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On Sunday, Tom Coughlin was the most distraught he’s ever been as a head coach. Yesterday, his quarterback was the most vocal he’s ever been.

On Sunday, Tom Coughlin was the most distraught he’s ever been as a head coach. Yesterday, his quarterback was the most vocal he’s ever been.

Eli Manning stood up without the aid of the Giants’ two other captains and addressed his team after the 38-31 collapse to the Eagles. Manning, who has always prided himself on being a quiet leader, delivered a stern message to his sick-to-their-stomach teammates: Now’s not the time to panic.

“I just wanted to have a little team meeting. I didn’t know if anybody else was going to talk, but I wanted to say a few words,” Manning said. “I went up to coach and asked if I could beat [him] to the punch a little bit and address the team before [he] came in.”

Manning’s message was aided by good news. Even though Sunday’s loss ceded control of the NFC East to the Eagles, the Giants are still in control of their playoff destiny. If the (9-5) Giants beat the Packers (8-6) in Green Bay on Sunday, they’ll clinch a bid.

“We’re the ones who [are] going to decide whether we make the playoffs and what happens,” he said. “It is only us."

His words resonanted with his teammates, who allowed Philadelphia to score 28 fourth-quarter points, including a game-winning punt return for a touchdown on the final play.

“It was a captain speaking when the time was needed,” cornerback Terrell Thomas said.

The Giants were in a similar position four years ago, blowing a 21-0 lead to the Titans late in the season. Manning threw for 270 yards and two scores the next game but the Giants fell 23-20 to the Cowboys.

Giants, 2006
TEN 24, NYG 21
Week 12, 2006
The Giants led 21-0 at the half but allowed the Titans to score 24 unanswered in the final quarter to steal a win. The Giants went on to lose three of the next four and never regained their bruising form. Their free fall ended with a Week 17 win to slip into the playoffs where they lost the next week.

Bucs, 2003
IND 38, TB 35 (OT)
Week 5, 2003
Peyton Manning came back from a
35-14 deficit with less than four minutes left in perhaps the greatest comeback in NFL history. The Bucs entered the game 2-1 but finished the season 7-9. Tampa Bay was supremely shaken by the collapse and it showed in late-game situations. The Bucs lost every remaining game that was decided by three points or less.

Seahawks, 2003
BAL 44, SEA 41 (OT)
Week 12, 2003
In just his seventh?start, Anthony Wright rallied the Ravens from a 17-point fourth-quarter deficit. The Seahawks rebounded with a win the next week and qualified for the playoffs. Matt Hasselbeck, though, could not put that OT loss behind him and came out overconfident in his next OT game — a loss to GB in the playoffs.

Dolphins, 2000
NYJ 40, MIA 37 (OT)
Week 8, 2000
Vinny Testaverde and the Jets outscored Miami
30-7 in the final quarter to force overtime in the “Monday Night Miracle.” Miami was one of the few teams to erase a comeback from memory, as it finished the season 11-5 atop the AFC East. In fact, the Dolphins, led by Jay Fiedler, won every single road game the rest of the regular season.

Redskins, 1999
DAL 41, WAS 35 (OT)
Week 1, 1999
Not even a 382-yard passing performance by Brad Johnson could hold off the Cowboys, who trailed 35-14 after three quarters. Washington was able to wash away the loss because it was Week 1, but veteran leadership went a long way, too. The Skins went on to become the only NFC East team to finish above .500.

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