Big Blue letting turnovers take over
Five more Giant giveaways lead to Philadelphia flop, put 2010 plans in peril
PHILADELPHIA -- Osi Umenyiora looked sick to his stomach and kept uttering the word "ridiculous." Ahmad Bradshaw sat on a stool long after the game was over in a stunned Giants locker room, staring in disbelief and anger.
In their biggest game of the season, the Giants had a golden opportunity to steal a crucial playoff-like game in Philadelphia. They erased a 16-3 deficit and stormed back to take a 17-16 lead. Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell's scheme had made QB Michael Vick look human, which is pretty amazing considering what he did to the Redskins a week ago.
All the Giants had to do was hold on to the lead for the final 13:35.
The problem for coach Tom Coughlin, though, is that his team can't hold on to anything. The Giants' turnover problem has gone from concern to nuisance to a full-blown epidemic that threatens Big Blue's 2010 season.
The Giants (6-4) lost the ball five times, and because of that they now have lost two straight games after suffering a stinging 27-17 defeat to the Eagles.
QB Eli Manning threw three interceptions and lost a critical fumble while diving forward on a first-down scramble that ended any chance of putting together a game-winning drive with 2:51 remaining at the Eagles' 40-yard-line.
Running back Ahmad Bradshaw lost another fumble, and the Giants were left to wonder what could have happened if they had just been able to hang on to the football.
"That was a game we should have won," a disgusted Umenyiora said. "We fought hard. For it to end like that, that was ridiculous. We gave them the game."
Coughlin looked like he needed a straitjacket. He has been harping on the turnovers for weeks, but the Giants either don't do anything about it or can't do anything about it.
This is why the Giants aren't one of the best teams in the NFC. They can't stop hurting themselves with self-inflicted wounds like mind-numbing turnovers and penalties.
The Giants have now turned the ball over 30 times this season through 11 games. Manning has 16 interceptions, and while he had yet another pick bounce off the hands of a receiver, the INTs are absolute killers.
And then there are the penalties. The Giants committed only six penalties for 54 yards Sunday, but first-round pick Jason Pierre-Paul was flagged for being offside on a third-and-5 play during which the Giants had pressured Vick into an incomplete pass. Still clinging to a 17-16 lead, the Giants had stopped the Eagles with 4:38 left to play, and Philly was likely going to have to punt. But Pierre-Paul's penalty gave the Eagles a third-and-1 and new life.
After Vick threw an incomplete pass, the Eagles were facing a fourth-and-1 at the 50 with 4:34 to go. If the Giants' defense gets a stop, they likely hang on for the win (barring another turnover).
And in a game of inches that saw Eagles WR Jason Avant drop a touchdown and an Eagles field goal get blocked at the end of the first half, Vick bobbled the snap and within a second Umenyiora was practically on Vick's back.
Vick somehow secured the ball and pitched it to the left to RB LeSean McCoy past Umenyiora's fingertips. McCoy took the pitch and didn't stop until he was in the end zone as the Giants' defense, which had been terrific most of the game, suffered one critical lapse -- the man responsible for shadowing McCoy saw a potential fumble when Vick bobbled the ball and ran toward the inside.
And just like that, the Giants' one-point lead evaporated and the Eagles had a 24-17 lead after a two-point conversion.
The Giants still had a chance to win the game. Facing a fourth-and-6 at the Giants' 44 with 3:13 remaining, Manning took off and did his best Vick impression.
Manning got more than enough for the first down, running for 16 yards. But instead of sliding feet first, Manning dove forward and lost the ball when he hit the turf. The Eagles recovered and the Giants lost.
For Manning, it was a frustrating game. Eagles CB Asante Samuel picked him off in the second quarter at the Giants' 23-yard-line. On the drive before that, Bradshaw lost his fifth fumble of the season when he was stripped despite having both arms around the ball at the Giants' 24-yard-line.
The Giants simply aren't a good enough team to overcome these kinds of mistakes against an elite team like Philadelphia.
"If we want to go anywhere, we got to fix it," Manning said of the turnovers. "I got to stop the turnovers. The interceptions are obviously a problem and they are adding up. I don't feel like I am forcing it into tight spots on things."
But they are happening, and the Giants seem to be out of answers at the moment as to how to fix their Achilles heel.
"The careless disregard for the ball, which has been going on for probably a year-and-a-half here, no one seems to be able to do anything about it," an exasperated Coughlin said. "Again, [it] cost us a football game."
When Coughlin was asked how the Giants will fix their problem, he said, "I am not sure what the answer to that is. It's up to the individual. I'm not sure what the answer to that is."
The Giants have lost two games they could have won -- this game and their 29-10 defeat to Tennessee in Week 3 when they couldn't stop committing dumb penalties and turnovers.
If those two games were wins, the Giants would be talking about how they are the best team in the NFC. Instead, they are talking about how they have to stop their season from slipping away like another fumble.
"I don't know what we are going to do," Umenyiora said. "We have been talking about the same things for a while."
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