The New York Giants entered Week 18 solidified as the sixth seed in the NFC. Star players like Saquon Barkley, Andrew Thomas, Dexter Lawrence, and Julian Love were healthy scratches in the eventual 22-16 loss against Philadelphia. Quarterback Daniel Jones dressed but didn’t play.
The game acted as a glorified preseason matchup as the Giants looked to rest key players ahead of their wildcard contest against the Minnesota Vikings. The offense was led by Davis Webb, tight end Lawrence Cager, and the running back duo of Matt Breida and Gary Brightwell.
A win for the Eagles would secure Philadelphia as the number-one seed in the NFC. Quarterback Jalen Hurts returned to the lineup after missing two games with a shoulder injury. The Eagles took an early commanding lead, but the Giants’ backups made the game quite interesting down the stretch of the affair.
New York attempted a fake field goal, an onside kick to start the second half, and they tested the Eagles deep into the fourth quarter with two late touchdowns that prompted a second onside kick that was also recovered by Philadelphia.
Although the game wasn’t close throughout much of the affair, the Giants’ backups caused the Eagles consternation late in the game.
Here are the five plays, or sequence of plays, or maybe just entertaining plays, in this Giants loss:
Play 1: Davis “Saquon” Webb
Somewhere in this world, Chris Pflum shed a tear as Davis Webb lowered his shoulder and ran over Reed Blankenship (32) on a third-and-eight play. The undaunted Webb led a ten-play, 59-yard drive that ended with this touchdown. The Giants failed on their two-point conversion, but the play still sparked a palpable level of excitement for Big Blue.
Play 2: Kenny Golladay scored!
Kenny Golladay finally scored his first touchdown as a member of the New York Giants. It’s been two long scoreless years in New York since the $72 million investment. Frustrating is an understatement for Golladay’s time in the Big Apple – for all parties involved. There’s a reason why Golladay was playing in a Week 18 game where the Giants benched their starters.
Despite the overall dejection that is associated with Golladay, I found a certain Mudita in his touchdown catch. It’s still a frustrating situation, but the die is cast on his contract. He might as well enjoy some success, and, to his credit, it was a solid catch against Darius Slay.
Play 3: Boston Scott…because, of course
We all know the rules…Boston Scott – the Giant killer – wasted little time finding paydirt against the Giants. The Eagles ran a zone read, and the double-team uprooted 1-technique Justin Ellis (71). The combo on the backside 3-technique, Henry Mondeaux (96), did a great job scooping him and the seas parted as if Moses himself had arrived at the Link. Scott hit the hole, absorbed a hit from Jason Pinnock (27), and fell into the end zone for the Eagles’ first touchdown of the game.
Play(s) 4: Jake Elliott’s foot
Despite sitting many critical players, the Giants defense was able to force five field goals in the game. It was a valiant effort from the Giants and one that theoretically kept the Giants in the game. Elliott has quite the history against the New York Giants. He booted a game-winning 61-yard field goal in his rookie 2017 season as time expired at the Linc. In 2018, he kicked a 43-yarder to win the game as time expired as well. In a game where the Giants started their backups, the Eagles were only able to score one touchdown. Unfortunately, field goals are a thing in football.
Play 5: Dane Belton’s interception
This didn’t lead to the Giants’ loss, but it was a good play nonetheless by a young player. Rookie safety Dane Belton has struggled to find the football field in recent weeks. Belton received a golden opportunity to earn a bigger role due to a bye-week injury sustained by Xavier McKinney. However, Belton blew a run fit against Dameon Pierce that led to a 44-yard gain.
Since the Detroit loss, Belton has only played 15 defensive snaps coming into Week 18. His ability to bait quarterbacks and position himself advantageously to earn interceptions is one of his best traits. He took advantage of a Jalen Hurts’ mistake early in the third quarter and came away with his second career interception.