First of all, I think it is worth noting that virtually every facet of the Giants' game was off yesterday - there is lots and lots of blame to go around for this loss. In no particular order:
- Eli was shite for almost all of the game;
- Carney's two missed FG's made a comeback virtually impossible in the 4th quarter;
- Gilbride's inexplicable decision to pass more and run less in the second and third quarters was and is astounding (I think he calls the plays, if not, my bad);
- The defensive line failed to sack McNabb even one time (or just hit him late and take the 15 yards - anything to break his rhythm);
- The secondary couldn't stop the medium passing game over the middle for the last 30 minutes of the game; and
- The offense failed to convert two crucial fourth downs when Eli couldn't get low enough to convert a fourth down that a high schooler could have made on the first, and Brandon Jacobs ignored a wide open left side and instead dove for the middle on the second.
But I disagree with OB and anyone else who was stunned and/or crushed by this loss. Despite some frustration for the above-chronicled collective bed-shitting by this team, I don't feel too badly today, and I have none but love for our G-Men. The Giants had a great season, and it was really fun to watch them dominate the NFC all year. The Carolina win was about as exciting as a regular season game gets. And I don't care what anyone says, when you lose a guy like Burress - especially in the manner the Giants lost him - it has a huge impact. Throw in the fact that Jacobs was breaking down, Tuck was hurt, and we were battling a number of other injuries, and the handwriting was on the wall shortly after Thanksgiving: this was not a team that was going to go all the way. I mean, 1-3 to end the season really does not inspire too much confidence, even when the one win is more important than all three losses combined. I haven't looked it up, but I cannot imagine too many Super Bowl winners ended their season with a .250 winning percentage over their final four games.
This was a solid team, but I am not sure they were the best in the NFC, and they definitely were not the best when it mattered most. The comparisons between the 2007-08 Giants and the 2008-09 Eagles may have drawn complaints from the players and coaches of both teams this week, but they are spot on. This Eagles team was uninspiring for much of the regular season, snuck into the playoffs on luck and some nice wins down the stretch, and caught fire at exactly the right time.
And before you get too down about the end of the Giants' season, consider this: after pulling off a shocking upset in the 2002 Super Bowl (a win that was frequently compared to the Giants' Super Bowl win in 2008), the Patriots had a disappointing campaign the following year, only to win consecutive Super Bowls in the two years that followed. And if that's not enough, consider this: one of the top defenses in the NFC is getting Osi Umenyiora back in 2009. I will distract myself with a mediocre Mets team over the summer, but I am already looking forward to the 2009 Giants.