Based on the way the offense has looked against them in recent times, some New York Giants might prefer to play the Philadelphia Eagles every week.
Alas for the Big Blue faithful, the final results may deter them from such a declaration.
Quarterback Eli Manning threw for a season high 434 passing yards, but fellow signal caller Nick Foles one-upped him with four touchdown throws, and the Eagles completed a season sweep of the Giants with a 34-29 victory at MetLife Stadium. With the win, the Eagles clinched at least a first-round bye for the NFC playoffs, but missed out on clinching homefield with Minnesota’s victory over Cincinnati.
“I do believe that the fight in this football team was reflected out on the field and my comment to them was if that is the best team in the NFC, which it might very well be, then we went out there and exchanged punches with the best and almost came away with a win, but we didn’t,” interim head coach Steve Spagnuolo said. “I’m going to complement (Eagles head coach Doug Pederson) and his football team, the Eagles, for the win. They got it done in the end. I wish them a lot of luck going forward.”
For perhaps the first time all season, the Giants’ offense clicked, as they scored on their first two possessions, silencing a MetLife Stadium packed with Eagles fans, reveling in their NFC East division title.
“I guess when you only win two games, you’re going to have a lot of Eagles fans (at home). They were loud and we couldn’t hear the cadence,” Manning said of the noise. “I don’t blame our fans, it just bothers me in the sense that that’s the way this season’s turned out. We didn’t do our part. You’re playing late in the year and you’re not playing for a spot in the playoffs, so it bothers me from that sense.”
For the first time since their Week 15 contest last season, the Giants (2-12) scored on their first drive of the game, as running back Orleans Darkwa punched it in from a yard out to put the Giants up 6-0, with the extra point getting blocked.
Foles, starting in place for injured MVP candidate Carson Wentz, responded with his first score of the day, a three-yard strike to receiver Alshon Jeffery to put the Eagles up 7-6, but Manning struck back, engineering another long drive that concluded with its 10th play, a 13-yard touchdown to receiver Tavarres King.
After some defensive stops, further heroics emerged from Manning, as he later would hook up with Sterling Shepard for a 67-yard score, send the blue contingent gathered into hysterics. The score, like many Manning passes this season, proved to be historic, as it was his 50th against Philadelphia.
— New York Giants (@Giants) December 17, 2017
Alas for the Giants, the celebrations were ended before the halftime gun sounded.
After the Giants let up yet another tight end touchdown, old foe Zach Ertz tallying a 10-yard score, another not so-special special teams error emerged, with Brad Wing’s punt blocked deep in Giants territory.
Needing to go just 18 yards, Foles found a wide open Trey Burton for a 13-yard tally, giving the Eagles (12-2) their first lead of the day. Rosas would somewhat make up for the block with a 28-yard field goal to give the Giants a 23-21 halftime lead.
While the Giants’ offense reverted back to a dormant state, the Eagles prepared to put the game away with 10 unanswered points, as a Jake Elliott field goal and 10-yard Foles to Nelson Agholor hook-up put them up 31-23. The Giants fought back, however, with King’s second score of the day, as King channeled his inner Odell Beckham Jr., breaking a slant loose for a 57-yard score.
— NFL UK (@NFLUK) December 17, 2017
But in another disastrous Giants touchdown, the two-point conversion became an Eagles sack, as the Giants were denied their first 30-point game since the 2015 season finale.
Manning, looking to channel more heroics, drove the Giants to the Philadelphia 6, but a false start by tackle Bobby Hart, caused by a raucous pro-Eagles crowd, made the task all the more difficult. The final pass to tight end Evan Engram went for naught, as the rookie’s please for a penalty went on deaf ears, essentially ending the Giants’ chances.
“Coaches and players really buy into everything that we’re doing,” Pederson said. We’ve had a really tough stretch these last three weeks. To go 2-1 in these last three games it’s just a credit to the players and the coaches. We still have everything right in front of us.”
With the stellar day, the ninth 400-yard gave of his career, Manning achieved his 13th consecutive 3,000 yard season, tying his brother Peyton for the third longest such streak in NFL history. Meanwhile, Shepard tied a career-high with 11 receptions, and fell just short of another personal best with 139 receiving yards.
The Giants will travel for the final time this season next week, as they take on the Arizona Cardinals in Glendale (4:25 PM. FOX).