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Giants 13, Eagles 7: By the Numbers

Let's recap some of the key stats and numbers from the Giants' 13-7 win over the Philadelphia Eagles.

Last week against the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the New York Giants returned from the bye and gave their most abysmal performance of the season.

Despite having Saquon Barkley and Kenny Golladay back from injury, the Giants offense had their worst total yardage outing of the season, barely scraping 215 yards with their top playmakers on the field. That horrific showing was the straw that broke the camel’s back for offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, whose time in East Rutherford ended after 26 games.

The defense, which in Week 9 forced two turnovers and scored on one, had no answers for the craftiness of Tom Brady and the overwhelming talent of the Bucs’ offense, allowing a season-high 258 yards in the first quarter alone.

Back at MetLife Stadium Sunday for Week 12, with the team retiring the jersey of Hall of Fame defensive end Michael Strahan, one of the franchise’s defensive greats, the modern-day defense had the answers for Jalen Hurts and the reeling Philadelphia Eagles’ offense.

Rising to intercept Hurts three times, including once at the goal line, and holding his offense scoreless through the first three quarters, the Giants defense powered Big Blue to another hard-fought victory in a low-scoring affair, 13-7, over the division rival Eagles.

Let’s look deeper into five different numbers that most contributed to the Giants' fourth win of the 2021 season.

Turnover Streak: 8 Consecutive Games

Against the Buccaneers, the Giants defense extended their streak of consecutive games with at least one turnover to seven, securing the longest-active streak in the NFL with defensive back Adoree' Jackson intercepting a tipped pass from Brady in the second quarter.

That streak didn’t stop on Sunday against the Eagles. The Giants' defense didn’t stop at just one turnover either.

Getting much more of a pass rush to the quarterback than the previous game, the Giants defense pressured quarterback Jalen Hurts into throwing three interceptions, two in the second half, to hinder the Eagles offense in the first three-quarters of football.

Hurt’s first miscue came on the Eagles’ second possession of the first quarter, on 3rd and five from the Giants’ 20-yard line. The Alabama product aimed a pass intended for Quez Watkins, but defensive back Darnay Holmes intercepted the ball, who took it back fifteen yards and held the Giants' lead to 3-0.

Then in the second quarter, with the Eagles offense on the verge of crossing the goal line for a touchdown before halftime, Hurts had his second interception come at the hands of linebacker Tae Crowder on third down. Crowder returned the ball nine yards before he fumbled it, but the ball rolled out of play four yards further up the field, effectively ending the half.

Hurts would be picked off for the third time in the third quarter with the Eagles pinned deep in their own territory and the Giants defensive pass rushers smelling blood in the water. Hurts sailed a deep ball intended for wide receiver Jalen Reagor, but Xavier McKinney cut off the pass at the Giants’ 46. McKinney, a Defensive Player of the Week two games prior, secured his third interception over that same span as he continues to display his improvement in breaking routes downfield

Giants head coach Joe Judge praised his secondary for playing great “assignment football” against a quarterback with just five giveaways all season, emphasizing that component as key to the defense’s turnover success.

“It comes down to playing assignment football on the backend,” he said. “It’s being in the right place at the right time but playing with good discipline. As a whole the plays come to you when you play your assignment, play with the right technique, great discipline, and you fly around to the ball.”

First Touchdown for TE Chris Myarick

One point of emphasis for the Giants coming off their dismal offensive performance in Week 11 was to do a better job of putting their offensive playmakers in positions to be successful. More importantly, getting the ball into the hands of those playmakers is space for them to make plays.

While the Giants offense was able to do some of that with a handful of players, one lesser-known name burst onto the scene unexpectedly to make what arguably was the difference-making score of the game.

Tight end Chris Myarick, a former walk-on and 2019 undrafted player out of Temple who spent the first two years of his NFL career rotating in and out of the Miami Dolphins practice squad, from which he was released in the 2021 offseason.

On Sunday, earning his second game on the Giants active roster after signing with the team in September, Myarick’s name entered the conversation for the first time as the Pennsylvania native capitalized on his opportunity to play by punching in the Giants’ lone red-zone score of the game.

Knocking on the door of the end zone on 1st-and-goal, trying to add onto a slim 3-0 advantage in the second quarter, Giants quarterback Daniel Jones went to the passing game on first down and goal. Rolling to his left, Jones launched a quick pass into tight coverage and connected with Myarick for a 1-yard touchdown to increase the Giants lead to 10-0.

The moment became one of those reasons why you love the game of football, but it also offered irony to the Giants offensive focus this week, given that their only touchdown came from a player with zero catches prior.

“That was a play we repped a lot in practice,” said Jones of Myarick’s score. “Myarick did a great job of stepping in and making a play there, and I think in certain situations, the ball on the one yard line, it’s those types of plays that you prepare for and count on.”

What made Myarick’s touchdown against his hometown team even more impressive was the sheer closeness it came to being an incomplete pass. The ball landed on Myarick’s legs and began to slip out from between them as his body slid to the ground, but the tight end got his fingers underneath it just before it grazed the MetLife turf to preserve an important six points.

208 Eagles Rushing Yards

As a result of their three massive interceptions, the Giants defense held Hurts to 14 completions on 31 attempts through the air for 124 passing yards and an average of 3.9 yards per throw. They also held Philadelphia to eight passing first downs (compared to the Giants 12) and 4 of 11 on third-down conversions.

While the Eagles were limited in that aspect of their offense, they made up for it with their league-leading rushing attack that kept the affair contested to the bitter end.

The Eagles offense entered Week 12 ranked in the top 3 in numerous rushing categories, including attempts (third, 312), yards (second, 1,282), touchdowns (first, 12), and yards per rush (third, 4.1). Their previous four contests finished with at least 170 total yards rushing, and on Sunday, they accumulated over 200 yards for the fourth time in the last five games, totaling 208 against a Giants defense giving up very little deep.

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Hurts led all Eagles rushers with eight carries for 77 yards, and his average rush of 9.6 yards helped the Eagles convert 11 rushing first downs, giving the Giants defensive line fits with his impressive mobility and speed. Hurts remains the team’s leading rusher on the season with 695 yards and eight rushing touchdowns.

The Giants also received another pleasant visit from running back Boston Scott, who added 15 carries for 64 yards and scored the Eagles’ lone touchdown of the game in the fourth quarter. Scott, who’s had some of his best games against the Giants in recent seasons, cashed in a one-yard run on 1st-and-goal, one play after a 12-yard rush, to complete a 10 play, 66-yard drive and cut the Giants’ lead to 10-7 seconds into the fourth.

Miles Sanders, a former teammate of Saquon Barkley from their Penn State days, also contributed 64 yards and a long run of 27, but his presence faded down the stretch as he frequented the sideline with an injury.

Two for 22

Eagles rookie wide receiver DeVonta Smith was expected to be one of the storylines entering his first rivalry game against the Giants, and for good reasons.

Not only was Smith a player the Giants heavily desired in last April’s draft, where the Eagles ultimately picked him after they traded up to No.10 with the Cowboys to select him, he’s also become one of the league’s brightest rookie receivers and Hurt’s favorite target.

Through the first eleven games of this season, Smith led the Eagles receiving corps with 46 receptions for 664 yards and four touchdowns, ranking him in the top 30 receivers in the latter two categories.

Smith has quickly developed a close relationship with his former quarterback and teammate at Alabama. The two have found a way to connect repeatedly on big plays for huge receptions throughout a game. Smith has had two games with 100+ receiving yards and three with a long catch of at least 30 yards, marking him as the dangerous deep threat in the Eagles’ offense.

However, against the team up I-95, Smith was never a factor, and he barely scratched the stat sheet.

Targeted just four times the entire game, Smith only managed to tally two receptions for 22 yards, guaranteeing what was his worst performance since Week 8 against the Detroit Lions, in which he had one catch for 15 yards.

Over the last three games, Smith accounted for at least 60 of the Eagles’ total receiving yards, with his second-highest output of 116 yards coming against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 9. Three weeks later, Smith’s biggest contribution was stopping an interception return by Tae Crowder at the end of the first half after his team failed to convert before the break.

A possible explanation for the Giants' success at limiting Smith was the decision to have veteran defensive back James Bradberry defend the nifty receiver, something Joe Judge said was a part of the game plan but also came down to alignment adjustments in-game.

“In this game plan, there were plans on matching based on alignment as well as matching based on personnel.”

“James has done a good job, he works extremely hard for us, he’s a really good leader for us, and he’s not afraid to put his arm around a guy and challenge him.”

Contributions from Barkley and Golladay

Through the first 11 games of the Giants 2021 campaign, one of their biggest challenges has been getting Saquon Barkley and Kenny Golladay active in the offense.

For Barkley, a major reason for his falling off after posting two 1,000+ rushing efforts in his first two seasons with Big Blue has been injuries. Barkley missed most of the 2020 season with an ACL injury he suffered in Week 2 against the Chicago Bears. He has been absent from four games this year due to an ankle sprain suffered in Week 5.

Since returning from his injuries, Barkley has struggled to rediscover his shifty, flashy running ability behind a constantly changing offensive line, accruing just 220 total rushing yards and two touchdowns, both of which came against the Saints in Week 4.

Golladay’s situation has been a fair mix of the former Lion failing to make plays when targeted and his quarterback in Jones not finding him when he is open. Last Monday, the latter was seen when Jones missed a wide-open Golladay on a middle-of-the-field post route that could have been converted for six points early in the contest.

Nevertheless, Jones and the Giants offense, playing their second game with interim offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens calling the plays, found a way to get the two involved against the Eagles and to bring out the talents Giants fans have been waiting to emerge for weeks.

Barkley rushed 13 times for 40 yards Sunday, with his largest rush going for 32 yards in the second quarter. Despite adjusting to some wrinkles in the new Kitchen’s scheme, Barkley was able to churn several runs for respectable gains instead of the horrific negative rushes that have epitomized his season thus far. \

Speaking on his 32-yard run, Barkley expressed his continued confidence in his ability to return to the high-impact performer he was before his injuries.

“I already know I can do it,” Barkley said. “I’m gonna continue to get better and better each week, trust myself, and trust my body. I still got it, I just gotta do it more.”

Golladay, who earned back-to-back 1,000+ yard receiving seasons in Detroit, had his most productive outing since that same game against the Saints, catching three receptions on seven targets for 50 yards.

Forty-two of those 50 yards came in the fourth quarter on an important possession for the Giants, who desperately needed a score to distance themselves from a rolling Eagles offense. On consecutive plays, Golladay connected with Jones for two separate receptions of 18 yards to push the ball from the Giants’ 16 to about midfield.

Golladay’s big pass-catching abilities finally showed for a few plays on Sunday despite remaining without a touchdown through another game this season. They helped the Giants eventually score three more points to secure their divisional victory. 


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