Giants special teams wasn't so 'special' when it mattered most
Jan 8, 2017; Green Bay, WI, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Dwayne Harris (17) is tackled by members of the Green Bay Packers on a punt return during the first half in the NFC Wild Card playoff football game at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants need to put the ‘special’ back into special teams after a dismal performance on the biggest stage.

Under Tom Quinn’s tutelage, the New York Giants‘ special teams corps have consistently underperformed in crucial situations.

Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News annually conducts a comprehensive study of the league’s thirty-two special team’s units, and although the Giants’ squadron has steadily improved as time has elapsed (Gosselin hasn’t released this season’s report yet, but it’s likely that Big Blue graded out well again), it still fails when it matters most.

This was exhibited for the quintillionth time on Sunday night. Brad Wing, the recipient of seemingly weekly accolades for his superb ball-placement skills, struggled mightily with just that. His notably egregious 37-yard punt at the end of the second-half practically handed the Packers free points.

There were other instances of Brad Wing’s troubles. He botched three consecutive punts, after going nearly five weeks without a poor one.

“Field position’s always important and I feel like I really let us down today,” Wing said, via Seth Walder of the New York Daily News. “So it’s tough. I take my job very seriously and today I did not execute at all. And it’s very disappointing because this is the only thing I’ll remember for the whole offseason.”

The first half of that statement is particularly crucial. The Pack started drives at their own 44 and 45, as well as the Giants’ 37 and 38. It’s unrealistic to ask a defense to compete at an otherworldly level when you’re handing the opposition the ball with great field position.

On the contrary, the Giants’ return game was terrible, as well. All-pro Dwayne Harris was invisible and later injured. Odell Beckham Jr. (cue the boat jokes) had a short return. Most crucially, Bobby Rainey had a crucial mental breakdown that directly correlated to the team’s loss.

“It’s just disappointing to play all year to get to this point and then for myself to go out there and have a performance like that, it’s disappointing,” Wing concluded. “It’s gonna be a long offseason. But it will be a good one, promise you that.”

Big Blue needs to put the ‘special’ back into special teams this offseason.

Justin Weiss is a staff editor at Elite Sports New York, where he covers the New York Islanders and Brooklyn Cyclones. In 2016, he received a Quill Award for Freelance Journalism. He has written for the Long Island Herald, FanSided and YardBarker.