2006_01_sbarber.jpgThe Giants provided a miserable end to their season on Sunday. They were thoroughly dominated on both sides of the ball as Carolina humiliated them 23-0. It was the first time a home team had been shutout in the playoffs since 1979.

Some will pin the loss on Eli Manning’s shoulders and he certainly deserves part of the blame. Eli was terrible, completing ten of eighteen passes for 108 yards while tossing three interceptions and losing a fumble. Eli’s turnovers led to 13 Carolina points and the Giants handed the Panthers three more when they turned the ball over after a punt hit Gibril Wilson in the leg.

While Eli was awful, the Giants defense could not stop Carolina. The Panthers racked up 223 yards on the ground and converted seven of fifteen third down attempts. Their utter dominance allowed them to control the clock for over 42 minutes. Clearly, the injuries to their linebacking corps came back to hurt the Giants Sunday, but you also have to wonder why the team came out so flat and that rests with the coaches.

The way the season ended will take some of the luster off of a surprisingly good season. No one expected the Giants to even make the playoffs when the year began and all things considered, the Coughlin era looks promising. Eli Manning will have to continue to develop and the Giants will need to solidify their offensive line and secondary if they are going to improve in 2006.

Photo by AP/Julie Jacobson via ESPN