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January 08, 2023

Handing out 10 awards from the Eagles-Giants game

Eagles NFL
010823JalenHurts Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports

Eagles QB Jalen Hurts

It wasn't pretty, but the Philadelphia Eagles finally clinched the No. 1 seed in the NFC against the New York Giants after failing to do so against the Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints the previous two weeks. As always, win, lose, or tie, we hand out 10 awards.

1) The 'Thank You' Award 🙏: The Eagles, when they were 13-1

There's little question that the Eagles sputtered down the stretch, most notably in Weeks 17 and 18. They played their worst game of the season against the Saints Week 17, and then beat the Giants' backups by a mere six points Week 18. And "backups" might be putting it kindly. The Giants didn't even start their No. 2 quarterback, Tyrod Taylor. Instead, they started Davis Webb, a practice squad call up drafted in 2017 who had never thrown a pass in an NFL regular season game.

The Eagles built up a huge cushion in the NFC by starting 13-1, and they used every last bit of it, all the way through until a Giants onsides kick landed safely in the hands of Reed Blankenship, with 1:37 left in their final regular season game. 

2) The 'Hurt' Award 🤕: Jalen Hurts

Had the Eagles beaten the Cowboys Week 16 or the Saints Week 17, Hurts could have gotten some extra rest, but because the Eagles badly needed to win this game, he played. Nick Sirianni revealed in his postgame press conference that the sprained shoulder that Hurts suffered Week 15 against the Bears is still hurting him.

In some ways the fact that Hurts was still sore showed in the gameplan, in that the Eagles didn't call many designed runs for Hurts, who was quick to slide when defenders were in the area. In other ways, it didn't show in the gameplan, in that Hurts attempted 35 passes vs. 25 rushing attempts with the running backs, despite holding a lead for almost the entirety of the game. 

3) The Congratulations Award 🍾: A.J. Brown

Brown had four receptions for 95 yards. He finished the season with 88 catches for 1,496 yards (17.0 YPC) and 11 TDs. His 1,496 receiving yards broke Mike Quick's record of 1,409 receiving yards, set in 1983. Brown wore a Quick jersey after the game, and the two receivers had a photo op.

As a team, the Eagles finished the season with 477 points, breaking the single-season team record of 474 points scored, set in 2014.

4) The 'Dead Zone' Award 😵: The Eagles' red zone offense

The Eagles made five trips into the red zone against the Giants, and only came away with 19 points. They had one touchdown come off the board because of... SURPRISE... an illegal man downfield penalty. On the play after that penalty, Hurts did this:


5) The 'Money' Award 🎯: Jake Elliott

We don't often mention Elliott in our awards posts, but he was clutch, as usual, making all five of his field goal attempts, two of which were from 50+ yards. The Eagles needed those points.

6) The 'Giant Killer' Award ⚔️: Boston Scott

It really is amazing how much Boston Scott is involved in Giants games relative to other opponents. Something happens to this man when he sees blue. There was this run:

And this TD run: 

7) The 'Should We Be Worried' Award 😯: Darius Slay

Slay was a beast the first half or so of the season. During the back half, less so. There are a lot of elite wide receivers that the Eagles could potentially face in the playoffs, and they'll need "first half of the season Slay" to find himself.

8) The 'Poacher' Award 🎣: Jonathan Gannon and Shane Steichen

The NFL's "Black Monday" — AKA the day a slew of head coaches around the league are given pink slips — is tomorrow, and there are no shortage of candidates to be canned. Hell, there will only be 13 teams this season that finish with winning records.

Expect to hear Gannon's and Steichen's names as head coaching candidates this week.

9) The 'Trade Ninja' Award 🥷: Howie Roseman

The Saints lost their season finale to the Carolina Panthers. Their first-round pick, owned by the Eagles, will be 10th overall. As a reminder, the Eagles made the following trade with the Saints last April: 

Eagles got Saints get 
18th overall pick, 2022 16th overall pick, 2022 
Third-round pick (101st overall), 2022 19th overall pick, 2022 
Seventh-round pick (237th overall), 2022 Sixth-round pick (194th overall), 2022 
2023 first-round pick (10th overall) 
2024 second-round pick  

Using the draft value chart, and excluding the second-round pick that the Saints still owe the Eagles in 2024, the Eagles have 2297 points vs. 1887 points for the Saints. That second-round pick will add anywhere from 580 to 270 points to the Eagles' total. Highway robbery.

10) The 'Sit and Wait' Award 🪑⌛: The Eagles, next weekend

The Eagles will face one of four teams in the divisional round of the playoffs on January 21st or 22nd, two weekend from now. Next weekend, the NFC playoff matchups will look like this, with times/dates to be determined:

• (5) Cowboys at (4) Buccaneers
• (6) Giants at (3) Vikings
• (7) Packers or Seahawks at (2) 49ers (pending the result of the Packers-Lions game on Sunday Night Football)

The Eagles will not play the 49ers or Vikings in the divisional round, but the other four teams are in play.

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