frustration but there wasn’t anybody feeling sorry for themselves. It’s our own doing, there’s nobody to blame but us. Maybe it’s better for us to jump right back in. We’re not going to get to look at this tape with the players, we’ll look at it as coaches but we’ve got to jump right on to the next opponent."
Injuries from yesterday were key ones. CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie sustained a concussion chasing down Falcons' RB Tevin Coleman. It looked like DRC got a heel to the head on the play. LT Ereck Flowers re-injured his left ankle. Coughlin did not have a lot of information after the game.
"The only thing I can think of with Cromartie was protocol. He has to go through the protocol," Coughlin said for DRC. "Flowers, I hope it’s not going to be a continuous thing that bothers him all year long."
Game notes courtesy of the Giants' PR Dept.....
*Eli Manning completed 27 of 40 passes for 292 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. The 292 yards increased his career total to 40,240, which moved him one yard in front of Pro Football Hall of famer Johnny Unitas (40,239) and into 14th place on the NFL’s career list.
*Manning is the 15th player in history to pass for at least 40,000 yards when he hit Odell Beckham Jr. on a 26-yard pass in the second quarter. On Thursday, his brother Peyton Manning joined Brett Favre as the only players to throw for at least 70,000 yards.
*Manning has not thrown an interception in either of the first two games, the first time that has happened in the 11 years he has been the Giants’ season-opening quarterback (not including his 2004 rookie season, when he took over in the 10th game).
*Manning also ran twice for 23 yards, including an 18-yarder that matched his career long, achieved twice previously. He also ran for 18-yard gains vs. Miami in London on Oct. 28, 2007, and vs. Indianapolis on Nov. 3, 2014.
*Beckham caught seven passes for 146 yards, including a 67-yard score. The seven catches increased his career total to 103, which is an NFL record for the first 16 games (a full season) in a career. Of course, Beckham has set the mark in only 14 games. The previous record of 101 was set by Anquan Boldin in 2003.
*It was the fifth time in his last six games that Beckham totaled at least 130 receiving yards. The exception was the opener last week in Dallas, when he had 44 yards, breaking his NFL record-tying streak of 90-yard games at nine in a row.
*It was Beckham’s eighth-career 100-yard game. The Giants are 3-5 in those games.
*The 146 yards increased Beckham’s career total to 1,495, yards, which is the second-highest total for the first 16 games of a career. Bill Groman owns the record with 1,593 yards. Beckham has two games to gain 99 yards and claim the record.
*The 67-yard touchdown was the second-longest reception of his career. He had an 80-yard touchdown catch at St. Louis last Dec. 21.
*The touchdown was the 13th of Beckham’s career. The record for the first 16 games of a career is 17, which is held by Randy Moss.
*Tight end Larry Donnell scored his first touchdown of the season on a 10-yard reception from Manning. Donnell, who had four receptions for 28 yards, was second on the team last season with six touchdown catches.
*Second-year pro Andre Williams led the Giants in rushing with 43 yards on just six carries, including a 35-yarder.
*Shane Vereen had a team-high eight catches (for 76 yards) and added 19 rushing yards on six attempts.
*Cullen Jenkins picked up the Giants’ first sack of the season when he blasted past guard Chris Chester and tackled Matt Ryan for a six-yard loss in the third quarter.
*Robert Ayers had the Giants’ other sack, an 11-yarder in the fourth quarter.
*The Giants committed their first turnover of the season in the third quarter, when they were only eight yards from the Atlanta goal line. Manning was sacked for a 3-yard loss by Kroy Biermann, who forced a fumble that was recovered by Paul Soliai. The Falcons promptly marched down the field and pulled to within three points at 20-17 on Matt Ryan’s 10-yard touchdown pass to Leonard Hankerson.
*For the second week in a row, the Giants were unable to hold a 10-point fourth-quarter lead and lost. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this is the first time in Giants history they lost consecutive games after leading by 10 or more points in the fourth quarter in each of them.
*The Giants are 0-2 for the third consecutive year, the first time that’s happened in franchise history.
*The Giants are 49-39-3 in home openers, including 2-4 in MetLife Stadium. They have lost their last four home openers.
*The Giants won the coin toss and opted to defer taking possession until the second-half kickoff. Since 2012, the Giants are 0-7 in games in which they won a coin toss and chose not to go on offense after the opening kickoff.
*The Giants did not have a takeaway for the first time since they played in Jacksonville last Nov. 30. Since a victory in 2008, they have lost their last 15 regular-season games in which they had no takeaways.
*Atlanta’s 56 rushing yards were the lowest total by a Giants opponent since Philadelphia ran for 48 yards on Oct. 27, 2013. The Falcons averaged just 2.5 yards a carry. Atlanta did pass for 346 yards.
*The Falcons succeeded on 11 of 17 third-down conversion attempts, the most successes by a Giants opponent since Baltimore had 11 on Dec. 23, 2012.
*Left tackle Ereck Flowers (ankle) and left cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (burner) left the game. With Flowers out, Justin Pugh moved over from left guard to play tackle, and John Jerry stepped in at guard. DRC was replaced by Jayron Hosley.
*The Giants trail in the regular-season series vs. Atlanta 12-11. The home team had won the previous four games in the series.
*Tight end Jerome Cunningham had a three-yard reception in his NFL debut.
*Louis Nix III made his Giants debut as a sub defensive tackle.
*Linebacker Devon Kennard led the Giants with nine tackles (seven solo).
*Atlanta receiver Julio Jones caught 13 passes for 135 yards, the highest number of receptions for a Giants' opponent since Dallas Jason Witten caught 18 passes on Oct. 28, 2013.
*The Giants’ inactive players were wide receiver Victor Cruz (calf), linebacker Jon Beason (knee), tight end Daniel Fells (foot), defensive tackle Markus Kuhn (knee), defensive end Owa Odighizuwa (foot), safety Cooper Taylor and offensive lineman Bobby Hart.
*Rodgers-Cromartie and Jenkins joined season-long captains Manning and Zak DeOssie for the coin toss. It was the second week in a row Jenkins received the honor. Beason is the defensive captain. The current players were joined by three members of the 1990 Super Bowl XXV championship team, which was honored this weekend: defensive end Leonard Marshall, linebacker Gary Reasons and cornerback Mark Collins.