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The Good, Bad and Ugly of the Giants Loss

The Giants keep professing surprise at the unsurprising

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    No surprise, but lots of disappointment.

    It seems difficult to imagine that anything could be more infuriating than the way the Giants played in their 33-14 loss to the Ravens on Sunday, but that's only true if you didn't hear or read any comments from the postgame media scrum. 

    Tom Coughlin claimed there was "no explanation for why we’re in the position we’re in" and defensive tackle Chris Canty said he had "no idea how we got here." Those are ludicrous things to say during a two-game losing streak during which the Giants have been outscored 67-14, but at least they were big enough men to speak to the media while Osi Umenyiora, Corey Webster and Justin Tuck refused to talk. 

    It's ludicrous to say that because the problems that have led to the hideous performances the last two weeks have been obvious for almost the entire season. With the exception of a few games, the defense has been a joke since the opening weekend and the offense has been sputtering for more than two months. 

    The only way you could be surprised by the results is if you chose willful ignorance over the reams of evidence that things were going wrong. The only way to have no idea how you got to this place is to sleepwalk through the season and assume that all would be fine when you woke up. 

    There's been almost no changes to either unit despite the obvious struggles as Coughlin has decided, explicitly or tacitly, to endorse the philopsophy that the Giants could stink all they want because they would simply decide to start winning at the last minute and see the season turn out exactly as they hoped. It doesn't make much sense that a coach revered for his ability to make a mountain out of every molehill would just sit by and claim shock at another week of the same old thing, but there you have it. 

    All year long, every attempt to point out that the Giants were not playing at peak levels and that injuries were sapping key players of their ability to help the team was met with scoffing that anyone would dream of worrying about the Giants after the way last year turned out. There was no empirical evidence to support the scoffers, just blind faith that last year's 99-yard touchdown passes and butterfingered punt returners would come in the nick of time. 

    That's not how it works, as the 2008-2010 seasons should have made abundantly clear. No one bothered to consider the down side of the Giants playing like garbage until now and they've now run out of time to do anything about it themselves. 

    It's a bad way to end the season. Here's the rest of the good, bad and ugly of Sunday's loss. 

    BAD: Eli Manning didn't have much of a chance on Sunday thanks to an offensive line that couldn't have blocked newborns -- another long-standing problem Coughlin's chosen to ignore in favor of being gobsmacked by another loss -- but he wasn't doing much with his throws when he did have time. Something totally disconnected in the passing game over the last 10 or so weeks of the season and the Giants need to figure out how to get things back on track for their offense to be as potent as it was in 2011. 

    UGLY: Ahmad Bradshaw has been hurting and his pride helps keep him on the field, but someone with the Giants medical staff might want to assert themselves in the best interests of the team. Bradshaw didn't run well and his pass blocking made it seem like he wanted Manning to get planted into the turf, leaving you to wonder why the Giants put him on the field in the first place. 

    UGLY: Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell can't rush the passer, tackle or cover receivers all by himself. Judging from the work he's done this season, he also can't devise a scheme that makes his players do it either. 

    UGLY: Corey Webster got beat early this season, he got beat in the middle of the season and he spent Sunday being picked apart by Joe Flacco, whose status as a rich man's Mark Sanchez was confirmed over the first 14 games of the season. Webster's decline makes cornerback a huge need for the Giants heading into the offseason. 

    BAD: None of the calls wound up having any impact on the final result, but the officials on Sunday were bad enough to make one long for the days of replacement officials who didn't even pretend to know the rules. Lengthy replay reviews of calls that were badly blown on the field, confusing explanations of why calls were made and a general sense that your cousins from Holland could have done just as good a job even though they think that football is soccer. 

    GOOD: The Giants actually still have a chance to make the playoffs. They'll need a ton of things to break their way, including winning a game themselves, but the light hasn't been extinguished even though things look dark as night right now. 

    Josh Alper is also a writer for Pro Football Talk. You can follow him on Twitter.