The Giants jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the game’s first six minutes, but had to hold off a last-gasp Philadelphia drive with a fourth-and-10 stop at the Giants’ 17-yard line with 1:23 to play that finally sealed a much-needed victory.
“It was good to get the two turnovers and cash into it on the offensive side of the ball. The defense keeps coming up with the ball. That’s encouraging. The offense was finding a way to get into the end zone -- that was big for us,” said head coach Ben McAdoo. “We have to learn to have that killer instinct for us and get up by two scores and keep our foot on the gas and not let them back into the ballgame. We do know that it is a four quarter-plus ballgame. So that being the case, we have to play the game as it unfolds and we kept playing there right until the very end.”
The Giants led, 28-23, and had a chance to run out the clock with 1:55 left when an Eli Manning pass on third-and-4 from the Giants’ 29-yard-line was tipped and intercepted by Philly’s Jordan Hicks, who returned it to the Giants’ 34.
Asked why the Giants threw the ball in that situation, McAdoo said his thought was “just win the game and play aggressive.”
“The ball got tipped. I think it would’ve been a good position to get the first down there,” he said.
The defense made the miscue moot.
“The defense stayed and played aggressive,” McAdoo said. “Spags [Coach Spagnuolo] did a great job and called it aggressive.”
Philly reached the Giants’ 17, but a fourth-and-10 pass from Carson Wentz to Jordan Matthews went just beyond the receiver’s fingertips. Giants’ cornerback Trevin Wade, in coverage on the play, said Matthews was “pretty close” to making a terrific catch.
“I knew they were gonna come at me,” said Wade, who replaced a struggling Eli Apple during the second half. “Who you gonna look to? You’ve got Rabbit (Janoris Jenkins), DRC and I just came in. It felt good to not let the team down.”
Defensive captain Jonathan Casillas had faith that the Giants would make the final, game-saving stop.
“There’s a lot of things being said. Get off the field, we have to stop them, we have to get the ball back to our offense. We believe it. It’s not just fluff talk. It’s real talk. We believe we’re going to make that play. The big plays that we all dreamed about making. We all feel like we can make them on the defensive side of the ball,” Casillas said.
“I always believe. When you have this group of guys, the group that we have here. You have so much talent at every position and so much instincts and football savvy at every position. You know those guys are going to make the play.”
Interceptions by Landon Collins and Andrew Adams set up early scores that helped the Giants build a 14-0 lead in the game’s first six minutes. The Giants had a pair of fourth-down stops and Jason Pierre-Paul blocked a field goal in the second quarter. They ended up stopping the Eagles on three-of-four fourth down plays. The Giants, who have struggled defensively on third down this season, also held Philadelphia to just 3-of-15 (20 percent) on third downs.
The Giants led 21-10 at halftime and 28-17 after three quarters.
Eli Manning completed 22-of-36 passes for 257 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions. Odell Beckham Jr. had four catches for 46 yards and two touchdowns, a 26-yarder and a 1-yarder. Manning also threw touchdown passes of 32 yards to Sterling Shepard and 30 yards to Roger Lewis.
Wentz completed 27-of-47 passes for 364 yards and two interceptions for Philly.
The Giants lost offensive guard Justin Pugh to a knee injury and Victor Cruz to an ankle injury during the first half. (Read more about those injuries)
The Giants are 5-3. The Eagles fall to 4-4.
Moments that mattered
Quick start: After falling behind early in four straight games, the Giants finally got off to a good start. They took advantage of interceptions by Landon Collins and Andrew Adams on Philly’s first two possessions, converting those into touchdowns to grab a 14-0 lead just 5:17 into the game. The first score was a 26-yard pass from Eli Manning to Odell Beckham Jr. The second was a 30-yard pass from Manning to emerging rookie receiver Roger Lewis.
Fourth down stops: The Eagles bypassed field-goal opportunities twice in the first half, choosing to go for first downs deep in Giants’ territory. The Eagles had fourth-and-2 from the Giants’ 23 on the first play of the second quarter, and the Giants stopped Wentz on an attempted zone read. Later in the quarter, the Eagles took over at the Giants’ 15-yard line after a 66-yard Darren Sproles punt return. On fourth-and-1 from the 6-yard line, the Giants stuffed Sproles, once again taking possession. The Giants got a third fourth-down stop to end the game in the final two minutes.
For good measure, the Giants blocked a 40-yard Caleb Sturgis field goal attempt with 1:19 left in the first half.
A huge answer: The Eagles opened the second half by going 70 yards in six plays to cut the Giants’ lead to 21-17. The Giants answered with a 10-play, 75-yard drive that took 4:36 and led to a 32-yard Eli Manning to Sterling Shepard touchdown pass. That gave the Giants a 28-17 lead with 7:41 left in the third quarter.
Giants lose Pugh, Cruz: The Giants lost a pair of key offensive players to injuries in the first half. Left guard Justin Pugh injured a knee and wide receiver Victor Cruz suffered an ankle sprain.
Nolan Carroll pick: With the Giants leading 28-20 and driving, Philadelphia defender Nolan Carroll ripped a pass away from Beckham for an interception with 10:08 remaining. That kept it a one-score game and gave the Eagles the ball at their own 40-yard line. The Giants’ defense forced a three-and-out, but the Giants still lost an opportunity to pretty much put the game out of reach.
The last defensive stand: After an Eli Manning pass was tipped and intercepted, giving the Eagles the ball at the Giants, 34-yard line, the defense once again held. A Wentz fourth-and-10 pass from the 17-yard-line was just out of the reach of Jordan Matthews, finally allowing the Giants to exhale.
The Giants play their second of three straight home games when they host the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday Night Football.