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Giants’ Fall to Eagles As Coughlin’s Future Remains Unclear

A long, disappointing and agonizing season has come to an end, as the Giants finished the 2015 season with a 35-30 loss to the Eagles at home. The Giants finish 6-10, good for third in the NFC East.

With Washington clinching the division last week and neither team in the wild card mix, Sunday’s game was meaningless for both the Giants and the Eagles. While the loss actually helps the Giants secure a higher pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, many fans were certainly hoping the team to end the season on a high note with a win over the rival Eagles. Although Big Blue came to play, they still fell short.

The 30 points were nice, but not enough, and the theme for the Giants offense on Sunday was missed opportunities.

The offense moved the ball pretty well, but struggled to capitalize on some trips into Eagles territory. Most notably, the Giants had first and goal at the Eagles 5 and had to settle for a field goal. On their very next possession, they had first down at the Eagles 12 and settled for three once again.

Perhaps the biggest gut punch came late in the third quarter. On a first down play at the Eagles’ 14, Eli Manning looked for Shane Vereen, the latter of whom made no fight for the ball as former Giant Walter Thurmond swooped in and took it 83 yards to the house.

There were also a couple of instances where the Giants’ opted to punt on manageable fourth downs in Philadelphia territory rather than go for it (side note: Giants punter Brad Wing was excellent Sunday).

The return of Odell Beckham Jr. was also pretty underwhelming, as OBJ was held to just 54 yards on five catches.

As for the Giants’ defense, the numbers speak for themselves.

The Eagles amassed 502 yards of total offense. Sam Bradford completed 30-of-38 passes for 320 yards, adding two scores along the way. Eagles RBs gashed the Big Blue defense, averaging 5.1 yards per carry. Tight end Zach Ertz was a thorn in the Giants’ side all day, catching all nine of his targets for 152 yards.

Perhaps most damning is the fact the Giants defense simply couldn’t get off the field – The Eagles converted 10 of 13 third downs.

At least Giants fans can take solace in knowing they won’t have to sit through another tough loss for another eight months, as this painful season has come to an end. As the old saying goes, don’t smile because it’s over, cry because it happened. Or something like that.

Offensive Game Ball: Rashad Jennings

It’s a shame that it took until Week 15 for Tom Coughlin to really figure out how this running game should operate, because Jennings has looked like a whole new player during this three-game stretch. Against the Eagles, he had his no-doubt best game of the season, carrying the ball 27 times for 170 yards and a touchdown. While the Giants will likely add a running back through free agency or the draft, it’s clear Jennings still has feature-back potential.

Defensive Game Ball: Robert Ayers

Not a great defensive performance by the Giants, so it’s hard to single out one guy who stood out. Ayers did a fine job, finishing with seven tackles (three for a loss) and a sack. Have a day, Robert.

The Goat: Giants linebackers

I get the Giants have dealt with injuries to Jon Beason and Devon Kennard this year. But this group has had trouble covering tight ends all year, and Zach Ertz made them look silly on Sunday. Sam Bradford was able to find him whenever he wanted, and Ertz made the Giants pay by gaining an average of 16.9 yards per catch. Yuck.

Up Next

Who knows?

The Giants have a lot of issues to address, with the first one being the future of head coach Tom Coughlin.

Reports have suggested Coughlin will resign from his position on Monday, and that certainly seems like a viable scenario. Back in December, Coughlin put the house he has lived in since 2004 up for sale. On Sunday, he invited his entire family to the game, suggesting it could be his last one at the helm for the Giants. It wouldn’t be surprising for Coughlin to call it quits come Monday.

Honestly, a resignation might be best for all involved. The Giants have taken steps back in recent years, and have missed the playoffs in four straight seasons. But we can’t ignore the success Coughlin has had during his 12-year Giants tenure, and firing the future Hall of Famer seems hard to fathom. Perhaps Coughlin will save John Mara and Steve Tisch from having to make that tough call. Monday is going to be interesting.

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