As a kid, I always used to enjoy watching the Scooby-Doo mystery series, where at the end of every episode, Scooby and friends would hunt down the culprit responsible for all the trouble and usually unmask them for all to see.
Well, after watching yet another installment of the Mystery of the Philadelphia House of Horrors, where the Giants have lost their last seven road games to their division rivals and their last eight in a row home and away, the mystery of who is behind the Giants struggles is solved.
It’s the Giants.
Except for two blowouts, a 27-0 game in 2014 and a 27-7 loss in 2015, the Giants-Eagles games at Lincoln Financial Field, aka the House of Horrors, have been decided by six points or less.
When a game is that close, usually that means that it’s not so much the other team putting the hurt on you; it’s you hurting yourself.
That’s precisely what the Giants did on a nationally televised game. Breakdowns in coverage, dropped passes, inconsistent pass protection—it was all there on full display.
This is an Eagles team that left ten points on the field, yet the Giants couldn’t overcome their shortcomings.
The trend has been established. The Giants, and not some hex, is the reason why they haven’t won at Lincoln Financial Field in nearly a decade (and this applies to other losses outside of that building).
They haven’t been good enough to overcome their mistakes. Until that changes, we’re likely in for many more long game days.
You’re Kidding Me, Right?
Head coach Joe Judge, a former special teams coordinator, had to be seething over a potentially golden opportunity on their first punt of the game when gunner Corey Ballentine was left uncovered, this due to the Eagles only having ten men on the field.
Punter Riley Dixon noticed it and tried to get Ballentine’s attention for a possible fake. Sadly, Ballentine never looked back in what was a huge mental error on his part, about as big of a fundamental mistake as can be made in that spot.
Even if the punt had been on regardless, Ballentine needs to look back to make sure everything is on as scheduled.
By not being on the same page with his teammates, he hurt the effort on that play, and the Giants aren’t good enough right now to have those kinds of mental blunders.
The Turning Point
Tight end Evan Engram earns the goat horns—and no, I’m not talking GOAT (greatest of all time) either.
All Engram had to do was catch a pass on third down that, while slightly thrown ahead of him, was certainly within his catch radius.
The ball hit his fingertips and fell to the ground, forcing the Giants to punt and give the Eagles one last try at coming from behind, which of course they did, and the rest, as they say, was history.
Eagles come from behind, Giants lose, the hex continues, and the Giants chance at climbing out of the doldrums of the NFC Least are in the toilet, just one more flush away from going down the drain.
Daniel Jones Watch
The box score will show Daniel Jones recorded another game with turnovers—two this week, including an interception and a fumble, which makes it 19 turnovers in 20 games. But while these count against Jones’ record, it’s hard to put all the blame on the quarterback.
The first turnover, the interception on a ball to Evan Engram, was one that Jones fired into a short-range. I’m still not sure why he felt the need to rush that pass—was he maybe hearing footsteps at that point from the Eagles defense, which ended up hitting him eight times?
Anyway, it sure did look like Engram took his eye off the ball for a split second to see where the linebacker closing in on coverage was.
This resulted in his hands not being in the right position, the ball bouncing off them, and right to safety Jalen Mills. (I question whether at that point Engram was hearing footsteps after being whacked eight times by that Eagles defense.)
And what about the fumble, the second week in a row Jones has lost the handle after being hit from a blindside pressure?
While I agree that Jones needs to develop a better feel in the pocket for pressure, I can’t fault him because the guy doesn’t have eyes in the back of his head. He’s just lucky, though, that the pressures from the blindside haven’t hurt him.
Oh, and that 80-yard run? I have to wonder if Jones has ever had to run that far in a game in his life.
I also wonder if maybe toward the end of that run he was getting gassed a bit, which is why if you watch him, he’s starting to lean forward, which disturbs his balance and, I think, is what caused him to tumble to the turf.
But hey, at least Jones had some sympathy from a fellow NFL quarterback—some guy names Patrick Mahomes.
Drives of Note
1. Fourth Quarter, New York Giants at 14:07
We’ll start with the good because, well, it just goes downhill from there. On this drive, the longest scoring drive by the Giants offense this season—heck their longest drive of the season period—there was a beautiful mix of run and pass coupled with a lot done right by the Giants.
While New York did benefit from a defensive pass interference penalty called against cornerback Cre’Von LeBlanc coming on a third-down, which extended the drive, the Giants were on their 34-yard line at this point. So give Daniel Jones credit for hanging in there tough and taking two hits as he tried to bring his team down the field.
How nice was it, by the way, to see solid showings by running back Wayne Gallman, who would have been the Giants leading rusher were it not for Daniel Jones’ 80-yard jaunt, and receiver Sterling Shepard, who in his first game back from turf toe played in 46 of the 60 offensive snaps (a much larger load than I anticipated he’d be a part of)?
Gallman contributed 39 yards between rushes and receptions on that drive while Shepard, the Giants receiving leader with 59 yards on six catches, caught his first touchdown pass of the year.
2. First Quarter, Eagles at 4:13
On the Eagles’ second drive of the game, which spilled into the second quarter and cumulated in a 31-yard field goal by Jake Elliott to make it a 10-7 Eagles lead, that 13-play drive saw the Giants allow five large chunk plays of 10 or more yards.
You could perhaps make the argument that the Giants defense, which was on the field for 22 plays in the first quarter (the Giants offense was n the field for just five plays in that same quarter), might have been gassed, and indeed the Eagles up-tempo offense didn’t help matters. But that drive was still a backbreaker.
3. Fourth Quarter, Giants at 4:38
All Evan Engram had to do was catch the dang ball. It was right there. It hit him on his fingertips.
Catch the ball, and the Giants get the first down and can then focus on running out the clock while forcing the Eagles to burn whatever timeouts they had left.
The ball was slightly overthrown, but if an NFL offensive skill player gets a hand on it, isn’t he paid to catch it?
Running back Devonta Freeman suffered an ankle sprain in the first half and didn’t return.
While this was never announced, kicker Graham Gano appeared to pull a quad muscle in his kicking leg. The television broadcast happened to take note of it and also caught Gano on the sideline with an electronic massager on his leg.
The Giants have 11 days until their next game and will be off Friday-Sunday, but still, that’s something to keep an eye on.
By the Numbers
575 – Total career rushing yards by Daniel Jones. Yup, we’re not in the land of classic pocket passers anymore, not with Daniel “Wheels” Jones at the helm. What’s scary is that Jones, who has already topped Eli Manning in rushing yardage total, did so in 20 games. It took Manning 236 regular-season games to accumulate 567 rushing yards.
10 – Number of points the Eagles left off the board. There was the interception in the end zone and a missed field goal. If they score those ten points, this game probably isn’t as close as it was score-wise. Yet the Giants couldn’t win this one.
6 – Number of pressures Pro Football Focus had for Giants rookie left tackle Andrew Thomas. While it looked terrible, believe it or not, Thomas’ season-high in pressures allowed was nine, coming against Dallas two weeks ago. (Yeah, I know, small consolation.)
5 – Number of offensive plays the Giants ran in the first quarter. Slow start? Yeah, I’d say so. And it didn’t get any better in the first half either, as the Eagles had more than twice the number of plays on offense (44) to the Giants (20).
2 – Number of consecutive games in which Daniel Jones has failed to hit 200 passing yards. Not all of that is on him, mind you—sometimes the scheme is at play, and sometimes there isn’t time to throw the ball, and then there are other times when his receivers can’t catch a cold, let alone a pass. But still, the figure is surprising when you consider what other quarterbacks in Jason Garrett’s system have been able to do on a weekly basis.
Well, someone has to win the NFC East, which is a shame considering that there will probably be a team out there with a much better record who gets screwed out of a playoff berth.
But what a shame the Giants couldn’t get this win as it would have improved their division record to 2-1 (the first step toward getting the aforementioned division playoff berth).
What an even bigger shame that after making baby steps in their progress, the Giants are back to square one.