Giant Mistakes Doom Blue

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Giants repeatedly shot themselves in the foot against the Eagles. Let us recount the ways.

First and foremost, the Giants absolutely, positively could not take advantage of advantageous field position. In three trips inside the Eagles 20-yard line, New York settled for three field goals, or only nine out of a possible 21 points. Throw in two missed field goals from outside the green zone and Big Blue's offense hurt itself badly when the stakes were the highest.

"When we were down in the fringe of the green or in the green you have to score touchdowns," Tom Coughlin said. "That is what our game is about. If you are going to separate you have to have touchdowns and we didn't do that today."

"You can't win games with field goals," Derrick Ward added. "You have to score touchdowns."

Another thing they didn't do was hold onto the ball. The club that was one of the game's stingiest with the ball in its hands all season long handed it to Philly on three different occasions.

Twice, Eli Manning was picked off and Steve Smith also inexplicably lost a fumble, albeit very late in the game when the contest was already decided. While the Eagles only got one touchdown off the three Giants turnovers, it was certainly a key TD. And considering the Giants offense didn't score a TD of its own, Eli Manning and Co. could hardly afford to give the Eagles seven free points.

Manning overthrew Domenik Hixon on New York's second possession, and Asante Samuel not only intercepted it, but he ran the ball all the way back to the Giants 2-yard line. Three plays later, the Eagles were in the end zone with a 7-3 lead.

"Just threw it high," Manning said. "I rolled out right and had (Domenik) Hixon open over the middle. The ball sailed on me and (I) threw it high. You can't throw high over the middle. There's a good chance it's going to get intercepted."

It was. Next up: the lack of sacks. Sure, the Giants got near Donovan McNabb a couple times and even recorded a safety against the elusive Philly signal-caller. But at the end of the day, the Giants defense faced off against McNabb three times this season. And they're still looking to sack him for the first time.

Two missed field goals from the previously almost-perfect John Carney also didn't help matters in a close game. Carney was wide right on a 46-yarder and wide left from 47.

"Three-for-five is not a good enough job," Carney said. "I take that seriously."

The Giants also had four short-yardage plays in the fourth quarter, when the game was still in the balance, and they were unable to move the sticks on any of their four tries. Equally interesting was the call to have Eli Manning try a QB sneak on the initial fourth down, then Brandon Jacobs running to the wrong hole on the next.

Even both coordinators, Kevin Gilbride and Steve Spagnuolo, didn't exactly call foolproof games.

The Giants always say that they win as a team and lose as a team. Well now, they're going home as a team.

No Plax, no problem

Both Coughlin and Manning refused to use the absence of Plaxico Burress as an excuse, although it was quite obvious how badly the offense suffers when he's out of the lineup.

"It's not about Plaxico (Burress)," Manning said. "We had opportunities. We have players that can make plays and do things. It's not the issue."

"I don't think it has a whole lot to do with that," Coughlin added. "Those are the questions that have been asked since day one. The fact of the matter is Plaxico is not out there."

Playoff notes

The Giants, who won four playoff games last year, lost their opening postseason game for the third time in four years…

The Giants' postseason record fell to 20-24. They are 13-10 at home (including the three Super Bowls in which they were the home team). Their playoff record in Giants Stadium is 7-4…

The Eagles became the first team to beat the Giants twice in the same season in Giants Stadium. The Giants were 7-2 at home this season, with both losses coming against the Eagles…

The Giants are 2-2 vs. Philadelphia in the postseason, winning in 1981 and 2000 and losing in 2006 and 2008…

The Giants became the first No. 1 seed in the NFC to lose to a No. 6 seed in the divisional round of the playoffs – and the second top seed to fall to a sixth seed, joining Tennessee (which lost to Baltimore this postseason). No. 1 seeds are now 11-2, including 9-1 in the NFC, vs. sixth seeds since the NFL began seeding playoff teams in 1990. Before this weekend, the only defeat suffered by a top seed against a No. 6 occurred three years ago, when the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Indianapolis Colts on their way to victory in Super Bowl XL…

The Giants are 4-6 in Divisional Playoff games…

The Giants are 5-3 in postseason games following a bye since the 1970 merger…

This was the 37th playoff meeting between division rivals since 1990. The home, or higher-seeded, teams are 23-13…

This was the 12th time since 1990 two division rivals faced each other in the postseason after the visiting team won each of the two regular season games. The Giants and Eagles were the competing teams each of the last two times it happened. The home team is now 6-5 in the playoffs…

This was the first game with a final score of 23-11 in NFL history.

Giants use two kickers

As expected, Tom Coughlin opted to dress both kickers against the Eagles. Lawrence Tynes handled the kickoffs, while John Carney continued to boot the field goals and PATs. After the game Coughlin said that he was pleased with how Tynes kicked off and that he didn't consider replacing Carney with Tynes after Carney's missed field goal in the second quarter.

The healthy Giants reported no surprising inactive players: RB Danny Ware, CB Rashad Barksdale, LB Gerris Wilkinson, OT Adam Koets, DE Dave Tollefson, DT Jeremy Clark, DT Leger Douzable and WR Mario Manningham.

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