Keidel: Bad Coaching Stands Out As Giants Blow Chance At Rare Win

By WFAN Sports Radio 101.9 FM/66AM New York

The cosmos were aligned for the former star. 

Eli Manning was making his curtain call on “Monday Night Football” and was 23 minutes from bringing down the house in an old house of horrors.

When the Philadelphia Eagles took the ball with 7:07 left in the third quarter, they had gained 28 total yards in their five prior drives. Their wide receivers had totaled one catch for 1 yard the whole night. Carson Wentz was baffled. Alshon Jeffrey was done for the night. And the Giants were winning 17-3.

Even better, Manning had guzzled the "2011" flavor of Gatorade, tossing two touchdown passes to Darius Slayton in the first half. Philadelphia's ever-ornery fans were booing the home team. And for one night, the Giants were looking like the G-Men, their new quarterback playing like the old one who led two surges to the Super Bowl. For one night, the Giants could pretend they mattered, as they battered their old rivals in the rain at Lincoln Financial Field.

But these aren't the old Giants who were tough and smart, who finished drives and finished off their foes. Bad teams find many ways to lose, something these Giants had done 10 times this autumn.

So in the second half, the Eagles stormed back, tied the game, then won in overtime 23-17. And the Giants emerged from a dreamy first half and plunged into the dark reality of the second half. They are now 2-11, losers of nine straight games, and putting the final strokes on a 2019 season that would make the 1970s Giants blush. Speaking of the '70s, the Giants' nine-game skid ties the '76 Giants for the longest losing streak in franchise history. 

Manning completed 11 of 19 passes for 179 yards and two scores in first half. He completed four passes for 24 yards in the second half. 

Slayton had five catches for 154 yards and two touchdowns in the first half. He had no catches in the second half. 

The Giants played two games in one, the first half was a precise, confident 30 minutes. The second half was a reeling, unconfident and incompetent 30 minutes. 

Giants wide receiver Darius Slayton has a play broken up by Eagles cornerback Ronald Darby on Dec. 9, 2019, at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

NFL teams win games they lead by 14 points in the third quarter. It speaks to coaching when they don't. Pat Shurmur is looking more and more lost during the game and sounds lost after the game. And while Shurmur made his name coaching offense, this offense is offensive, averaging 16.2 points per game since they started the season at 2-2. The Eagles blanked Big Blue 20-0 after halftime, which speaks to adjustments, assuming the Giants made any. 

Perhaps someone can tell the coach to cover Zach Ertz. When Jeffrey limped off the field with a bum foot, the Eagles were left with a skeleton crew at wideout. It left one established, pass-catching star on the field for Philadelphia — Ertz. Yet the Eagles tight end caught the game-tying TD in the fourth quarter, and the winning TD in overtime. On the game-clinching drive, Ertz was so wide open you couldn't find a Giant within 4 yards of the catch.

These are hardly the Eagles who won the Super Bowl two years ago. This squad was 5-7 and fresh off a galling loss to the Miami Dolphins. They lost Jeffrey and stud lineman Lane Johnson to injuries, and their starting halfback, Miles Sanders, was Saquon Barkley’s backup at Penn State.  Then there’s the troubling replay of the Eagles offensive line refusing to block on a pass play against the Lions earlier this season, watching casually as four charging rushers pounded Wentz into the ground. Unlike Eli, the Eagles’ QB is not so popular in the locker room. Yet none of it mattered on Monday night. 

The Giants are now the second team in the Big Apple to lose their last nine games. The Knicks are the first. As New Yorkers, we're proud parents of the worst team in the NBA. And if the Giants lose to the hapless, 3-9 Dolphins at MetLife on Sunday, we'll be home to the worst team in the NFL. 

Follow Jason on Twitter at @JasonKeidel.