PHILADELPHIA – Players and coaches don’t tank but organizations do and the New York Giants decided to tap out to the Eagles pre-game, content with an unlikely postseason berth and a trip to Minnesota in the wild-card round.
The Giant’s inactive included quarterback Daniel Jones, their best offensive player Saqupn Barkley and top offensive lineman in Andrew Thomas. New York’s most important defenders like Dexter Lawrence, Leonard Williams, and Julian Love were also given the night off.
More so, the better players who had to dress for the Giants barely played given this a glorified scrimmage vibe.
That foreshadowed the result, a 22-16 win for Philadelphia, that finally secured the NFC East title and the No. 1 seed in the conference for the Eagles, who can sit back and wait for the wreckage after the wild-card round.
The return of Jalen Hurts after missing two games with a sprained SC joint in his throwing shoulder was workmanlike but hardly impressive with too many Jake Elliott field goals instead of touchdowns.
The defense was very good for most of the game but it’s hard to take anything from that with the limited Davis Webb, the third-stringer elevated from the practice squad, struggling mightily for the Giants.
From that standpoint, it’s a little disappointing that the Eagles had to keep their starters in the entire game but they seemed to emerge with no major injuries.
TCOB – It was ugly but the Eagles methodically took care of business and rarely let Webb breathe or give any of the Giants’ backups any hope of a miracle. Philadelphia outscored the NYG 69-38 in two wins this season.
Haason Reddick – Reddick didn’t add to his impressive 16-sack total but he was all over Webb early in the game spooking the inexperienced backup. Every time Webb saw No. 7 break through his O-Line, he looked like a teenager running from the monster in a slasher movie.
Chauncey Gardner-Johnson – C.J. returned to the lineup after missing five games with a lacerated kidney and the Eagles threw him into the deep end of the pool, starting him at his typical safety spot and then moving him to nickel corner when they needed an extra defensive back. That usage probably doesn’t bode well for Avonte Maddox at least early in the playoffs.
Jake Elliott – The Eagles’ kicker was 5-for-5 on the day, including two from 50-plus. That comes on the heels of a 56-yarder last week against New Orleans.
Boston Scott – It’s the annual easiest prop bet in the world: The Boston Scott TD against the Giants. This time it came early, with an eight-yard run in the first quarter. Scott now has 17 career TDs with 10 of them coming against the NYG.
Records – It took all of one offensive play for A.J. Brown to break Mike Quick’s single-season franchise record for receiving yards. The new standard is 1,496. DeVonta Smith’s single-season record for receptions is 95 and the Eagles won 14 games for the first time, The team came up shy of the 1984 Chicago Bears sack record, finishing two shy of tying the mark with 70.
Bad Hands – The Eagles missed at least three chances at interceptions, plays that would have turned into the blowout that everyone wanted. Marcus Epps was first, mishandling a gift and he was followed by T.J. Edwards bungling an opportunity which is a little more forgivable considering he’s a linebacker. Darius Slay then let a potential pick-six go right through his hands in the third quarter.
Steamroller – The Giants’ only touchdown came on a QB draw in which Webb bulldozed Reed Blankenship into the end zone in a Tim Tebow-like fashion. The problem with Webb is he also throws like Tebow and left the ensuing two-point conversion short, resulting in an easy pass defense by CGJ. Blankenship made up for it with an onside-kick recovery that sealed the game.
Jalen Hurts – Hurts was solid in his return but clearly more cognizant of protecting his shoulder. That limited the typical Hurts experience and the explosiveness of the offense but the end game is that Philadelphia finished 14-1 with Hurts as the starting QB and now has an extra week to get its on-field leader as healthy as possible for the divisional round of the playoffs.
-John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com’s Eagles Today and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John, alongside legendary sports-talk host Jody McDonald every morning from 8-10 on ‘Birds 365,” streaming live on YouTube. John is also the host of his own show “Football 24/7 and a daily contributor to ESPN South Jersey. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen