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Eagles-Giants analysis: Costly turnovers from Jalen Hurts, Boston Scott doom offense in ugly loss

On this Sunday, there were no miracles to be had as the Eagles had too many costly mistakes against the Giants.

Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts runs with the football against New York Giants safety J.R. Reed in the second quarter on Sunday, November 28, 2021 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts runs with the football against New York Giants safety J.R. Reed in the second quarter on Sunday, November 28, 2021 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.Read moreMONICA HERNDON / Staff Photographer

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — On this Sunday, there were no miracles to be had in the Meadowlands.

The Eagles had their chances but lost to the New York Giants, 13-7, on an afternoon marred by four costly turnovers by the offense. Jalen Hurts was responsible for the first three, but the fourth and possibly most costly came from Boston Scott, a Giant killer in the past whose fumble with less than two minutes left was recovered by the Giants’ Julian Love.

The Eagles got the ball back on downs, then failed on a fourth-down conversion attempt when Jalen Reagor couldn’t pull down a pass at the goal line. DeVonta Smith walked angrily toward the sideline and threw his helmet. The Eagles’ No. 1 receiver had appeared to get open multiple times on that final play.

Here’s our instant analysis of the loss:

Hurts to watch

It was a rough showing for Hurts.

The Eagles quarterback had several misfires to start the game, ending a promising four-game stretch in which the Eagles’ went 3-1. He threw three interceptions, including one at the end of the first half that cost the team at least three points.

The first pick came after an apparent miscommunication between the second-year signal caller and Quez Watkins. Watkins stopped his feet, seemingly at the end of his route, but Hurts led the pass to him and it was picked off by Giants cornerback Darnay Holmes. The second one, at the end of the half, was the result of Hurts forcing a pass to Scott on third-and-goal from the 1-yard line with 8 seconds left.

His third, in the third quarter, was a result of an underthrown deep ball to Reagor on a go-route. Reagor had a step, but Giants safety Xavier McKinney undercut the route and snagged the pass at the Giants’ 46.

Hurts’ frustration wasn’t limited to his mistakes, though. He was slow to get up after taking a big hit on a zone read in which he handed the ball off near the end of the first half. Two plays later, the Giants took another shot at him after a handoff and Hurts rushed to the nearest referee for a word.

Third-down woes

The Eagles’ early-down production in the first half left plenty to be desired, and it cost them come third down.

After gashing teams on the ground and setting up manageable third downs for most of the previous four games, the Giants game was a reminder of how crucial positive plays on the early downs have been for an offense so reliant on the threat of the run.

As a result of the stagnant starts to some drives, the Eagles converted 4-of-11 third downs. Part of that is a result of Hurts’ struggles in the passing game, but getting into third-and-longs isn’t a winning formula.

The average third-down yardage to go in the first half was 6.3 yards, and they went just 2-for-6 with two turnovers on third down during that time.

Defense does its part

Credit where it’s due: The Eagles defense kept things within reach for the majority of the game.

Sure, the Giants were without several of their best offensive weapons, including receivers Kadarius Toney and Sterling Shepard, and tight end Kyle Rudolph, but the defense came up big in several spots.

After Scott’s 1-yard touchdown run on the first play of the fourth quarter ended the Eagles’ scoreless drought, their D forced a three-and out to get the offense the ball back.

Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave were at the center of the encouraging defensive effort. Cox made a handful of disruptive plays in the backfield throughout the game, and Hargrave had a pivotal pressure to force the aforementioned fourth-quarter three-and-out. Hargrave flushed Daniel Jones out of the pocket and forced the Giants quarterback to throw the ball away with the help of Josh Sweat.

Kelce talks his way back

Eagles center Jason Kelce left early in the first half with a knee injury that looked concerning for a time.

Kelce was on the turn trying to get up when running back Miles Sanders was knocked into him, and the center was slow to get up. He spent the rest of the first half nursing his knee injury and eventually seemingly lobbying to get back into the game.

Nate Herbig, Kelce’s backup, struggled in relief of the veteran center. He had two holding penalties while filling in, including one that negated a 21-yard touchdown run from Scott in the last minute of the first half.

In the second half, Kelce got his wish. He returned early in the third quarter and sent Herbig to the bench, at least for a little while. Herbig eventually came back in after right guard Jack Driscoll got hurt.