For 22 years Jeff Feagles has been a premiere punter in the NFL. No one in the league is better at placing the ball within the 20 yard line ?then Feagles (OK statistically some are slightly better, stop checking up on my writing and just believe me). In 7 years as a Giant I have only heard Jeff Feagles name called out once in a post game conference (On a punt return by Brain Westbrook 5 years ago). Last night Feagles averaged 34.4 yards a punt and put the Giants defense in several tight spots.
On 3 straight punts in the third quarter Feagles failed to drive the ball more then forty yards, and gave the Cardinals great field position, twice in Giants territory. One of the punts was a shank, and shanks happen, but the other 2 punts were simply directional punts that sailed out of bounds far to quickly. The interesting part of the post game conference is how Coughlin responded. "Those were on me." According to Coughlin he did not want to give Cardinal punt returner Steve Breaston a chance to make a play. Still there is also no way Coughlin wanted Feagles to net less then 35 yards on all 3 kicks.
After 22 years of kicking it's clear this game was an aberration, but for one game Jeff Feagles was not the special teams weapon he normally is, in fact he was a liability. Although the defense gave up 24 points they actually did a good job of containing a high powered offense considering the field position they dealt with and the turnovers, 4 to be exact (although 1 was on the ?final offensive play). The defense actually held the Cardinals to less then 300 yards of offense and a meager 216 yards passing. As coach Coughlin says you need to have all three units playing well in order to win in the NFL, you can get away with two, but last night the specials teams and offense were no where to be found. For one game, and probably one game only, I ask what the Feagles was that?