One of the great things about TLP editions coming out of New York, is that you have so many newspapers to choose articles from. In honor of the Skins drubbing of Mara’s woeful Giants, that carried them into first place, I am presenting three articles from three different papers. First up, we have a submission from the New York Daily News:
Flat effort from Giants puts Tom Coughlin back on hot seat
By Ralph VacchianoNEW YORK DAILY NEWSUpdated: Monday, November 30, 2015, 1:06 AM
LANDOVER, Md. — Tom Coughlin’s damning assessment of the Giants’ disgraceful effort on Sunday were four simple words: “Too little, too late.”Those might end up being the final words of this Giants season.
They could also end up being the epitaph on the end of his own Giants career.
Because if this all ends up continuing downhill and the Giants don’t win their pathetic division and Coughlin is pushed into a forced retirement he clearly doesn’t want, then this will be the moment where all that was locked up. In the biggest game the Giants have played in three seasons, with a chance to give themselves a clear and easy path to the playoffs, they spent three quarters in an embarrassing, inexplicable funk.
Never mind that they rallied for two touchdowns in the final 10 minutes to make the final score, 20-14, look close. Don’t be fooled by that. They blew this game when they “slept-walked,” as Coughlin admitted, right out of the tunnel. They tossed away a chance to put a stranglehold on the NFC East by coming out mind-bogglingly flat.
Coughlin had two weeks to get them ready for this game, to pound home the implications, to come up with a winning strategy.
But still, in an enormous moment, the Giants were no-shows.
And to be honest, the way this season has gone, that’s hardly a surprise.
“It’s been the story of our season, you know?” said defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins. “We have not cashed in our opportunities. We get opportunities, we get a chance to start to distance ourselves, and we just don’t take advantage.”
“We didn’t do anything in the first half,” defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul added. “We waited until the fourth quarter to start playing. By then it was over.
“They wanted it more badly.”
If that’s true, that is a horrible sign.
The evidence sure is strong to support that, though. The Giants’ first two drives ended with Eli Manning interceptions, both off passes that at one point were right in his receivers’ hands. And even when Washington couldn’t convert those into any points, it wasn’t enough to rouse the Giants out of whatever deep sleep they were in.
The only big player who stepped up with a big game was Odell Beckham (9 catches, 142 yards, and one spectacular, diving, one-handed touchdown catch in the fourth quarter). But he was pretty much the only one, which Manning clearly knew since he threw toward him 18 times.
Maybe the Giants were handicapped by an offensive line that was missing two (and later three) starters. But they certainly had plenty of other players on both sides of the ball to make plays. Two weeks ago, the Giants fought valiantly to the end against the undefeated New England Patriots. This time they were playing a flawed Washington team with Kirk Cousins at quarterback.
Yet somehow, the Giants found themselves in an incredible, 17-0 halftime hole.
“We came out flat and this wasn’t the game for that,” Jenkins said. “This had to be the game where we come out and play the best game of the year. We didn’t do that.”
“It looked like that first half wasn’t us,” added cornerback Prince Amukamara. “It looked like we had a bye week hangover.”
The players can’t be let off the hook for that, but that hangs on the head coach too. And this one will hang on Coughlin the way the Giants’ ugly, 25-24 loss in Jacksonville hung on him last season — the one where they blew a 21-3 lead and had co-owner John Mara wanting to fire everyone when it was done.
Maybe he’s not responsible for the poor plays, like the poor throw on Manning’s third interception of the game, in the end zone in the third quarter that would’ve been a touchdown if he had thrown it in front of Rueben Randle. Or like the 63-yard touchdown pass from Cousins to DeSean Jackson right over cornerback Jayron Hosley right after Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie had limped out of the game.
But Coughlin has to take blame for the lack of effort, the lack of fight, especially after two weeks of hearing and talking about how excited the Giants were to finally be playing meaningful late-season football again.
They still have meaningful, late-season games left to play, of course. They’re still technically in a first-place tie. But how meaningful are any of these games really going to be if this is how the Giants are going to respond?
“We came in knowing everything was on the table and we didn’t put our best foot forward,” Beckham said. “We are 5-6 for a reason.”
“Terrible,” Pierre-Paul added. “We had a chance to seal the deal and we didn’t get the job done.”
The Giants are lucky that all is far from lost in a division that’s starting to look like it might produce a 7-9 champion. They will have several more opportunities to secure their first playoff berth since 2011 in the next few weeks.
But this was an opportunity too — one too big to pass up, which is exactly what they ended up doing.
“We came in here knowing full well what all the circumstances were and we didn’t have a lot going on early in the game,” Coughlin said. “But had we had a little more time in this one, it might have been a different story.”
Time is something the Giants are running out of this season. And with flat efforts like this one, Coughlin may soon be out of time.
Next up, we get an entry from the New York Post:
What was once Giants’ greatest hope is now their biggest trouble
And finally, we hear from the “paper of record,” The New York Times:
Giants Wake Up Too Late to Seize a First-Place Opportunity
Credit Patrick Smith/Getty Images
When the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys played haplessly on Thanksgiving, each going down to demoralizing defeat, the path finally seemed open for the first-place Giants to grasp a commanding lead in the feeble N.F.C. East.
Instead, on Sunday, the Giants began their pivotal game against the host Washington Redskins with perhaps their worst half of football this season.
“We slept-walked,” the confounded Giants Coach Tom Coughlin sputtered afterward. “Whatever the word is.”
By the time the Giants awakened in the fourth quarter, it was too late. A rally made the game close, but the Redskins — 28-point losers a week ago — hung on for a clumsy 20-14 victory.
In the wake of the defeat, the Giants, who were coming off their bye week, were baffled by their own play.
“The first half looked like a bye-week hangover,” cornerback Prince Amukamara said.
Added defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul: “Terrible. We didn’t do anything in the first half. We had the chance to seal the deal today and didn’t.”
Washington’s victory obviates the story line that had been developing for the Giants’ season — the one that had the Giants in the most advantageous position to win the division and breeze to a playoff berth. The Redskins and the Giants now have 5-6 records and are atop the N.F.C. East with five games remaining. The Eagles are one game back, and Dallas trails by two.
There is much football left to be played, but Sunday’s game once again revealed that the Giants — despite a starting lineup full of talented offensive players — have glaring, unresolved weaknesses. Moreover, they are not getting any healthier. Another Giants starter was lost to injury Sunday when guard Geoff Schwartz broke his left leg.
The Giants’ pass rush, which had recently appeared rejuvenated, was nonexistent. The defensive front seven could not stop the Redskins’ running game, either. Pierre-Paul, whose presence in the last two games was credited with reviving the pass rush, was completely neutralized by the first high-quality left tackle he has faced this year, Washington’s Trent Williams.
Offensively, the Giants’ deficiencies stemmed primarily from an overmatched offensive line, which began the game missing two of its starters to injuries. With left guard Justin Pugh out because of a concussion and center Weston Richburg sidelined by an ankle injury, Giants quarterback Eli Manning, who completed 26 of 51 passes for 321 yards, was constantly under pressure and was sacked three times. As they have all season, the Giants struggled to establish a running game, especially after Schwartz went out, and finished with 33 rushing yards.
Credit Patrick Smith/Getty Images
Until the final 10 minutes, there was almost nothing good to say about the Giants’ performance.
Trailing by 17-0 at the half, the Giants finally showed a little life by driving down the field on their first possession of the third quarter. But on a third-down play at the Redskins’ 4-yard line, Manning threw toward the back of the end zone toward wide receiver Rueben Randle, who had broken open two steps earlier.
The pass was slightly behind Randle, and Washington cornerback Quinton Dunbar, who had barely caught up to Randle, cut in front of the pass to intercept it.
“Bad throw by me — I’ve got to put that in front of him,” said Manning, who threw two other interceptions, although each of those passes was deflected into the air by Giants receivers.
At the time, Manning’s third interception seemed like just another bad outcome in a game that appeared destined to end in a rout. Behind a generally effective Kirk Cousins, who completed 20 of 29 passes for 302 yards without an interception, the Redskins extended their lead to 20-0 early in the fourth quarter.
Then, in a stunning turnaround with 10 minutes 10 seconds remaining in the final quarter, Manning threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Randle on a fourth-and-16. About five minutes later, Manning lofted a pass toward Odell Beckham Jr., who dived into the end zone and made a spectacular one-handed catch to cut the Washington lead to 6 points. It was another acrobatic, circuslike grab for Beckham, who snagged the football with his arm outstretched about 18 inches from the ground. Beckham had nine receptions for 142 yards.
The somnolent Giants had new life with slightly less than five minutes remaining. But with an anxious home crowd looking on, the Redskins took the ensuing kickoff and all but ran out the clock to preserve the victory. A key play in the final Washington drive was a 20-yard reception by tight end Jordan Reed on third down deep in Redskins territory.
“That was the play, wasn’t it?” Coughlin lamented.
A crucial play it was, but it was not an isolated incident. It fit a pattern, one apparently discerned by most Giants opponents. The Giants’ secondary has had trouble defending the middle of the field all year, despite a rotating cast of safeties tried by the Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. It was more of the same Sunday, with Reed leading all Washington receivers with 8 catches for 98 yards.
Though Manning threw two interceptions in the first quarter, neither led to a Redskins score. All of the first-half scoring came in second quarter. A woefully ineffective offensive attack finally cost the Giants as Washington took a 10-0 lead on a 41-yard field goal by Dustin Hopkins and a 63-yard touchdown pass from Cousins to LeSean Jackson. Cousins watched as Jackson ran untouched past the reserve cornerback Jayron Hosley, who was in the game because of an ankle injury to the starting cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Then Jackson sprinted past Giants safety Brandon Meriweather, corralling the football on the run for the end zone.
Late in the second quarter, the Redskins extended their advantage to 17-0 when a screen pass to running back Matt Jones appeared to flummox the entire Giants defense, which had no defender in the right flat where Jones caught the football. Jones rumbled for 45 yards, a gain that eventually led to a 1-yard quarterback sneak for a touchdown by Cousins.
Afterward, Coughlin said he gave his players credit for their stirring fourth-quarter rally. But he reminded them of the opportunity squandered, a letdown that surprised Coughlin — just as his team has surprised Giants fans nearly every week this season.
“You can look at today and should have, could have, would have all day long,” Coughlin said.
With a look of exasperation, Coughlin added, “We have five games to go.”