With six turnovers and a defensive secondary that spent most of the day running and ducking instead of hitting, the New York Giants (9-6) have seen their playoff chances shrink like the polar icecap, losing meekly at the Green Bay Packers 45-17. While they can still make the playoffs, they’re no longer in control of their own destiny.
To snatch defeat from the jaws of victory last weekend was one thing, but the defeat this time around was an entirely different (though no less stinging) breed of animal. It involved shooting themselves in the foot in a manner Plaxico Burress was familiar with. The habitual turnovers and missed defensive assignments suck the life out of fans, players and coaches alike.
As has become a staple of the Giants this season, the mistakes came in bunches. First, Antrel Rolle and Deon Grant both got caught on separate islands in coverage against Packers receiver Jordy Nelson. Biting heavily on the play-action, they were unable to prevent the longest touchdown of Mr. Nelson’s career (80 yards).
This was to prove only a precursor for more. An Eli Manning miscue with Giants receiver Hakeem Nicks resulted in an interception on the very next possession which Green Bay converted into a second touchdown.
Even after that, New York rallied in the second quarter to make it 14-14. It was very clear though, the Giants defense simply didn’t have it against Aaron Rogers and the Packer offense. 404 passing yards later, Rogers had his highest tally of the season and the Packers had the game in hand.
Any possible Giant comebacks were continually thwarted by their own ability to give the ball away. Incessant fumbles and interceptions piled up, even resulting in Tom Coughlin burning all his challenges with the game still close in the fourth quarter.
Naturally, the loss of challenges hurt immediately as Packer cornerback Sam Shields was clearly out of bounds making an interception, yet all the Giants could do at that point was complain about it, being bereft of anymore challenges.
That symbolized the night for New York. Their own mistakes proved to be the backbreaker.
Once again, Tom Coughlin and the Giants find themselves in a must win in the final week against Washington (6-9).
And thanks to their two-week vacation from playing competent football, they now need considerable help. Their competition for the last playoff spot, Green Bay (9-6) and Tampa Bay (9-6), will both need to lose in week 17.
As improbable a setup as this might seem, the Giants only have themselves to blame.