ReFo: Eagles @ Giants, Week 17

The Giants turned in their customary late-season heroics, only this time the 'late' was far too late. Still, its a far better finish than the Eagles endured.

| 4 years ago

The Giants turned in their customary late-season heroics, only this time the 'late' was far too late. Still, its a far better finish than the Eagles endured.

ReFo: Eagles @ Giants, Week 17

The New York Giants took care of business in their Week 17 encounter, ending the year on a hot note, like they have done more than once in recent times. However, this time they didn’t get the help they needed to make the postseason and have a shot at retaining their Championship.

The poor run of form earlier in the season had left them needing help from elsewhere that never came and, consequently, hammering Philadelphia by 35 points and finally consigning the Andy Reid-era to the history books will have to be enough as the Giants slink off into the offseason wondering where it went wrong.

The Eagles finally looked like a team that had simply given up on 2012 and were waiting on the sweeping changes to come. They scored once all game, and, in truth, seemed inevitably marching to an ugly end, which is a sad way for a fantastic coaching tenure to finish — though perhaps it fits their 2012 season perfectly.

Philadelphia – Three Performances of Note

The Mathis Consolation

It’s getting boring pointing to this each week, but once again Evan Mathis was the bright spot in an otherwise dismal collection of ugly football for the Eagles on offense. Mathis kept a perfect sheet in pass protection for the second game running, and sixth time this year, and completed a season in which he didn’t grade negatively a single time. His +51.3 year-ending grade is also the best mark we have ever given to an offensive lineman in five years of grading.

In this game he was joined in the green by the man to his left, King Dunlap who also kept a clean sheet in pass protection but was lucky to stay on the field after marching right through an official on his way to the Giants’ Antrel Rolle. Players have been ejected for far less this season.

The McCoy Factor

At one point in this game it seemed like every time a player from either side rushed the ball he was picking up 10 yards and a first down. McCoy ended up averaging 4.5 yards a carry and was by far the Eagles most effective weapon on offense, yet fittingly for a coach who was lying in the bed he made himself, Andy Reid saw fit to hand him just 10 carries, instead electing to put the ball in Vick’s hands to the tune of 40 drop-backs and 35 pass attempts.

At some point you have to say that regardless of a decade of excellent coaching, the utter inability to use your best player on offense, even when it is clearly your only hope of moving the ball efficiently and effectively, is simply inexcusable, not to mention dumb.

The Nnamdi Farce

There was a time when people claimed Nnamdi Asomugha was as good as Darrelle Revis. There are still people now who will tell you that he is an elite player trapped in a bad scheme. He isn’t. His display this season has been simply awful at times, and much of it has had very little to do with being unfamiliar with the responsibilities or subtleties of a zone scheme, it’s simply been getting beat.

In this game he was getting handle so badly the Eagles actually sat him down after one particularly disastrous double move that saw him, a) beaten horribly by the route, b) fail to recognize that in the cover-2 scheme this was actually OK  because there was a safety coming over the top to the place the receiver was heading, and, c) tackle the receiver rather than allow him through to that safety, getting flagged for flagrant defensive pass interference.

The Eagles owe Asomugha about $15m this offseason, and he would be too expensive at half the price. Even in the coverages he is comfortable playing there are over a dozen corners in the league better at it than he is, including one on the Eagles roster. Time to move on.

New York – Three Performances of Note

Justin Tuck Starts His Playoff Form

For the past few seasons Justin Tuck has been AWOL for much of the regular season only to turn it on late in the season and impress himself upon the postseason as the Giants make their run to the title. This season he seemed to stick to the same plan, showing up in 34 snaps this week for his best game of the year, but unfortunately for him the Giants won’t be in the postseason for him to continue it.

Tuck rushed the passer 26 times in the game, used largely as a sub-package player in that regard, and notched a sack, hit and two more hurries, which was better than any other Giant managed. Jason Pierre-Paul, the player Tuck has essentially been replaced by as the stud in that defense, was rather curiously blanked in the game, notching no pressure at all from 36 rushes, though he did make a couple of nice plays in the run game.

Dominant Interior

The middle three of the Giants’ offensive line came to work in this game, as you might have been able to guess if you’d seen the running backs for New York charging upfield for huge gains time after time. David Baas has the best day of the three, with none of them surrendering any pressure, but Baas in particular was dominant in the run game. Whether it was sealing defensive tackles away from the point of attack or working through to the second level and swallowing up linebackers, Baas just recorded a constant stream of positive grades in this game, and the Giants’ runners can consider him a big part of their day.

Eli Bounces Back

Whatever happened to Eli Manning for a time this season it was gone in this game, though I suppose it’s fair to say playing the Eagles might do that. Manning attempted just 20 passes, and scored five touchdowns, meaning that one in every four balls he threw went for a score. Any way you slice it that is a pretty efficient day at the office. He was aided by a ground game that looked capable of knocking out a first down any time they wanted to, as well as eating up the yardage if they needed to move the chains and improve field position. The line was also keeping him clean, surrendering pressure on just six drop-backs and leading to one of his better graded games of the season.

Game Notes

— FB Henry Hynoski scored a touchown and then broke out the ‘Hynocerous dance’, something that would earn him a fortune should he turn it into a poster anytime soon.

— Eagles WRs combined for just 101 yards receiving from 23 targets.

LeSean McCoy accounted for 105 yards from 15 touches.

PFF Game Ball

Tough to look past anybody that throws as efficiently as Eli Manning did, but David Baas earns the Game Ball with a fantastic display in the middle.


| Senior Analyst

Sam is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus, as well as a contributor to ESPN and NBCSports.

  • Guest19

    Gee, protect Eli Manning, let him play an up tempo offense, simplify the offense and put in healthy explosive rookies, get creative on offense. Result? 5 freaking touchdowns. It’s against the hapless Eagles, but c’mon. A simplified scheme, some dink-and-dunking to get some rhythm, Oline protects the franchise QB and then somehow, magically, execution follows? Interesting. It’s not all lack of execution. Coaches need to look hard at themselves.

    • Blackfive

      Shut up. Stop acting like you know everything, or even anything, about football.

    • Tom Z

      Or, Eli could just play against a team with CBs who have completely quit on the coach and the team every week.