The Giants may not like how they’ve gotten here, in a three-way tie atop a horrible division, but they’ll certainly take it, knowing the fact they’re the ones who’ve gotten themselves into this dilemma in the first place.
New York’s entire season has been summed up in one word – finish – or more pointedly, a lack thereof. Head coach Tom Coughlin has bemoaned the fact that his team has failed to finish in five of their seven losses this season. Except for the Week 6 loss in Philadelphia and two weeks ago in Washington, the Giants have blown late-game leads in each defeat.
Such is Big Blue’s plight that if games were just 58 minutes long, the Giants (5-7) would actually be 10-2. The defeat to the Jets was the fifth this season in which the Giants led in the fourth quarter – and the third in which the advantage was at least 10 points.
It’s no longer a fluke, but now a disturbing trend that needs to be stopped.
Their third loss in a row on Sunday, and fourth in five games, has left them with an unenviable record. It’s obviously not what they expected entering the final quarter of the season, but as some good fortune has found them, they’re still tied atop the division, thanks to Dallas’ defeat of Washington on Monday night.
The team is still spouting optimism, knowing they again have a shot of taking control of the division, as both Philadelphia (home against LeSean McCoy and the Bills) and Washington (at Chicago) have tricky matchups this week.
“We’re still very much in it, but we’ve got to win some games and just got to start now,” said quarterback Eli Manning, as the Giants prepare for their Monday night tilt in Miami. “It starts with Miami. We can’t get discouraged. We can’t have any quit in us. We’ve got to keep fighting, and to continue to have a great week of preparation, practice, and then perform at a higher level on game day ... We need to just get some energy back into the locker room, get some excitement, and get that winning feeling back.”
Optimism still abounds for Big Blue, knowing that the Dolphins (5-7) are an inconsistent bunch, too, so the game is for the taking.
Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul noted that anything is possible, especially with the remaining schedules of their foes a bit dicey. Besides Buffalo, Philadelphia has games against the Arizona Cardinals (10-2) and a season finale tilt at MetLife Stadium against the Giants. And Washington’s road is likely the most daunting, considering how horrible they’ve been on the road (0-5), as they still have to travel to Philadelphia in Week 16.
Everything is still in front of the Giants, noted Pierre-Paul.
“We’re still in it. We know anything can happen [on] any given Sunday. You just have to go out there and play some great football,” said Pierre-Paul. “All that stuff we didn’t do [in the Jets game], missed tackles, [allowing] yards after the catch, we can’t let that happen … Basically, clean up all of those things. But we know we’re still in it.”
Coughlin, whose job security is again under fire, is urging his team to get it together fast by simply telling it like it is.
“We’ll win when we deserve to win,” Coughlin said. “We haven’t done enough things in order to put ourselves over the top.”
They’ve yet to put together a complete victory, but a win in Miami would go a long way into helping Big Blue’s cause. Despite their record, they still have a chance to salvage this season and win their division. And at the very least, they want to finish the season strong and win the remaining games in the final quarter of their slate.
Although that could seem like an unreasonable request considering how atrocious they’ve been in fourth quarters this season.
Big Blue notes:
- The Giants officially ended the seasons of tight end Larry Donnell (neck) and long-snapper/linebacker Zak DeOssie (wrist), as they were placed on season-ending injured reserve.
- Taking the place of the aforementioned two are long-snapper Danny Aiken and cornerback Tramain Jacobs, who was on their practice squad.