The Eagles faced off for the third time this season against their divisional rivals from New York in the 2023 Divisional Round and got off to a fast start.
In theory, it could have gone better by having the Eagles enter the half at 35-0. In reality, you really couldn’t ask for more than the 28-0 beatdown the Eagles laid down in the first half.
Only once did the Eagles have to punt the ball away instead of ending their drive with a touchdowns, racking up 258 yards of offense before the break. They split their attack fairly evenly between passes and rushes in doing so, proving to be too much for the Giants no matter how they wanted to move the ball.
On the defensive side, the Birds allowed just three first downs (all on the Giants first drive). The Giants wound up with a turnover on downs on that first drive which was followed shortly thereafter by an interception of Daniel Jones. The Giants went three and out on their three remaining offensive drives in the half.
The second half didn’t go exactly the same way, but that wasn’t expected with such a large lead at the half. To no surprise, the Eagles didn’t pull out many stops and rarely put the ball in the air in the back half of the game. Although they didn’t score on their second drive, the result was that the offense burned five minutes more off the clock.
The Giants made the incredible decision not to punt with 12 minutes left in the game trailing by 21. It proved to be an incredible mistake as New York had to burn two of their timeouts on a drive where the Eagles took almost eight minutes off the clock an knocked a field goal through.
Of course the Giants were unable to capitalize on their next drive, ultimately turning the ball over on downs.
It’s not often you see teams happy to play backups in a playoff game, but such was the case for the Eagles who put their backups in for the final two minus of the game. By then the Giants were surely deflated, but the Birds added insult to injury when their second-string offense scored a touchdown to push the lead to 31.
The game ended with the second-string defense landing big hit after big hit on the Giants. The final score was 38-7, a score perhaps even more embarrassing than the 48-22 beatdown New York suffered in Week 14, particularly since this was supposedly a far superior version of that Giants team with many players back from injury and playing at their peak.
For the Eagles, the next stop is the NFC Championship game. They will await the winner of Sunday’s Cowboys-49ers game to learn who their next opponent will be.
Offensive MVPs: Offensive Line
Jalen Hurts had a clean pocket for the entire first half, allowing him to have a perfect first quarter and an incredible first half. In the ground game, holes were blown open constantly. There were too many times to count where a blocker ran downfield only to still not have anyone in their way due to the massive success up front. Among the running backs, the Eagles lowest average yards per carry was 5.3 for both Miles Sanders and Boston Scott. Kenny Gainwell averaged 9.3 yards. Heck, even the second-string offensive line had success late in the game.
Defensive MVP: Haason Reddick
Reddick was just a few inches away from adding on some sacks and tackles for loss, but he did add two sacks, a tackle for loss, and five tackles (four solo) in the contest. Perhaps the only play that outshone his was the pick by Bradberry, but Reddick was consistent throughout the first half. He was a major reason the Giants went into the half having had no offensive success in this contest.