Mistakes Cripple Giants in 27-17 Loss to Eagles

Giants grab lead in fourth quarter, but can't close out Eagles

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After a week of hearing about how the Giants had to do everything in their power to stop Michael Vick, it figures that he'd just be a decoy on the play that wound up deciding the game.

On fourth-and-one from midfield with 4:34 to play, Vick faked a quarterback sneak and drew in the entire Giants defense before pitching the ball to LeSean McCoy who ran untouched into the end zone to give the Eagles a 24-17 lead they wouldn't extend to a 27-17 final score.

Not that the Eagles didn't give the Giants chances to get back into the game. On the next drive, Eli Manning was intercepted by Asante Samuel for the second time in the game but Samuel fumbled and Rich Seubert recovered to give the Giants new life. Then, on fourth-and-six, Manning scrambled for a huge first down and then, for mystifying reasons known only to him, chose to dive head first instead of sliding to stop the play. He fumbled when he hit the ground, the Eagles recovered and that was all she wrote.

And just like that the Giants are 6-4 and would be out of the playoffs if they started today. The news gets worse. Thanks to wins from every other contender in the NFC this week, there are suddenly a bunch of teams ahead of the Giants in the playoff chase just two weeks after they looked like a sure thing.

It's a particularly bitter pill to swallow because so much went right for them on Sunday night. The Eagles offense, so potent against the Redskins, was forced to settle for field goal attempts on four drives. Two of those drives were thwarted by dropped touchdown passes, part of a parade of mistakes that included a Vick fumble, a blocked field goal and 10 penalties. 

For much of the night the Giants couldn't capitalize, but one of those penalties set up a Travis Beckum touchdown catch and Vick's fumble led to a Derek Hagan score 112 seconds apart to turn a 16-3 deficit into a 17-16 Giants lead.

A game that the Eagles had dominated for most of the first 45 minutes had fallen into the Giants' lap. A bit lucky, sure, but the defensive game plan had stifled Michael Vick and the offense seemed to be lurching its way to life. It was like the Giants suddenly realized they could pull down their ski masks and steal this game.

Then, poof, it was all gone. McCoy's run was the death knell, but the Giants never really seemed to grab the game by the neck and make it their own. The reasons why are numbingly familiar at this point in the season.

Including the pair mentioned above, they turned the ball over five times. Penalties cropped up at inopportune times, with Jason Pierre-Paul jumping offside to set up McCoy's fateful run. The special teams were abysmal once again, with Matt Dodge continuing to make you wonder if the Giants are keeping him on the team as part of an effort to keep the unemployment rate from growing. There were myriad other small mistakes -- poorly run routes, missed blocks and tackles -- to go with the more glaring errors.

In short, it was the kind of sloppy effort that we've gotten used to from this team. As much as Tom Coughlin rails against it, discipline has always been a shortcoming for his teams and it killed them on Sunday night.

The Giants have made a concerted effort to let everyone know that this is a different year and a different team than ones that have come before, but the song pretty much remains the same. The Giants get to the second half of seasons and something goes haywire.

There are six games left for the Giants to rewrite that script and those pens had better start working immediately

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