This was a dirty, ugly, sloppy game from both teams, with the Giants doing just a bit less to lose — or conversely, just enough to win.
Anyone who watched the game probably has a pretty good idea of what happened: The Eagles made some terrible mistakes and miscues to consistently hamstring themselves, while the Giants did just enough to keep their heads above water.
That said, there’s always some subtext and context that get lost in the narratives that spring up around games. Let’s see what the numbers have to say about how the game played out.
There isn’t a whole lot to be said about the Giants’ offensive snap counts. There weren’t any surprises, except the perhaps Pharoh Cooper getting three times as many offensive snaps as John Ross.
There aren’t too many surprises here either. A lot of DBs getting a relatively high number of reps despite the Eagles having a poor receiving corps and bad (passing) quarterback play is odd on the face of it. However, it makes more sense when we realize that the Giants had to deal with losing Adoree Jackson and Darnay Holmes over the course of the game — while also being without Logan Ryan.
It is somewhat interesting that Elerson Smith and Trent Harris only played on special teams, considering how much the Giants struggled to defend the Eagles’ run game.
Stats of note
This was not a good afternoon for fans of quarterback play. Both quarterbacks completed significantly less than their expected percentage of passes and made some downright sloppy throws.
The obvious goat of the day was Eagles’ quarterback Jalen Hurts, who’s 129-yard, 3-interception day is just bad by any measure. However, a closer look shows that Hurts’ game was even worse than it appeared.
Analytics website RBSDM.com tracks completion percentage over expected (CPOE), while excluding spikes and throwaways. By their measure, Hurts’ completion percentage of 48.3 was an incredible 14.3 percent below his expected completion percentage of 62.6.
Daniel Jones was better, but only by comparison.
He did complete 65.5 percent of his passes, but his average depth of target of 4.7 yards still ranked in the seventh percentile of all quarterbacks since 2010. And even so, Jones’ actual completion percentage was 3.1 percent below his expected 68.6 percent.
It should be noted that the Giants did make a slight effort to push the ball further downfield than they had previously. However, they were still largely a short-range offense, with 8 of Jones’ 30 pass attempts coming at or behind the line of scrimmage, while only 6 passes were targeted 10 yards or further downfield.
The flip side of this coin is the difference between how the two teams ran the ball.
One of my biggest complaints about the Giants’ offense against the Eagles was how often they wound up in 3rd and long situations. While incomplete passes were certainly a part of that, the Giants’ insistence on running the ball on first down — and inability to do so effectively — was simply glaring.
The Giants’ 70 yards on 26 carries (2.7 per carry) was bad enough. When we take out Saquon Barkley’s 32-yard run and Daniel Jones’ 14 yard run, that drops to 24 yards on 25 carries, or 0.96 yards per carry.
Barkley’s one 32-yard run certainly jumps off the chart, but the fact that he had 9 other carries that totaled -1 yard is tough to ignore.
But as bad as the Giants’ running game and Eagles’ passing game were, that’s how good the Eagles’ rushing attack was.
Ed always asks me for my input for the “Kudos and Wet Willies” post after the game. This game, my first suggestion was a “Kudos” to Nick Sirianni and Jalen Hurts for throwing the ball so often to start the game. That one didn’t (quite) make the cut.
My second suggestion was “A big ‘ole wet willy for the Giants’ run defense.”
It isn’t an exaggeration to say that the Eagles had one of the best days running the ball in recent memory. Their EPA/play of 0.08 ranked in the 85th percentile since 2010, their 29 percent first down rate ranked in the 80th percentile, and 56 percent rushing success rate ranked in the 95th percentile.
It didn’t really matter who was running the ball, in what direction, or on what down, the Giants’ defense was more of a speed bump than a wall.
The Giants’ run defense has been something of an issue all season, but it is something that definitely needs to be addressed after this week’s performance. The good news is that the Giants’ won’t face a rushing attack anywhere close to this good for a while — at least until their NFC East rematches in weeks 15, 16, and 18.