Eagles Secure Top Seed With Win Over Giants

Bill Streicher, USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles entered this Sunday afternoon game with their third and final shot at securing both home field throughout the playoffs as well as the lone bye week in the NFC.

Luckily, the Eagles had Jalen Hurts back, albeit in a somewhat limited capacity being that he was clearly told he should not run the ball.

The defense, for their part, did well against the Giants backups. In the Giants first four drives, they achieved a first down only three times – all on the same drive. With three three-and-outs and a turnover on downs caused by a well-defensed fake kick, the Eagles defense put the offense in a position to take control of the game.

The Eagles offense went through spurts of just not running the ball once again and there were times that a play Hurts would normally make on a run became obvious but was not carried through (rightfully so) as Hurts would go down or out of bounds to avoid aggravating his injury. Despite this, the offense managed two field goals and a touchdown in their own first four drives.

This trend continued into the half.

After the half, the Eagles recovered an onside kick and then drove right down the field. Unfortunately, the touchdown was negated by an ineligible man down field (which, once again, made no impact whatsoever on the play) and then Jalen Hurts promptly threw an interception, leaving the Birds without the blow they were seeking.

One forced punt and a field goal by the Eagles later, the Eagles defense allowed two huge runs to put the Giants in position to attack. Darius Slay absolutely botched the coverage on his man in an attempt to make an interception to give the Giants first and goal. Two straight delay of game penalties committed by the Giants bailed the Eagles out on that drive to limit the damage to just three points through three quarters.

On their next drive, they were not so lucky as the same gashing run plays, including those by a slow-moving Davis Webb, opened up tons of space and allowed another long Giants drive and their first touchdown of the game to start the fourth quarter.

The Eagles responded with a 6:43 drive that went 71 yards with nine run plays. Of course, they once again stalled out in the red zone, and settled for a field goal to push the lead to 13.

Darius Slay got burned on a play he committed an uncalled pass interference for another touchdown that put the game within reach for the Giants, but a recovery on the kick by Reed Blankenship ended their hopes of coming back and secured the bye week and home field for the Birds.

The Eagles will look to have Hurts back to full strength and are hoping to see Lane Johnson and Avonte Maddox back when they next take the field after ending the regular season with a 14-3 record.

Offensive MVPs: Jake Elliott

The offense today had about one drive where they looked to have something going consistently and that is the drive that wound up with an ineligible man downfield and an interception. The man who put up 16 of the Eagles meager 22 points. Elliott was perhaps the Eagles best player on the field on their offensive drives Sunday, with successful kicks from 52 and 54 yards out.

Defensive MVP: Kyzir White

White was not exempt from error as he himself was responsible for a missed tackle, but despite all the pressure the defensive line got, they all failed to really even contact the quarterback and it’s not like Webb is elusive by any means. White himself got home on a trick play, recording one of the teams only two sacks. He also led the team with 12 tackles in an attempt to clean up the runs that were breaking through the defensive line (which often times did not even provide a screen that the runners needed to avoid).

Game Notes

  • With a reception for over 30 yards in the first quarter, AJ Brown set the record for the franchise with the most receiving yards in a single season. Of course, there is now an extra game, but that doesn’t necessarily make it all that less impressive. Mike Quick had been the previous record holder.
  • The defensive backs may want to spend some time with the JUGS machine in preparation for the playoffs, because there were at least three plays where the ball went into an Eagles DB’s chest and hands, but they dropped it each time.
  • Boston Scott once again looked really explosive against the Giants, so it’s questionable why the coaching staff did not seek to get him more involved in the offense.
  • Related to the above, it’s questionable why the Eagles seemed to go away from the run and RPO at times. In a game where they obviously had told Jalen Hurts not to run, it does seem a bit odd that they wouldn’t look to try and get the ball to their backs more in an attempt to try and alleviate that missing part of their offense, even if that was on screen passes instead of runs.
  • Its a wonder that the Eagles didn’t lose this game on the ground. The defense of the Birds was routinely gashed by the most basic rushing plays being run by backup players. There’s really no excuse for them having given up over 125 yards on the ground when the most notable rusher that saw the field was Matt Breida.
  • The Eagles needed four sacks in order to tie the record for most sacks by a team in a season. They just could not get to that. They managed a pair on two trick plays, but several defensive lineman missed their chance to take down the QB and the lone player (Reddick) that had it in the bag was denied by Webb instead taking an intentional grounding penalty.
  • Jalen Hurts proved to be an upgrade over Minshew last week against the Saints, though it’s questionable whether he was really better than Minshew two weeks ago against the Cowboys or not. One also has to wonder how much the Eagles were really keeping off the table in preparation for the playoffs and in an attempt to protect Hurts.
  • Darius Slay was a flat out embarrassment today. He was beat time and time again by a QB who has never played meaningful snaps before in an offense of second stringers.

Injury Notes

  • No known injuries to this point.

New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles – January 8, 2023