After the New York Giants lost their first five games of the season, I figured at least I wouldn’t have to experience the team completely blowing a game that they had wrapped up in the fourth quarter. Even if that happened, the Giants would probably be eliminated from playoff contention and the game wouldn’t matter. Well, football has a funny way of messing with fans and last night is a great example.
The miserable Giants were 4.5-point underdogs to a bad Philadelphia Eagles team on Thursday Night Football, but thanks to its surprisingly strong defense and the goofiest, dorkiest 80-yard run in the history of the game by Daniel Jones, New York led 21-10 with six minutes left.
Jones keeps the ball on that option about once a week, so I don’t know how Philadelphia was so unprepared, but the end of this play is the headline with Jones tripping over nothing but air and crashing on the eight-yard line. Thanks to a pass interference call in the end zone three plays later, the blooper of the year didn’t cost the Giants any points. Instead they lost the game because Evan Engram dropped a perfectly-thrown Jones pass that would have converted a 3rd-and-6 and allowed the Giants to run out the clock.
The drop forced the Giants to punt, and the Eagles scored touchdowns on their last two meaningful possession to pull off a 22-21 victory that could end up deciding the NFC East because everyone is awful.
You have to give credit to Carson Wentz. The Giants did a good job getting pressure on him and collecting three sacks with an interception to boot. When the chips were down, though, Wentz came alive, completing a 59-yard pass to John Hightower to kick start Philadelphia’s comeback. After Engram’s drop gave the Eagles the ball back, Wentz overcame a facemask penalty that appeared to derail Philadelphia’s chances by hitting Boston Scott in the end zone from 18 yards out.
From watching Wentz this season, I’m convinced that he won’t come close to being an MVP candidate again like he was in 2017, but he has come up big in 2020 to lift an Eagles team that is missing a lot of talent on offense. When Dak Prescott first got hurt, I thought Dallas would win the division anyway, but after the Cowboys were blown out by Arizona and Philadelphia survived the Giants, I have to give Wentz’s team the upper hand.
As for the Giants, they now have a long layoff since their next game is on Monday, November 2 against Tampa Bay. After that, they get three winnable games against Washington, Philadelphia, and Cincinnati. New York looked pretty damn good for the first 54 minutes of this one, so Giants fans can remain a little hopeful, especially with home games against the Eagles and Cowboys left on the slate. With a solid defense and a mediocre Duke alumnus under center, this Giants team reminds me of the mid-1990s squads that were feisty but didn’t amount to much. The most interesting topic going forward will be the development of Jones as well as the running game that has gained steam over the past couple of weeks.
Is Jones the guy who can lead this franchise back to the Super Bowl one day? Is Saquon Barkley worth hanging onto in the long term if the Giants can get good production out of Wayne Gallman? Is it too early to call Andrew Thomas a massive bust?
These are the questions that I’ll be looking forward to getting answered as this ridiculous football season continues.