I.

Wait, first, it’s sooooo fucking weird that Bo Schembechler just died today.

II.

In a post last week, I took serious issue with New York Sun columnist Allen Barra’s pessimistic take on the Giants and especially Eli. I was hoping that Eli would come out against the Bears and have one good game to stem the tide of bad games, proving me right and the pessimistic Barra wrong. Unfortunately, he did no such thing. As Barra points out in his weekly Giants recap, appropriately though melodramatically titled “Passing Game Deteriorates Along with Giants Super Bowl Hopes,” Eli’s 3.8 yards per throw was around half of Tiki’s 7.4 yards per carry. Pretty sad, and it makes it five bad games in a row for the Easy Man.

Barra’s article also points out the following disturbing stat: “In his first four games,” Barra writes, “Manning threw 146 passes, averaged eight yards a throw, and had nine TDs to five interceptions. Since then, he’s thrown 147 passes, averaged 5.6 yards a throw, and had as many interceptions, six, as touchdowns.”

Yikes. Now, I’m not about to do what some casual Giants fans, or some New York-haters (such as my cousin Adam, from Chicago, who relished the moment when he declared “You guys have a serious problem at the quarterback position,”) are saying, but these numbers don’t lie. His performance of late, which now encompasses more than half the season, will not do; Eli needs to turn it around quickly and drastically.

(Of course, we die-hard G-Men fans know that good or bad, the future of the franchise depends on the guy. It’s kind of our job to stay behind him, lest the accumulation of negative energy, fueled by the New York media, drag down his still-young [and still promising!] career.)

III.

Colonel Tom has been getting killed in the wake of the failed field goal/Hester run-back play, but worth taking a look at which part of the play people are objecting to. Is it the decision to go for the field goal? Or the Giants falling asleep on the return?

Let’s start with the call to go for the field goal. In his article, Barra, who has been no fan of Colonel Tom through the years, actually goes out of his way to defend him. According to Barra, the logic for going for the field goal went something like this:

–Feely was attempting a 52-yarder on the same side of the field that he had comfortably drilled a 46-yarder a little over an hour before. (BTW, have you ever seen that much curvature on Feely’s kicks before? Was that all because of the wind? It was weird, because his first kick [the missed 33-yarder] kind of knuckled in the opposite direction.)

–If Feeley misses, the Bears get the ball back on the 34-yard line, but if the Giants punt, there’s a good chance that, as good as Feagles is, the Bears would have gotten the ball at the 20-yard line on a touchback. In other words, there was a strong possibility that not taking the risk would have only saved the Giants 14 yards.

But let’s assume that Feagles’ punt pins the Bears back at the 10, which would have been a pretty favorable outcome as far as punts go. That still would have saved us only 24 yards.

–To Colonel Tom, and to me, I’ll admit, it was more important to get within one point, seize momentum of the game (the Meadowlands would have been absolutely rabid from that point on), and take the pressure off the offense (who would no longer have to punch it into the endzone), and instead shift it to the Bears defense (who would have had to keep us out of field goal range).

All Feely had to do was do what he did when he knocked in the 46-yarder with room to spare. But alas, he actually wound up kicking it in front of the goalpost with room to spare.

But when Hester caught the ball instead of letting it fall short, it actually looked like the Giants could have had caught themselves a bit of a reprieve. If he had downed it or gotten tackled before the 20-yard line, the play wouldn’t have been all that worse than a punt. And if you assume that the Giants field-goal team was doing what it was supposed to do (busting it down-field once they looked up and noticed that the kick was falling woefully short with one of the game’s most dangerous return-men camped underneath it), this is really what should have happened.

Ah, but the worst conceivable scenario unfolded. Actually, it wasn’t even conceivable, which is really why it wound up happening.

But this leads to the other thing people are knocking Colonel Tom about: How is that such a drill-sergeant, discipline-type guy presides over a team that is characterized by these types of mental lapses? Overall, this is a legitimate question, but it’s worth noting that people went out of their way to defend him on the Hester play.

Right after the game, Jay Feely said that they had just practiced that play on Friday because they remembered that the Bears had done that last year when Nathan Vasher brought back Joe Nedney’s short field goal. I mean, it’s not as if it wasn’t on the Colonel’s mind.

And in the WFAN broadcast after the game, no less an authority than Carl Banks (who is really, really on-point, for those who aren’t familiar with the Giants radio crew) said: “On long field goals, the first thing the coaches holler is ‘cover.’ Jay Feely said they practice that every Friday. That’s not a coaching issue. Players have to do their part.”