Every time I try to write something about this game, I come close to vomiting (which, incidentally, should make the next 500 or so words particularly difficult). In my entire life watching football, I have never seen a more devastating Giants loss (with the possible exception of the 2002 Wild Card debacle in San Francisco). Despite leading 24-3 at halftime and 31-10 in the fourth quarter, the New York Giants (9-5) lost to the Philidelphia Eagles (10-4) on the last play of the game, 38-31.
This game, more than even the contest at Washington on November 15th, demonstrated the irreplaceable talent of Mike Vick. More than that, it showed his league-leading abundance to continually fight through adversity. He endured three sacks, eleven quarterback hits, eight passes deflected, a hostile New York crowd that doubled as the largest PETA rally of all timeâ€¦and overcame it.
No other quarterback that I’ve ever seen could have pulled off the comeback. There were multiple times in the fourth quarter as his team trailed that Vick avoided sacks and made remarkable plays. He became the player we always imagined, ducking, running and throwing his way to victory.
Probably the worst part as a Giants fan, worse even than the fact that they blew multiple 21 point leads, was that they didn’t even play badly. This comes with the obvious exception of punter Matt Dodge (who takes his place in history next to Joe Pisarcik as one of the great goats). His horrible duff of a punt with 14 second left enabled EaglesÂ receiver Desean Jackson a perfect avenue to return the punt 65 miserable yards for the game winning touchdown with no time remaining.
And even Mr. Dodge, the punter who somehow kicked the ball to the absolute worst spot on the field at the absolute worst time to the absolute worst player, didn’t even have a bad game overall. Three punts inside the 20 and consistently good work were completely cancelled out by that great end-of-the-game mistake.
Perhaps he serves as a microcosm for the Giants as a whole. They played marvelously for most of the game. Yet they saved all of their errors for the fourth quarter. Missed tackles, dropped passes, blown assignments and horrible special teams combined with the incredible play of Vick and the Eagles run defense to create a perfect storm of Giants craptacularness (yes, they were so bad that I’m inventing a word for it).
Now, they must move on. With losses by Tampa Bay and Green Bay, the Giants remain in control of their own playoff destiny. The division may now be all but out of reach, but the wild card is still a distinct possibility.
Tough games on the road against the Packers and Redskins will provide a final proving ground for the 2010 Giants. If they win out, some measure of pride will surely be salvaged from the debacle of December 19th, but if they lose, then add this to the growing list of disappointing capitulations by the New York Giants in the Tom Coughlin era.
Now you’ll have to excuse me, because I’m late for my appointment to hop into the bathtub with my toaster…