By Harry Allison
The Eagles and the Giants were like two ships passing in the night yesterday at MetLife Stadium.
The Eagles (10-6) are walking away frustrated after closing out the season with a 34-26 win over the Giants. The defending NFC East champions had a game lead in the division after beating Dallas on Thanksgiving and blew it with consecutive losses to Seattle, the Cowboys and Washington, ending their playoff hopes and making Sunday’s game meaningless.
”Overall, it’s bad,” Eagles center Jason Kelce said regarding the season that saw Philly match its win total of a year ago. ”We’re upset we didn’t make the playoffs. We’re happy to get a win today. The only thing we can take away is that we’re close to being a very, very good team. ”
The Giants (6-10) are not a very good team. They have missed the playoffs three straight seasons and their win total is one less than a year ago.
It’s has many wondering whether coach Tom Coughlin is going to be fired. While the 68-year-old has led New York to two Super Bowl titles in 11 seasons – the last in February 2012 – missing the playoffs repeatedly tends to cost people their jobs.
”We’re going to evaluate our team, just like we always do,” said Coughlin, who has a year left on his contract. ”We’ll present our information of the pro personnel to the owners and if there’s anything else, it’ll be initiated by ownership. I’m going to go about my business until I’m told otherwise.”
Eagles and Giants players are scheduled to meet on Monday for the final time this season.
”It’s bittersweet,” said Eagles receiver Jeremy Maclin, who will be a free agent after this season. ”It is frustrating that we are not going to be in the playoffs. We had every opportunity to get there. It’s over. We can’t go back in time.”
On Sunday, Mark Sanchez threw touchdowns to Jordan Matthews and Brent Celek, Trey Burton (photo above) returned a blocked punt 27 yards for a score to lead the Eagles. Chris Polk also scored on a 1-yard run and Cody Parkey kicked two field goals.
Odell Beckham Jr. capped a phenomenal rookie season for the Giants with 12 catches for a career-best 185 yards, including a 63-yard touchdown. Andre Williams scored on a 1-yard run and Josh Brown kicked four field goals for New York, which had a three-game winning streak snapped.
The Eagles specialized in being special in 2014. Their return of the blocked punt was the seventh touchdown by the Eagles’ special teams this season. It was their third return of a blocked punt for a TD. They also had two kickoff returns and two punt returns for TDs. Prior to this year the Eagles never had more than one blocked punt returned for a touchdown in a season. The last NFL team to have three blocked punt return touchdowns in the same season was the Rams in 1987.
Chip Kelly’s offense broke a team record scoring 474 points, 32 more than last year’s mark. The Eagles also set team records with 54 touchdowns, 390 completions, 4,581 gross passing yards, eight 300-yard passing games and 356 first downs. What probably kept them out of the playoffs were 35 turnovers.