The season ended with a game that resembles a microcosm of the Giants' problems the past two years: the opponent ran the ball at will, the special teams gave up a score and the offense failed in key spots, especially in the red zone.
In a contest that could have put a cherry on the season with a four-game winning streak, the Giants fell to the Eagles for the fifth time in seven games. Philadelphia did what they did best yesterday: hand the ball off and watch the Giants struggle to stop them.
The Giants failed to defeat another opponent with a winning record and we were reminded of why the Giants were going for only their second consecutive seven-win season yesterday. They have not solved their problems at some key positions, mainly tight end and in the trenches, and will face many of the same questions they faced last offseason. They ran the ball poorly again, gaining just 3.0 YPC.
Even though the Giants' defense was only on the field for 25 minutes, they looked a step slower all afternoon. Chip Kelly's up-tempo offense had the lead for all but short stint right before halftime. It didn't help that the Giants' lost two more defensive players, safeties Stevie Brown and Nat Berhe, early in the game.
QB Eli Manning came out firing, hitting his talented group of wide receivers for huge gains, but the Giants' offense sputtered when it counted. They were 7-18 on third down and 1-3 in the red zone. Manning threw catchable passes that were not caught. They settled for FGs instead of TDs too often.
There were some good things, though. Manning had one of his best days ever, throwing for 429 yards on 53 attempts, but had only one TD pass and his lone interception late in the game killed the Giants' last hope of winning.
Odell Beckham, Jr. continued to post historic numbers and his cohort, Rueben Randle, had his biggest game as a pro. The two combined for 18 receptions and 343 yards yesterday.
DE Jason Pierre-Paul had two more sacks, finishing the season with 12.5 which will undoubtedly jack up his price this offseason. He was one of the Giants' pregame captains, leaving fans wondering if its a sign of commitment by the team or a fitting farewell.
Nuggets from the Giants' public relations department:
The Giants three-game winning streak ended and they finished the year 6-10, their first double-digit loss season since they had the same record in Tom Coughlin’s debut season in 2004.
The Giants finished 3-5 both at home and on the road. It was their first under .500 home record in five seasons in MetLife Stadium and their first since they were 3-5 in 2007 – a season in which they won the Super Bowl. The Giants’ regular-season home record in MetLife is 22-18 (plus 1-0 as visitors).
The Giants were 2-4 in NFC East games. They swept Washington and were swept by Dallas and Philadelphia. The Giants were swept by the Eagles for the first time since 2010.
The Giants scored 380 points and allowed 400 this season. It was just the fifth time in franchise history they gave up at least 400 points.
The Giants gained 505 yards Sunday, one week after they totaled 514 yards in a victory in St. Louis. It’s the second time in their history they gained more than 500 yards in back-to-back games and first since Oct. 1-8, 1967, when they gained 520 in a loss at Washington and 535 in a victory over New Orleans. That was the only other season in which the Giants had two 500-yard games.
The Giants’ 429 net passing yards was the fourth-highest total in franchise history and the most since they threw for a team-record 510 yards vs. Tampa Bay on Sept. 16, 2012.
The Giants did not allow a sack for the second time this season (also at Dallas on Oct. 19).
The Giants scored a first-possession touchdown for the third time this season when Andre Williams scored on a one-yard run just 2:29 in to the game. They also scored touchdowns on their opening offensive series against San Francisco and Dallas on Nov. 16 and 23. The Giants are 22-14 under Coughlin when they score a first-possession touchdown.
The Giants scored points on their first offensive possession five times this season. They were 2-0 when they scored a field goal and 0-3 when they scored a touchdown.
Philadelphia also scored a touchdown on its first possession when Mark Sanchez threw a 44-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Matthews just 1:11 after Williams scored. The Eagles were the fourth Giants opponent to score a first-series touchdown this season, joining Detroit, Arizona and Seattle. Under Coughlin, the Giants are 18-21 in regular-season games in which the opposing team scores a touchdown on its opening possession.
This was the first Giants game in which each team scored opening-possession touchdowns since Nov. 25, 2012, when the Giants got a two-yard touchdown run from Andre Brown and Green Bay countered with Aaron Rodgers’ 61-yard scoring pass to Jordy Nelson.
The Eagles also scored on their second possession when Sanchez threw a one-yard touchdown pass to Brent Celek. They were the first Giants opponents to open a game with back-to-back touchdowns since the Detroit on opening night, Sept. 8, when Matthew Stafford threw scoring passes of 67 and 16 yards to Calvin Johnson.
Philadelphia led after one quarter, 14-10. The 24 points was the highest first-quarter total in a Giants game since Nov. 25, 2012, when the Giants jumped ahead of Green Bay, 17-7.
The Giants are 1-20 in regular-season games in which they throw at least 50 passes, including 1-18 in games in which one quarterback threw every pass. The lone victory was against Tampa Bay on Sept. 16, 2012.
Seven Giants started all 16 games this season: Manning, left tackle Will Beatty, center J.D. Walton and right guard John Jerry on offense, and tackle Johnathan Hankins, end Jason Pierre-Paul and safety Antrel Rolle on defense.