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Giants vs. Eagles ‘Kudos & Wet Willies’ review: Thanks for the help, Eagles, edition

Philadelphia game plan, mistakes, help Giants earn a victory

Philadelphia Eagles v New York Giants
The Giants celebrate a fuymble recovery by Julian Love (20).
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Let’s review Sunday’s 13-7 victory by the New York Giants in our traditional ‘Kudos & Wet Willies’ style. This edition of ‘K&WW’ is, to me, an interesting mix. Let’s get to it.

Kudos to ...

Giants’ secondary — The Giants had a little help — maybe a lot of help — from the Philadelphia trio of quarterback Jalen Hurts, coach Nick Sirianni and wide receiver Jalen Reagor — but they still deserve credit.

The Giants played without captain and starting safety Logan Ryan (Reserve/COVID-19 list). They lost starters Adoree’ Jackson (quad) and Darnay Holmes (chest) in the first half. Rookie Aaron Robinson and veteran safety Julian Love played out of position. J.R. Reed, who had not played an NFL defensive snap until Monday night against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, played 36 snaps. Steven Parker was on the field at the end.

With all of that, the Giants intercepted Hurts three times (Holmes, Xavier McKinney, linebacker Tae Crowder) and Love recovered a fumble by running back Boston Scott. Two of those interceptions came in the red zone. The fumble recovery might have been a game-saver.

James Bradberry matched up with star rookie receiver Devonta Smith (two catches, 22 yards) and the rest of the depleted secondary did enough to help the Giants win a game. McKinney, beginning to turn into the impact player the Giants envisioned when they drafted him in the second round a year ago, finished with eight tackles, an interception and a pair of passes defensed.

Chris Myarick — Newly-signed to the 53-man roster from the Giants’ practice squad,

Myarick capped his week with a “crazy play.” His first NFL reception turned into a 1-yard touchdown reception. Daniel Jones targeted Myarick on a first-and-goal at the Eagles’ 1-yard line. The ball hit a collapsing Myarick in the chest, slithered down his body and Myarick ended up barely trapping the ball between his hand and his calf to keep if off the MetLife Stadium turf.

To win games, you sometimes need contributions from unlikely places. The Giants got one from the 26-year-old Myarick on Sunday.

Towel-waving Giants’ fans — To acknowledge Michael Strahan’s jersey retirement ceremony, the Giants wore their all-white uniforms with ‘GIANTS’ emblazoned on their helmets. Those uniforms always get ‘Kudos’ from yours truly.

Fans entering the stadium were also given white towels to wave, reminiscent of the yellow ‘Terrible Towels’ Pittsburgh Steelers fans wave, and those helped turn the atmosphere at MetLife Stadium into the best one I can recall for a Giants game in a long time.

The stadium wasn’t nearly full. The cold, gray weather and the Giants’ 3-7 record kept a lot of fans home. This was a fun atmosphere, though, as Giants fans in attendance did not allow what I had said I thought would be a MetLife takeover by Eagles fans.

Wet Willies to ...

Giants’ run defense — Philadelphia ran the ball 33 times for 208 yards (6.7 yards per attempt). Amazingly, they didn’t run it even more. Jalen Hurts had eight carries for 77 yards (9.6 yards per rush) and Miles Sanders had nine carries for 64 yards (7.1 yards per carry). Why the Eagles chose to pass 31 times instead of running the ball 40+ times I will never know.

The Giants, though, should be thankful. They were, for the most part, helpless against Philadelphia’s zone read rushing game.

Riley Dixon — It was miserable in East Rutherford, N.J. on Sunday. Perhaps not the greatest conditions for a punter. Still, Dixon’s last three punts just weren’t good enough. Dixon hit a 36-yarder from the Giants’ 32-yard line in the third quarter, a 42-yarder from the 26-yard line at the beginning of the fourth quarter and a 39-yarder from the Giants’ 29-yard line with 1:11 left that set Philadelphia up at its own 41-yard line. There are times when you need a big field position changing punt, and Dixon couldn’t deliver one for the Giants on Sunday.

Danny Shelton — Shelton played nine snaps on Sunday, and that was nine too many. Shelton did not make the stat sheet, unless number of times knocked out of the hole is a stat.

Syndication: The Record
Freddie Kitchens
Danielle Parhizkaran/ / USA TODAY NETWORK

Kwillies to ...

Freddie Kitchens — In his debut calling plays for the Giants’ offense, Kitchens couldn’t even match the 18.9 points per game the Giants had been averaging with Jason Garrett calling the plays.

That, though, is kind of a cheap shot. It was a short week that included the Thanksgiving holiday. The offense is not going to transform overnight, maybe not at all this season.

The Giants scored only 13 points. That isn’t nearly enough, and no matter how good the defense is winning games with that meager offensive output is not a sustainable strategy.

The Giants still couldn’t run the ball. Saquon Barkley had a 32-yard run, but finished with 40 yards on 13 carries — meaning he had 8 yards on his other 12 attempts. The passing game was still a quick, short, catch-and-release game designed to work around the inadequacies of the offensive line.

Kitchens, though, made a concerted effort to get the ball to Kenny Golladay (seven targets, three in the red zone). Barkley was targeted five times, with four short catches. There was a flea flicker tight end screen to Evan Engram for 20 yards. Kitchens used Daniel Jones as a runner just enough to keep the Eagles honest.

The Giants managed to put together a 12-play, 70-yard drive that took 7:22 off the clock and resulted in a field goal late in the game. That drive included back-to-back 18-yard passes to Golladay, the first on a critical third-and-3 at the Giants’ 16-yard line with 8:54 remaining. Get the ball to your best players when it matters — an amazing concept.

There were other glimpses of the possibilities for an offense that was without Kadarius Toney, Sterling Shepard, Kyle Rudolph and Kaden Smith. It is going to be interesting to see the evolution over the remaining six weeks of the season.