Con Te Partiro: It is time to say goodbye to the 2006 NFL season for the New York Giants. It is time to say goodbye to Tiki Barber, the franchise’s career rushing and receptions leader, who is retiring. And it may be time to say goodbye to Head Coach Tom Coughlin and his coaching staff.

In a game that was a microcosm of the Giants’ 2006 season, New York played the Eagles tough, but let a game slip away that they could have won. The Giants fell 23-20 to the Eagles as Philadelphia PK David Ackers kicked the game-winning 38-yard field goal with no time remaining on the clock.

It was another penalty filled game for New York (nine penalties). It was another game that the Giants lost despite taking an early 7-0 lead and wasting other first-half scoring opportunities (the Giants started drives near midfield on three occasions in the first half and came away with zero points on each of those possessions). It was another game where the Giants faltered in the red zone (settling for three points on one drive where the team had a 1st-and-goal on the 3-yard line and again on another drive where the team had a 2nd-and-2 on the 6-yard line). It was another game where the defense gave up lengthy touchdown drives (one 84-yard drive and one 80-yard drive). And it was another game where the defense could not make a late defensive stand (the Eagles drove 46 yards in the game’s final moments to set up the game-winning kick after the Giants had tied the game).

The Giants received the ball to start the game and quickly drove 67 yards in seven plays to take a 7-0 lead as QB Eli Manning hit WR Plaxico Burress for a 17-yard touchdown.

The Giants forced a three-and-out and started their next possession on the Eagles’ 49-yard line. However, two false start penalties sabotaged that drive and the Giants punted. The Giants’ defense forced another three-and-out and the Giants started their third possession at their 48-yard line. New York could only pick up one first down and punted again. One more time the Giants’ defense prevented a first down. The Giants started their fourth possession at the Eagles’ 46-yard line, but could not move the ball. Three consecutive possessions starting at midfield resulted in zero points.

When the Eagles received the ball for the fourth time in the game, they not only finally picked up their first first down of the game, but they drove the football 84 yards in seven plays to tie the game at 7-7. The scoring play came on a 49-yard run by HB Brian Westbrook.

On the ensuing Giants’ possession, Manning attempted to hit Burress deep on 3rd-and-8 but he was picked off at the Giants’ 44-yard line. The ball was returned to the Giants’ 37-yard line. Westbrook gained 22 yards on the very next play, but the Giants’ defense held inside the red zone despite the Eagles having a 1st-and-goal from the 4-yard line. Ackers kicked the 19-yard field goal and the Eagles were up 10-7.

The Giants moved the ball impressively on the next possession, driving 78 yards in 11 plays. The big play of this drive was a 41-yard run by Barber. The Giants later faced a 1st-and-goal situation from the 3-yard line, but could not get the ball into the end zone. A 1-yard run by Barber was sandwiched between two incomplete passes from Manning. New York settled for the 20-yard field goal to tie the game 10-10.

With just under five minutes left in the half, the Eagles marched 80 yards in 10 plays to regain the lead 17-10. The scoring play came on a 28-yard pass from QB Jeff Garcia to WR Donte Stallworth with just over a minute to go before halftime.

In the third quarter, the first two Giants’ drives went nowhere as New York was hampered by poor field position – one drive started at the 10-yard line and another at the 1-yard line. The Giants went three-and-out on both possessions. After the latter, the Eagles were able to get into field goal range and kick a 48-yard field goal that gave Philadelphia a 20-10 advantage.

When the Giants received the ball for the third time of the half, the third quarter was almost over. The Giants did mount a serious scoring thread on this possession as Burress was clearly fouled on a 47-yard pass interference penalty. The Giants drove to the Eagles’ 6-yard line, but once again, could not get the ball into the end zone and were forced to settle for their second short field goal of the game. The Eagles now led 20-13.

The Eagles picked up one first down on their next possession and punted. Then the Giants mounted a 13-play, 80-yard dive that took over seven minutes off of the clock and tied the game as Manning found Burress for an 11-yard touchdown. On this drive, the Giants overcame a 1st-and-30 situation due to three penalties called on the offensive line.

With just under five minutes to go in the game, the Eagles received the ball for one last time. The Giants’ defense could not hold. The Eagles not only were able to move into easy field goal range, but they were able to run off all the remaining time on the clock because the Giants had blown their timeouts earlier in the half. With no time on the clock, Ackers hit the game winner from 38 yards out.

Post-Game Notes: Inactive for the Giants were DT Titus Adams, LB Gerris Wilkinson, CB Frank Walker, WR Michael Jennings, WR Darius Watts, FB Robert Douglas, OG Steve Edwards, and QB Tim Hasselbeck (third quarterback).