Just inexplicably, mind-numbingly, mystifyingly – and so painfully – brutal.
With a chance to take a significant step forward in the Joe Judge era, a chance to add a second straight win to equal the Cowboys atop the NFC East, to add a signature victory for Daniel Jones and a rebuilding Giants’ team – all this against an Eagles team that has had their number for nearly all of the last eight years – and then this.
The Giants imploded spectacularly, blowing a 21-10 fourth quarter lead in the latest nightmare finish against Philly and walking off the field at Lincoln Financial Field 22-21 losers to their divisional nemesis. It was their eighth straight loss to the Eagles, who inserted yet another dagger to the hearts of a Giants team that has been unable to come up with answers so often since their last Super Bowl win following the 2011 season.
Their ongoing inability to solve the Eagles is perhaps the biggest symbol of that failure.
Yes, there may come a time in the Judge era when the Giants do turn the corner and become a good team. But unless and until they figure out a way to win in these situations, especially against a divisional opponent, then the painful rebuilding process will continue.
So, too, will these cruel outcomes.
"As a team, we have to finish this," Judge said. "There’s things we didn’t do well enough down the stretch. We’ve got to eliminate some of the things that held us back. It takes every single one of us. We’ve got to coach better. We have to play better, and we have to finish when we have an opportunity."
So many terrible endings against the Eagles, and this one is right up there with the others. The Fumble in 1978. Matt Dodge’s ill-fated punt to DeSean Jackson in 2010. Jake Elliott’s 61-yard winning field goal in 2017.
And now this.
For nearly 58 minutes, the Giants did mostly everything right in this one. They hung in during the first half, staying within range of the Eagles with some tough, if not perfectly executed, play. And they seized on opportunity in the second half. Daniel Jones raced around right end for what looked to be a touchdown, and even though he stumbled and caused himself some embarrassment near the end of an 80-yard run, he still put the Giants in position for the go-ahead touchdown to make it 14-10 in the third quarter.
The Giants put together an impressive goal line stand in the final period, with Logan Ryan swatting away Carson Wentz’s fourth-down pass in the end zone. Jones then directed a 97-yard touchdown drive that culminated with his 2-yard scoring strike to Sterling Shepard.
But the Eagles rallied for a touchdown on their next drive to cut the lead to 21-16, with the Giants at least stopping Wentz on a two-point conversion to keep it a five-point game and not allow the Eagles to pull within a field goal. The Giants could have put the game away just before the 2:00 warning on their next drive, but Evan Engram dropped a perfectly thrown pass in Eagles’ territory on a drive that could very well have allowed them to run out the clock or add another score.
Instead, the Eagles got the ball back with a chance to win it with a touchdown. Wentz hit Boston Scott with an 18-yard touchdown pass with 40 seconds left to make it 22-21. The Giants’ last hope ended after Jones was sacked and lost a fumble with 22 seconds left.
A blown opportunity. And maybe, just maybe, a missed chance at an unlikely divisional title in an NFC East in which no team has more than two wins after seven weeks.
"It’s just a sucky feeling," Engram said. "We definitely let one get away. Just not a good feeling. We were up. We played a great fourth quarter, and at the end, just didn’t finish."
Engram blamed himself.
"Got the look we wanted," he said. "(Jones) threw a great ball. Just didn’t finish the play. One hundred percent, I’ve got to make that."
Jones shouldered the blame, telling reporters he should have thrown a better pass. In reality, however, it couldn’t have been thrown better. Jones was simply covering for his teammate, the way all good teammates do.
"I’ve got to do a better job putting the ball in a better position," he said.
Nonsense. It was right there. Engram needed to catch it.
And the Giants needed to finish against an Eagles team that was there to be taken. Instead, it was another epic meltdown that reminded the losing team how far there is to go. Not until they find a way to close these games out will they find a way to regain the respectability they’ve lost along the way.