On Sunday, the Giants once again came up short as they rallied from 35-7 down in the second half to tie the game at 35, only to lose to the undefeated Carolina Panthers 38-35 on a last second, 43-yard field goal by Graham Gano.
Tom Coughlin said he was proud of the way his team fought back, but it is yet another last second loss in a season that looks like it is lost with two games to go. I have defended Coughlin as Giants head coach when people have called for his job. He is a legendary Giants head coach who has won two Super Bowls and was the choice of the late Wellington Mara years ago.
But on Sunday, he stopped coaching in the second half. His star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. embarrassed himself and the Giants organization with his behavior over the course of the game. He was flagged for three personal foul penalties and countless other times was seen punching Carolina defensive players when the play was over and dangerously launched himself in the third quarter - leading with his helmet, into cornerback back Josh Norman. Quite simply, he came undone.
A lot was made of the match-up heading in. Norman is widely considered to be the best cover corner in the NFL. He played physical on Sunday, and certainly was chippy, but not to the level of Beckham.
This is not Giants football.
After the game Coughlin admitted that Beckham lost his composure and even said, "Did you want me to take him out of the game?"
Yes Tom, that is coaching. As Carl Banks called for it on WFAN during the game broadcast, I agreed with him.
I loved the pick by Jerry Reese when they selected him out of LSU with the 12th overall pick in the 2014 draft. He is a wonderful player and for the first 25 games of his career, nobody has been more productive in the history of the NFL as a wide receiver. In Game 26, however, he was an utter embarrassment.
There is no reasonable reason why referee Terry McAulay and his crew did not eject Beckham from the game. He will be fined heavily by the NFL this week and rightfully so.
Yup, he is a talent at the wide receiver position that the Giants have never seen. He is worth the price of admission and his one handed catches leave you slack-jawed. He is special. He caught his 25th touchdown on Sunday in just 26 career games. Just remarkable. But on Sunday, he needed to be coached and Coughlin missed the boat.
Maybe Coughlin did not see him punching players repeatedly down the football field. Maybe, he did not see him launch himself, helmet first, into Norman. If Coughlin did not pay attention to any of that, shame on him. If he saw it all and did nothing, shame on him as well.
The Giants are a proud and historic NFL franchise and there is something to the notion of playing the right way. Sunday was not the Giant way. It has not been the Coughlin way over the course of his stewardship. Coughlin, would have shown great strength to make that tough decision with quite possibly his coaching career on the line. He sided with the talent and he still lost. That should be a lesson for everyone, even a fleeting one. Coughlin would have earned more respect from me if he made the decision to take Beckham out of the game.
Beckham is an emotional young man and needs to be shown what it means to be a Giant. You can be emotional, but you play the right way. Coughlin should have known better. He does. He didn’t on Sunday. There have been a number of games this season the Giants have not been able to finish. The season could have turned out a lot different than what it is right now. However, in a lot of ways, the Giants lost a lot more than just a football game on Sunday.