After starting the 2008-2009 season at 11-1, including a late-season victory to clinch home-field advantage against the NFC’s second-best team, the Giants unraveled and fell apart in today’s NFC Divisional Playoff game against Philadelphia.
The Giants (12-4) had some nice-looking drives, but those drives were cut to an abrupt end when the Giants would have to settle for field goals every single time, including two missed field goals.
An interception by Asante Samuel early in the game put the Eagles (9-6-1) in position for a touchdown, which made the score 7-3. The reason why this interception was so huge was that without it, the Eagles likely wouldn’t have scored much of anything before the half because of a non-existant offense.
The Giants were able to get a safety early on, but weren’t able to do much with it because of a missed field goal by John Carney, who missed only one field goal in the entire regular season.
Eli Manning, who had been great all season, made some horrible throws that included wobbly passes and off-target throws that led to several interceptions. There were also several throws that should have been intercepted, but Manning was lucky to see that they landed in the perfect spot.
Late in the game, the Eagles began to pick up a string of first downs on third downs to keep their drives alive, which gave them the momentum to keep the ball and keep the clock ticking.
A few minutes into the second quarter, the Giants’ play-calling turned into a disaster, and this seems to happen whenever the team is down by about two scores halfway through the fourth quarter. The Giants kept running the ball without entering a no-huddle offense, all while the clock continued to tick.
Eventually, time ran out on the Giants’ hopes of returning to the Super Bowl. The fans stopped waving the towels, the players dropped their heads into the ground, and a sense of desperation and frustration began to spread like a disease throughout the soon-to-be-demolished Giants Stadium.
Only one season after Eli Manning was waving the Lombari Trophy on top of the world, he was walking into the darkness of the Giants Stadium tunnel for the very last time.