The Giants and Eagles may have engaged in a meaningless game, but that didn't stop either from putting on an offensive show, as Philadelphia outlasted New York, 34-26.
The game's result was still up in the air before Eagles' safety Nate Allen's interception inside the three-minute mark ultimately sealed Big Blue's fate.It was the first turnover by the Giants in three games.
But on a positive note for both offenses, Sunday's tilt showed different ways to get results, as the Giants (6-10) used methodical marches to get on the scoreboard, while the Eagles (10-6) relied on quick-strikes to tally points.
"Once we settled down, I felt we put ourselves in position to do some things [because] we probably had twice as much time of possession as Philadelphia did," reasoned Tom Coughlin. "And that was part of the plan. That's the way you have to defend them, to keep them [the Eagles' offense] on the sidelines."
As was the case for most of the season, Philadelphia didn't need much time to get points on the board, as their longest touchdown drive only lasted 2:26 -- and that came at a tortoise-like pace for them, as it only lasted seven plays.
The Giants, conversely, had three-consecutive 10-play scoring drives.
Ultimately, the dichotomy in scoring drives was what made the game entertaining, as neither offense disappointed the sparse MetLife Stadium crowd. The teams posted a total of 900-plus combined yards.
Philadelphia's Mark Sanchez (23-of-36 for 292 yards, two touchdowns and an interception), rookie wideout Jordan Matthews (eight receptions, 105 yards and a touchdown), and running back LeSean McCoy (99 rushing yards) led the way for the Birds.
New York was spearheaded by quarterback Eli Manning (28-of-53 for 429 yards, one touchdown and an interception) and his pair of standout wideouts, rookie Odell Beckham Jr. (12 receptions for 185 yards and a touchdown) and Rueben Randle (six catches for 158 yards). It was the second-straight game in which the receiving duo went for over 100 yards in the same contest.
Eagles head coach Chip Kelly noted how well his offensive unit played all season, despite missing their starting quarterback, Nick Foles, and having a penchant for giveaways.
The sometimes acerbic Kelly added that while he thought Sanchez played well, he wasn't in a hurry to evaluate the backup-turned-starter. The coach said he'd rather focus on the team as a whole and admire the team's mettle and ability to finish the season with a victory.
"Sanchez was up and down," Kelly said. "He gutted it out. I can’t go through every throw [but] we'll evaluate. The team played with great effort. I thought it was important to get to double digit wins.I was proud of how they came out on Tuesday and really worked."
Philadelphia's offense put in work all season but it was sometimes as much of a gift as it was a curse -- piling up the yards and points, but also leading the league in turnovers. And at times that was manifested on Sunday, as their first10 plays resulted in a 14-7 lead --- including an opening scoring drive that spanned 81 seconds -- but their next 10 plays resulted in two punts and an interception to allow the Giants to close the gap.
It wasn't until the Eagles went on an eight-play, 65-yard scoring drive early in the fourth quarter, capped by a Chris Polk scoring plunge, that they slowed down the pace and gave their defense some relief.
Coughlin noted he was pleased for the most part with his offense's production, today and throughout the season, but had some remorse when discussing the running game, as he felt it didn't give them much balance and that ultimately aided greatly in the team's demise.
"It was a very difficult game to lose, no doubt. I think thelack of a running game was kind of a long-playing album for the season," said Coughlin, who then surmised the entire season. "Disappointing. How else do you want me to say it? Not enough wins. Too many losses."
Kelly had his own recap, but with a more positive spin.
"I love this group. They came to work every single day, [and] did everything we asked them to do," said Kelly. "It's a shame we're not still playing."