As Washington was kicking off to Philadephia on Sunday night, I was helping my wife get our three-month old ready for bed. Between putting the bath toys away and doing my nightly dramatic reading of Goodnight Moon, I checked the score of the game: Washington 10, Philadelphia 0. Fucking Eagles, I muttered on my way to the baby’s room to say goodnight to every object in the great green room.
The Giants should have never been in the position of needing their hated rival to win a meaningless game in order to clinch a postseason berth. A game in which a loss helped the Eagles organization by improving their draft position in 2021. The Eagles held a brief 14-10 lead and held Washington to 20 points for the game, but an unnecessary quarterback change in the fourth quarter ended the Eagles’ chances at an upset win and ended the Giants’ chances at winning the division and hosting the Buccaneers on Saturday night at MetLife.
Had anyone, and I mean anyone, played quarterback for the Eagles in the fourth quarter, the Giants are NFC East champions. But the Eagles did everything they could to make sure they would have the sixth pick in the upcoming draft, and everything they could to make sure if someone had to win the NFC East in this embarrassing season for the division, it wouldn’t be the Giants.
What the Eagles did was disgusting, but it was their right. By somehow being worse than the Giants (6-10), Cowboys (6-10) and Washington (7-9), the 4-11-1 Eagles earned the right to throw their season finale in the most obvious of ways. I can’t complain about the Eagles blatantly losing a game in the league’s most coveted TV slot, and the Giants certainly can’t complain either. The Giants pissed away many, many, many opportunities to avoid the situation all season, and deserve no sympathy for having to sit through the Eagles purposely losing to Washington.
The Giants had leads in five of their 10 losses this season, including a 14-point lead over the Cowboys in Week 5 and an 11-point lead over the Eagles with 6:17 left in Week 7. They pissed away game after game and still had everything break right for them to have a chance at the division title in Week 17 despite having only six wins. Not only is the Giants season over, but I’m left with the unpleasent feeling of rooting for the Eagles. The stench of rooting for a Philadelphia sports team is one that lingers and I can still smell it. It’s like I got sprayed by a skunk, and maybe I need a tomato or oatmeal bath to remove the odor.
It’s easy to blame the Eagles for preventing the Giants from playing their second playoff game in nine years, but it’s wrong to. Blame Daniel Jones, whose turnovers ruined the season opener against Pittsburgh. Blame the defense for not being able to stop Andy Dalton in his first action of the season in Dallas. Blame Evan Engram for dropping a wide-open pass, which would have allowed the Giants out the clock in Philadelphia. Blame Jones again for his decisions with the football in the second half against the Buccaneers. Blame Joe Judge and Jason Garrett for their choices and play calls in the first half against the Browns. Blame anyone you want for the Giants’ elimination, just make sure the person or persons play for or work for the Giants.
The Giants don’t have a long way to go to win the NFC East. They came a Philadelphia quarterback change away from doing so with 10 losses. The Giants do have a long way from being an actual contender though, and isn’t that the point of this all? To win the postseason, not just reach it.
Had the Giants reached it, maybe they could have pulled off an upset of the Buccanneers like they nearly did two months ago before Jones ruined it, but they were never getting to a third postseason game, and forget about a fourth. This wasn’t a “just get in and see what happens”-type of postseason berth they were playing for this season. It was a “just get in and get this roster the experience of playing in a playoff game”-type of postseason berth. The Giants are a long way away from being favored in the postseason, and an even longer way away from getting back to the Super Bowl. The Giants’ six wins this season came against Washington (twice), the Eagles, Cowbous. Joe Burrow-less Bengals and the overrated and overhyped Seahawks. Next season, things aren’t going to be any easier. The Giants’ non-divisional road games are in New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Kansas City, Los Angeles (Chargers) and Chicago. Though next season, I expect the Giants to be better, much better than they were this season.
The Giants seem to be headed in the right direction, and my initial impression of Judge from his introductory press conference last January appears to be accurate. Even in a season in which the Giants finished four games under .500, the team wasn’t perceived to be a group of losers being led by the biggest loser of all the way it was under Pat Shurmur. The team consistently gave a worthy effort, like Judge promised it would, even if the team’s talent was usually not good enough to match its opponents’.
The Giants weren’t good, and they aren’t good, but for the first time in a long time, there’s at least the feeling they will eventually be good, and that’s a lot more than Giants fans have had at the end of recent seasons.