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5 plays that helped the Giants defeat the Eagles

Let’s take one last look back at an enjoyable sunday

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

The New York Giants halted the Philadelphia Eagles’ two-game winning streak after defeating their rivals, 13-7, on sunday. The Freddie Kitchens era commenced, but similar offensive struggles persisted. Patrick Graham’s defense gifted the Giants offense four turnovers that led to zero Giant points.

To be fair, one of the turnovers was to end the first-half, an inexplicable Jalen Hurts interception to linebacker Tae Crowder. Nevertheless, New York benefited from the Eagles’ mistakes all game. Philadelphia out-gained the Giants 332 to 264, primarily due to their potent rushing attack.

The Eagles rushed for more than 200 yards in three of their last four games; they lost the one game they failed to run for over 200 yards. Inexplicably, Eagles’ head coach Nick Sirianni seemed to stray from the run at times in this game.

When they decided to run the football, the Eagles had immense success; Philadelphia averaged 6.3 yards per carry, with Miles Sanders averaging 7.1 and Boston Scott averaging 4.3. Jalen Hurts had 77 rushes on 8 carries - many were designed quarterback runs or zone-read plays.

Philadelphia ended with 208 yards rushing but still lost the football game. The New York Giants defense was opportunistic and played an excellent game. They pressured Hurts in key situations and took advantage of Hurts’ mistakes. Here are five situations that really made a difference in the Giants 13-7 win.

Play(s) 1: Turnovers galore

The Giants forced four Eagles turnovers. The defense picked an excellent game to have one of their most dominant performances against a bitter divisional rival that was surging. Two of the four turnovers came in the red zone, effectively removing inevitable points from the board for Philadelphia.

Darnay Holmes (30) essentially finishes the receiver’s route on the play. He was playing over the top of the route, and he read Hurts’ eyes. Holmes displayed excellent reactionary quickness to put himself in a position to come away with this turnover that ended a 10-play drive on third down.

Xavier McKinney (29) shows his unique range in single-high, middle-of-the-field closed looks (MOFC). Cover-1 MOFC looks incentivize aggressive quarterbacks to take one-on-one shots deep. To effectively do this, the quarterback has to occupy the center-field safety to disallow him from getting outside to help his cornerback. When McKinney is roaming the back end of the secondary, opposing quarterbacks MUST manipulate him with their eyes because his range is dangerous for quarterbacks taking deep shots. Hurts stares his receiver down - to the boundary - and McKinney made him pay by coming away with an easy interception.

Hurts made a terrible decision on this play that prevented the Eagles from tying the score right before half-time. New York flushes Hurts to his right thanks, in part, to Lorenzo Carter (59) running through 6-foot-8, 350-pound Jordan Mailata. Azeez Ojulari (51) gets to Hurts, and he throws the ball in the direction of two receivers, but there were three Giants in the area. Crowder comes down with the interception and keeps the Eagles scoreless in the first half.

Dexter Lawrence (97) stripped Giant-killer Boston Scott with two minutes to go in the game while the Eagles were threatening on a drive where they already picked up three first downs. New York went three and out on the ensuing possession, giving Philadelphia another opportunity to win this game by scoring a touchdown. Luckily for the Giants, the Eagles struggled to catch the football.

Play(s) 2: Eagles need some stickum

Greg Ward dropped a go-ahead touchdown on the play above; two plays later, Hurts throws his interception to Crowder. Ward should have caught this pass, and the entire game could have been different. Jalen Reagor had two abysmal drops that cost the Eagles’ the game as well.

These are two egregious drops that could have given the Eagles the game-winning points. The Giants’ defense had FOUR turnovers, and the Eagles still had a chance to win the football game with that final drop on fourth-and-10. Reagor had his Evan Engram moment TWICE in this game, but that last one was difficult to watch. The Eagles replaced Nelson Agholor with a worse version of their perception of Agholor.

Agholor had his struggles dropping the football while in Philadelphia, but his rapport with Nick Foles eventually led to a Super Bowl. Reagor was picked in the first round over Justin Jefferson in 2020.

If Reagor or Ward secured any of these three catches, the result of this game could have been much different. Not to imitate a former Dallas Cowboys quarterback (shout out to Don Meredith), but - “if ifs and buts were candy and nuts, then we’d all have a merry Christmas.” The Giants won, but the Eagles did themselves no favors.

Play 3: Myarick’s touchdown

The Giants’ only touchdown in the game was this 1-yard play-action touchdown pass to tight end Chris Myarick. A seemingly routine touchdown grab after a delayed release turned into a sui generis knee-to-hand catch with impeccable timing to secure Myarick’s first NFL reception.

Myarick saw extended snaps in the absences of tight ends Kyle Rudolph and Kaden Smith. Freddie Kitchens had Saquon Barkley flare into the flat to occupy the attention of the apex defender and the linebacker Alex Singleton (49). Myarick sells the block long enough to be forgotten. He finds space between Singleton and linebacker T.J. Edwards to allow Daniel Jones to deliver a touchdown pass. His last two touchdown passes have now been to Myarick and left tackle Andrew Thomas - just how we all envisioned.

Play(s) 4: Defense - STAND UP!

The Giants defense didn’t just cause turnovers by intercepting Jalen Hurts; they also pressured the second-year quarterback and forced punts in crucial third-down situations. Graham wasn’t shy to dial up the pressure with five-man packages, and he also wasn’t hesitant to drop eight in coverage and allow his defensive line to bait and contain the rushing lanes of Hurts.

Aaron Robinson (33) also came up with a great pass breakup on 4th & 2 at the beginning of the second half. Robinson is square through Reagor’s release while forcing his near arm through the catch point to assist Reagor with dropping the pass. These are four huge defensive plays that helped the Giants secure this win.

Play 5: Kenny Golladay third-and-3

A few plays could have earned this final spot on the list, but I felt this one was low-key important to the Giants winning the football game. New York assembled a 12-play, 70-yard fourth-quarter drive that ended in a field goal, extending their lead to six points.

The Giants went three and out on the previous two possessions. An incompletion here would have given the Eagles an excellent opportunity with good field position. With 8:50 left in the game, anything could have happened. But the Giants didn’t have to worry about that because Jones found Golladay on a slant from a 3x2 set as the No. 2 receiver to the three-receiver side. The No. 3 receiver runs to the flat, and a throwing window eventually opens up in zone coverage between the linebackers. Jones showed good poise not to be deterred by the pancaking of Matt Skura (67) in front of his feet. This play may not be remembered, but it was an essential conversion in this tight Giants’ victory.