Once again, you had the feeling about the Giants. Remember the Eagles’ game the previous week?
You watched them score the go-ahead touchdown with Eli Manning engineering a nice drive and capping it with a flip to Rhett Ellison in the end zone. They botched the two-point attempt, but you still had hope.
Still, you had that bad feeling. It is the one that unfortunately is growing.
Tampa moved down the field and dissected the Giants’ defense as they did all afternoon and it would again come down to a field goal like it did the previous week. Ironically, here was ex-jet Nick Folk, who missed two field goals and an extra point, drilling a 34-yarder just inside the upright for a 25-23 win.
This was a Tampa team that was banged up defensively and managed just 26 yards rushing the previous week. The once inconsistent Jameis Winston looked more like Doug Williams of Buccaneer past.
Another improbable winning field goal that felt like a dagger. Another plunge pushing them deeper out of playoff contention. Winless after four games? Huh? Wow!
They roughly a three percent chance of making the postseason. Your chances are much better at winning a free coffee.
However, this debacle shouldn’t be placed on Manning. For the first few weeks, he was scrambling for his life and still posted some decent numbers. He had a valiant effort in the second half at Philadelphia and an overall one at Tampa, rallying from deficits in both games. Some reports suggest a search to find a replacement for him. Don’t even go there.
Look also to rookie Wayne Gallman to raise the floundering running game. The rookie was impressive in camp, and the Giants finally gave him a look. Gallman may have rushed for only 42 yards, but he created some new waves of optimism.
Odell Beckham Jr. showed more flashes of his old self and caught seven balls in the process. But he and the rest of the corps had too many dropped balls in the overall process Sunday.
There was promise along the offensive line, too. After a shaky start, they seemed to settle and gave Manning some time as well as opened some holes for Gallman.
But the big question remains about the defense .. where is the dominating force everyone expected? It has been a major letdown that originally was overshadowed by the hype surrounding the offensive woes.
Tampa had their share of big plays, notably in the passing game where Landon Collins, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and the rest looked ordinary against a receiving unit that wasn’t at full strength.
Damon Harrison and Jason Pierre-Paul also both are looking anything touted Pro-Bowlers at this point. Besides Olivier Vernon who has been battling injuries, there hasn’t been much to talk about up front.
B. J. Goodson returned at middle linebacker and had some moments, but he was burned on a touchdown pass.
Too many blown assignments and missed tackles. Disciplined areas that were expected to be tightened under head coach Ben McAdoo.
Still, they have another chance at getting back on track when the winless Los Angeles Chargers make the cross country trip to Met Life this weekend. The Giants still have the talent to back themselves out of the corner. Ironically, the Chargers were the last team to start 0-4 and make the playoffs when they did it in 1992.
“It’s fight or flight time,” McAdoo said via a conference call Monday. “We have talented men of integrity in the locker room. It’s not going to be easy. But we have to go out there and we have to fight. I expect us to fight. We have character in the building upstairs and down. I expect us to go out there and fight. The biggest thing that I get concerned about is guys going numb. We can’t go numb. Can never accept this. You got to fight through it. You got to work for that first one. Work for the first win.”
Get the first win and rekindle the playoff drive, right? You’re likely better trying to get the free coffee.