Brett Favre may play like a kid out there, but as this season dragged on, the Giants’ defense increasingly resembled a group of actual children attempting to stop an NFL offense. And far too often — far too often — that meant allowing so many points that the offense, and therefore the team, never had a chance. So it’s only right that the season ended with a whimper yesterday — another pathetic effort in a 44–7 loss to Favre and his Vikings.
Some of the ugly numbers: The Giants allowed at least 40 points for the fifth time this season. Minnesota, who had lost their last two games, only punted twice, and Favre completed over 80 percent of his passes, the second-highest percentage ever for a Giants opponent. And just like last week’s admittedly more important game against Carolina, this one was over at halftime. If we had to pick a most humiliating moment, we’d go with Minnesota going for it on fourth and goal in the third quarter (while up 34–0) and converting on a one-yard pass to Naufahu Tahi. The defense could have saved face just a bit with a goal-line stand there; instead, they let the Vikings work out any remaining kinks in their offense prior to the playoffs.
So with that, a 5-0 start officially gave way to a 3-8 finish — and no playoffs for the first time since 2004. Defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan is most likely the fall guy, no matter how many votes of confidence he gets from Barry Cofield. After yesterday’s game, Tom Coughlin was critical of his offense, and you can’t blame him: They scored just sixteen points over the past two games. But you get the sense he’s just trying to change the subject. There are many changes to be made before the 2010 season begins. One presumes they’ll begin with a search for a new defensive coordinator.