Takeaways from New York Giants’ 33-25 Loss to Philadelphia Eagles

  1. Takeaways from New York Giants’ 33-25 Loss to Philadelphia Eagles

Takeaways from New York Giants’ 33-25 Loss to Philadelphia Eagles

The Giants put up a fight, but their effort fell short.

Patricia Traina

Dec 25, 2023 9:24 PM EST

The New York Giants rolled into Philadlephia determined not to let the Eagles, winners of the last ten games played in Philadlephia, bully them yet again, especially on Christmas Day.


While the Giants kept it competitive, they also came up short in their efforts to hand their hated division rivals a fourth straight loss. Instead, after pulling to within two points thanks to a 76-yard pick -6 by cornerback Adoree’ Jackson, the Giants, down 30-18 at one point, managed to pull within five points on Darius Slayton’s 69-yard touchdown catch from Taylor, the longest play from scrimmage by the Giants this season.


However, after the Eagles got a 43-yard field goal from Jake Elliott, Taylor and the Giants offense came up 26 yards shy of paydirt, as on the final play of the game, with four seconds left, Taylor’s pass intended for Saquon Barkley was picked off by Kelee Ringo in the end zone.


Although the game didn’t end the way the Giants wanted, they showed fight against an Eagles team that has completely owned them in their last several meetings. While that doesn’t get them anything in the standings, we’ll see if it provides any kind of competitive spark in these last two games.


Here are a few more takeaways from this week’s game.


Not So Special

One of the matchups I wrote about coming into this week’s game was the Giants punt coverage team versus Britain Covey, the best punt returner in the league right now.


Turns out my concerns came to fruition. On Covey’s first two returns, he recorded 54 yards and 12 yards on two poor punts by Jamie Gillan.


To be fair, however, to Gillan, he was dealing with a left groin strain due to his having to do the place-kicking last week when Randy Bullock strained his hamstring. This past week, Gillan was limited in practice and didn’t receive an injury designation. FOX Sports reporter Pam Oliver reported that special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey revealed that Gillan wore a wrap on his left leg, which may have affected his movement.


While Gillan’s coverage team didn’t do him any favors–Covey finished with a 22.0 punt return average this week, which is by far the best mark of any opponent the Giants have faced this season–why the Giants (again) went with a compromised kicker in a game they had designs on winning is beyond logic.


For what it’s worth, Covey’s two long returns helped set up two Eagles touchdown drives by giving them short fields with which to work.


For those keeping score at home, this is the second time one might argue that a compromised kicker cost the Giants a chance at a win. New York put Graham Gano and his ailing left knee on the field against the Jets in Week 8, insisting he was okay, only to find out he wasn’t, as New York ended up losing that game in overtime, with Gano headed for season-ending surgery not long after.


Third Down Woes

The Giants continue to struggle on third down, this week converting four of 14 attempts for 28.6 percent (only one of eight in the first half). The sad thing is that several of those missed third downs had a chance to be made for positive gains that might have made a difference in how the game turned out.


There was the 3rd-and-7 in the first quarter in which DeVito threw behind tight end Darren Waller, who had all kinds of daylight in front of him. There was a 3rd-and-4 in the third quarter in which Taylor, under pressure, underthrew Barkley, who also had real estate in front of him. And then there was a 3rd-and-1 in the fourth quarter where Tylor, under pressure, again underthrew Waller, who had a clear path to the end zone.


Imagine what might have been had those three plays been made.


DeVito’s Benching

The clock struck midnight on Tomy “Cutlets” DeVito’s fairytale run as the Giants’ starting quarterback, as he was pulled from the game at halftime when Daboll was looking for a spark.


Ironically, what probably did DeVito in was the very same thing he had been lauded for since becoming the starter: his pristine ball security.


DeVito again didn’t turn the ball over when pressured, nor did he put the ball in harm’s way. But in addition to missing some opportunities underneath, DeVito also wasn’t taking those chances for the deep ball against a struggling EAgles defensive secondary that was there to be had.


He finished 9 of 16 for 55 yards and a long of 14 yards for a 63.3 rating, and he took one sack.


Tylor finished 7 of 16 for 133 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. His long passes included the 69-yard touchdown catch by Slayton, a 49-yard pass to tight end Daniel Bellinger, and a 20-yarder to Waller.


As for the remaining two games, Daboll predictably didn’t answer as to who he planned to start next week, but it would be hard to justify returning to DEvito after Taylor, while not perfect, did seem to provide a spark in the second half in helping to chip away at the Eagles’ big halftime lead.


The Officiating

You never want to see a team get into a position where a call (or non-cal) made by the officials influences the game, but arguably, two calls against the Giants were headscratchers.


The first came at the end of the first half when linebacker Bobby Okereke was flagged for a delay of game infection. In the play in question, Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts had scrambled for a 9-yard gain but had failed to get out of bounds. Okereke hit Hurts, and the ball popped loose. Okereke then did what he had been coached to do: he went after the loose ball.


However, the officials felt Okereke wasn’t very willing to give up the ball so readily and was trying to stall since the clock was still running. As a result, the flag came out, and on the next play, Elliott hit a 21-yard field goal to make it a 20-3 Eagles lead.


The more egregious penalty came in the third quarter on a 4th-and-4 at the Eagles’ 45-yard line. Schmitz was fluffed for a false start after apparently bobbing his head and drawing Jalen Carter off-side. The problem is that Carter didn’t immediately jump, creating confusion as to whether Schmitz had committed an infraction.


The Giants punted the ball away, and another scoring drive was wasted. However, it can be argued that Taylor’s short pass attempt to a wide-open Saquon Barkley on the previous play probably did more damage to the drive than the phantom penalty.


Meanwhile, it can be argued that the officials missed a defensive pass interference call against the Eagles on 3rd-and-8 to receiver Wan’Dae Robinson, in which the defender not only appeared to make contact with Robinson but also never turned back to look for the ball.


Going to the Well Too Often

Borrowing a page from the late Vince Lombardi’s playbook in which he used to call for certain plays over and over so long as they were working, the Giants, on fourth down, put the ball in the hands of their best and most consistent playmaker, running back Saquon Barkley.


On a second-quarter drive, the Giants faced 4th-and-1 three times. The first two, they converted on runs of 10 and 5 yards by Barkley. But instead of mixing things up, the Giants went back to the well again with Barkley, and this time, an unblocked Haason Reddick came in untouched to drop Barkley for a 4-yard loss, ending a promising 12-play drive that stalled at the Eagles 21-yard line.


Whether it was DeVito’s fault for not calling an audible on the protection or just a coaching blunder, the fact that everyone knew Barkley would touch the ball likely played in the Eagles’ favor.


Moving Forward

With the Giants now officially out of the postseason contention, the consolation is they moved up to No. 5 in the 2024 draft order with two games to go against a very good Rams team that comes into MetLife Stadium next week, and then the Eagles, who might still have something to play for as they try to hold off Dallas for the NFC East title.


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