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December 17, 2017

Handing out 10 awards from the Eagles-Giants game

The playoff-bound Philadelphia Eagles are now 12-2 after a sloppy win over a horrendous 2-12 Giants team. As always, win or lose, pretty or ugly, we hand out 10 awards.

1) The 'Wake Up' Award: The Eagles' pass defense

After they lost Odell Beckham for the season, the Giants were left with no wide receiver presence on the outside whatsoever. In fact, Beckham was still somehow second on the team with TD catches (3) and third in receiving yards (302), despite playing in only four games. That's just sad.

And yet, Eli Manning and this garbage Giants offense shredded the Eagles through the air to the tune of 424 passing yards. Four different Giants players had at least 70 receiving yards. When you're giving up plays to guys like Roger Lewis and Tavarres King, it is alarming.

Over the last three games, the Eagles have allowed the following passer ratings to opposing quarterbacks:

  1. Russell Wilson, Seahawks: 118.6
  2. Jared Goff, Rams: 110.9
  3. Eli Manning, Giants: 98.1

The Eagles are likely going to have to face Goff, Wilson, Drew Brees, Cam Newton, or Matt Ryan in the first round of the playoffs: It's not going to get any easier.

2) The 'Golf Clap' Award: Nick Foles

In his first start with the Eagles since the 2014 season, Nick Foles was 24 of 38 for 237 yards, 4 TDs, no INTs, and a QB rating of 115.8. While I believe his stats were maybe a little misleading, Foles more than capably filled in for Carson Wentz.

Certainly, the Eagles' defense seems to be a bigger concern than Foles at this point.

For no reason whatsoever, here's Foles waving to you from atop a dinosaur.

3) The 'Fake Out' Award: Ronald Darby

Even with an interception and an impressive return, Darby had a brutal day, as the Giants repeatedly roasted him with double moves. Here's a dog imitating Darby: 

4) The 'Mutombo' Award: The Eagles' special teams

On the down side, the Eagles' special teams had a horrendous penalty when they jumped offsides on 4th and less than 5, leading to a Giants first down on a drive that eventually resulted in a touchdown. However, overall the Eagles' special teams had a great day. It's not often you have three blocked kicks or punts in a game, but that's exactly what the Eagles did. Derek Barnett blocked a PAT, Malcolm Jenkins blocked a field goal attempt, and future Pro Bowl special teamer Kamu Grugier-Hill blocked a punt.

Without those plays, the Eagles may not have won this game.

5) The 'Get Off the Field!' Award: The Eagles defense

The Eagles' defense simply couldn't get off the field today. The Giants were 10 of 18 on third down, they ran 81 plays, and they racked up a total of 27 first downs on the day. The Eagles played a lot of off coverage, and the Giants simply destroyed them all day on quick slants.

6) The 'Ghost of Andy Reid' Award: Doug Pederson

For the first time all season, the Eagles had issues with the play clock. I cannot confirm this with my own eyes, but it seemed from the fans interacting with me during the game on Twitter that the Eagles did not get the play off in time on one of their touchdowns, but got away with it. They were also called for a delay of game penalty once and had to burn a timeout to avoid another one.

Pederson did not attribute the clock issues to having a new quarterback in the lineup. Rather, he blamed himself for the offense not having enough energy getting up to the line for the next play.

7) The 'Stone Hands' Award: Nigel Bradham

Nigel needs to get some reps on the jugs machine.

Against the Rams last week, Bradham dropped two interceptions, and today he dropped a gift from Eli Manning.

8) The 'Coming Home' Award: The Eagles' road tour

The NFL tries not to schedule teams to have three consecutive road games, but that's what the Eagles were faced with in December, when they played in Seattle, then Los Angeles, and finally in New Jersey. Being able to go 2-1 during that trip is good, even with some shaky performances.

On the season, the Eagles finished up at 6-2 on the road, an impressive feat for a team that went 1-7 on the road a year ago.

At home, they are 6-0 so far this season, and they likely won't play away from home until/if they reach the Super Bowl.

9) The 'Rest Up' Award: The Eagles' playoff seed

With their win, the Eagles clinched at least the No. 2 seed, and thus a first-round bye in the playoffs. With either one more win or one more Vikings loss, the Birds will clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

  1. NFC East: Check.
  2. First-round bye: Check.
  3. Home-field advantage: Soon.
  4. Super Bowl: Eh...

10) The 'Better Be Better' Award: The Eagles' Super Bowl aspirations

Doug Pederson was very self-aware of the Eagles' performance on Sunday.

He's right. The Eagles played well enough to beat a garbage 2-12 team, but their play today is not going to be good enough to beat legitimate playoff teams.

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