It’s only right that the game between the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles came down to the wire. In a hapless NFC-East division with 4 teams sharing 5 wins, the outcome of this weekend could have shaped the play-off hunt in the division.
And it looked as though the Giants were finally going to pull one out against their division rivals. The Eagles struggled all game to overcome injury and their own mistakes, while the Giants did just enough to claw out a 21-10 lead with just 6:10 left to play.
Hopes of a winning streak and a potential share of the lead in the NFC East for the New York Giants were dashed at the last minute as the Philly finally managed to find their way into the endzone for a go-ahead touchdown.
What have we learned as the Giants have fall to 1-6 on the season?
Andrew Thomas’ struggles continue
One of the big stories for the first half of the Giants’ 2020 season has been the play of the 4th overall pick. Rookie LT Andrew Thomas has been giving up pressure all season long, struggling against just about every defense the Giants have seen.
That trend continued this week against the Eagles, as their defensive front took turns working Thomas all game long. He was beaten by a variety of players, and was particularly vulnerable to inside moves. Thomas’ struggles are put in even more stark contrast with the other rookie tackles taken in the first round playing relatively well. Former Giant Chris Canty brought up the one comparison Giants fans don’t want to see.
It’s still very early in his career, but Andrew Thomas seems like his getting close to Ereck Flowers territory. The other OT’s taken at the top of this year’s draft aren’t struggling like this #Giants— Chris Canty (@ChrisCanty99) October 23, 2020
The Giants might have found their running back
And no, it’s not Daniel Jones — although he remains their best runner.
Wayne Gallman Jr. emerged following Devonta Freeman’s ankle injury and actually provided a spark for the Giants on the ground from their backfield. Gallman has mostly been a fringe player since being drafted, lost in Ben McAdoo’s lack of a running game and forgotten in Pat Shurmur’s offense. He finally got a real chance against the Eagles and showed that his ability to commit and hit a hole hard could pay off. The running room was largely limited — as it has been all season — but the few times Gallman was able to find a crease, he hit it hard and picked up respectable yardage. He finished with 34 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries, as well as catching all 5 targets (for 20 yards) as a receiver.
Gallman should have earned himself a larger roll next week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers .
Evan Engram is the goat
The Giants had a chance to ice the game on their second-to-last possession. They had taken a 21-16 lead and Philly failed to convert (yet another) 2-point conversion. A field goal would have forced the Eagles to score a touchdown and pick up 2-points, while a touchdown would have ended the game altogether.
Jones tried to find Evan Engram deep down the sideline, but the ball just glanced off his fingertips. The blame for the play was immediately placed on the tight end.
Ugh. Evan Engram hjas got to catch that. Ballgame over if he does. Beautiful throw by Daniel Jones. Now Giants have to punt.— Big Blue View (@bigblueview) October 23, 2020
Personally, I think demanding Engram’s head on a spike is extreme. Engram might have been able to make more of an effort to haul in the pass (and he definitely needs to work on his catching technique). But it was also thrown just out of his reach. Football is a game of inches, and in this case, while it was a very pretty ball, it looked like it was just 2 or 3 inches too far down the field. That’s exacting, but that’s also the margin of error professionals are playing in.
If I can be a bit introspective for a minute, these are the kinds of plays that teams who have “earned the right to win” make, and teams that aren’t there yet don’t make. If we’re being completely honest, there were probably a dozen (or more) smaller moments throughout the game that would have changed things in favor of the Giants. That was just where the slack ran out.
Jones and Engram will probably each beat themselves up for the missed opportunity, but that doesn’t matter; Engram will spend the next 10 days taking all of the blame — he might even find himself benched or traded.
At least we didn’t get a fifth quarter
I’m not sure this game could have ended any differently.
For most of the third and fourth quarters, it looked as though the Giants would finally come away from a road game in Philly with a win. The Giants were moving the ball well on offense and abusing the Eagles’ injury-ravaged offensive line on defense. And even when the Eagles were able to get into scoring position, they fell apart and left gobs of points on the field.
Then bad play and dumb penalties started adding up on the Giants’ side of things. The Giants lost receivers in coverage and played sloppy, leading to too many second chances for Carson Wentz and the Eagles’ offense. Eventually they hit pay-dirt after enough of those chances for the go-ahead touchdown. The Giants had a chance to get Graham Gano into position, but the game ultimately ended on a sack fumble.
It shouldn’t be surprising that the Giants, who have struggled with turnovers all year and have one of the worst turnover differentials in the league would end on a fumble by Jones.
And really, there was a lot of bad football played this game by both teams, so if we’re looking for a silver lining, at least the game ended soon enough that they couldn’t play more bad football.