Even with Eli Manning in attendance, the same playoff magic that led the Giants to two Super Bowls was nowhere to be found in New York's 38-7 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Divisional Round.
In a game eerily similar to their Week 13 matchup, a 48-22 loss, the Eagles got out to an early lead and the overmatched Giants could not come back.
Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley could not get going until it was too late, and the defense was incapable of stopping Jalen Hurts and the Eagles offense. Despite the disappointing loss, the Giants -- who were just 4-13 a season ago -- should be proud of how far they've come.
But now it's on to the offseason for coach Brian Daboll and GM Joe Schoen to find ways to improve this team for next season.
Here are the takeaways…
- The Giants won the toss and elected to defer, but after a nice run-stop on first down, Hurts -- whose health has been in question -- unloaded for a 40-yard pass to DeVonta Smith. When it looked like the Giants defense was about to get off the field and give up just a field goal, Hurts found Dallas Goedert for a 16-yard touchdown pass to put the Eagles up 7-0. Hurt went 5-for-5 on that 75-yard drive and even ran the ball a couple of times.
- In the Giants’ first possession, the first-down chain broke which stopped play for a few minutes, but the break didn’t stop New York’s offense. Jones went 3-for-3 to get down to the Eagles 35 when the pass rush came into play. On 3rd and 3, the pocket collapsed around Jones. It looked like Jones was ready to run to pick up the first down, but he was tripped up by his own lineman. Instead of settling for a long field goal, Daboll went for it on 4th and 8, but the pocket collapsed again and Jones threw it away, which was later changed to a sack. The Eagles defense turned it over on downs.
The Eagles had 70 sacks this season. Haason Reddick was the man on those back-to-back sacks for Philadelphia. It wouldn’t be the last time Jones would feel the Eagles pressure. Jones would be sacked five times in this contest.
- Philadelphia didn’t need the short field, but they took the ball 52 yards to get another touchdown, a bubble screen to Smith -- and a great block from AJ Brown -- from nine yards out. After two drives, Hurts was 7-for-7 for 89 yards and ran three times for 14 yards. A standout play for him on this second drive was a nine-yard designed run for Hurts who lowered his shoulder to grab a few extra yards.
- With the Giants desperate to answer back, Jones tossed a dangerous 19-yard pass to Matt Breida to get the offense going. However, one play later, former Giant James Bradberry jumped a pass intended for Darius Slayton and picked off Jones in the waning seconds of the first quarter.
- Despite the turnover, the Giants defense did force a punt, but the offense also had to punt after Bradberry stopped Isaiah Hodgins short of the sticks deep in their own territory. On their next possession, the Eagles went to the run. Miles Sanders took the first six touches for Philadelphia for 43 yards. After Hurts got the Eagles to the Giants’ five-yard line with his arm and legs, Boston Scott came in to finish up the drive with a three-yard touchdown to put Philly up 21-0. Scott now has 19 career touchdowns, 11 have come against the Giants.
- The Eagles would methodically go down the field to score another touchdown, a five-yard scamper from Hurts, to go up 28-0 with less than a minute before halftime. The first half was completely one-sided in all aspects. The Giants can’t protect Jones or get the running game going, and the defense can’t stop the Eagles offense.
Philadelphia has outscored the Giants 68-7 in the first-half in their three matchups this season. The Eagles went into halftime up in first downs (18-3), yards (258-64), rushing yards (140-20) and time of possession (20:12-9:48).
- Both teams would punt on their first drives of the second half. After three straight punts for the Giants, Barkley finally found a hole and went 39 yards to get into Eagles territory. After a few good throws and runs by Jones, the Giants pulled out a trick play to get into the end zone. Jones moved out to wide receiver with Barkley taking the snap, on a designed RPO he gave the ball to Breida who ran it in from eight yards out. The Giants got on the board, 28-7.
On the Eagles next possession, the Giants defense almost got the ball back after Xavier McKinney sacked and forced a fumble, but Philadelphia was able to recover.
- In their next offensive possession, the Giants had 4th and 6 at their own 42, Daboll elected to punt the ball down 21 with 13:21 left in the game. At this point in the game, the Eagles have rushed for 152 yards, and they would continue to run the ball and the clock. The Eagles would knock through a field goal to increase their lead to 31-7 with 5:16 left.
The Eagles would tack on another rushing touchdown, this time by Kenneth Gainwell, who ran 35 yards to the end zone. The Giants defense seemingly wanted nothing to do with tackling Gainwell on that play. One more possession for the Giants, which led to little movement up the field, and the season ended with a 38-7 loss.
- It was an overall miserable night for the Giants offense. Jones finished 15-for-27 for 135 yards and one interception. He also had six rushes for 24 yards.
Barkley rushed for 61 yards on nine carries, but most of those yards came on that one 39-yarder. He also had two catches for 21 yards. The receivers had a rough time as well. Richie James led all Giants with seven receptions and 51 yards, but he dropped a sure-fire touchdown late in the fourth quarter. It was just one of those nights.
The defense didn't help the cause. Hurts was just 16-for-24 for 154 yards and two touchdowns, but it was on the ground that the Giants' D was porous. The Eagles as a team rushed for a combined 268 yards: Gainwell (112), Sanders (90), Hurts (34) and Scott (32).