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Giants D comes up big in 28-23 win over Eagles


The Giants defeat the Eagles 28-23 and have now won three game in a row.

Ben McAdoo doesn't want to reflect on the Giants' 2015 season. He doesn't want to talk about it. And he certainly doesn't want to respond to questions about it.

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"That's in the rearview mirror," McAdoo said late Sunday afternoon. "I'm not answering those questions. We're right here, we're right now."

McAdoo's insistence on living in the present is understandable, especially considering he made his remarks soon after the Giants held off a late charge by the Philadelphia Eagles and earned a 28-23 victory in MetLife Stadium. The Giants' third consecutive victory lifted their record to 5-3, their best midseason record since they were 6-2 in 2012.


But this game had some uh-oh moments down the stretch, the kind that were so prevalent and unpleasant last year, when the Giants lost six games in which they held a lead or were tied in the fourth quarter.

Needing one first down to ice the game, Eli Manning's third-down pass for Will Tye was tipped at the line by Connor Barwin and intercepted by linebacker Jordan Hicks, who returned the ball to the Giants' 34-yard line with 1:48 remaining. When rookie quarterback Carson Wentz quickly connected with Nelson Agholor for a 17-yard gain, the level of nervousness rose throughout MetLife.

But if anyone was still skeptical that this year will be different, the next four plays provided proof. Wentz, under fierce pressure from the Giants' front, threw four consecutive incomplete passes, the last a fourth-down throw in the end zone to Jordan Matthews, who was covered by Trevin Wade. The Giants found a way to win a game they absolutely had to have, a year after they discovered defeat far too often in close games.

"Last year is in the rearview mirror," McAdoo said. "You go back, you learn from the past and you work on today. We believe that we are going to win these football games. We believe that we're a physical team. We've just got to hang onto leads and win the games. We know we're going to get better as the game goes on and we're going to win in the end."

The victory ended the Giants' four-game losing streak to Philadelphia.

"Definitely a big win in the division," Manning said. "Philadelphia the last few years has had our number. We've played close games but haven't been able to win those close games, so to be able to pull it off today and get that win was nice."

The Giants next chance to increase their winning streak will be next Monday night at home vs. Cincinnati.

"I think we're rolling right now," linebacker Jonathan Casillas said. "We have a tough game coming off a tough game. We have an extra day to rest. I think it's in our favor. Everything is still in front of us."

Manning helped create that scenario by throwing four touchdown passes, including two to Odell Beckham, Jr., and one each to rookies Sterling Shepard and Roger Lewis, Jr. Safeties Landon Collins and Andrew Adams each intercepted Wentz passes to set up the Giants' first two touchdowns.

Philadelphia got touchdown runs of eight yards by Ryan Mathews and three yards by Kenjon Barner, plus Caleb Sturgis field goals of 34, 26 and 38 yards. Sturgis also had a 40-yard attempt blocked by Jason Pierre-Paul.

The frenzied finish actually began before Sturgis' final field goal, when Wentz hit Matthews for a 25-yard gain on fourth-and-nine to the Giants' 21. But after the Eagles failed to gain a yard on their next three plays, coach Doug Pederson played it safe and summoned Sturgis, whose kick left the Eagles trailing by five.

On the ensuing kickoff, Dwayne Harris made the questionable decision to bring the ball out of the end zone. He was tackled on the 12-yard line, costing the Giants 13 yards had he settled for a touchback.

"I'm not happy we had the ball on the 12-yard line," McAdoo said.

The Giants picked up one first down. But they faced a third-and four when Philly called its second timeout with 1:55 left. McAdoo could have called a run, but if it came up short, the Eagles would have again stopped the clock. So he called for a pass.

"Just win the game and play aggressive," McAdoo said.

But it didn't work out, because Barwin tipped what likely would have been a game-clinching completion to Tye, and Hicks picked it off.

"It's just unfortunate," Manning said. "Will Tye ran a good route, got a guy open, ball gets tipped at the line of scrimmage, so it's just unfortunate. I hate tipped balls, I hate cheap interceptions, and that's kind of as cheap as they come with the tipped ball at the line of scrimmage. We had a good play, everybody did the right thing and you have to give credit to them, their defensive line getting a hand up and getting a piece of the ball."

After completing the 17-yard pass to Agholor, Wentz had 364 passing yards. He would not get another, because defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo sent almost every available defender after the rookie QB.

"All our mindset is, is that defense wins championships," Collins said. "We were called upon again to make a play, make a stop and that is what we strive on."

"The defense stayed and played aggressive," McAdoo said. "Spags did a great job and called it aggressive. They were feeding off of them right there. They challenged the perimeter and got some good rushes and rose to the occasion."

That's to be expected. After all, the 2015 season is far in the past.

"It seems that (we're turning a corner)," Manning said. "I think just with the leadership we have … obviously defense, we put them in a situation where they've had to make some plays and we had the lead, so it's good. But offensively, we've made some nice plays also in games and scoring points and making drives to win. Thinking earlier to the year like in Dallas and against New Orleans. We're finding ways to win and that's what good teams have to do. It's not always perfect, there's things you can clean up, for sure, but you come into the fourth quarter, you have to find ways to win the tough games, the close games. And that's what we're doing."

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