Tom Uddo, Contributor
It was all going according to plan… somewhat.
On a day when the Giants needed a win, their first win of the season, as bad as any team did, things were clicking.
David Wilson had scored his first touchdown of the season, Eli Manning had been careful with the ball, connecting with Reuben Randle for two touchdowns to give the Giants a 21-19 lead against the Philadelphia Eagles with a little more than a full quarter to go. The crowd was electric as they could taste their first win of the season, that somehow, would put them just one game back of first place in the division.
With Michael Vick out of the game, all eyes were on the defense; the read-option playbook was out the window and backup quarterback Nick Foles was in their crosshairs, we were back to hard-nosed and gritty football, something the Giants defense has relished for decades.
But one thing was certainly evident on Sunday, this is not the same old Giants team.
Penalties, poor tackling, and no sense of any momentum or confidence on the defensive side of the ball led the Giants to their fifth straight loss to open the season.
Their 21-19 lead was vacated after a 27-yard pass interference call on Prince Amukamara, shortly followed by a successful third down for the Eagles that put them well within field goal range to take the lead; a lead that the Giants would never come close to sniffing again for the rest of the game.
The Giants put themselves in a position to win the game, but their defense couldn’t come through. A stop had to be made and it wasn’t.
Their toughness was questioned last week as they traveled to Kansas City to take on the undefeated Chiefs and they played relatively well, while most of the blame for last week’s loss was due to struggles on offense. Time and time again, the defense has been put in tough spots with Manning and the offense constantly turning the ball over.
But this week, fingers have to be pointed at defensive coordinator Perry Fewell and the defense.
When it comes down to it, they were able to somewhat contain Vick and Chip Kelly’s fast-paced offense, but when Vick left the game with a hamstring injury, the Giants had no answer for the backup Foles who went on throw two touchdowns in the fourth quarter and blew the game wide open.
They over prepared for an offense that was changed mid-game and couldn’t make the adjustment to playing basic defense, the rough-and-tough, in-your-face kind that has one them championships in the past. Maybe it doesn’t exist anymore, who knows? A time when the Giants used to dominate on defense, from the play of the secondary, to the fearsome line that used to tear through opponent’s offensive lines and had QB’s thinking twice about holding onto the ball…is gone.
One thing is clear; that change has to be made. When things seemed to be at their worst, the Giants are able to find a lower level that leaves fans shaking their heads.