EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The Eagles were one bad play away from a loss. One bad play away from blowing a huge opportunity. One bad play away from making their road a little harder.
Corey Graham didn't let it happen.
Late in the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium, the Eagles were clinging to the eventual final score of 34-29, but the Giants had a chance to go up.
With just 48 seconds left on the clock, Eli Manning and the Giants had 4th-and-goal from the 11-yard line. One play to decide the game. Manning dropped back and targeted one of his favorite receivers, rookie tight end Evan Engram.
For some strange reason, Graham didn't get credit for a pass defensed on the play, but he successfully defended the pass. And it fell incomplete as the Giants' last-ditch effort failed.
"It was a situation, the game's on the line," Graham said. "They're going to go to one of their best guys at the time. I knew that there was a good chance they were going to go to my guy. I had to be outside leverage on that play. I just played with good position, with outside leverage and just make sure you're looking back for the ball so you don't get that penalty on you. You just gotta play the ball."
Graham, the 32-year-old safety who signed with the Eagles in August, said the defense was in zone coverage, but Engram was his responsibility 1-on-1.
After the pass fell incomplete, several Giants were upset there wasn't a defensive pass interference penalty called. Receiver Sterling Shepard was so upset, he ripped his helmet off and began to argue with the official. His passion was rewarded with a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
"Got it in the end zone and there was some contact being made," Eli Manning said. "I don't know, it's tough to know if it's interference, if it's the call or not. You kind of just put it up high and give him a chance to make the play and we didn't make it."
Giants interim head coach Steve Spagnuolo said he wasn't given an explanation on why a flag wasn't thrown and wanted to watch the play again before giving his opinion.
"I wasn't really too worried about it, because I'm looking back playing the ball," Graham said. "When it's all said and done, when you're looking back playing the ball, they ain't gonna call that. It ain't pass interference unless you're hitting the guy and you're not looking. But if you're looking at the ball, it's 50-50."
The Graham play was a good way for the Eagles to finish what was an otherwise bad defensive performance. The Eagles gave up 504 yards, the most in 30 games under Jim Schwartz (see story).
But on that fourth-quarter drive, when they looked like they were about to blow the game, they finally got a huge stop.
"It's football. You live for those kinds of moments," Jalen Mills said. "Those crunch-time football plays. You live for those types of moments. So you just have to get locked in and play your type of football."