Shameful Giants Squander Yet Another Opportunity: The best thing you can say about the Giants’ 2006 season is that it will likely be over soon.

It’s hard to believe that this team was once 6-2. But with their fifth loss in six games, the Giants now find themselves with an embarrassing 7-7 record with two games remaining as the Giants were soundly beaten by the Philadelphia Eagles 36-22 on Sunday in the Meadowlands. The Giants are still mathematically alive for a playoff spot, but they keep squandering their dwindling opportunities.

The Giants are 3-4 in home games this year.

The abbreviated version of why the Giants lost? New York committed four turnovers, including one for a defensive score with under three minutes to play. And the Giants were only able to run for 88 yards against an Eagles’ defense that has struggled to stop the run. The offense also came up small again in the red zone, settling for short field goals twice when the team was in a great position to score touchdowns. On the other side of the ball, the Giants’ defense was abysmal, allowing the Eagles to accrue 382 net yards on offense, including 161 yards rushing despite the fact that the Eagles are not a strong running team. Special teams contributed to the loss by giving up a 64-yard kickoff return that led to a touchdown.

“We didn’t play well enough today to win,” said RT Kareem McKenzie. “That’s all there is to it. You can’t turn the ball over. We had opportunities to go ahead and score in the red zone. We had momentum in our hands and we didn’t take advantage of it. Everything that you would like to do in a football game, to be able to put yourself in a position to keep the momentum in your hands and be able to keep the team down, we had the opportunity to do so. We just didn’t take advantage of it.”

“I’m a little short of words, so I’m just going to say a couple of things,” said TE Jeremy Shockey. “It’s disappointing to our fans, the owners, the organization. We just didn’t play well enough today to win, and it showed out there.”

The Giants did take the lead early in the game. After a three-and-out by Philadelphia, Chad Morton returned a punt 38 yards down to the Eagles’ 21-yard line. Two plays later, HB Barber scored from 11 yards out as the Giants went up 7-0.

The Giants’ defense then came up small, allowing the Eagles to drive 80 yards in 12 plays to tie the game. Both teams then struggled to generate points until late in the second quarter. The Giants also turned the football over twice in the second quarter. The first being a fumble by HB Brandon Jacobs and the second being an interception of a QB Eli Manning pass. The interception occurred when Manning’s pass hit a defensive tackle and was picked off on the rebound. The turnover gave Philadelphia the ball at the Giants’ 41-yard line after a personal foul penalty was assessed on TE Jeremy Shockey. Seven plays later, the Eagles took a 14-7 lead with just over a minute to go before halftime. Manning was then able to quickly complete four passes to set up a successful 47-yard field goal by PK Jay Feely before the intermission. The Eagles were up 14-10 at halftime.

The bulk of the third quarter was eaten up by long, but unsuccessful drives by each team. When the Giants got the ball back for the second time in the second half, there was only three minutes left in the third quarter. A 52-yard deep pass to WR Plaxico Burress gave the Giants a 1st-and-goal at the Eagles’ 10-yard line, but the team was forced to settle for a short field goal that cut the lead to 14-13. The Giants immediately got the ball back as QB Jeff Garcia was sacked by FS Will Demps who forced a fumble that LB Antonio Pierce recovered. The turnover gave the Giants the ball at the Eagles’ 7-yard line, but once again, New York could not punch it in and was forced to settle for a short field goal. Giants 16 – Eagles 14.

The Eagles then rapidly regained momentum. A 64-yard kickoff return set the Eagles up at the Giants’ 36-yard line. Three plays later, HB Brian Westbrook scored from 28 yards out to regain the lead for Philadelphia. Eagles 21 – Giants 16.

The Giants and Eagles then exchanged turnovers. TE Visanthe Shiancoe fumbled the ball away after a reception. Then Garcia was intercepted by Demps. Demps returned the football 29 yards before he lateralled it to CB R.W. McQuarters for another 24 yards. The play set up New York’s offense at the Philadelphia 35-yard line. Four plays later, the Giants scored. However, the Giants attempt at a 2-point conversion failed. The Giants had regained the lead 22-21.

Again, the defense could not hold the lead as the Eagles drove 80 yards in eight plays. Garcia threw a 19-yard touchdown pass and then completed a 2-point conversion attempt to the tight end to give Philadelphia a 29-22 advantage.

After the ensuing kickoff, the Eagles sealed the deal as a pass intended for Burress was intercepted on the Giants’ first offensive play of that possession and returned 19 yards for a touchdown by DE Trent Cole with under three minutes to go in the game.

Post-Game Notes: Inactive for the game were DE Michael Strahan (foot), CB Corey Webster (turf toe), OC Shaun O’Hara (ankle), LT Luke Petitgout (leg/ankle), WR Michael Jennings, DT Titus Adams, LB Tyson Smith, and QB Tim Hasselbeck (3rd quarterback).

The Giants and Eagles split their season series for just the third time in the last 22 years. They also split in 1990 and 2002. In every other season since 1985, one of the teams has swept the season series.