Giants finally finds way to win close one, Eagles aren't
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) When Tom Coughlin was coaching the New York Giants, a common mantra was ''just finish.''
His former team has done better concluding games this year, as it did in beating the Eagles 28-23 Sunday. Turns out it's Philadelphia that now can't get things right at the end of the day.
Eli Manning threw for four touchdowns, but the Giants (5-3) needed some key plays by the defense after Manning was picked twice in the fourth quarter. The Giants sure knew how to start off things, with two interceptions of their own helping stake them to a 14-0 lead.
Then rookie Carson Wentz brought back the Eagles before New York's defense stepped up on four plays from its 17 in the final moments.
Why the strong-enough finishes, Eli?
''I think just with the leadership we have and guys,'' said Manning, who passed Vinny Testaverde for ninth place on the career passing yardage list with 46,428. ''Obviously defense, we put them in a situation where they've had to make some plays, and obviously we had the lead, so it's good.
''But offensively, we've made some nice plays also in games, and scoring points and making drives to win. Thinking earlier to the year like in Dallas and against New Orleans, we're finding ways to win and that's what good teams have to do. It's not always perfect, there's things you can clean up for sure, but you come into the fourth quarter, you have to find ways to win the tough games, the close games, and that's what we're doing.''
It's also what the Eagles (4-4) aren't doing. They had several opportunities to pull out this game, and were hurt throughout by a leaky secondary and an inability to convert on third downs (3 for 15) and fourth downs (1 for 4).
''We just didn't finish, plain and simple,'' said Wentz, who threw for 364 yards. ''It was tough. Just throughout the whole game, we struggled finishing in the red zone, and that's something we've got to go back and we've got to be sharp on our details. I know that's one thing we've all got to emphasize, but we've got to find a way to finish in the red zone.''
Odell Beckham Jr . (twice), Roger Lewis Jr. and Sterling Shepard each finished passes from Manning in the end zone. The Eagles wound up with three field goals by Caleb Sturgis and only two touchdowns .
And New York finished off its third straight win.
''We have to learn to have that killer instinct for us, and get up by two scores and keep our foot on the gas and not let them back into the ballgame,'' said Ben McAdoo, who replaced Coughlin as coach this season. ''We do know that it is a four quarter-plus ballgame. So that being the case, we have to play the game as it unfolds and we kept playing there right until the very end.''
INCONSISTENT CARSON: Wentz, the No. 2 overall pick in April's draft, got off to a sensational start this season. He's cooled, as most rookie quarterbacks do.
On Sunday, all of his ups and downs were on display.
Wentz was intercepted twice on his first three passes in the first quarter, and the Giants converted both into touchdowns.
''I airmailed them,'' he said. ''The ball sailed on me on both of them. It's tough. Basically, myself, I handed them 14 points.
''But it's a long game and I thought we could bounce back.''
He helped the Eagles do so by throwing for 364 yards overall and not turning it over again. He did flop on running calls, winding up with four rushes for minus-4 yards, including a critical loss on a fourth-down try.
Wentz connected consistently with Zach Ertz (8 catches, 97 yards) and Jordan Matthews (6 for 88), and had four completions of at least 30 yards.
''As an offense, I thought we bounced back,'' Wentz said. ''We did some good things; we just didn't come away with it.''
STILL LAST, AND LOSING GROUND: The Giants came in last in the league in rushing and things only got worse. New York had 24 rushes for 54 yards, with rookie Paul Perkins carrying 11 times for 32 yards and Rashad Jennings 11 times for 26. Manning had to other two rushes for minus-4.
Left guard Justin Pugh, arguably the line's best player, left early in the second quarter with an injury to his right knee.
The positive Perkins showed some flashes in the fourth quarter with the game on the line and the Giants had some success running with a jumbo formation that used tackle Marshall Newhouse as a sixth lineman.
SPROLES: The Eagles are getting nothing from running back Ryan Matthews. He had five carries for 15 yards and a touchdown. Darren Sproles was dynamic in the backfield. He gained 57 yards on 13 carries against a good Giants running defense and he can be a threat coming out of the backfield. He had three catches for 14 yards. Going forward coach Doug Pederson has to give the veteran more touches.
COLLINS STEPPING UP: Second-year safety Landon Collins has become the face of the New York Giants defense. He ignited the Giants quick start on Sunday with his third interception in the past two games, and he led the defense with 12 tackles, a sack and a quarterback hit. One of his tackles was for a loss.
What makes Collins performance so exceptional is that he has played all season with untested safeties playing opposite him almost all season.
AP Sports Writer Tom Canavan in East Rutherford contributed to this report.
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