Myers rips Tom Coughlin for poor game decisions

Gary Myers of the New York Daily News criticizes Giants’ head coach Tom Coughlin for several poor decisions he made in his team’s playoff loss to the Eagles on Sunday.

Tom CoughlinCoughlin had a big decision to make when the Giants won the toss. He took the ball and went into the 20 mph wind in the first quarter. Manning has proven he can’t handle the wind at Giants Stadium, so Coughlin should have deferred and had the wind behind Manning to open the game. Manning never got into any rhythm after a tough first quarter.

After Ahmad Bradshaw returned the opening kickoff 65 yards to the Eagles’ 35, Manning dropped back to pass on first down. Steve Smith was wide open at the Eagles’ 15, but Manning’s pass was wobbly and Smith couldn’t get it.

The Giants eventually settled for a field goal. After holding Philly on its first possession, the Giants were forced to start on their own 13. After seeing the pass to Smith fail to navigate its way through the wind, Coughlin should have ordered Gilbride to give the ball to Brandon Jacobs to get the Giants away from the end zone.

Gilbride sent in a play-action pass. Manning rolled right and sailed it over the head of Domenik Hixon, right to Asante Samuel, who finally picked off Manning after dropping that huge one on the Giants’ game-winning drive in the Super Bowl. He returned it to the Eagles’ 2, setting up Donovan McNabb’s touchdown run.

It made no sense to throw in that spot.

When the Giants trailed 20-11 early in the fourth quarter, Coughlin lost a third down replay challenge when he thought Ward had a first down at the Giants’ 44. He went for it on fourth and inches. Manning failed on a quarterback sneak. Johnson anticipated it.

“A quarterback sneak is as elementary as it gets,” O’Hara said. “And to not be able to get a few inches on a fourth down, that is inexcusable.”

Why not let Jacobs, who is 6-4, 264, try to bully his way to the first down?

I find it rather ironic (and almost comical) that Myers criticized Coughlin’s decisions on Sunday, yet he was the one last week that prolifically wrote that there was no way that the Eagles would beat the Giants. It’s almost like Myers wrote his latest column in anger that Coughlin made him look bad on his prediction.

Either way, Myers is right in his observations. I fail to see why taking the ball at the start of the game is a wise decision when you know your offense will be working into the wind. Put your defense on the field first, force a punt and then you have momentum, field position and the ball first in the second half. And even if the Eagles march down the field and score, you have an entire game to come back. I also felt that Jacobs was underused and a sneak with Manning was questionable at best, but it’s also easy to play Monday morning quarterback and question everything a losing team did wrong.

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