And maybe they never truly were the best team in the NFC. But in any case, that discussion is over now. The Giants had a chance to win last night, sure. But the mistakes kept coming and coming — some we hadn’t seen before and some from the usual suspects — the result of which was a 27–17 loss in the much-awaited Sunday night matchup in Philadelphia.
Where to begin with the mistakes? With Ahmad Bradshaw, who fumbled again — and came awfully close to a second fumble, but was saved by video review? (Did Bradshaw’s causing Asante Samuel’s fumble absolve him of his football sins? Not really.) Or with Eli Manning, who threw three picks (albeit one in the closing seconds) and made the inexplicable decision not to slide feet first after running for a first down with the Giants on their last-gasp drive in the fourth quarter? Matt Dodge’s continued adventures? Lawrence Tynes’s kick out of bounds after the Giants took the lead in the fourth? Some mistakes hurt more than others, to be sure, but together they exposed a lot of problems for a team that just not long ago crushed Seattle for its fifth straight win.
Which isn’t to say the Giants did nothing right: They did a good job forcing Michael Vick to his right, thus keeping him from throwing downfield on the run. (They also held DeSean Jackson to just 50 yards on five catches.) With a little help from a dropped Philly touchdown pass or two, the Giants defense kept the team in the game in the first half, forcing the Eagles to settle for a pair of second-quarter field goals (and blocking another) at a time when the game could have gotten out of hand. And following the sack that led to Vick’s fourth-quarter fumble, Manning needed just two plays to give the Giants a 17–16 lead. It wouldn’t last through: Nine minutes later, Michael Vick would juggle a snap and pitch the ball to LeSean McCoy, who’d run 50 yards for what would prove to be the game-winning score. (For good measure, Philly would convert the two-point conversion, too, to give themselves a seven-point lead.)
If you’re still counting, the Giants have now turned the ball over 30 times in ten games this year. It’s hard to finish atop a division, or a conference, or even a wild-card battle, with numbers like those.