The last of the flickering embers of what was the playoff hopes of the New York Giants were extinguished by the San Diego Chargers, who turned two Giants miscues into 14 points and who gashed the vaunted run defense for 144 yards on the ground in a 37-14 thrashing at Qualcomm Stadium.The Giants, who all season long have yet to get a complete game from each of the three phases of the ball, had enough breakdowns this week to fill a phone book.
The offensive line’s pass protection was once again shoddy, especially the interior. Quarterback Eli Manning, the target of a hostile San Diego crowd who ten years later still hasn’t forgiven him for spurning them during that now famous draft day trade that brought the Chargers’ faithful Philip Rivers, was sacked twice to bring his season total to 33.
He also threw two interceptions and showed an alarming and blatant lack of urgency as the game clock was winding down in the second half.
The most glaring instance of Manning’s lack of urgency was his failure to run a play after running back Andre Brown fumbled the ball as time expired in the third quarter in essence giving the Chargers plenty of time to review the play and correctly fall for the challenge.
Then there was the defense, which allowed Ryan Matthews to run for 103 yards while little Danny Woodhead added 42 more yards. The Giants run defense, which had been so good of late, had no answers as run after run, Matthews was getting to the second level with alarming ease.
Not to be outdone, the pass coverage struggled, particularly Prince Amukamara, who offered too much of a cushion to rookie Keenan Allen, who beat him twice.
Special teams? They got involved in the party as well. The most glaring blunder was made by rookie Charles James, who absent-mindedly lined up in the neutral zone, the ensuing penalty giving the Chargers, who had just missed a 41-yard field goal attempt, five yards, and another shot at the points, which they made.
With the game over by halftime—the Chargers had built a 24-7 lead—the Giants scrambled around, trying to pull their act together and narrow the gap. Like their 2013 playoff dreams, a comeback was not in the cards.
With the door now firmly closed, all that’s left to play for is respect, according to head coach Tom Coughlin, whose team fell to 5-8 on the season, which means the best they can finish is 8-8 if they somehow win their final three games against Seattle, Detroit and Washington.
“I just told the team, and anyone within listening distance, that the major disappointment here today, again, was to have a chance to get into a game,” Coughlin said.
“Both teams were 5-7. We had a chance to win a ball game and try to gain respectability again—a continuation of some type of respectability.”
Unlike the famous Motown tune “Respect” in which made famous by Aretha Franklin, dubbed the “Queen of Soul” by the music industry, respect apparently didn’t mean all that much to the Giants this season given all the chances they had to gain it but threw away.