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Giants vs. Eagles: 5 plays that changed the game

Let’s go to the film to see which plays helped the Giants secure a victory

Philadelphia Eagles v New York Giants Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

A winning streak? That’s right! The 2020 New York Giants won their second consecutive game against a divisional opponent by beating the Philadelphia Eagles 27-17 at MetLife Stadium. The presumption going into the game was that the healthy Eagles, with more time to prepare coming out of the bye week, would defeat the Giants and continue their ascension to the top of the deficient NFC East; that effort was thwarted by the Giants’ game plan and execution.

New York had a fast start on offense, responded with big plays after the defense gave up a long touchdown run to Boston Scott, and the Giants’ defense held the Eagles to an 0-9 3rd down conversion rate. In the second half, it seemed like this matchup was destined to be another devastating loss where the Eagles crawl back towards victory, but the offense and defense both responded well, eliminating the Eagles chances to win this game. The opening script by Jason Garrett was once again solid, mixing run and pass well. Although Jones was sacked on the first play of the game (not a great start) he revitalized the drive by hitting Slayton for 22 yards on a dart over two defenders. That play helped to set up the first points of the game:

Play 1: Daniel’s wheels

Jason Garrett saw a weakness in the aggressive nature of Jim Schwartz’ defense. The end man on the line of scrimmage (EMOLOS) crashes down the line of scrimmage hard in backside pursuit, and their respect for Jones’ speed just wasn’t present. This was evident on Jones’ 80-yard run in their first matchup, but it was a huge part of the game plan on Sunday. Jones finished the game with 9 carries for 64 yards and a touchdown, and an argument could be made that he should have had two touchdowns (one was called back on an Andrew Thomas hold). Nevertheless, the Eagles kept crashing and Jones kept making them pay, as we see on this 34 yard touchdown scamper to cap off the Giants’ opening drive. Kaden Smith does an excellent job locating the force defender, Austin Mack cracks the WILL, C.J. Board blocks very well against his corner, and Jones hits the hole with great acceleration for six.

Play 2: Great response

Credit to the Giants’ defense for not allowing Carson Wentz to drive down the field for points to close the first half. New York forced a three and out thanks to a tipped B.J. Hill pass, a Travis Fulgham false start, and great coverage on third and long, but the Eagles responded quickly to start the half. They drove down the field on 5 plays that went 84 yarda, and was finished by a 56 yard touchdown run from Boston Scott. The Eagles went for two, and converted making the score 14-11.

This script is all too familiar to Giants’ fans, but Daniel Jones made an important adjustment to switch the plot. These are back to back plays where the Eagles have man on the targeted routes; Jones does an excellent job holding the single high safety with his eyes right after the snap, before isolating his receivers one on one in coverage. Both throws are high and away from the defenders. Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate do an excellent job adjusting their bodies, tracking the football, and high-pointing the ball in the air to secure the catch. These are two huge plays of 27 and 38 yards that set up another Wayne Gallman touchdown to extend the lead by 10 points. These are big time one on one throws that are reminiscent of Daniel Jones’ rookie year.

Play(s) 3: James “Elite” Bradberry

Bradberry has been nothing short of spectacular for the 2020 Giants. For whatever reason, the Eagles targeted Bradberry eight times and he only surrendered two catches for 15 yards, along with these two passes defended in high leverage situations. He shows excellent diagnosing ability to process the third-and-3 screen, while closing width quickly and playing through the catch point of Jalen Reagor. On the fourth-and-10 play, Bradberry reacts to the outside release of Reagor, stays well in phase, gets his head around, and disrupts the catch point to not allow the rookie receiver a reception. Again, great positioning by Bradberry, and these are two plays that stopped the Eagles’ drives in their tracks.

Play 4: Darius Slayton bests Darius Slay

Slayton had some really big plays against Darius Slay in this game. None more important than the 40-yard catch which led to the Graham Gano field goal to put the Giants up by double digits in the waning minutes of the game. Watch the route by Slayton; Slay does a good job on the release, but right at the sticks Slayton sinks his hips like he’s running a curl, which forces Slay to hesitate just enough. Then Slayton explodes back upfield, stacks on Slay, and creates separation. The throw honestly isn’t great from Jones, but Slayton tracks it well, adjusts his body, finds the ball, secures it, and gets both feet in bounds for a gigantic reception to help seal the victory for New York.

Play 5: Special special teams

Riley Dixon is an unsung hero of this win.

The coverage team also deserves credit for getting down the field and containing the punts. Dixon was a star on Sunday and pinning the Eagles between their 20 on all four punts was huge for the Giants.

Final thoughts

Football is a three-phase game, we hear that a lot. Offense, defense, and special teams ... the Giants won all three phases on Sunday, and they came away victorious for the first time since 2016 over the Philadelphia Eagles. This win narrows the gap, and evens the win column, for the race to the top of the NFC East. The Giants now head into their bye week in preparation for the Bengals, while hoping the Browns can find a way to defeat the Eagles next week in Cleveland.