As Usual, Giant Bark Worse Than Bite

Give the Giants credit. They continue to lose must-win games yet still insist they're a playoff caliber club. Read on.

"We'll win two games," Jeremy Shockey said. "We've got the talent. We obviously didn't play well enough today to win the game. We just put ourselves in bad situations. We're definitely a playoff team. We've got talent in this locker room. There's no doubt about it. We've just got to fix what's going wrong and move on from there."

After the game, as the teams came off the field, there was plenty of yapping from the Eagles. Lito Sheppard was giving Shockey an earful. The big difference was that the Philly players actually waited until they had accomplished something before talking. You know, just the opposite of how New York handles its business.

When asked if he thought the Giants were still a playoff team, Plaxico Burress said: "Yeah. We just have to keep fighting. Like I say, all we can do is win our last two games and see how everything plays out around the league. We just can't let our guard down, don't give up, keep playing hard and see what happens."

Even Eli Manning, he of the minimal pulse, offered up his take on the final two weeks.

"I think our team is going to fight back," he said. "We have to have a good week of practice and know that we are still in this and it is not over. We have two games left. This week against New Orleans we are obviously going against a good team. I haven't looked at the whole scenario yet but we could get some help because there are still a lot of big games left by everyone else. We still have a shot of getting to the playoffs."

Now of course we don't expect anyone to come right out and predict losses and doom and gloom for their club down the stretch, but how about a little humble pie? How about, ‘We have enough problems that we can't even afford to think about the playoffs at this point'? Or ‘This team is probably lucky to be at .500 at this point'?

Best of all how about the truth? ‘We're not even close to good enough to make the playoffs but because the NFC is a joke, we still have a shot.'

About the only thing that was impressive coming out of this game was just how well Antonio Pierce put the blame on his shoulders. He's well aware he was very critical last week of the Eagles, Jeremiah Trotter in particular, and knew he had to face the music.

"I don't have any problem standing up and saying I made a mistake," Pierce said. "Some people don't like to call themselves out. Those two plays, a 30-yard plus run and a 30-yard plus pass, I felt like I was responsible for those. Coaches and other players can say what they want but I'm saying it. It is not a copout or a reason for people to feel sorry for me. I'm manning up."

Unfortunately for the Giants, Eli wasn't Manning up during the game.

It was his lack of peripheral vision that led to Philly's second INT, which ended any comeback hopes New York harbored.

"I saw the blitz coming but I thought I could hold enough to get the ball to Plaxico on a route and obviously I made the mistake," he said. "I should have just thrown it to Shockey and got five yards."

Coach Tom Coughlin saw the fatal play unfold another way.

"He should have seen it," the coach explained. "He's in the gun, he has a good chance to see it. I think his attention is drawn off to the left. He doesn't see it. It happens, but you'd like to think you make the, you know… Hit the hot (receiver) and maybe make five or six yards and have it be second down instead of a turnover. It's just one of those key plays out there that could have been key plays in the game."

One of those key plays the Giants have failed to make more often than not this season. When the time to put up or shut up arises, more often than not the Giants fail to do both. For a team that talks so often and backs it up so infrequently, it was just more of the same for Big Blue against the Eagles. Philly could have packed in its season after losing Donovan McNabb for the year, but did just the opposite. Ninety miles north, the Giants are still pointing to their myriad of injuries as an excuse, legitimate or not.

Tiki Barber seemed mystified after the game regarding his club's Jekyll and Hyde performances.

"I wish I knew," Barber answered when asked why his club continues to underachieve. "I wish I could pinpoint why we make so many mistakes that cost ourselves, because there were times this year that we played exceptional. There were also times when we played like we were a team full of rookies. We have done that to ourselves. We have no one to blame other than to look at each other. I think we were an underachieving team today, certainly."

And an underachieving team for the entire season, leaving us all wondering if the media overestimated the Giants this season or if they just continue to fall short of the mark. The answer? Well, let's just say that no one overestimated Big Blue's talent level.

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