Earlier today, I relayed to my loyal readers three teams reportedly on Bill Cowher’s radar. While two of the potential destinations — Miami and Houston — seemed plausible, one seemed quite far-fetched. You’d have to think Tom Coughlin’s job is quite safe, right? But after Coughlin’s Giants blew a 24-3 lead at home in the biggest game of the year this afternoon, maybe there’s a chance we could end up seeing The Chin on the Giants sideline in 2011, after all.
Coughlin made two horrible decisions that might have cost his team its season against the Eagles.
1) Up two touchdowns midway through the fourth quarter, Coughlin didn’t have his team prepared for a “surprise” onside kick. You don’t have to have the whole hands team out there, but in a situation like that you have to at least have some guys lined up in a position to handle an onside kick.
2) With the game tied and 14 seconds on the clock, he let his unreliable young punter kick it in bounds to one of the most dangerous players in the game. The result:
A few thoughts on that play:
- Troy Aikman mentioned prior to Matt Dodge’s punt that there was a good chance DeSean Jackson would have a chance to return it because the team knew it couldn’t rely on Dodge to kick it cleanly out of bounds without screwing up. But honestly, how hard is it to just drill the ball out of bounds, regardless of how far it goes? Why give it to Philly’s most dangerous player in an unpredictable situation like that?
- Coughlin was seen giving Dodge hell after the game, which means there’s a chance he did in fact tell the rookie to keep it away from the slippery Jackson. Regardless, Coughlin should take some serious heat for the situation in general. His team choked on a huge fourth-quarter lead and gave up four Philly touchdowns in the final seven minutes and 28 seconds.
- Michael Vick continues to be a prime MVP candidate, but I’m thinking Jackson should be part of the conversation too. That’s two unbelievable game-changing touchdowns in as many weeks for Jackson, who has become one of the most dangerous players in the league.
The Eagles’ magic number is now 1, meaning Philadelphia would have to finish 0-2 (they host Minnesota and Dallas) and the Giants would have to finish 2-0 (they travel to Green Bay and Washington) for the Eagles to surrender the NFC East to New York.
The good news for the Giants is that the three teams they’re jockeying for position with — the Saints, Buccaneers and Packers — all lost. That means the G-Men are still in good shape in the wild-card race, but they’re pretty much toast in the fight for home-field advantage in the playoffs.
The cruising Eagles now hold a half-game lead over the Bears, who close out with a tough slate of games. So there’s a good chance Philadelphia finishes second in the NFC and clinches a first-round bye. And there’s an increasingly good chance Michael Vick finds his way back to Atlanta with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line.