Last weekend, the New York Giants and fourth-year quarterback Eli Manning squared off against the Tennessee Titans and rookie quarterback Vince Young. But for anyone who watched the game, it seemed like Young was the pro and Manning was the struggling rookie.
Young threw two touchdowns, ran for another one, and passed with precision all day. Manning threw for one touchdown and two picks, including a crucial one that lead to the Titans' game-winning field goal. The most embarrassing moment of the day was a fourth quarter fourth-and-long play where Giants defender Mathias Kiwanuka had Young wrapped up for a sack, then inexplicably backed off and allowed Young to scramble for a first down. The Giants entered the fourth quarter with a 21-0 lead and the game in hand, but plays like that one allowed Young to masterfully lead the Titans to victory.
The Giants' recent three-game slide has many fans concerned that the preseason Super Bowl favorites might not even make the playoffs. The Dallas Cowboys, divisional rivals of the G-Men, are getting hot at the right time with a three-game winning streak. If Big Blue can't turn it around, they might not even garner a wild card spot.
That's still not the worst news. It looks as though head coach Tom Coughlin is about to be thrown under the bus and take the heat for this giant collapse. Tight end Jeremy Shockey has been critical of Coughlin all season, protesting excessive preseason workouts and saying the team was "out-coached" during a Week 3 loss at Seattle. Halfback Tiki Barber spoke out when he was under-utilized in the Week 11 loss to Jacksonville. Coughlin himself was quick to point fingers after the Tennessee loss, slamming Manning for his late interception. Manning is one of the few team leaders who hasn't publicly turned on Coughlin.
While the burden of the loss can be placed heavily on Manning's shoulders, Young made the Giants defense look like Swiss cheese last weekend. As New York's quarterback of the future, there is a lot of money tied up in Manning. If the team is going to part ways with any personnel this off season, it's going to be Coughlin and not Manning or Shockey. There's too much football left to say that Coughlin's tenure with the Giants is definitely over, but I would keep the employment agencies on speed dial if I were him.