For a one-win team, the Giants had a lot of optimism heading into Thursday night. And rightfully so.
Their three NFC East rivals had just two wins apiece, they were coming off a game in which they put up season highs in points and yards, and they had a chance to make a statement against the Eagles before an 11-day break to get healthy and rested. Philadelphia, meanwhile, had its own motivation. The Eagles had a losing record and were coming off two consecutive losses, not the ideal start to their title defense. Philadelphia began just fine at MetLife Stadium, however, and rolled to a 34-13 win over the Giants.
“We all just watched it, we didn’t do anything well enough to win tonight,” Giants coach Pat Shurmur said. “Credit Philadelphia, good football team that took advantage of things that we didn’t do well, got ahead on the points. We didn’t score enough points, we didn’t keep them off the board, we didn’t do anything well enough to win, so go back to the drawing board. We go to work tomorrow, try to clean it up, then get ready for our next one. That’s the reality of it, and we’ve got to own it and move on.”
IT WAS OVER WHEN: The Eagles quashed any ideas of a second-half comeback with a 12-play, 75-yard touchdown drive out of the break. It took over six minutes off the clock and resulted in a one-yard touchdown pass from Carson Wentz to Alshon Jeffery, their second time finding the end zone together. The Eagles extended the lead to 31-6 at that point.
IN GIANTS TERRITORY: The Eagles had two drives begin in plus-territory in the first quarter, including at the Giants 16 after linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill intercepted Eli Manning on his second throw of the game. The Eagles scored a touchdown on the ensuing possession and then again when they got the ball back at the Giants 44 after forcing a punt, taking a 14-3 lead and putting the Giants on their heels for the rest of the night.
KEY STAT: A week after not converting a third-down opportunity (in seven tries) for the first time since 2006, the Giants started 0-for-8 on Thursday night. They finished 4-for-14 and were unsuccessful on three trips to the red zone. The Eagles were 9-for-16 on third down and 4-for-6 in the red zone, winning the time of possession with 32:30. Meanwhile, wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was held to 44 yards on six catches with a long of just 12 yards.
“Yes, they definitely had a plan to slow down Odell,” Manning said. “A lot of teams do. We could still run our offense. We have guys that get open and make plays. We have to do a better job of executing our offense. That is what it is about. Trying to move the ball. We moved the ball decent at times and had some big plays in the run game, a screen to Saquon [Barkley], who got the ball in the red zone, but we have to get the ball in the end zone. It was not great, but you can’t get field goals right there. We have to find ways to get touchdowns.”
STEP RIGHT UP: And see the amazing Saquon Barkley. The rookie running back came one receiving yard short of becoming the Giants’ first member of the 100-100 club. Instead, he had to settle for 99 yards through the air and 130 on the ground, the seventh-highest scrimmage yards total (229) in franchise history. The second overall pick did become the second player in NFL history to begin a career with at least six consecutive games with 100 or more scrimmage yards, Kareem Hunt being the other with seven games.
“How did I feel about my performance tonight? Doesn’t matter to me,” said Barkley, who had a 50-yard touchdown run and dazzling 55-yard catch-and-run. “We didn’t get the win. To be completely honest, don’t care. As long as we get the win, I don’t care if I went for however many yards or even if I went for 30 yards, if we won, if we got the win, I would be satisfied, but at the end of the day we didn’t so none of that matters.”
FROM THE GIANTS’ LOCKER ROOM:
“Every man just looking in the mirror, and doing the things they say they wanted to do. We’ve got to come together as a team, and play as one. We can’t make mistakes all over the field, because it hurts us. We got a little break here. Hopefully, everybody goes and kind of takes their mind off a little bit, but also think about the things that we need to do to turn our season around.” – Linebacker and defensive co-captain Alec Ogletree
“It was our eyes. Our eyes beat us. When Carson scrambled back there, it gave them more opportunity for their guys to push down field and they got behind us and he threw it up for them. It’s our eyes.” – Safety and defensive co-captain Landon Collins
“Eventually they are going to have to game plan for [Barkley] or he is going to do the same thing, he is going to torch them. Their game plan was to not allow me to have any big plays, keep everything in front, safety over the top doubling.” – Beckham
FROM THE OPPOSING LOCKER ROOM:
“Well, I think confidence-wise it gives our guys a shot, gives our guys a boost. They get a break this weekend and get to get a chance to really rest and kind of reflect on the first six weeks and make another little push these next couple weeks before our full bye. Plus our injury situation right now, it probably gives us an extra couple days to heal and to rest and get ready for next week.” – Eagles coach Doug Pederson
“He’s definitely one of the guys that needs population to the football to get him on the ground.” – Two-time Super Bowl champion safety Malcolm Jenkins on trying to tackle Barkley
“I mean we always start pretty fast. These past couple of weeks we weren’t able to start fast, but tonight we were just able to get it done. The defense got us a turnover in the red zone and we had to take advantage of that.” – Jeffery
“I thought it was huge. First of all, overall, it’s a big win for us – NFC finally getting that conference going. Short week like it was. Cleaned up a handful of mistakes obviously, we weren’t perfect tonight but to come out early in the first quarter and get points on the board, get points on the board that first drive right away; that stuff was huge. That was a big win for us.” – Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz