Giants choke, practically hand the NFC East to the Eagles

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 19: Michael Vick  of the Philadelphia Eagles stands by the huddle against the New York Giants at New Meadowlands Stadium on December 19, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

Here are six quick-hit observations from the Eagles’ shocking 38-31 come-from-behind victory over the Giants on Sunday.

1. This is the biggest choke-job of the season.
There’s just no other way to put it: the Giants choked. They were up 24-3 at halftime and 31-10 with 8:17 left in the fourth quarter and they still found a way to blow it. After Andy Reid didn’t challenge that DeSean Jackson fumble in the fourth quarter that led to an 8-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Boss, the game should have been over. But one Michael Vick 65-yard touchdown pass, a successful onsides kick, a 35-yard Vick scramble, a couple of Giants’ stalled drives and a 65-yard Jackson punt return later and the Eagles emerged victorious. Absolutely amazing. In a game the Giants had to have if they wanted to keep pace in the NFC East, they blew a 21-point lead in eight minutes. This was the worst collapse of the year given the magnitude of the game.

2. Why, why, WHY Matt Dodge?
Seriously, Matt Dodge? Your instructions were to kick the ball out of bounds so you boom a line drive right at Jackson, who is easily one of the most feared return men in the game? What the hell were you thinking? The Giants didn’t solely lose this game because of Dodge’s ho-ho horrendous punt with 14 seconds remaining and for Tom Coughlin’s sake, why didn’t anyone tackle Jackson after he spent a minute kicking the ball around the turf? But what terrible timing to have a brain fart. That kick should have been six rows up in the stands and instead Dodge did the only thing he absolutely couldn’t do, which was send a pea-rocket right at Jackson so that he had a chance to return it. I wouldn’t want to be Dodge in the film room when that play comes on the screen come Monday.

3. I’m thoroughly convinced coaches have no idea when to use the challenge flag.
Andy Reid blew it in the fourth quarter by not challenging Jackson’s fumble, which would have allowed the Eagles to keep possession in a crucial point in the game. Jackson coughed up the ball but replays showed that he was touched on the way to the ground, which would have meant the Eagles would have maintained possession…had Reid challenged, that is. But he didn’t, and the Giants wound up scoring a touchdown on their next possession. How many times do we see a head coach challenge a play that he clearly has no business challenging? How many times do we see a head coach challenge the spot of the ball even though everyone and their cousin knows it’s useless (Pete Carroll did this against the Falcons on Sunday and lost and I’m sure there were other coaches who attempted it, too)? But yet, Reid stuffs the red flag in his pocket on a play like Jackson’s. Amazing.

4. If it weren’t for Tom Brady, Vick would have a case for MVP.
Brady already has the MVP wrapped up, so there’s really no point in discussing the other candidates. But if Brady were only playing half as good as he is now, Vick would definitely have a case for the league’s highest honor. Perry Fewell’s defense flustered him in the first half but he was incredible with the game on the line. He engineered three scoring drives in the fourth quarter to tie the game and finished as the Eagles’ leading rusher with 130 yards on 10 carries and one touchdown. He was simply electrifying and who else gets the sense that he’s going to wind up facing his former team at the Georgia Dome come playoff time? What a story that would be.

5. The Giants are still in good position.
Even after choking against the Eagles, the Giants are in good position to make the playoffs because the fluke Bucs lost to the Lions at home on Sunday. The Giants still have control of their destiny, although they have to go on the road in the final two weeks of the season. They’re at Lambeau next week and then play the Redskins in Week 17. The Bucs, meanwhile, host the Seahawks but then have to travel to New Orleans in Week 17. But this game on Sunday against the Packers is huge. It’s essentially both Green Bay and New York’s season.

6. The Eagles can still earn a first round bye.
This win allows the Eagles to possibly earn a first round bye. If the playoffs were to start today, the Falcons (who are currently playing the Seahawks) would have the top seed and the Eagles would have the No. 2 spot. But the Bears (who are 9-4) hold the head-to-head advantage against Philly and they play the Joe Webb-led Vikings on Monday night. Assuming the Bears beat Minnesota, Philadelphia would have to win out and hope that Chicago losses one of their remaining two games (vs. Jets; at Green Bay). Either that, or the Eagles would be helped dramatically if the Falcons lose two of their last three games because Philly has already beaten Atlanta this season. The dynamics in the NFC playoff picture could change dramatically over these next two weeks.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Related Posts