By Peter Gleason
Guess the Eagles destroyed the myth that was talked about all week by the lame-ass media that it’s hard to beat a team three times in one NFL season!
Compared to the New York Giants, the Eagles are a much better team than the Giants.
The Giants were a good story. The Eagles are contenders. And they proved it with a dominant 38-7 win Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field to set up a date with either the Dallas Cowboys or San Francisco 49ers next Sunday in the NFC championship game.
Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts, still battling an injured throwing shoulder, accounted for three touchdowns, and the Philadelphia defense held a Giants offense that posted 31 points of its own last week in their wild-card win to a single touchdown.
It was the Eagles’ first postseason victory since a wild-card round win over the Chicago Bears in 2018, a game otherwise known as the “double-doink” by Chicago Bears kicker Cody Parkey.
For the Giants, the shellacking capped a season in which the organization over-performed by the standards of a new regime with first-year general manager Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll.
Hurts went 16 of 24 passing for 154 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed nine times for 34 yards and another score.
From the first series, the Eagles had the Giants’ defense on its heels. Hurts hit DeVonta Smith (six catches, 61 yards, one touchdown) for 40 yards on the second play from scrimmage. The Eagles had their first score, a 16-yard pass to Dallas Goedert — who made a one-handed catch — not even five minutes into the game.
After the Giants could not convert a fourth down and the Eagles took over near midfield, Smith and Hurts connected for a 9-yard touchdown to make it 14-0. In the second quarter, eternal Giants killer Boston Scott — 11 of his 19 career touchdowns have come against New York — scored from 3 yards away following a nine-play drive in which the Eagles ran it eight times for a three-touchdown lead.
Hurts scored on a 5-yard keeper 48 ticks before halftime to put the Eagles up 28-0 and in cruise control.
The Eagles dominated the Giants in the teams’ first meeting this season on the ground and it was much of the same the third time around. Kenneth Gainwell led all Eagles rushers with 112 yards on 12 attempts. He scored on a third-and-9 play and the game already decided from 35 yards out to make it 38-7. The Eagles finished with 268 rushing yards on 44 attempts, an average of 6.1 yards per carry
Last week, the play of Jones and the Giants’ receiving corps was the difference in their wild card victory over the Minnesota Vikings.
But against the Eagles, receivers could not find separation in the Philadelphia secondary.
With his options consistently covered, Jones had to run for his life against a fearsome Philadelphia pass rush all night. Hurts, on the contrary, wasn’t pressured until the second half. New York managed three first downs in the first half and the Eagles outgained the Giants 258-64.
The first turnover of the game, a Jones interception, came when James Bradberry — cut by the Giants this past offseason for salary-cap purposes — jumped a slant route to Darius Slayton. Jones had to get rid of the ball because a blitz from the secondary went through the line untouched, a nice design by Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon.
On the Giants’ first drive, Daboll left the offense on the field for a fourth-and-8 from the Eagles’ 40. Jones took a sack to give Philadelphia prime field position, and the Eagles scored on Smith’s 9-yard touchdown catch to make it 14-0.
Saquon Barkley busted a 40-yard run on the Giants’ lone touchdown drive, scored on an 8-yard rush by Matt Breida.
As the No. 1 seed, Philadelphia will host the NFC championship next Sunday. Its opponent will be determined this Sunday, with the winner of Dallas-San Francisco making the trip east.
The contest will feature either the two most complete teams in the NFC, the Eagles and the Niners, or a second-straight NFC East playoff battle at Lincoln Financial Field with the rival Cowboys coming to town.