Forget all the injuries the Giants offense has up front and in the wide receiver corps. They still could have beaten the Eagles.
Instead, five turnovers, four of which actually mattered, kept them from building a significant lead and coming out of Lincoln Financial Field Sunday with something more than a 27-17 loss.
Can't blame the defense for this one, although rookie Jason Pierre-Paul did make the one, huge gaffe with an offsides penalty that turned third-and-6 into third-and-1 in two-down territory. Of course, we all know what happened after that. LeSean McCoy took snap-juggler Michael Vick's handoff and ran 50 yards for the ultimate winning score, vaporizing the Giants' one-point lead.
But that was simply the end of the game. The Giants beat themselves throughout by continuing their plague of turnovers. For all of Tom Coughlin's drills and supposed remedies to a problem he is clearly sick of, the offense hasn't held onto the ball. And it has resulted in a two-game, division losing streak to Dallas and Philadelphia. The same problem the Giants survived during their five-game winning streak has caught up with them, as it tends to with every other team in the league.
You just can't win when you don't take care of the ball. And more often than not, when you fumble the ball away at your own 23, as Ahmad Bradshaw did in recording his fifth lost fumble of the season, or when you throw a pick at your own 13 as Eli Manning did on the very next series, the other guy is going to score. In the Giants' case, the defense held the Eagles to field goals off both those turnovers to keep the Giants in the game. But field goals are still points, and points are precious in a division game.
Add Manning's fumble on a horrible, Mark Sanchez circa 2009 slide as he tried to bring his team back late in the fourth quarter, and you have the makings of a major loss. Again, the Eagles produced a game-clinching field goal off that one.
The Giants are minus-5 in the all-important takeaway differential over the last two games alone. They had gone into the game minus-5 on the season, which indicates they were getting away with a lot of mistakes before. They survived four turnovers against Carolina, three against Chicago, and five in the first meeting against Dallas.
But an offense can't keep overcoming those kinds of mistakes. They eventually catch up to it.
If the Giants don't start taking care of the ball, starting this week against Jacksonville, this losing streak will stretch far beyond two games.