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Eagles-Giants: The good, the bad, and the ugly

Philadelphia Eagles v New York Giants Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

The Eagles are 12-1 for the second time in franchise history, after their thoroughly convincing 48-22 victory over the New York Giants on Sunday at MetLife Stadium.

The victory clinched an Eagles’ playoff berth for the second consecutive season in a game that showed the difference between a Super Bowl contender and a leaking team floundering for a playoff berth.

The only other time in Eagles’ history in which they were 12-1 after 13 regular-season games was in 2004, when they won the NFC championship and lost, 24-21, to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX. (Technically, the 1949 NFL champion Eagles were also 12-1, but that includes their NFL Championship 14-0 victory over the Los Angeles Rams).

Miles Sanders’ 144 yards rushing against the Giants pushed him to 1,068 yards rushing this season, which made him the first Eagles’ running back to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season since LeSean McCoy ran for 1,319 in 2014. A.J. Brown’s 70 yards receiving gave him 1,020 yards in 2022, making him the first Eagles’ receiver to have over 1,000 yards receiving since Jeremy Maclin had 1,318 yards receiving in 2014.

The Eagles are the only undefeated NFL team on the road and their 23 rushing touchdowns and plus-13 turnover differential tops the NFL—as does their 12-1 record.

With 35-plus points over their last three games, the Eagles’ 123 combined-point total is their most over a three-game span since 1950.

An interesting nugget is the Eagles’ 34-14 lead at the outset of the fourth quarter was their largest lead entering the fourth quarter on the road against the Giants since they beat New York, 41-28, on Dec. 19, 1971, at Yankee Stadium. The irony is former Eagles’ head coach Rich “Richie The K” Kotite scored a fourth-quarter touchdown for the Giants in that game.

There was a mountain of good, a touch of bad and some glaring ugly in the Eagles’ 48-22 rout of the New York Giants.

The Good

Quarterback Jalen Hurts was once again amazing. He completed 21 of 31 for 217 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing for 77 yards and another score.

Running back Miles Sanders’ two touchdowns and 144 yards rushing on 17 carries, averaging 8.4 yards a carry. His 40-yard touchdown run with 6:01 left in the game received two great blocks, one by pulling tight end Grant Calcaterra on the Giants’ safety Jason Pinnock and the other by tight end Jack Stoll on Giants’ linebacker Jaylon Smith, creating a causeway for Sanders’ second score. Calcaterra actually stumbled a few times before he reached Pinnock, though still carried out his assignment.

Hurts’ 10-yard touchdown run that sealed the game with 1:41 left in the third quarter. On the play, center Jason Kelce pulled right and blocked Giants’ linebacker Tae Crowder, left guard Landon Dickerson blocked Giants’ nose tackle Dexter Lawrence and left tackle Jordan Mailata pulled right expected to sweep away any more interference. By the time Mailata reached his point, Hurts was already through the hole for the score. It was great designed play blocked to perfection.

The Eagles first-half offense produced 24 points, scoring on four of five drives, amassing 217 yards of total offense, averaging 6 yards a play, picking up 14 first downs, converting 4 of 7 third downs (two by penalty; one conversion resulted in a TD) and 1 of 1 fourth-down conversions (which resulted in a touchdown), while Hurts completed 17 of 24 for 156 yards and two touchdowns.

On the Giants’ fourth drive, they managed to move the ball across midfield. On a second-and-six at the Eagles’ 46, Brandon Graham and Patrick Johnson did a great job of hauling down Saquon Barkley for a four-yard loss. Graham jolted right guard Mark Glowinski out of the way, and Johnson came from the back side. On third-and-10 at midfield, linebacker T.J. Edwards batted down a Daniel Jones’ pass. Graham later had a fumble recovery that resulted in Boston Scott’s fourth-quarter TD. The Eagles finished with seven sacks for minus-35 yards.

A.J. Brown’s 33-yard touchdown catch beating Giant defenders Nick McCloud, who was supposed to pick up Brown short, and safety Jason Pinnock, who was nowhere to be found, yards away by the time Brown had the ball in his hands. It was a great read and find by Hurts, who caught Brown breaking free down the middle of the field. Brown actually began that play in the slot, on the right side and ran right by McCloud. By the time Brown was at the five, McCloud was about five yards behind.

DeVonta Smith’s 41-yard touchdown catch between Giant defenders Darnay Holmes, trailing Smith by a yard, and the converging safety Julian Love, who may have shut his eye bracing for an impact with Smith, because he whiffed terribly on the ball and the receiver. It a beautifully thrown pass by Hurts, whose touch is light years better than where it was this time last year. By halftime, Smith had five catches on seven targets for 64 yards and a touchdown.

The Eagles’ second drive, when they moved 91 yards over 12 plays, taking 4 minutes and 55 seconds. Key plays were the Hurts’ 9-yard completion to Quez Watkins on a third-and-four at the Philadelphia 15, Hurts’ eight-yard scramble for another first down on a third-and-six to the Eagles’ 41, and, of course, Hurts’ 41-yard touchdown strike to Smith on a fourth-and-seven.

On the Giants’ first drive, sacks by Haason Reddick and Josh Sweat for a combined nine yards, pushing New York back from its 42 to the 33 and forced the Giants into a third-and-17. Sweat, Reddick, Javon Hargrave and Fletcher Cox put an exclamation point on it by pressuring Jones into an errant incompletion on the Giants’ last grasp to remain competitive on a fourth-and-eight at the Eagles’ 23 with 9:58 to play.

On the Eagles’ opening drive, they traveled 84 yards over 14 plays in chewing up 8 minutes, 5 seconds off the clock. A huge play came on the eighth play of the drive, when Hurts’ 7-yard pass to Smith converted a third-and-six at the New York 31. The Eagles converted three of three first downs, one by penalty, the Hurts-Smith connect that preserved the drive and Miles Sanders’ three-yard touchdown run that concluded the drive.

Left tackle Jordan Mailata, left guard Landon Dickerson and center Jason Kelce all shifting and down blocking right to make an open pathway for Sanders to walk into the end zone for the first score. The Giants couldn’t do anything to stop the Eagles on the opening drive, which was a portent of the day to come for the Eagles.

The Bad

Right guard Isaac Seumalo getting beat inside by edge rusher Azeez Ojulari for an 11-yard sack, back at the Eagles’ two. The following play the Giants’ blocked a punt, giving them an open door for their first touchdown.

On Gary Brightwell’s 13-yard run up the middle on the Giants’ first play of their second drive. Fletcher Cox was easily pushed aside by Giants’ right guard Mark Glowinski and Javon Hargrave got caught up and turned by left guard Shane Lemieux.

The Ugly

After a week when the special teams shined, they resorted to their miserable ways again. Punter Arryn Siposs received no protection up the middle. After making a solid defensive play earlier, Patrick Johnson got pushed back by the Giants’ Elerson Smith, whose left hand got up to block the punt in the end zone. Three plays later, the Giants scored for the first time. Siposs was hurt on the play and later carted off the field.

Safety K’Von Wallace getting beat by tight end Daniel Bellinger for an 11-yard gain to the Eagles’ four on the Giants’ first play after the blocked punt.

Cornerback Darius Slay getting beat by Isaiah Hodgins on Jones’ two-yard touchdown pass with 2:57 left in the half. Slay got little help from the defensive front, who gave Jones a healthy amount of time to find the breaking receiver across the middle.

Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter based in the Philadelphia area who has written feature stories for,,,, Deadspin and The Philadelphia Daily News. In 2006, he was nominated for an Emmy Award for a special project piece for called “Love at First Beep.” He is most noted for his award-winning feature on high school wrestler A.J. Detwiler in February 2006, which appeared on SportsCenter. In 2015, he was elected president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

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