Instead, he let Eli (Rely) Manning go for those fantasy passing yards.
With a 21-point lead and less than one quarter to go, Rely threw long from deep inside the Giant's territory. Why? We'll never know. The pass looked like a Hail Mary in a desperate last-minute attempt to salvage a lost game, and when Giant's wide receiver Plaxico Burress gave up on the overthrown ball--he's way to cool to chase an errant throw--Titan defender Adam Jones pulled it in to give the Titans possession at mid-field.
Okay, no big deal. Even if they scored on that drive, the Giants had a two-touchdown cushion.
Three Titan touchdowns later, Rely Manning threw his last interception of the game. It gave the Titans perfect field position with 23 seconds left to finish their improbable comeback. Improbable?
Oh, yeah. I forgot we're talking about the Giants who began their spiraling fall into oblivion last year by missing three would-be game-winning field goals against Seattle, the team which eventually got home field advantage in the National Conference throughout the playoffs. New York lost in the first round of the playoffs against Carolina, a round in which the Seahawks had a bye.
Twelve game seconds after the last interception, the Titans kicked a field goal to put their team ahead 24-21.
I have rooted for the Giants for longer than I can remember. They have the talent to win a Super Bowl. They have Michael Strahan, Tiki Barber, Jeremy Shockey, Anthony Pierce, Amani Toomer, Osi Umenyiora, and sometimes Burress. But with 11 seconds of game time left yesterday, I found myself secretly wishing Titan kicker Rob Bironas luck on his 49-yard attempt.
The Giants deserved to loose for Manning's abysmal performance. The Manning honeymoon is over. The kid is a $54 million miscalculation, and no amount of his sneering, gloomy looks toward the sideline can hide his shoddy arm and misguided decisions.
In the 2004 NFL draft the Giants traded quarterback Philip Rivers and two draft picks to the Chargers for Manning. They also spent $54 million to sign Archie Manning's boy, Giants General Manager Ernie Accorsi told a New York Times Magazine reporter that he spent the franchise's fortune on Manning for reasons of deep metaphysical importance.
"Forget all about the measurables," Accorsi reportedly said. "To find the difference between the great quarterback and the good quarterback, you have to feel it. The intangibles." This kind of sounds like the logic President Bush uses to decide which world leaders to befriend.
Well we're feeling it now. Guess this is the "good quarterback."
If Accorsi had done half the research on Manning that the Times reporter did, he would have realized what a Coriolanus Eli is...minus the talent on the battlefield. Rely has never had a real passion for football. He goes through life joking about everything according to the article. He deems himself worthy to slight his legendary father and brother, and this unpardonable arrogance becomes manifest on the playing field in harmful ways.
Manning thinks he's talented enough to change the play (call an audible) almost every time he walks up to the line of scrimmage. His brother does this and it works. Manning does it because his coach is too flaccid to stop him. Why do they even huddle if Rely is going to change every play?
Giants fans deserve better than Accorsi's lack of professionalism. They deserve better than cough-it-up Coughlin's lack of discipline and creativity. They deserve better than an overconfident quarterback hack.
Why does Manning only look for Burress on improbable long-odds passes? Why don't the Giants chisel away at a first down four or five yards at a time?
And why is Manning throwing out of shotgun on every other down? He is no Joe Namath. Why can't Coughlin admit that Manning is average at best? If you're going to give the defense the advantage of knowing you plan on passing the ball before it is even snapped you better be an excellent quarterback.
The shotgun setup forces Manning to throw eight yards just to get back to the original line of scrimmage. Additionally, Manning can't learn how to stay calm in the smaller pocket that goes with a direct snap.
Moreover, why can't the Giants come up with some formations aside from the ace and trips formation? In ace formation, Barber lines up behind Rely with two or three wide receivers split wide on either side. In trips formation, three wide receivers line up on one side of the ball and it's a guaranteed passing play.
Their inability to change it up makes it really easy on the defense. Why can't they put running backs Barbar and Brandon Jacobs in at the SAME TIME in the I-formation or the strong formation?
The Giants fool nobody on defense. It's obvious on almost 95 percent of their plays whether they will pass or run. Adding Jacobs and Barber into the mix on every play would bolster rush blocking, allow for more running options and keep the defense guessing more often.
That might mean the Giants actually win a few games. Then they just wouldn't be the good ol' Giants.