I.

It’s not exactly an original point, but Thomas Jones’ “Third and forever” first down run, to quote the commentator, Gui, followed by Sam Madison’s pulling up lame and giving up that pitch-and-catch touchdown pass, was where the game was lost.

To put it into stark clarity: For the game’s first 29 minutes, we had outscored the Bears 13-3. Over the last 31 minutes, we got outscored 35-7. A total collapse.

II.

Where was Shockey all night? (Yet another point that’s been made by some schmuck at your “office cooler.”) Considering that Eli wasn’t getting any protection, and considering that none of our receivers, with the exception of Plax, could get open, shouldn’t we have made an effort to get the ball into the hands of one of the game’s best playmakers? For the night, Shockey had one catch – a measly catch! – for 15 yards. Eli put the ball in the air 32 times, and only one of those tosses went to J-Shock? Please. That’s ridiculous.

III.

You’ve no doubt heard a lot of shit about Eli by this point, and I don’t mean to pile on, but…

A distressing dissimilarity between Eli and his big bro is the difference between their throwing motions. Peyton has such a quick, over-the-top stroke, whereas Eli has kind of a loop in his motion.

Now, as anyone who has watched a Mets telecast with Keith Hernandez could tell you, hitters with long swings (Pat Burrell, Jeromy Burnitz, or to use an example Keith would, Danny Heep) are especially prone to slumps. The theory is pretty simple: the longer the motion, the more things can go wrong.

The same principle applies to quarterbacks, which is one of the reasons why Eli’s accuracy is so inconsistent.

Another disadvantage of the long throwing motion is that it allows onrushing defenders a bigger, longer target to take a swipe at the ball, which has manifested itself in the unacceptable amount of fumbles Eli has had this year – he fumbled twice in the Bears game.

Still another problem that the long throwing motion presents is that it allows defensive linemen another crucial instant to a) get a little closer to the quarterback; and b) time their jump to bat the ball down, which has been another thorn in Eli’s side.

That being said, the loss of Petitgout looms even larger. You have to be very worried about what Eli will do with Bob Whitfield protecting his blind side.

(BTW, how funny does Eli sound when he yells “Omaha! Omaha!” at the top of his lungs? The Mannings have such funny voices. My particular Eli favorite is “Alert! Alert!” – such a sloppy “L” sound, which maximizes the comedic potential of both Eli’s southern drawl and his substantial under-bite. But I love Eli. As Bill Maher would say, “I kid Eli, I kid Eli. I kid the President.”)

IV.

God, it really hurt when Thomas Jones and Devin Hester broke out with the “Ballin’” thing: Having your chant/ritual mocked really cuts deep.

But even if teams are going to mock us with it, we can’t abandon it – that would send the wrong message to the enemy.

When the ballin’ thing first started, I thought it was pretty stupid — but it soon grew on me. Perhaps it was the synchronized, 3-man version in Atlanta that won me over; or perhaps it was Michael Strahan’s rendition when he kicked out his legs in opposite directions; or perhaps it was Fred Robbins checking to see if his feet were behind the 3-point line before he went ahead and stroked the J…

Incredibly goofy as it may be, (and as incredibly premature as it is that Jim Jones, the Texas rapper, has already recorded a version specifically for the G-Men [and as incredibly funny it is that, unbeknownst to him, Jim Jones shares an otherwise non-descript name with one of history’s great villains/punch-lines of the last thirty years, the same man whose organized mass suicide spawned the phrase “drinking the Kool-Aid”]) is still a spontaneous ritual, and spontaneous rituals, goofy or not, don’t come around too often.

The last spontaneous ritual that the Giants started entailed an old middle linebacker draping himself in a security guard’s poncho and skulking around the sidelines during the last few minutes of games, (much to the delight of the home crowd), before dousing a young, good-natured Bill Parcells with a massive bucket of Gatorade.

Goofy? Absolutely. Excessive? Preposterously so. But on the hard Astroturf of East Rutherford in the mid-80’s, one of the most awesome traditions in sports was born.

The ballin’ ‘aint going away any time soon, Giants fans. You might as well embrace it.