Not making the playoffs in a season where a team with a losing record qualified is disappointing. It is no solace finishing 10-6, either. It actually can work against you. What it tells you is that you blew opportunities. As we know, that is the story of the 2010 Giants.
The team may have won 10 games, but they didn't win the right 10 games. The season ended up coming down to three games: two vs the Eagles and one vs the Packers. The Giants lost all three.
All they had to do was win one of those games and they would have been in the playoffs. But they choked in historic fashion against Philadelphia and were out-classed and out-hustled by Green Bay in a must-win game.
Ironically, the Packers may not have made the playoffs had the Giants won 11 games and therefore would not have won the Super Bowl.
But the Giants did not win those games. The reason being those two clubs are winning teams that can throw the football. The Giants simply do not fare well vs the upper crust of the league, all who possess top quarterbacks.
Of the Giants' 10 wins, only two of them came vs playoff teams: a beatdown of the Bears at home and a blowout of the decimated Seahawks in Seattle.
To be frank, the Giants were paper tigers.
Against the better teams, the Giants' defense was exposed in multiple ways. The Colts and Packers, two of the league's top passing teams, ripped the Giants to shreds. The Cowboys, who have speedy receivers, split their games with New York but scored 35 and 33 points in those contests.
The Titans, who pass-protect as well as any team in the NFL, took the Giants apart, too. The embattled Vince Young looked like Johnny Unitas against Big Blue. At one point, Young threw four consecutive completions to wide-open receivers. The final one, a 13-yarder to Rutgers' Kenny Britt, was right down the middle in the end zone.
The 29-10 loss to the Titans was microcosm of the Giants' season, even though it was only week three. Ahmad Bradshaw lost a fumble inside the opponents' five yard line. He also got called for a chop-block in the end zone, which negated a long gain and cost the Giants 2 points and a possession.
Eli Manning was charged with an INT after a ball caromed off Hakeem Nicks into a diving defenders' arms. But Manning would draw fire from critics later on for an ill-advised, left-handed flip in the direction of Kevin Boss that was picked off in the end zone, killing a scoring drive.
Then, there are the games vs Philadelphia.
The Giants basically throttled Michael Vick for 112 minutes. The last eight minutes, however, are the ones they are being judged on. In the first game, the Giants actually led 17-16 in the third quarter, but they committed five turnovers -some at crucial moments - and allowed LeSean McCoy to run 50 yards for a TD on a 4-and-1 play that sealed the game for Philly. Inexcusable.
The second game saw the Giants blow a 21-point lead with 8:17 to play. The Eagles scored a record-setting four TDs in that span to stunned the Giants. The Giants never recovered, getting blown away in Green Bay the next week and then struggling the final week to beat Washington.
The bottom line is the Giants are not a clutch team. The beat up on the have-nots of the league and never steal a win they aren't supposed to. This is a team that lacks leadership, direction, concentration and heart. I don't care what anyone at Timex has to say about those things. They are non-existent on this team. The proof is in the results, and results are what you are judged on on this league....
Monday: Part Two: Corrective Steps to Get Back to the Playoffs