By Ryan Dunleavy | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com | Posted November 25, 2018 at 04:11 PM | Updated November 25, 2018 at 05:05 PM
By Ryan Dunleavy | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
PHILADELPHIA — The Giants’ hopes of a perfect second-half run died in a familiar house of horrors.
What started during the bye week with Odell Beckham saying his only goal was for the Giants to win out and make the playoffs became a rallying cry as the Giants strung together back-to-back wins against the 49ers and Buccaneers.
Then the Giants jumped out to a 16-point first-half lead on the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles, and suddenly the lowly NFC East Division did seem winnable.
But the Eagles have owned the Giants in recent years, and it didn’t change Sunday.
The Giants’ offense disappeared in the second half and they suffered another gut-punch at the hands of their biggest rival, losing 25-22 at Lincoln Financial Field Field, to fall to 3-8. They are three games out of first place with five to play and two games back of the Eagles, who swept the season series and won for the eighth time in the last nine meetings between the teams.
Eagles kicker Jake Elliott, who drilled a 61-yard walk-off field goal in his second career game to beat the Giants at The Linc, came up clutch again with a 42-yarder with 20 seconds left.
Andrew Mills | NJ Advance Media
“I don’t know,” safety Landon Collins said when asked if the Giants are out of the playoff race. “We have to see how it plays out. I don’t think we’re out of it, but we can be.”
The difference in the game is easy to trace.
The Giants went for a two-point conversion in the first quarter and came up empty on a strange play call. It essentially made for odd scoring numbers and forced the Eagles to go for two twice, both of which were successful.
That’s a three-point difference. The Giants lead 19-3 instead of 20-3 and 19-14 instead of 20-13.
Both teams scored two touchdowns and three field goals, which should amount to 23 points with traditional PATs. But Giants coach Pat Shurmur and Eagles coach Doug Pederson both believe in analytics.
The Giants led 19-3 with four minutes remaining in the first half after Saquon Barkley ripped off a 51-yard touchdown run midway through the second quarter. Barkley is the first rookie with three 50-plus-yard runs in a season since Adrian Peterson in 2007.
Three is the same number of 50-plus-yard runs the Giants had in the last 10 seasons combined from all their players. That pretty much covers the era between Tiki Barber’s retirement and Barkley’s arrival.
The emphasis on the run showed the Giants were determined to stick with what has been working in their playbook rather than overfocusing on the Eagles’ shortcomings. The Eagles played without their top five cornerbacks, using a starting secondary of Chandon Sullivan, Corey Graham, Malcolm Jenkins and De’Vante Bausby in base defense with Cre’Von LeBlanc in the nickel.
But the Giants got away from the ground game in the second half.
The Giants played the first offensive series of the second half without Beckham (IV in locker room) and the second without Barkley. With 138 yards from scrimmage to his name at that point, Barkley stood on the sideline with his helmet on as Wayne Gallman played all three downs.
Manning burned a timeout on third-and-17 only to have the Giants return to the field and throw a swing pass to Gallman for a one-yard loss. A double whammy.
Both Manning and Beckham were on the field for the third series but it didn’t matter. The Giants ran 11 offensive plays for negative seven yards in the third quarter.
After allowing 19 consecutive points to fall behind, the Giants went on an eight-play, 56-yard drive to tie the score at 22-22. Manning fired high for Beckham with LeBlanc in coverage, and LeBlanc might have gotten away with early contact on the throw.
Manning finished 24-of-34 for 290 yards with a touchdown, but he threw a costly interception to take the Giants out of field-goal range late in the first half. He also inexplicably burned a timeout on a third-and-17 but took a delay of game penalty on a third-and-3.
Barkley had his second big game in as many tries against the Eagles, the most popular team in the Lehigh Valley, Pa. area where he was raised. He had 13 carries for 101 yards and seven catches for 41 yards with two total touchdowns, but only five of his touches came during the second-half collapse.
Beckham was held to five catches for 85 yards and Sterling Shepard to four catches for 37 yards against a patchwork Eagles secondary.
Here are the highlights and lowlights for the Giants:
Source : https://www.nj.com/expo/sports/erry-2018/11/d2c9fb08081642/giants-saquon-barkley-odell-be.html