Carolina Panthers 41 (7-8) – New York Giants 9 (8-7)

by The Hack for

Game Summary: In the immortal words of Clark W. Griswold Jr, “Hallelujah. Holy shit. Where’s the Tylenol?”

Three days after Christmas on a gloriously sunny and balmy winter’s day in the Meadowlands, New York took the field at Giants Stadium for the very last time with visions of playoff games dancing in their heads. Or did they? Maybe they had visions of offseason golf trips traipsing around in there instead. Whatever they were thinking about, it sure as hell wasn’t football because very few Giants played any on this last game in Giants Stadium.

What the hell WAS that out there on Sunday?

Keeping Carolina off balance with a dizzying array of short passes, the Giants drove methodically down the field on their first drive, and on first and 10 from the 26 yard line, Eli Manning and Steve Smith got the home crowd rollicking with a seemingly easy as pie touchdown pass. Indeed, not a single Giant fan in the world wasn’t thinking, “That was EASY! The rout is ON!”

BUT…on the play Madison Hedgecock threw his man to the ground and was called for holding, nullifying the touchdown. No matter, Eli Manning hoisted the team on his shoulders and hit Mario Manningham for a first down to the 14-yard line, converting a third and 14.

BUT…Manningham fumbled the ball, and Carolina recovered. The Giants never did, and the rout was indeed on, only going the other way. Within a few minutes, the Giants were down 10, and by halftime the deficit was 24. Within four plays of the second half, the score was 31-0.

Eric from BBI asked me not to write a review for this week. His exact words were, “No one’s going to read it,” and frankly I’ve noticed that the reviews of the wins are read three to one and considering the debacle that this game truly was, I’m inclined to agree. Actually, the game was so one sided that my network actually shifted from the game and I never got to see the fourth quarter. Some of you would say I’m a lucky man. I’m inclined to agree with that, too!

So instead of reviewing the game, I’m in the process of doing a season retrospective of the entire team that I will post prior to Wild Card weekend. Suffice it to say that very few guys played well on Sunday. Eli Manning and Steve Smith showed up. Michael Boley made 11 tackles; Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwanuka had eight each.

Neither line played particularly well, with the offensive line giving up four sacks and making Eli run for his life half the time and the defensive line got no pressure on a backup QB with two prior starts to his name.

So there you have it, and now for the first time since late in the 2004 season, the Giants have absolutely nothing to play for this coming Sunday, and nothing to look forward to afterwards. The streak is over. Four straight season in the playoffs – three ‘one and dones’ and one magical Super Bowl Championship – are over. Now, this season is over, a season that started off promisingly at 5-0.

Everyone knew that losing Kenny Phillips was a huge blow, and after holding our breaths through the first three games without him and winning with ease, we were wary to look through the rose-colored glasses and say that they were going to survive it. In reality, that was the real downfall of the team – the moment we heard that he was done for the year.

As Dave in DC would say, “Stay Thirsty, My Friends.” Start dreaming about free agency and the draft.

(Box Score – Carolina Panthers at New York Giants, December 27, 2009)