EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The Eagles are 1-0 in the second Nick Foles Era.
It just wasn't easy.
The lowly Giants put up a pretty good fight Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium. But Foles played pretty well, special teams came up big and the Eagles eventually made a late fourth-down stop on defense in a 34-29 win (see Roob's observations).
With the win, the Eagles improved to 12-2 on the season and clinched a first-round bye in this year's playoffs. Another goal accomplished. They didn't clinch home-field advantage this weekend because the Vikings beat the Bengals. That could come next week.
With the loss, the Giants fell to 2-12 in their miserable season. They're just waiting out the rest of the year.
It turns out Foles might not be the problem down the stretch. While Foles turned in a pretty efficient performance while working through rust, the Eagles' defense struggled again (see report card).
That's been a theme over the last few weeks. Jim Schwartz's unit that started the season so strong has become a liability recently. The Birds might not have to worry about Schwartz leaving for a head-coaching gig anytime soon.
On 4th-and-goal with under a minute left, the Eagles got a huge stop to wrap up the game. Corey Graham covered Evan Engram and the pass went incomplete. The Giants wanted a flag but didn't get one.
The Eagles came out really slow and let the Giants get up on them, 20-7, before a couple big defensive and special teams plays gave the Eagles' offense short fields. The Eagles took a 21-20 lead before the G-men kicked a field goal to go up 23-21 at halftime.
The Eagles just desperately needed a play and Ronald Darby provided it in the second quarter. The cornerback stepped in front of a pass from Eli Manning to pick it off, then returned it 37 yards. That set up the Eagles at the Giants' 20-yard line. They scored a touchdown to cut into their early lead and it seemed to flip momentum. Sure, the Eagles trailed at halftime, but things had turned around from a disastrous start.
The Eagles have gotten back-to-back four-touchdown performances from two different quarterbacks.
According to the NFL, this is the first time teammates have thrown four touchdowns in back-to-back games since 2011, when the Packers had Aaron Rodgers and Matt Flynn do it.
Foles missed a few passes, but he played a pretty solid game. He had three touchdown passes in the first half, making it his eighth-career three-touchdown game. He then added another TD pass in the third.
LeGarrette Blount really took a backseat Sunday to Jay Ajayi. He got a huge carry on 4th-and-1 in the first half and couldn't convert.
The entire defense didn't play great, but Brandon Graham seemed to have a good afternoon again.
Jalen Mills didn't have his best game. He was beaten badly for a touchdown and had some costly defensive holding calls go against him. Aside from his interception (which was big), Darby really struggled too.
• The Eagles stopped the Giants on 4th-and-goal inside a minute to save the victory.
• After the Malcolm Jenkins' field goal block, the Eagles put together a FG drive of their own to take a 34-29 lead with just under four minutes left in the game.
• Jenkins got in to block a 48-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter. The field goal would have given the Giants a lead. This came after the Eagles had already blocked a punt and extra point in the game.
• The Eagles' defense forced a three-and-out in the third quarter, but a neutral zone infraction from Najee Goode on the punt gave the Giants new life and Manning hit Tavarres King on a 57-yard touchdown pass. After the two-point conversion failed, the Eagles led 31-29.
• Nelson Agholor made a tremendous touchdown catch over Darryl Morris in the end zone to put the Eagles up 31-23. After the score, Alshon Jeffery tossed up an alley-oop to Agholor, who threw it down. Ajayi had a big impact on that drive, rushing for a 22-yarder and catching a 32-yarder.
• Jake Elliott kicked a 28-yarder to give the Eagles a 24-23 lead in the third quarter. Foles had a strong drive.
• After the Eagles took a lead, the Giants converted two big third downs and drove down the field to kick a 28-yard field goal to take it back. They went up 23-21.
• Kamu Grugier-Hill broke through the line to block a punt in the second quarter. That set the Eagles up inside the Giants' 20-yard line. A few plays later, Foles hit a wide-open Trey Burton for a 13-yard touchdown pass on third down to give the Eagles a 21-20 lead.
• On third down, the Eagles desperately needed someone to make a play and Darby obliged. The corner stepped in front of a Manning throw to pick it off and then returned it 37 yards to set up an Eagles scoring drive.
• Foles hit Zach Ertz for a 10-yard touchdown pass to cut into the lead, 20-14.
• On 4th-and-1 from the Giants' 44-yard line in the second quarter, Blount was stuffed for no gain to turn the ball back over the Giants.
• Early in the second quarter, Sterling Shepard got open with a rub play on 3rd-and-2 and went for a 67-yard touchdown to put the Giants up 20-7. Rodney McLeod made a poor attempt at a tackle near the sideline. Shepard has caught two of the three longest passes against the Eagles this season.
• Jalen Mills was crushed on a double move in the red zone. He bit hard on a 13-yard touchdown catch by King to give the Giants a 13-6 lead.
• The Eagles responded with a 75-yard drive of their own. The big play came when Foles avoided pressure to throw the ball deep to Torrey Smith. Smith couldn't catch it but drew a pass interference call and the Eagles scored a few plays later to go up 7-6.
• The Giants marched down the field on the first drive of the game. The big play came when Darby was beaten on a double move by Roger Lewis Jr. for a gain of 18. The drive went 75 yards. Derek Barnett blocked the extra point to make it 6-0 Giants.
Stefen Wisniewski (ankle) missed the game. Chance Warmack started in his place. Robinson left in the second half to be evaluated for a concussion.
The Eagles return home for the last two weeks of the season. They play the Raiders on Christmas Day and then the Cowboys to finish the regular season.