There was a time when the New York Giants defense was a source of pride, among the toughest in the league, and capable of carrying the city to championships. Led by a dominant front four, Giants team of past years have terrorized opposing quarterbacks (even 18-0 ones named Brady), stuffed the run convincingly, earned sack records, and more importantly, won their team games.
In yesterday’s Monday Night Football Showdown, with the Giants season essentially on the line, Big Blue let a New Orleans Saints team have absolutely whatever they wanted on offense. New Orleans kept the ball moving, scoring 49 points in the final three quarters of the game to win decisively 49-24. They converted 17 first downs, and put up an incredible 577 (!) yards of total offense.
To say that the Giants failed to get pressure on the quarterback last night would be an understatement; Brees acted like at any point he could have sat down in the pocket, fired up his laptop, and crafted a Tom Coughlin Monster.com job posting. He finished with 363 yards passing, four touchdowns, and a QB rating of 129.6. Meanwhile, Osi Umenyiora re-sprained his ankle, the rest of the defense never showed up, and Eli padded his stats in meaningless garbage time (21 straight passes – woo!).
Falling a game behind Dallas in the NFC East, New York now finds themselves in the middle of a three game losing streak, with undefeated Green Bay (and Aaron Rodgers) up next. Three weeks ago the Giants had just beat the Patriots, and were sitting at 6-2 with a comfortable lead over the 4-4 Cowboys. Now talks have shifted away from Eli’s elite play, and towards a much harsher reality: this team is awful.