Why Big Blue, Why?

Why did you change your evil ways? For the first three quarters, this game seemed well in hand, thanks to some wicked good, merciless play on both sides of the ball. Then, a mistake here and a mistake there changed things to one of the most painful losses I remember from this team, and there have been plenty of those.

Now, before I continue, let me note that the last time I devoted a post to the play of Big Blue was after their first few games, where I saw what everyone else did—a weak team that some were writing off (I didn’t). Then they played the month of October brilliantly, really looking like the team to beat in the NFC for a stretch, in fact. I didn’t blog about them then because, well, life, or simply writer’s block, got in the way. Yeah, there were struggles against the Cowboys and Eagles, but they rebounded again, and set up the big matchup in the Meadowlands this past Sunday.

When all is said and done, they’re a 9-5 team, and they really seem like one: Playoff worthy, but not upper echelon.

Anyway, I was antsy all morning, rotating between every available media source to keep up with friends and pregame analyses. The Eagles have the Giants number, but I had a good feeling about this game. I normally don’t against them, but I did yesterday.

Then the game came on, and the Giants proved more than up to the task. I had this post halfway written in my head early in the game. I was all over the things the announcers discussed:

O’Hara, back after an extended absence, looked overmatched early, and the running game suffered. Then he got his legs under him, and the offense clicked. Negative rushes turned positive, and passes down the field started flowing. They scored, and scored plenty.

On defense, number 1 pick JPP blocked passes, and two other recent number 1 picks in the secondary played like it. Oh yeah, Vick got hit. A lot. Between Rolle and KP and those brilliant corners, everything clicked, as none of the Eagles sprint squad got open for Vick bombs. There was one play where KP blitzed, occupied a lineman, and then broke off the block and kept Vick in front of him, chasing him to the sidelines. Superman was on.

So was Super Mario: Two touchdowns—the latter a great effort by him—gave the Giants a nice lead. And they kept scoring. 24-3 at half-time! Sweet!

All my Facebook friends who are Giants fans were in a frenzy. All my Facebook Eagle fan friends (yes, I have a good number of them) were silent. I remember thinking at that point that they’ve been oddly merciful to me during this streak, and, should this game play out this way, that I would, well, I would be happy about the Giants, but I would do no taunting.

Little did I know.

Then the misplays started. First Super Mario just let go of the ball. Then Superman missed a tackle. And little went right after that. That aggressive defense went into prevent mode. Instead of four defensive linemen and miscellaneous LBs and DBs blitzing, trying to get hits on Vick, it seemed that about four players stayed in, and everybody else retreated at the snap. Even the defensive linemen! I mean, Canty and Tuck 20 yards downfield? C’mon, man. Instead of Rolle and Phillips playing up tight, they were moving backwards at the snap. A lot of QBs would rush for big yards against this style of defense. But, Vick? He scorched it. I think my complexion matched the Eagles’ uniforms when Vick broke down the sideline, with Ross futilely chasing him.

In a lot of the Giants’ wins, it seemed that they’ve made mistakes that could cost them against better teams. That happened Sunday. The Eagles scored three touchdowns in no time, tying up the game. But, Big Blue got the ball one more time. They couldn’t get a first down, let alone drive for a field goal, and so had to punt, and a rookie punter is looking like the goat right now. But that game should not have come down to him, not even close. No, this should not have ended up the second worst loss I’ve ever seen by them.

I remember the infamous Pisarcik fumble well, but that's become almost comical. The Giants were not going anywhere that year. "The Whiff" playoff loss to the Bears in 1985? Nah. The Super Bowl loss to the Ravens? Well, I was stunned that they were in the Super Bowl in 2001, and they were simply overmatched. Flipper Anderson running down the tunnel in the OT playoff loss in 1990 hurt, as did the Vikings comeback playoff win in 1997. But, nothing was as bad as the 2003 playoff loss to the 49ers. Not only did the Giants blow a huge lead, but the game was also decided by some very poor officiating. That game killed me.

The game yesterday just made me really sick.

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