I haven't blogged for a while; partially because of work, and mostly because of my grandfather passing away last Thursday, which has hit me really, really hard.
For my return to blogging, however, I'd like to switch to some lighter talk and ruminate on the Giants a little bit.
First of all, yesterday's 26-23 overtime win over the Eagles still feels like a loss, if only because the Giants looked so poor in pulling it out.
I think, though, that this could be the win that the Giants look back upon in a couple of weeks as the one that saved/defined/whatevered their season. It just feels like time will treat the Giants' performance yesterday kindly. For one thing, Big Blue never plays flawlessly in Philly, even when the team pulls out a win. And the Eagles are still a team made up of proud NFL athletes; coming into the game I thought it was going to be the scrappy affair it was, rather than the Giants cakewalk so many had assumed would take place. The bottom line is that they took a December win out of Philly, which is tough to do regardless of how well or poorly the Eagles' season is going.
I said to Kris during the final minutes of the fourth quarter and during overtime that this would be Jay Feely's redemption game. And despite some gallows IMing with Spector, I never really doubted Feely. Or perhaps I couldn't really imagine him blowing another amazing opportunity to win a crucial road game. Whatever the case, Feely came through, which will no doubt make this gruesomely ugly game an amazing triumph once NFL Films is through with it.
Looking ahead, there are two real areas of concern with this team. I'll begin with Eli Manning, who has seemingly taken a few steps backwards these past two weeks. Now, I've been on the Eli bandwagon all season long, and I'm not about to jump off just yet (as I'm sure many Giants fans already have - "the next Kerry Collins" was a particularly idiotic comment I heard from one rooter). I think Eli is going to be just fine.
Of immediate concern, however, is whether he'll be able to re-establish his game in time for the Giants to have a shot at doing something special in 2005. I'm not really worried yet, but it's definitely something to keep in mind as #10 takes the field on Saturday versus the dangerous Chiefs.
The other red flag with the Giants is in the trainer's room; Big Blue lost four starters to injury yesterday, including both starting offensive tackles (forcing guard David Diehl to move to right tackle - meaning that there were essentially three backups on the O-line). On the other side of the ball, the Giants lost William Joseph and Antonio Pierce (who's been the heart and soul of the defense thus far this season).
You saw just what the problem with backup offensive linemen is yesterday; backup Bob Whitfield came in cold and did his best Luke Petitgout impersonation, taking two crippling penalties on two different possessions inside the Eagles' 10. You never want to say that Petitgout wouldn't have taken those penalties, but if the Giants hadn't had to settle for field goals in those situations, maybe the game isn't as close as it turned out to be.
The Giants could have some real problems down the stretch if they don't get these players back. And even if they do, Eli is once again going to have to prove to the league that he deserves to be here.
The rest of the season starts Saturday in East Rutherford.