All the pieces the Giants labored for, the whole lot they’d bled for, and now a whole soccer recreation was distilled to essentially the most primary ingredient: a ball within the air. Catch the ball, and the Giants win the sport. Catch the ball they usually shut out an exciting victory, an inconceivable climb close by of first place.
Catch the ball and honor the excitement of the week: Why not us?
Even Engram didn’t catch the ball.
Daniel Jones had lofted a lovely throw. Engram had a step on security Will Parks. He prolonged his arms. Simply as his ft crossed the 30-yard line the ball fell out of the sky, into his arms … and thru his arms. Fourth down as an alternative of first. Eagles ball following a punt, simply earlier than the two-minute warning, as an alternative of Giants ball and victory formation.
As an alternative of Why not us?
The Eagles nonetheless needed to drive 71 yards with simply 122 seconds left. Engram’s drop didn’t lose the sport. However there wasn’t a Giants fan anyplace, from Freehold to Freeport and all precincts in between who didn’t know what was coming, who didn’t really feel this shattering, 22-21 loss of their bones earlier than they noticed it on the scoreboard.
“No excuses from us,” Giants coach Joe Choose would say.
So you possibly can add Engram’s identify to Joe Pisarcik’s, and to Matt Dodge’s to the roster of Giants who’ve helped perpetrate this on-again, off-again nightmare in opposition to the Eagles throughout the many years.
It shouldn’t all fall on his shoulders. He wasn’t on the sphere when the Giants protection — so stout all night, so resilient all year — allowed two Eagles touchdowns within the remaining 5 minutes. He didn’t flip the ball over twice, as Jones did, the eleventh time in his 20 profession begins by which he’s had a number of turnovers.
However that picture, that sequence — ball within the air, ball in his arms, ball by way of his arms — would be the haunting snapshot of the week and perhaps the season, if the Giants aren’t in a position to crawl again into place to play one other significant recreation the remainder of the yr (although, this being the NFC East, you by no means know).
“We received the look we wished,” Engram would say, his phrases heavy with damage, his eyes mounted in a thousand-yard stare of disbelief. “D.J. threw an amazing ball. I didn’t finish the play.”
A pause. A sigh. Frustration. Ache.
“100%, I’ve received to make that,” he mentioned.
A thousand %, the Giants ought to have gained this recreation. The Eagles saved making an attempt at hand it to them. Philly led 10-7 on the half, and it may’ve been 24-7. The quarterback, Carson Wentz, made horrible selections. The coach, Doug Pederson, made puzzling decisions.
The Giants hung round, then Jones broke off an 80-yard run that was equal elements comedian aid (since he stumbled yards shy of the goal line) and game-changing gem, then added a 97-yard drive that put them up 21-10 with 6:17 left.
It was there. It was proper there, even when the Eagles answered with a fast TD. The Giants ran two operating performs, received two first downs, and solely wanted a 3rd to expire the clock. Engram didn’t end his play, however the Eagles nonetheless wanted to go these 71 yards to complete the miracle.
They went the 71 yards. Wentz related with Boston Scott for an 18-yard landing. The Giants nonetheless had life. A discipline purpose would’ve written a correct remaining chapter. They by no means received the sphere purpose. Jones fumbled. The Eagles recovered. Ballgame.
Why not us to Why us in about 10 simple steps.
“This can be a powerful one to swallow,” Giants linebacker Blake Martinez admitted. “It’s the identical factor another time. Lapses. One man right here. One man there.”
Robust one to swallow. Robust one to just accept. The Giants have been in pretty much as good a place as a 1-5 workforce may ever be. They’d a significant soccer recreation on the final Thursday of October, gone the purpose the place a 1-5 workforce ought to have something remotely significant to play for. They scratch. They claw. They bleed. They play arduous each week.
“We’re not going to ask you to be affected person,” Choose mentioned, his message meant for Giants followers.
Choose grew up an Eagles fan on the opposite aspect of this rivalry. He is aware of what shedding a recreation like this implies. He is aware of what 0-for-their-past-8 in opposition to a bitter foe means. And is aware of these followers most likely didn’t sleep a lot, visions of a ball slipping by way of fingertips littering desires throughout city. Why us, certainly.