If the Tom Coughlin head coaching era of the New York Giants came to a close on Sunday, it would have ended with a three game losing streak and a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Giants lost to their NFC East division rival 35-30 on Sunday, in what likely was the last game of Coughlin’s head coaching tenure with the G-Men.
The loss was like any other that the Giants have suffered through this year. No it wasn’t another fourth quarter collapse, but it was another game where the Giants “found a way to lose again”, in the words of running back Rashad Jennings, who rushed for a season-high 170 yards in the loss.
The reason for the Giants blunder this time around came in the third quarter when Big Blue was driving on offense with a 27-21 lead and had all the momentum going their way. Then in just a split second, Eli Manning arm got hit by Eagles linebacker Connor Barwin when he was throwing the football, making the ball go up straight in air and land in the arms of Eagles cornerback Walter Thurmond, who run the interception back for a touchdown to give the Eagles the lead.
From there on out the Eagles held on the lead and went on to give the Giants their tenth loss of the season.
“The frustration continues,” Coughlin said on losing. “Played hard, we did an awful lot of things that were good, we didn’t win the game so that’s kind’ve been the way this has gone.”
The Giants had chances to take control of the game, but could never grasp it.
Early on they had to settle for two field goals in the red zone because the Giants offense did what they always do in stalling in what Coughlin calls the “Green Zone”. That was the biggest difference in the game, the fact that the Eagles scored touchdowns in all their red zone trips and the Giants ended up going 2/4 in the red zone.
Eagles tight end Zach Ertz, their main playmaker, had nine catches for 152 yards and the Giants allowed him run free all game. That’s unacceptable.
Those stats fall on the decisions of the coaching staff and yes I know both the offensive and defensive coordinators are at fault, but most of it falls Coughlin.
All year he has done nothing with getting his offense to score more touchdowns in the red zone and helping his defense get better at defending the pass.
That’s why in this game in particular vs the Eagles, Coughlin coaching performance came up short in the result of the loss, or as I would say good but not good enough.
“Finishing has been very difficult for us, for this team and you see it here,” Coughlin said. “It’s frustrating.”
It’s been a season of frustrations for Coughlin and the Giants. Their inability to close out games has cost them not only the NFC East division but quite frankly probably one of the top spots in the NFC itself.
The main cause of it has been Coughlin and his problems making decisions late in games.
Don’t get me wrong the way the Giants offense and especially their defense has played at the end of games are at fault too for the heartbreaking losses, but the decisions Coughlin has made in fourth quarter have hurt the G-Men more this year than it has helped them.
Add that to the fact the Giants are 6-10 for the second straight season and have not made the playoffs in the last four years is why this will likely be the end of the road for Coughlin as head coach of the Giants.
Coughlin in the post game interviews after the game did not get into anything involving his coaching future with the Giants.
“I’m not going to answer anything about that,” Coughlin said on the matter. “I’m going to give myself a little bit of time. I’m sure we’ll talk with ownership and then we’ll go from there.”
In what could be his final game as head coach of the Giants, Coughlin coached the same way he has throughout his tenure in New York.
He did a good job preparing his team throughout the week in practice for the game, did a good job motivating them and made the calls he felt were best during the game that gave his team the best chance of winning.
Coughlin is a great football coach and if his days with the Giants are over, he will leave with 2 super bowl titles and 102 career wins in 12 years. That is a hall of fame coaching career.