Well, no one can blame Ereck Flowers for this one.
Giants fans don’t have Flowers to kick around anymore following his merciful release on Tuesday after three-plus miserably unproductive seasons since he was drafted ninth overall to be the franchise left tackle.
Yet there was Eli Manning running for his life Thursday night, which is not the way the Giants want to play football. It’s certainly not a key ingredient to the Giants winning games.
But that’s exactly what Manning was doing for most of the night in a 34-13 loss to the Eagles at MetLife Stadium, where Philadelphia sacked the quarterback four times for losses of 27 yards.
Those, however, are just numbers. Deceiving numbers.
It seemed like the Philadelphia front seven chased Manning from East Rutherford to East Stroudsburg, Pa., and those sack numbers felt a lot worse than they looked on the stat sheet.
Manning was under duress from the Eagles’ outside pass-rushers and from up the middle, and it showed in his sloppy final numbers — 24-of-43 for 281 yards and an interception.
The Giants offensive line, which was revamped with new starters at all five positions, including four completely new players, looked as bad it did last season.
The worst play of the night came from the highest-paid player on the line, left tackle Nate Solder, who was signed to a free-agent contract in the offseason that paid him $35 million guaranteed. Solder looked like a subway turnstile Thursday night as Michael Bennett blew past him and strip-sacked Manning at the Giants 1-yard line in the first quarter.
The best play Solder made all night was to recover the fumble he indirectly caused.
“They’re a good front four,’’ Giants coach Pat Shurmur said. “We knew going into it that’s where their defense is the strongest, and at times they did do a good job against us.’’
“Yeah, we didn’t protect Eli well enough,’’ Giants center John Greco said. “When that happens everyone gets frustrated because he doesn’t have time to throw it down the field and we don’t have a chance to make those big plays that give our offense a spark. We just put the defense in bad spots. It just wasn’t our best effort.
“We kind of have to do some soul searching over the next few days.’’
Rookie guard Will Hernandez said, “I don’t think that we played up to our standards. We could have played much better. It wasn’t as much what they did, it’s more what we didn’t do. We didn’t go out and execute and hit some of the plays that we had practiced.’’