MIAMI — No more breaks.
After a month of having others do the dirty work to keep the Giants in the NFC East race, Big Blue has to handle business for itself. That three-way tie in which the Giants found themselves after last weekend? The one that led to Tom Coughlin doing jumping jacks? To stay that way, it now requires something that has not happened in five weeks:
A Giants win.
Washington and Philadelphia each won yesterday, improving to 6-7 and taking a temporary half-game lead over the Giants, who will play the Dolphins tonight at SunLife Stadium. A Giants victory would re-insert them into the logjam at the top with three weeks to play (and with Washington and the Eagles facing each other in Week 16). A fourth straight loss would drop the Giants a game back with time and patience both running out on the season.
The Giants have relied on losses by other teams in the division to stay afloat. It’s resulted in wide swings of desperation, frustration and euphoria. Especially given that the Giants had chances to pull away in the standings with leads in two of the last three games.
“Emotions are all over the place,” defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins said this past week. “To have opportunities, you get excited for them, you go out there and you’re in the game, winning the game, feel like you have it, and then you lose it. Then you’re down. And then, all of a sudden, everything around you happens in your favor and then you get up again. A roller-coaster ride is a good word for it.”
“Opportunities present themselves, they come and go, and it’s only a matter of which ones you seize and which opportunities you can take advantage of,” receiver Odell Beckham Jr. said. “So yeah, we’ve definitely lost many, many opportunities. It used to be a six-game season, had a big chance there, missed out on that. Had another chance last week. We know there’s only four games left and all four of them are important. Just got to go out and put our best foot forward, that’s really it.”
Tom Coughlin isn’t interested in how the Giants got to this precarious point.
“Rear-view mirror,” he said. “I’ve talked a lot about improvement on the individual basis. I talked about deserving the right to win and that every one of us has to improve in order to raise that level and be deserving of a win. But I’ve also mentioned that what’s in the past is in the past and we really do have to go forward.”
And after yesterday’s results, they have to do it themselves.
“I think everybody knows that you could talk about it until you’re blue in the face; you have to go out there and actually do it,” Beckham said. “That’s obviously going to be the goal. We know our situation, we know what we need to do, and we just need to come out and do it.”
It’s something they haven’t done even once since the start of November. But maybe losing ground while watching for the first time in that span will spur them to start winning. Maybe not relying on others will force them to fend for themselves.
Or maybe, after all those roller coasters and heartbreaks and second-guesses, it’s just time for the Giants to do . . . something.
“Hey, I feel like we’re due,” quarterback Eli Manning said. “We’re due for a win, we’re due to make the plays, to make the breaks, to come through when we need the plays and get the win.”