First I must say the Giants played a whale of a game. They rallied around interim coach Steve Spagnuolo and their QB Eli Manning. There was no quit out there and the embattled GMEN were relentless. There’s a theory that divisional rivalry games have extra meaning, and we may have just seen evidence of that. The Giants were in position to win the game with a TD deep in the red zone with 48 seconds to go.
Somehow things worked out for the Eagles. I don’t know if this game was a massive wake-up call to a “Top 4 defense”, or a warning that things are unraveling on the defensive side of the ball.
To be fair, Eli Manning is still a very smart quarterback. He sees things pre-snap which we don’t think he sees. He worked us over every time he saw single high safety coverage, for example. He orchestrated tempo to great advantage for much of the game. He’s still real good.
Thank the football gods that our Special Teams and our Offense came to play. ST forced or induced an extra missed point, two blocked FG attempts and a blocked punt. Nick Foles, by the way, played a very competent game at QB. Oh, there were some timing issues on some pass plays, and some plays on which his Run/Pass Option decisions were a little balky. Maybe he missed a few wide open targets by just that much. But on the whole, Foles was not the “shaken” part of this game.
The shaky Eagles defense is under the microscope today. Something has to tighten up or every game from here on in is going to be a shoot-out. Winning regular season shoot-outs is fun in the end, but…staking opponents to early two-score leads is a recipe for the eventual one-and-done in the playoffs.
For today, however, the international wire services will read:
Nick Foles threw four touchdown passes in his first start replacing the injured Carson Wentz, and the Philadelphia Eagles secured a first-round playoff bye, rallying from an early 14-point deficit to defeat the surprising New York Giants 34-29 on Sunday.
Foles hit on 24 of 38 passes for 237 yards and no interceptions. The Eagles (12-2) made a late stand on first-and-goal in the final minute in edging the Giants (2-12) for the second time this season, spoiling a three-touchdown, season-high 434-yard passing game by Eli Manning.
Foles hit Alshon Jeffery, Zach Ertz, Trey Burton and Nelson Agholor on scoring passes ranging from 3 to 13 yards in filling in for Wentz, who tore an ACL last week and was lost for the season after a brilliant year.
The Eagles also got two field goals from Jake Elliott and three blocked kicks from their special teams, foiling an extra point, a punt and field goal. The block on the punt set up a touchdown.
Manning drove the Giants from their 25 with 3:56 to play to the Eagles 9 with about a minute to go. A 2-yard loss on a pass to Shepard, an incompletion in the end zone and 5-yard run by Shane Vereen got New York to the Philadelphia 6 with 48 seconds to play. Right tackle Bobby Hart had a procedure penalty on fourth down, putting the ball at the 11.
Manning then threw a pass to Evan Engram at the back of the end zone that was high and incomplete.
The Giants scored touchdowns on their first three possessions to take a 20-7 lead.
Darkwa capped the opening drive with 1-yard run and Manning hit King on a 13-yard TD pass on the second. He found Shepard on a 67-yard catch and run on the third.
But mistakes by Manning and Giants’ special teams got the Eagles back in the game in a less than three-minute span in the second quarter.
A 37-yard interception return by Ronald Darby to the Giants 18 set up Foles’ second touchdown pass, a 10-yarder to Ertz, cutting New York’s lead to 20-14. Kamu Grugier-Hill blocked Brad Wing‘s punt on the Giants’ next series. Foles found a wide-open Trey Burton on a 13-yard pass to give the Eagles a 21-20 lead. He added a 10-yard to Agholor in the third quarter.
Rosas had a go-ahead 28-yard field goal with 20 seconds left in the half for a 23-21 lead.
This game was back-and-forth after halftime, reminding me of the old battles in the late ’60’s and early ’70’s when the Eagles went up against the St. Louis Cardinals and Jim Hart. It was like sitting ringside at an evenly matched heavyweight prize fight. You just hang on the edge of your seat waiting for the TKO in the final round…and you hope it’s not you.
Eagles cornerback Patrick Robinson was helped off the field late in the game. We’ll get you an injury update as soon as the team releases the details. [Update—it’s a concussion]
Orleans Darkwa 1 Yd Run (Aldrick Rosas PAT blocked)
13 plays, 75 yards, 5:56
Alshon Jeffery 3 Yd pass from Nick Foles (Jake Elliott Kick)
7 plays, 75 yards, 3:36
Tavarres King 13 Yd pass from Eli Manning (Aldrick Rosas Kick)
10 plays, 75 yards, 4:02
Sterling Shepard 67 Yd pass from Eli Manning (Aldrick Rosas Kick)
3 plays, 80 yards, 1:03
Zach Ertz 10 Yd pass from Nick Foles (Jake Elliott Kick)
5 plays, 20 yards, 1:24
Trey Burton 13 Yd pass from Nick Foles (Jake Elliott Kick)
3 plays, 18 yards, 0:56
Aldrick Rosas 28 Yd Field Goal
11 plays, 65 yards, 1:53
Jake Elliott 28 Yd Field Goal
11 plays, 64 yards, 5:42
Nelson Agholor 10 Yd pass from Nick Foles (Jake Elliott Kick)
5 plays, 59 yards, 2:51
Tavarres King 57 Yd pass from Eli Manning (Two-Point Pass Conversion Failed)
8 plays, 80 yards, 3:50
Jake Elliott 20 Yd Field Goal
14 plays, 60 yards, 7:30
|Passing 1st downs||15||18|
|Rushing 1st downs||5||4|
|1st downs from penalties||2||5|
|3rd down efficiency||6-13||10-18|
|4th down efficiency||0-1||0-1|
|Yards per Play||5.2||6.2|
|Yards per pass||6.0||7.4|
|Yards per rush||4.0||3.3|
|Red Zone (Made-Att)||4-6||2-4|
Possession 30:53 29:07
You will hear words like “sloppy”, “ugly”, “mistake-riddled” to describe this Eagles win. But a W on the road is a W on the road— you take it.
“That’s what it comes down to,” DB Corey Graham said after the game. “We won. We’re 12-2. We know we didn’t play our best game, but give the Giants credit, too. They came to play and they played well. They get paid like we do.”
“At the end of the day, we won and that’s what matters.”
Graham had the crucial coverage on emerging super tight end Evan Engram in the back of the end zone with 48 seconds to play which sealed the win for the Eagles. Without that one solid play, we are reading a different story today.