Giants Missed Chance to Put Eagles Away

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.—For the second time in as many seasons, the New York Giants (6-4) have suffered a huge letdown vs. the Philadelphia Eagles (4-6) at home, losing 17-10 Sunday night before frustrated fans who spent much of their time booing the team they came to cheer.

Big Blue's following was expecting to celebrate the virtual termination of Philadelphia's season. But then—with 1 minute, 17 seconds left in regulation and the Eagles protecting a seven-point lead—defensive end Jason Babin sacked Giants quarterback Eli Manning 6 yards behind the line of scrimmage, forcing a fumble that was recovered by defensive tackle Derek Landri.

Week 11 for New York this season had instantly turned into the official sequel to its epic 38-31 loss to Philadelphia at MetLife Stadium (then known as New Meadowlands Stadium) in Week 15 last year. Instead of waking up Monday morning with a 7-3 record and one-game lead in the NFC East, the Giants—losers of two consecutive games—are now tied with the Dallas Cowboys (6-4) for first place and hold a very surmountable two-game lead over the Eagles, who are anything but dead.

After the game, Yahoo! Contributor Network asked Giants receiver Victor Cruz, who caught six passes—including a 24-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter—for 128 yards, if he felt New York had blown an opportunity to put its biggest rivals away in 2011.

"Any loss, whether it be [against] any team in any division that we face … any time you face a tough loss like that, it's tough," he said. "It doesn't matter what team in the division or whatever the case may be."

Receiver Mario Manningham entertained the same inquiry, to which he responded, "Definitely. Our goal coming into this game was to get a 'W.' And it didn't go that way.

"Obviously, we're upset about it," he said. "But there's some things we need to focus on doing as a team."

The Giants are likely trying to find out why they only managed three first-half points (against Philadelphia's 10 points) and rushed for 29 yards on the evening. It wasn't until the fourth quarter (Cruz's game-tying TD catch) that their offense began to show life.

After Cruz scored, Eagles QB Vince Young—playing for the injured Michael Vick—orchestrated an 8-minute, 51-second drive of 80 yards that ended with Riley Cooper catching the eventual game-winning TD from 8 yards out.

Were the heavily-favored G-Men caught sleeping?

"I don't want to say we was caught off guard; that's out rival," Manningham told Y!CN. "We know they was going to give us everything. It's one thing we talked about all week. You know, their back was up against the wall with that [3-6] record, but we looked at it like our back was up against the wall, too."

The difference between the teams entering the game, of course, is that Philadelphia had nothing to lose. Now things have changed, because "The Dream Team" can, at least going into its Week 12 matchup vs. the New England Patriots, consider itself in the playoff hunt.

New York will face the New Orleans Saints next Monday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. As a result of losing to Philadelphia, the Giants' games vs. Dallas in Weeks 14 and 17 are that much more important.

"It is what it is. We're tied up at the top of the division and we understand that," Cruz said. "All we have to do is win. We control our own destiny. We just got to win."

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Ray Monell is a member of the Yahoo! Contributor Network.
Updated Monday, Nov 21, 2011