Giant Takeaways: Giants Collapse in OT Loss to Eagles, Ruin Eli’s Return
The New York Giants’ losing streak hits a franchise-long nine games, after dropping 23-17 in overtime to the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on Monday.
New York had a 17-3 lead at halftime, thanks to an impressive first half by quarterback Eli Manning. Yet, the Giants disappeared in the second half, and blew it. Despite a dreadful first half, Carson Wentz, with the help of running back Boston Scott, orchestrated the comeback.
Tied at 17-17, the Eagles marched their way downfield with ease, culminating in a Wentz touchdown pass to a wide open Zack Ertz to drop the Giants to 2-11 on the year.
As always, here are some takeaways from a tough loss for the Giants.
Eli Shines in First Half
The cameras followed Eli Manning all night, in what has been deemed his last hurrah with the Giants. Even so, nobody predicted that Manning would play so strongly on Monday Night Football.
After a scoreless first quarter, Manning put the Giants up early with a short pass to rookie Darius Slayton, who then juked his way into the end zone for the 35-yard touchdown.
With New York holding a 10-3 lead with less than two minutes remaining, Manning threw a dime of a pass to the rookie Slayton again, resulting in a 55-yard score.
To end the first half, Manning completed 11-of-19 pass attempts for 179 yards and two touchdowns. It’s nothing the Giants fan base or NFL fans in general ever expected. Unfortunately for Manning, he couldn’t sustain success in the second act of the game.
Offense Disappears in Second Half
Remember when the Giants looked to be on the cusp of a huge upset victory over the Eagles. Yeah, that ended quickly.
There were no adjustments by head coach and offensive playcaller Pat Shurmur, which helped Philadelphia’s defense. Darius Slayton was an afterthought following his monster first half where he was targeted just TWICE. Saquon Barkley could barely get past the line of scrimmage. So how bad were the Giants in the final 30 minutes of regulation?
21 offensive plays were called, resulting in just 29 yards. Oh, and New York mustered two first downs and zero points in the second stanza of the game.
As mentioned in the previous section, Manning couldn’t replicate the same success he had in the first half, as he went 4-of-11 for just 24 yards in the second half.
Not ideal for a team who was supposed to compete while building like general manager Dave Gettleman preached this past offseason.
Defense Doesn’t Know How to Win
The Giants defense looked downright impressive in the first half, but as it turns out, the Eagles offense was just that bad. New York couldn’t hold onto a 17-3 lead if their football lives depended on it.
After starting running back Miles Sanders exited briefly with an injury, the Eagles called upon former practice squad rusher in Boston Scott. To say the Giants had no answers for Scott is a massive understatement. The 5-7, 203-pound back sped his way past the Giants defense, who had trouble tackling him (or any Eagle for that matter). Scott rushed for 59 yards on ten carries and a touchdown, while hauling in six passes for 69 yards.
Sam Beal was heavily targeted by Wentz, due to his propensity for getting penalized. In Philadelphia’s game-tying drive, Beal was called for illegal contact on receiver Greg Ward Jr. and defensive holding on JJ Arcega-Whiteside. The end result: Wentz hitting Ertz in the end zone for the score.
Speaking of Ertz, once overtime began, the thought was the Giants would put extra coverage on the tight end due to Philadelphia having just one healthy receiver remaining. Nope, the Giants defense left Ertz wide open on his own island in the end zone for the victory.
A case of the same-old, same-old for the Giants defense. From the players to coordinator James Bettcher, this unit isn’t getting the job done.
Solder a Massive Liability
Back in the opening of the 2018 league year, the Giants were banking on landing offensive guard Andrew Norwell in free agency. Considering he was a Carolina Panther with Gettleman in charge, the fit seemed obvious. Yet, they lost out to the Jacksonville Jaguars in a form of Tom Coughlin revenge.
So, the Giants, in desperate need of offensive line help, threw a blank check at the best available tackle on the open market: Nate Solder.
His first season in New York has been hit and miss. But his second year has been terrible, and Monday’s game exemplified that.
First, Solder played a pivotal role in the implosion of the infamous flea flicker play in the fourth quarter. Had he provided exemplary blocking, Manning would have hit a wide open Golden Tate deep downfield for a walk-in touchdown. Instead, he was toasted by defensive end Josh Sweat, forcing Manning to toss the ball to Barkley for a very short gain.
In the fourth quarter again, defensive Vinny Curry rushed past him and sacked Manning. In the process, right guard Kevin Zeitler left the game with an injury, in which he was seen on crutches and wearing a walking boot post-game.
Nate Solder has regressed so much, that he’s in contention for the worst free agent signing in team history. Unless there’s a renaissance, Solder could be on his way off the Giants this offseason.
Chase for Chase Update
The Giants maintained the No. 2 slot in the 2020 NFL Draft, as the Cincinnati Bengals, Washington Redskins, and Miami Dolphins all lost in Week 14. And yes, that keeps them in prime position to select Ohio State edge rusher Chase Young.
This past weekend, Young recorded six total tackles and two passes defensed in the Buckeyes’ Big Ten Championship victory over the Wisconsin Badgers.
With the regular season over, Young won the Bronko Nagurski Award for best defensive player in college football. On top of that, Young was named a Heisman trophy candidate alongside teammate Justin Fields, Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts, and LSU signal caller Joe Burrow. While it’s unlikely he’ll win the award over Burrow, his nomination shows just how pivotal of a role he played in Ohio State’s success.
Now, he sets his focus on the Clemson Tigers in their upcoming Fiesta Bowl matchup. If the Giants maintain the second overall slot in the upcoming draft, the odds of Chase Young becoming a New York Giant is undoubtedly high.
The Giants look to avoid extending their losing streak to a franchise-worst ten games, as they face the Miami Dolphins this upcoming Sunday at MetLife Stadium. Can the Giants pull out a win, or will the defense falter to a determined Ryan Fitzpatrick, further adding to a miserable season for fans and ownership?
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