Giants Trounce Eagles 42-7, but Remain Haunted by Games That Got Away
East Rutherford, NJ –All week long, head coach Tom Coughlin preached to his players about playing for pride and taking care of business in this, the 2012 season finale against the Eagles.
He got his wish, as quarterback Eli Manning threw five touchdown passes for the first time in his career, tying a franchise mark last reached by Phil Simms on Sept. 7, 1980, and the defense created a turnover against Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, in for the injured Nick Foles as the Giants topped the Eagles 42-7 to finish the 2012 season 9-7.
This week, the Giants looked more like the defending Super Bowl champions than they did the hapless, lifeless group that threw away a 6-2 start in the second half of the season with forgettable back-to-back games against the Falcons and Ravens the last two weeks.
Getting solid performances from receiver Rueben Randle, who took snaps ordinarily reserved for injured starter Hakeem Nicks, and running back David Wilson, whose 15 carries were one less than starter Ahmad Bradshaw, the Giants jumped out to a 21-0 first quarter lead on three consecutive scoring drives ending in seven points. Two of those three were catches by Randle, with Wilson adding the third score.
The Eagles, who tried a little early game trickery by executing an onside kick to start the game which they recovered, turned the ball over on their first possession when Vick’s pass was picked off by safety Stevie Brown. It was the tenth time this season that the Eagles turned the ball over on their first or second offensive series, and it was their 37th turnover of the season.
Philadelphia eventually did get on the board in the second quarter when Vick hit receiver Jeremy Maclin on a seven-yard pass, but after that, it was all Giants, as they got touchdowns from Bradshaw on a one-yard run, receiver Victor Cruz on a 24-yard pass, and even fullback Henry Hynoski, who scored on a one-yard pass to top the game off.
Despite the solid effort, Coughlin and the players were left wondering about the two games against the Falcons and the Ravens—two games that if they had won they wouldn’t have had to rely on anyone else to help them get into the playoffs.
“The difficult thing when we go back and analyze it will be that we had it in our grasp, we knew exactly what we had to do, we weren’t able to get that done, we came in today and played like we would have hoped we would have finished the season with and I’m sure that will be first on our minds throughout the entire offseason,” he said.
And it’s a question that Coughlin will try to get answers from his players on Monday before they go their separate ways for the offseason.
“That will be the number one thing I’ll talk to the team about tomorrow. And I really do want to discuss with some of the players what in the world was the last two weeks all about. Quite frankly, I’m anxious to find out if anybody has an opinion or an answer. That’s not to say that the two teams that we played weren’t outstanding football teams—they are. But we certainly could have been a lot more competitive.”
Manning’s theory was quite simple.
“We just didn’t play well,” he said. “I don’t think it’s a lack of hunger or focus, it’s just that we got outperformed. We got beaten and we got outplayed, and sometimes that happens. You hate for it to happen but sometimes you don’t want to say that because it can mess up your confidence and people seem to think you’re not any good, and you don’t want to accept that when, but that’s just what happened. We got outplayed in Atlanta and in Baltimore and didn’t give ourselves a chance to win either game.”
By not giving themselves a chance to win, the Giants ended up needing to rely on others to help get them into the playoffs, help that never came as the Lions failed to top the Bears.
Given the outcome of that game, Coughlin is hoping that his players have learned a valuable lesson going into next year, and that is they have to be proactive if they want to enjoy the spoils of the post season.
“The first thing is you never rely on anyone else in this business. You have to take care of your own business,” he said. “And we certainly had our chances.”