Grading the Giants following their 22-21 loss to the Eagles on Thursday night.
Daniel Jones (20 of 30, 187 yards) did enough to win. He threw two touchdown passes, the one interception was not his fault, and his 80-yard run was a thing of beauty, until he tripped himself up. Evan Engram’s fingerprints are all over this loss. He failed to catch a slant that he deflected into the air for an interception then dropped what should have been the game-sealing catch. Brutally disappointing. Wayne Gallman (10-34 rushing, 5-20 receiving) provided a spark. Sterling Shepard (6-59, 1 TD) returned in style. Rookie left tackle Andrew Thomas is playing poorly enough to get benched. He was beaten, badly on a twist that resulted in a sack by LB Nathan Gerry early in the third quarter. Devonta Freeman got obliterated on a blitz by Gerry that nearly got Jones’ legs taken out.
Once again, some great moments, some real cohesive moments and then a late letdown, meltdown, whatever you want to call it. Jabrill Peppers can’t get beaten that badly by RB Boston Scott for game-winning TD. Late penalties by Logan Ryan and James Bradberry were unacceptable. Peppers did get his first sack of the season, dropping Carson Wentz on the Philly 4-yard line. Markus Golden had a sack in the second quarter. Ryan Lewis losing track of the ball on a huge chunk play for John Hightower was ugly. Pass rush had Wentz (25 of 43, 359 yards) on the run, but he made the plays down the stretch. Bradberry had a leaping interception in the end zone. Some good stuff, but giving up touchdown drives of 78 and 71 yards in the final 4:38 is losing football.
Corey Ballentine showed terrible awareness in the first quarter when he was not covered on the punt team, with Riley Dixon signaling to the sideline to call for a fake. Ballentine late in the game was called for a 15-yard personal foul for lowering his helmet to jump-start the Eagles’ final drive. … Jabrill Peppers picked up a punt on a bounce for a 14-yard return. … Sloppy coverage on well-executed directional kickoff by Graham Gano. … Dixon pinned the Eagles back on their 9-yard line late in the second quarter.
Something has to be done to keep things in order down the stretch of these close games. Penalties and mistakes are a bad look, and it reflects on the head coach, like it or not. Joe Judge did a good job making sure the Giants ran a play before Doug Pederson could challenge a spot that likely would have been overturned. Jason Garrett made a great call on the third-down play that should have ended the game, but Engram made the call a footnote to failure. Defensive coordinator Patrick Graham was hurt by key mistakes in the closing seconds by the players he counts on most of all.
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