The Eagles made it official on Sunday and checked out this season, following the rest of their fanbase with a laughable 27-10 performance against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium.
It was a meaningless game, but it was if the Eagles flat out quit, which was manifested through their shoddy, listless, lethargic play. They will limp into the NFC playoffs as the No. 5 seed, losers of five of their last six games, against NFC South winner (No. 4 seed) Tampa Bay.
This game was intended, at least from the message conveyed from the Eagles this week, as a get-right game, a chance to tighten the sloppiness that has plagued this team.
The Giants snapped a five-game losing skid to the Eagles, and the hapless Giants played with far more verve than the playoff-bound Eagles showed on Sunday.
The fact is the 6-11 Giants wanted to play, and the 11-6 Eagles didn’t, though they will have one more game than the Giants this season.
By the way the Eagles have looked this past month, despite beating Tampa Bay earlier this season (25-11 in Week 3), the season is over—if Sunday’s horrible effort is any indication.
The Eagles were down 24-0 before they knew what hit them. Jalen Hurts, his eyes half mast, did not appear to care—nor did any of the starters. Hurts was yanked late in the first half after completing 7 of 16 for 55 yards, and an interception. He was sacked twice, befuddled by the blitz packages Giants’ defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale dialed up.
Back on September 25, when the Eagles visited Tampa, this was a far different, far more confident team in themselves and their coaching staff. Four months is a relatively short amount of time, but for the Eagles, it feels like years since they were that offensively and defensively efficient.
Think they are as confident now?
They also seemed to collectively care.
Now, the only thing that they appear to care about are tee times in Caribbean resorts, with a stopover in Tampa, Florida, next week.
If you believe otherwise, you haven’t been watching the same team everyone else has the last month.
The one glaring positive for head coach Nick Sirianni is that Eagles’ owner Jeff Lurie is a cerebral, patient man, whose unflappability kept him from going ballistic and firing his coach at halftime. The rest of Eagles’ nation certainly had Sirianni gone in their minds (Sirianni will not and should not be fired).
The Eagles finished 1-5 over their last six games—turning the ball over 12 times, going minus-eight in the giveaway/takeaway metric and were outscored 182-123, giving up an average of 30.3 points a game while scoring 20.5. Over their last six games, the Eagles gave up 2,303 yards of total offense, which translated into 383.8 yards a game to gaining 2,017, which translates to 336.1 yards of total offense.
It was an 11-5 team that outscored opponents by plus-5 (433-428)—a pathetic margin for a winning team.
It translates into a short playoff stay for a team that was expected to reach—and win—the Super Bowl.
If asked privately, is there any Eagle who will tell you he thinks that they will return to the Super Bowl?
As of Sunday night, DraftKings had the Eagles, believe it or not, as minus-2.5 favorites against Tampa Bay with the Eagles as minus-142 on the moneyline.
Maybe Las Vegas oddmakers see something that the rest of the Eagles’ fervent fanbase does not see (Re: the ghost of Ricky Bell, circa 1979, rushing for 142 yards on 38 carries scoring two touchdowns against the Eagles).
There was hardly any good, some bad and for the second-straight week, a mountain of ugly in the Eagles’ 27-10 loss to the New York Giants.
Receiver Quez Watkins caught his first TD pass this season, with 10:15 left to play in a dreadful game. It was a cosmetic score that carried the weight of putting perfume on a pig, considering the Eagles were down 24-3 and hardly anyone cared by then.
Running back Kenny Gainwell made an appearance, slashing through the Giants’ defense for 32 yards on the Eagles’ second drive, on a second-and-six at the Eagles’ 29. The play was made possible by the ageless center Jason Kelce pulling and steering Giants’ linebacker Bobby Okereke aside, and right guard Cam Jurgens doing a nice job sealing off New York nose tackle Jordan Riley, opening a huge hole for Gainwell.
Defensive tackle Marlon Tuipulotu 5-yard sack of Tyrod Taylor on the Giants’ second drive, coming on a second-and-goal at the Eagles’ eight. It was big play that forced the Giants into a field goal.
Edge rusher Haason Reddick crashing down on the Giants’ Saquon Barkley on the third play of the game for a five-yard loss at the New York 40 on a second-and-eight play. Reddick did a great job of beating Giants’ left guard Justin Pugh at the line of scrimmage, averting him to take down the formidable Barkley. The play foiled New York’s early momentum on its first drive of the game.
The Eagles’ failed attempt on a fourth-and-two at their 48 when Hurts tried tight end Dallas Goedert. Why? With Dallas and Washington tied at 7-7 at the time, why take that chance at that stage of the game? Soon after the Eagles blew that chance, Washington intercepted Dallas.
Tight end Dallas Goedert’s false start on third-and-10 at the Eagles’ 41 on their third drive. It forced a fourth-and-two, which the Eagles tried converting.
The Eagles’ first half. It was one of the more wretched halves of football by the Eagles in recent memory. The Eagles trailed 24-0. Granted, the Eagles pulled their starters late in the first half. By then, the Giants had thoroughly outplayed the starters. The Giants outgained the Eagles, 272-102, while Hurts was 7 of 16 for 55 yards, with an interception and sacked twice for 26 yards. The Eagles turned the ball over three times and more than anything played and looked as if they were disinterested. The Eagles’ first half drive chart read: Punt, fumble, downs, punt, punt, interception, interception, end of half. The Giants had 14 first downs to the Eagles’ five, and scored on four of their first six possessions. The Eagles previous 10 defensive drives read: Arizona touchdown, Arizona touchdown, Arizona touchdown, Arizona touchdown, Giants punt, field goal, punt, Giants touchdown, Giants touchdown and Giants touchdown—against the Eagles’ starters.
The Eagles losing Darius Slayton on a 19-yard touchdown pass to close the half. As was if no one on the Eagles knew the Giants’ leading receiver was on the field. Was it linebacker Zach Cunningham that was supposed to pick him up, if you watch the play back, after Nolan Smith blitzes, or someone else? No one seemed to know. It was emblematic of the game. No one knew or bothered to know.
Linebackers Nolan Smith and Nicholas Morrow running after Barkley down the sideline on a third-and-two at the Giants’ 35. Taylor hit Barkley for a 46-yard pass, bringing the ball to the Eagles’ 19. The next play, Taylor hit Darius Slayton for a 19-yard touchdown pass with 1:47 left in the half and a 24-0 Giants’ lead.
Running back Rashaad Penny getting blown out by linebacker Bobby Okereke on a second-and-eight at the Eagles’ 17 for a 12-yard sack with 4:20 left in the first half. For those wondering why Penny was not getting quality playing time, that alone may have been a good indication why.
Cunningham and corner James Bradberry both whiffing badly on Wan’Dale Robinson’s catch-and-curl at the Eagles’ 18 on a first-and-10. Robinson took it to the three before safety Kevin Byard pushed him out of bounds. It was nothing short of pathetic. The following play, Saquon Barkley put the Giants up 17-0 with 5:08 left in the first half. It was the largest lead the Giants had against the Eagles since 2012. In the meantime, Washington, which had nothing to play for, though was outplaying both the Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys to that point, 10-7. The two teams that were packing their bags for the offseason were putting in a greater effort than the two teams that were bound for the playoffs at the point. The Eagles certainly did not seem to care.
The Eagles missing safety Dane Belton screaming through for a 14-yard sack of Hurts on a third-and-six with 8:43 left in the half at the Eagles’ 15. It was Belton’s first sack.
The Giants converting a third-and-11 at the Eagles’ 28 with 10:20 left in the half. Tylor hit a wide-open Robinson finding a perfect spot in the Eagles’ soft zone between safety Reed Blankenship and cornerback Eli Ricks. The Giants wound up moving to 10-0 lead thanks to that play, and Sirianni electing to go for it on a fourth-down conversion and failing at the Eagles’ 48. The Giants could not have asked for a better situation, handed good field position against a torn defense.
On the Eagles’ second drive, on second-and-nine at the Giants’ 27, A.J. Brown’s fumble at the Giants’ 18 caused by Giants’ safety Nick McCloud. New York linebacker Micah McFadden was there to jump on it, but the real disaster was Brown writhing in pain, grabbing at his right leg. A postgame report stated Brown’s ACL is intact. He did walk off the field.
Joseph Santoliquito is a hall of fame, award-winning sportswriter based in the Philadelphia area who has written feature stories for SI.com, ESPN.com, NFL.com, MLB.com, Deadspin and The Philadelphia Inquirer/Daily News. In 2006, he was nominated for an Emmy Award for a special project piece for ESPN.com called “Love at First Beep.” He is most noted for his award-winning ESPN.com 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.