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Film Review: Analyzing key plays, snap counts

ZYON-GILBERT-EAGLES

Not much went well for the Giants in their 48-22 loss to the Eagles on Sunday, but there were some positive individual plays throughout the game that are worth taking a look at. It's also important to understand why the Giants defense failed to get the stops they needed to win the game.

1. Excluding the Eagles' two drives at the end of the half and game when they were not trying to score, they scored on eight of 10 chances (six TDs, two FGs). The Eagles punted only twice in the game. They had scoring drives of 80, 86, 63, 63, and 76 yards.

The Eagles converted six of their 11 third-down attempts, including their first four (none of which were for more than 6 yards). The Eagles also managed three explosive plays of 30 or more yards (including two of 40+) and seven of 15+ yards.

Finally, the Giants' defense struggled against the run. Philadelphia ran for 253 yards in the game, including 11 of 10+ yards. The Eagles averaged a whopping 8.2 yards per carry, including 8.5 for Miles Sanders and 11.0 for Jalen Hurts.

Failing to stop the run, being poor on third-down defense and giving up a lot of explosive plays is the formula for allowing 40+ points.

Azeez Ojulari finished with two sacks. The first one came in the second quarter with a assist from fellow edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux. Thibodeaux wins first, getting inside of left tackle Jordan Mailata as the first move in an E-T twist. Eagles left guard Landon Dickerson fails to see Thibodeaux coming because Thibodeaux gets off the line so quickly at the snap. Mailata is forced to hold him.

On the other side of the line, Ojulari gets to work against right guard Isaac Seumalo, thanks to a safety blitz from Julian Love. Ojulari is able to use his length to push Seumalo off him, and close on Hurts, who was already starting to slide away from Thibodeaux. Hurts can't get the ball out because of strong zone coverage (maybe Cover-3), preventing any receivers from getting open.

Ojulari's second sack is more of a coverage sack. Wink Martindale uses his alignment at the line of scrimmage to produce a solo opportunity against tight end Jack Stoll. Stoll holds his off for a few seconds, but the Cover-3 blanket is very strong, which forced Hurts to hold the ball. Kayvon Thibodeaux drops well onto Miles Sanders, and Jaylon Smith sprints back in the middle of the field to get in front of the deep crossing route by AJ Brown. Jason Pinnock does well to come down from his single-high safety spot to prevent this throw, too.

2. It was not the only good coverage play Jaylon Smith made in the game. On 2nd-and-7 on the Eagles' first drive, they get Devonta Smith on a shallow cross with Smith in zone coverage. But Smith quickly recognizes the route, takes a good angle, and uses his speed to hold Smith to a 1-yard gain.

On the Eagles' second drive, Darnay Holmes made a pair of strong defensive plays. First, he stays in phase with Devonta Smith coming across the field, sees the ball in the air, and attacks Smith's arms in the air as the ball arrives for force an incomplete pass. On the second play, it looks like Holmes is supposed to come on the blitz, but he reads the quick pass to Smith and gets out there to make first contact and give Julian Love time to make the tackle for no gain.

Micah McFadden made a nice play for a tackle for loss on the Eagles' first drive of the third quarter. He is able to separate from Pro Bowl center Jason Kelce, get in the hole, and tackle Boston Scott for a 1-yard loss.

3. The Giants' offense struggled to sustain drives throughout the game. They did not have a drive in the first half go for more than 30 yards or last more than six plays. The Giants only had three plays go for more than 10 yards in the first half. The first was a Gary Brightwell 13-yard run up the middle. Look at the work Andrew Thomas does on this play. First, he pushes Javon Hargrave to help Nick Gates move him out of the hole, before getting to the second level to block TJ Edwards to set up the long gain.

The Giants once again struggled to run the ball. Their 23 carries for 123 yards line is a deceptive stat line because it includes 40 yards worth of scrambles from Tyrod Taylor in the fourth quarter after the game was decided. Giants running backs ran it 17 times for only 57 yards.

Another play came on the Giants' lone first-half scoring drive after a blocked punt gave them the ball on the Eagles 15. On the first play of the drive, a run-action fake with counter-action to Barkley freezes safety K'Von Wallace for a moment, which allows Daniel Bellinger some space after he separates from his block of edge rusher Haason Reddick and gets to the sideline for 11.

Daniel Jones featured excellent pocket presence on this pass. After Haason Reddick beat Evan Neal with a speed rush, Jones felt the pressure, stepped up in the pocket and hit Slayton, who was open after separating from safety K'Von Wallace on a crossing route.

It was the Giants' longest play of the game. They had one other play of 30+ yards (a garbage-time 32 yard scramble from Tyrod Taylor) and no other plays of 20+ yards.

Jones finished the game completing 67% of his passes for 169 yards and a touchdown. Slayton had two catches for 42 yards. Richie James led Giants receivers with seven catches for 61 yards.

Other notes

* With the Giants emptying the bench in the fourth quarter after the game got out of hand it is difficult to take too much out of the snap count totals this week.

* Matt Breida, (23 snaps), Gary Brightwell (21 snaps), and Saquon Barkley (20 snaps) split the work at running back nearly evenly.

* Jason Pinnock maintains entrenched at the other starting safety spot next to Julian Love. He played 84% if the snaps, with Dan Belton only playing seven snaps. Nick McCloud played more snaps than any other cornerback with 62 (91%). Jaylon Smith played 84% of the snaps at linebacker and Kayvon Thibodeaux played 81%. Azeez Ojulari's snap count jumped to 60% of the snaps (41).

View photos from the Giants' Week 14 game against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium.

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