- Ohm Youngmisuk, ESPN Staff Writer
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WHAT IT MEANS: This is as devastating a loss as the Giants could've possibly experienced this season. They blew a 31-10 lead and lost on the last play of the game when rookie punter Matt Dodge committed a huge mistake by punting to DeSean Jackson, who returned the kick 65 yards for the game-winning touchdown.
The Eagles have pretty much won the NFC East with the victory -- barring a collapse over the final two games -- and the Giants now will probably have to win out to make the wild card.
THE MICHAEL VICK EXPERIENCE: Vick might have started out feeling as if he were in a bumper car. He was hit several times by a swarming Giants defense that was dialed in from the start. Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell brought pressure on the Eagles quarterback from the start when safety Deon Grant hit Vick on his first snap. Two plays later, Vick, under duress, threw a pick. The Giants brought safeties on blitzes when the front four didn't get a hand on Vick. They tried to confuse Vick by showing blitz with one safety only to bring another one in. Vick also had several of his passes knocked down at the line of scrimmage.
He finally got a break in the third quarter, thanks to a Mario Manningham fumble that set up a Vick-to-Jeremy Maclin touchdown on a blown coverage by the Giants. Vick then came to life in the fourth. He connected with tight end Brent Celek late for a 65-yard catch-and-run touchdown when Kenny Phillips missed a tackle, and Vick then scored on a quarterback draw to cut the Giants' lead to 31-24 with 5:28 left.
Vick had one last chance to tie the game with 3:01 left and 88 yards to go, and he was simply electrifying. He scrambled for 55 yards before eventually hitting Maclin for another touchdown with 1:16 left. The game-tying touchdown came when the Giants left Terrell Thomas alone on Maclin on the left side with no safety help, and Thomas whiffed on a tackle attempt after giving Maclin a cushion. Then Jackson won the game with his electric punt return.
DODGE BALL: Dodge should have never punted the ball to Jackson and clearly made a mistake, as Tom Coughlin chewed out Dodge right after Jackson scored.
SUPER MARIO: With Steve Smith out, Eli Manning keyed in on Manningham and the receiver stepped up big with eight receptions for 113 yards. Manning also relied on Hakeem Nicks and Kevin Boss. While they will miss Smith, their Pro Bowl receiver, the Giants showed on Sunday they can survive without him as they did earlier this season, when Smith missed four games due to a partially torn pectoral muscle.
FULL STRENGTH: Center Shaun O'Hara returned after missing his last six games with a sprained foot. It marked the first time the Giants' offensive line was at full strength since a game at Dallas on Oct. 25.
WHAT'S NEXT: The Giants will be celebrating Christmas weekend with a Dec. 26 game in Green Bay, where they won the NFC championship in ridiculously frigid conditions during that 2007 Super Bowl run. It isn't known whether Aaron Rodgers will be back from a concussion, but the Giants will have their hands full against the Packers in a must-win game. The Packers and Giants are fighting for their playoff lives and the winner could be the leader for a wild-card spot. One positive for the Giants is that the Packers do not run the ball much and Fewell could bring the heat again.