A Sleeping Giant: An Analysis of the New York Giants’ Season

By: Josh M.

A city of lights, action, cheers, and now… boos. MetLife Stadium had hosted the losing-ist team in football: The New York Giants. This year’s Super Bowl is set to take place in MetLife Stadium and the Giant’s endeavor was to be the first team to play the Super Bowl in their home stadium. However, as the season started and progressed, that ambition suddenly diminished.

Fumbles, interceptions, and a foreboding 0-6 record. The Giants had not been 0-3 since 1996! Eli Manning and the Giants, a two-time winning Super Bowl team within a four year period, had faced a struggle never seen before in the organization. They had gone the first 6 games without a single win.

QB Eli Manning has had one of the worst statictical seasons in his ten year career Courtesy of USA Today
QB Eli Manning has had one of the worst statistical seasons in his ten year career
Courtesy of USA Today

The Giants’ first game was away against the Cowboys. The Cowboys had never beaten the Giants in their  $1.2 billion stadium. However, the curse was broken this game. The Cowboys had forced 6 turnovers on the Giants including 3 interceptions by Manning. The game was atrocious for the Giants; however, nobody expected such a terrible losing streak.

The Giants then went on to lost the next consecutive 5 games:

Game 2: Giants vs. Broncos- 41-23

Games 3: Giants vs. Panthers- 38-0

Game 4: Giants vs. Chiefs- 31-7

Game 5: Giants vs. Eagles- 36-21

Game 6: Giants vs. Bears- 27-21

The Giants loss to the Panthers included 3 turnovers and was considered the worst loss of the Tom Coughlin Era. Eli Manning was tackled 6 times within the first 17 minutes of the game! The Giants’ dream of playing in their home stadium for the Super Bowl was blocked by an immense obstacle… No team has ever made the playoffs after starting 0-6. The Giants had lost hope, but their division was not strong.

The Giants won their next four games. Suddenly, the Giants were back in the race for the playoffs. Although they were ugly wins, they were wins nevertheless. The games went as follows:

Game 7: Giants vs. Vikings- 23-7

Game 8- Giants vs. Eagles- 15-7

Game 9: Giants vs. Raiders- 24-20

Game 10: Giants vs. Packers- 27-13

Despite Coughlin and Manning having a very successful period ogether, this season has been a major dissapointment Courtesy of Zimbio
Despite Coughlin and Manning having a very successful period together, this season has been a major disappointment
Courtesy of Zimbio

The Giants’ game against the Packers was an upset. A true motivational boost for the Giants. Eli Manning threw for 279 yards, Victor Cruz caught for 110 yards, and the defense forced 3 turnovers. However, a close loss to the Cowboys 24-21 caused an end to the winning streak. Although, it was a deterrent in their playoff hopes, the Giants would take fate into their own hands. The next game, the Giants defeated the Redskins, their division rival, 24-17.Lastly, this weekend, the giants lost to Phillip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers 37-14. The Giants had 3 turnovers, including 2 interceptions thrown by Manning. The Giants were down 24-0 at half time. This enormous deficit led to an inevitable loss.

Being a Giants fan, this season has been a rollercoaster. Highs and lows, ups and downs. However, it has been hard to keep faith in team. In game 15, the Giants were once again shut out. This time, it was the Seattle Seahawks, lead by QB Russell Wilson, who got the best of them. Russell Wilson threw for 206 yards compared to Eli’s weak 156 yards. Andre Brown, the running back for the Giants, only rushed for a measly 17 yards! Lastly, Eli Manning threw 5 interceptions during the game.

In Game 16 against the Lions, the Giants managed to pull out a victory to push their record to 6-9. Eli Manning threw for 256 yards, completed one touchdown pass, and only threw one interception. Furthermore, Giants’ 2011 draft pick Jerrel Jernigan had 6 receptions, one of which was a caught for a touchdown. At the end of the fourth quarter, the two teams pushed the game into overtime with the score at 20-20. The Lions received the ball first, but the giants gained possession by forcing them to punt. After a burst up the field, the Lions put a stop to the Giants’ progression by forcing a 4th down. The Giants’ Josh Brown had a clutch 45-yard field goal and won the Giants the game.

WR Jerrel Jernigan was a bright spot in an otherwise poorly played game Courtesy of Zimbio
WR Jerrel Jernigan was a bright spot in an otherwise poorly played game
Courtesy of Zimbio

In their last game of the season, The Giants played their division rival, the Washington Redskins. In my experience, this could have been the worst game of football I have ever seen. No matter who won the game, it would have been one ugly victory. The teams used the heavy downpour and cold weather as an excuse, but it did not overshadow the terrible play from both teams. In the first quarter, no team had scored. In the second quarter, the score was 10-3 Giants. With about a minute left in the first half, defensive lineman, Chris Baker, sacked Eli. During the tackle, Eli’s leg got caught under Baker’s body and he injured his ankle. After mustering enough strength to stay in the game, Eli threw an interception on the very next play! This interception led to a Washington field goal to put the score at 10-6. Eli then was carried off the field and did not play for the rest of the game. He was replaced by backup Curtis Painter. At the end of the first half with 2 seconds left on the clock, Jerrel Jernigan ran for a touchdown to put the Giants ahead 17-6. He had 6 receptions, had one touchdown, and caught for 90 yards. In my opinion, he was the MVP of the game. In the fourth quarter, Josh Brown kicked a 38-yard field goal for 20-6 lead. On the last play of the season, Trumaine McBride of the Giants intercepted a pass from backup QB for Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins. The game had ended and the Giants had won with a final score of 20-6. The Redskins lost their final game of the season on an 8 game losing streak. During the game, the teams amassed 7 turnovers, 0-5 in Red Zone attempts, and 16 sacks including 4 by defensive end Justin Tuck.

Eli’s first and last passes of the year both went for interceptions! Also, he threw only 18 touchdowns. Along with that, he threw 27 interceptions during the year including at least one interception every game of the season. The year before, he threw 15 interceptions and 26 TD passes. It seems as if the numbers had switched. This terrible season may lead to the loss of free agents like WR Hakeem Nicks and DE Justin Tuck. In conclusion, the Giants were believed to win the NFC East at the beginning of the season; however, the Eagles were ultimately the division leader.

Being a Giants fan, this season has been a rollercoaster. It was hard to keep faith in my team. Remember, this is the same team that has one the Super Bowl twice in the last few years. Moreover, next year looks like one that needs rebuilding. Tom Coughlin, the league’s oldest coach, and Eli Manning, the starting QB for over almost 10 years, have been under close watch. This year has been an anomaly for Big Blue, but with the 2014 NFL draft consisting of some very good players at all positions, their hopes may still be high for next season.