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January 07, 2024

Final observations: Giants 27, Eagles 10

The Eagles' season gets worse and worse as they limp into the playoffs. Takeaways and thoughts from their Week 18 debacle against the GIants.

Eagles NFL
Eagles-Giants-Week-18 Vincent Carchietta/USA Today Sports

The Giants, who the Eagles have dominated for so long, made quick work of the Birds in Week 18.

The Eagles finished up their regular season at hellacious MetLife Stadium. Philadelphians' dreams of seeing their team return to the Super Bowl become a Lynchian nightmare by the week. In an embarrassing outing, the Giants easily defeated the Birds 27-10. 

How could the last month unfold like this?

Everything that could go wrong did go wrong on Sunday. The Eagles played most of their starters to begin the game with D'Andre Swift, DeVonta Smith and Fletcher Cox being notable absences. While it merited debate around this city over the last several days, understandable that the Eagles trotted out their top players. Even with the hopes slim, there was still a shot the team could've won the NFC East and guaranteed themselves at least one home playoff game. That's a huge swing from being the No. 5 seed they finish up as. 

Star wideout A.J. Brown suffered a knee injury. It remains to be seen what happens there. Brown has been the Eagles' best player, by far, this season. A Wild Card weekend playoff without Brown would be, without hyperbole, an abject disaster. Jalen Hurts suffered a an injury on his throwing hand in the first half, but remained in the game until it was crystal clear the Giants were so thoroughly kicking their teeth in that the game was over. 

This was a top-to-bottom no-show and everyone is to blame.

Usually, I detail the highs, the lows and the whoas of a given game. It would be malpractice that anything that transpired in North Jersey could be considered a high. I will just run through a string of questions, concerns and grumbles as the Eagles end their regular season and enter the playoffs...

• Haason Reddick dropped into coverage on the first two snaps of the game. Matt Patricia with his finger on the pulse of the strengths of this team, huh?

• The Eagles’ offensive line can no longer be considered as the bonafide best unit in football as they have been for the last couple of years. They’re far from elite. Still top five? Sure. An unstoppable train destroying everyone in sight? Unquestionably not.

• The Giants dialed up a  Cover 0 blitz on the Birds’ opening drive and the offense looked like they’ve never seen that look before in their lives. They ran all verticals. Not a single guy was open. The blitz pickup continued to be atrocious as the game wore on.

Wink Martindale’s defense is blitzing a lot? Really? If only there was over a decade of evidence that would be the case and the team could’ve adequately prepared for such a scheme. Alas. 

• Opponents should throw it over the middle against the Eagles on every play. If Baker Mayfield, who was banged up in the Buccaneers’ regular-season finale, can hobble his way to a three-step drop, Tampa Bay will feast next week.

Look at this:

They don't have a single clue what they're doing defensively. 

• FOX Sports commentator Charles Davis pathetically having a meltdown over the “Tush Push” was the off-the-field lowlight of the day.

• Saquon Barkley barreling through Reed Blankenship on his first (there were multiple!) second-quarter touchdown was an emphatic stamp on how unserious this defense has become. It looked like Bo Jackson destroying Brian Bosworth.

• The offensive brain trust just gave up on an underneath throw on third and 20 with over three minutes remaining in the second quarter down 17. If you’re giving up on play calls, just take the quarterback out. Again, it was reasonable to play these guys. They looked like garbage, were in dire need of some fine-tuning and it was still possible, however unlikely, that they could grab the No. 2 seed. It's no wonder that the Eagles' execution is so poor when the preparation feels nonexistent. 

•Nolan Smith covered Barkley on a 46-yard completion off a wheel route late in the first half. Mastermind stuff from ol' Matty P.

• The white flag was officially waived when Marcus Mariota entered the game down 24 with 1:05 remaining in the first half. Naturally, he immediately threw an interception. Atrocious. My thesaurus is falling apart at the seams while summing up this performance.

A 24-0 halftime deficit caused boos from the crowd. What a turn of events. The Giants have been horrific this season and their fans, just like the Eagles themselves, no-showed this game. The boos were coming from the Eagles fans that showed up, deservedly so. They were justly booed off the field in an opposing stadium by their own fans who had overtaken said stadium. That sums up this fan base quite well. 

• Tackling. It is the simplest aspect of defensive football. I can't recall an Eagles team as bad at it as this one. There is no edge to this defense.

• A collapse of this magnitude, perhaps unseen in Philadelphia since the infamous 1964 Phillies, happening with leaders like Jason Kelce, Lane Johnson and Brandon Graham in place is so improbable, but that's exactly what's unfolded. 

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