More Thoughts on the Giants Game and a Season Hanging in the Balance

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The key to the game Sunday night was containing the Giants running backs.  Period.

The Giants were in second or third and short the entire game.  They converted 7 of 15 times on third down, which was enough to control the clock and field position battle.  All together, they ran for over 200 yards.

I'm not sure why the refs are being blamed.  I'm not even sure why Reid is being blamed, though I won't defend him either.  Let me say it again: the Giants ran for over 200 yards.  The fact that the Eagles were even in the game was somewhat amazing.

The Giants beat the Eagles last night.  Everything went down the way we thought it would.  We knew if McNabb had time to throw, the game would be high scoring.  We knew Jim Johnson would attack the line of scrimmage with Stewart Bradley to counter the Giants run.  We knew the Eagles needed to force Eli Manning to play from third and long.  If any one group were to blame, it was the defense for not holding up their end.

It's silly to play the blame game though.  I think the Giants were clearly the better team last night.  Are they the best team in the league?  I don't know.  They looked beatable, but more importantly they looked better than the Eagles.

They shut down the Eagles running game.  They made McNabb uncomfortable in the pocket.  They ran the ball with ease.  They didn't give up the big play or kill themselves with turnovers.  The Giants won more than the Eagles lost.

Is it time for Andy to go?  Hey, I've been there already.  I won't sign any stupid petition, but I've discussed at length my feelings on his termination and even offered suggestions for his replacement.  Last night should not be laid at his feet though.  Sure, he put this team together, called the plays, but the world champs just came into our house and did what they do against a pretty good team.

Yeah, the Eagles are still a pretty good team.  The receivers aren't as bad as everyone thought.  The offensive line really misses Shawn Andrews.  McNabb has been inconsistent, and so has the run defense.  They desperately need a true fullback.  All things considered though, they're not bad, but it's become increasingly unlikely they can take the next step.

Who knows where they go from here.  At 5-4 and with three division losses, it is a steep climb just to make the playoffs.  Now is the time to begin an evaluation period.  The coach, potential free agents, all the starters in fact must face the scrutiny of the builders in the front office who should begin working on their plans for next season.  This thing isn't over yet, but this will be a desperate team putting everything on the line the next few weeks.  We'll learn a lot about the guys on this roster going forward.

And as fans, what do we do?  They won't go in the tank enough that they'll earn a high draft choice, so you might as well continue to pull for them and their slim playoff hopes.  Maybe this will be the end of the Reid era, or McNabb, or both.  Maybe they'll put it all together and make a run.  Either way, it's time to pick ourselves up and look where we're going.

Notes

- Quarterback fatigue?  This is silly.  You want to know why they didn't get one more play in before the two minute warning?  Because they didn't need to.  Hurrying to get one last play in would have been unnecessary.  If they rush to the line of scrimmage with that amount of time, there is a better chance there will be a negative play- perhaps a false start or illegal formation penalty, and worst case, a botched snap.  The notion that Donovan is out of shape is a bit baffling to me.  Folks, if he's out of shape, I'm morbidly obese.

- It's time we face facts and admit the offensive line needs a complete overhaul.  They could obviously use Shawn Andrews out there, but the rest of the group isn't getting it done.  Tra Thomas is as good as gone, probably Runyan too, but Jamaal Jackson is another guy it's time to seriously consider replacing.  I like Herremans, and he should benefit from moving back to tackle.  There is no doubt the Eagles will use a first round pick on a lineman, and hopefully some of their young guys develop into starters.

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