Five reasons the Eagles lost a game to the Giants that they should have won
The Eagles head into a murderous five-game stretch with a 3-5-1 record after losing to the Giants on Sunday. Here are five reasons for the defeat.
Five reasons for the Eagles' disappointing 27-17 loss Sunday to the Giants:
The Eagles were 0-for-9 on third down against the Giants. It’s the first time they failed to convert a third down in a game since 2004. Carson Wentz was 0-for-7 with a sack on third down. It was the first time in his career that he failed to complete a third-down pass.
This wasn’t an out-of-the-blue thing. The Eagles, who went into the game ranked 15th in third-down efficiency (43.0), had converted just 10 of 33 third-down tries in the previous three games. They were 3-for-17 on third downs of 7 yards or more.
Six of the Eagles' nine third-down situations Sunday were 10 yards or more. But they also failed to convert a pair of third-and-1s and a third-and-3.
On one of the third-and-1s, at the Giants' 41-yard line early in the second quarter, Wentz tripped over one of his offensive lineman’s legs pulling away from center and was sacked for a 4-yard loss. That’s the kind of day it was.
The Eagles had 11 penalties Sunday, equaling their season high. Many of them were costly and inexcusable.
Giants quarterback Daniel Jones' hard count drew the Eagles offside twice in the first quarter. Malik Jackson, who should know better, was called for encroachment on a third-and-8 at the Philadelphia 43 on the Giants' first possession. The penalty took the Giants out of an obvious passing situation and made them more difficult to defend. Jones ended up throwing a shovel pass to tight end Evan Engram that picked up 4 yards and a first down. A play later, Jones scored on a 34-yard run.
On the Giants' next possession, defensive tackle T.Y. McGill also bit on Jones' hard count on a first down at the Philadelphia 30. The Giants ended up scoring on that possession as well to go ahead 14-3.
Despite playing in an empty stadium, Eagles wide receivers Jalen Reagor and Travis Fulgham each had a false start in the first quarter. Fulgham’s put the Eagles in a third-and-long deep in their own territory.
Rookie linebacker Shaun Bradley and Corey Clement each had a dumb special-teams penalty. Linebacker T.J. Edwards wiped out a Vinny Curry fourth-quarter sack with a defensive holding penalty that kick-started a Giants scoring drive.
The Eagles gave up 151 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns to the Giants. It was just the second time in the five years that Jim Schwartz has been the team’s defensive coordinator that they have given up three rushing TDs in a game.
The Eagles once again had trouble neutralizing a running quarterback. Jones, who had an 80-yard run against them in Week 7, had a 34-yard touchdown run on a zone-read play on the Giants' first possession. Eagles defensive end Josh Sweat bit on the inside fake to running back Wayne Gallman and left a wide-open running lane for Jones.
But it wasn’t just Jones who the Eagles had trouble stopping Sunday. The Giants rushed for 94 yards on 13 carries on a pair of game-opening touchdown drives, including 51 yards on eight carries by Gallman and Alfred Morris. Gallman had a 17-yard run on the Giants' first touchdown drive, and Morris had a 10-yard run that set up a 2-yard dive into the end zone by Gallman.
The Eagles tightened things up after those first two scoring drives, holding the Giants to 57 yards on 23 carries the rest of the game. But the damage had been done.
In their last five games, the Eagles have given up an average of 152.4 rushing yards a game. This is a defense that had held teams to 90.1, 96.9, and 79.2 yards per game the previous three years.
Through nine games, they are 26th in run defense (133 yards per game), 15th in opponent rush average (4.4), 30th in rushing touchdowns allowed (14), and 28th in opponent rush average on first down (4.9).
For the fourth time in nine games, the Eagles' defense failed to force a turnover Sunday. They had three takeaways in their Week 7 win over the Giants but came up empty in the rematch.
The Eagles have won just two turnover battles all season — the first Giants game and their Week 4 win over the 49ers. They are 29th in turnover differential (minus-7). They are 21st in takeaways with 10. They have just three interceptions. The only team with fewer is the Houston Texans (two).
The Eagles have just two takeaways — both fumbles — in their five losses and the tie with the Bengals. And one of those fumble recoveries — in their Week 2 loss to the Rams — was by their special teams.
The defense is on pace to finish with just five interceptions this season. The fewest picks the Eagles have had since the NFL went to a 16-game schedule in 1978 is eight — in 2012, when they finished 4-12, and in 1983, when they went 5-11.
Forgetting about the run
The Eagles rushed for 156 yards Sunday. They averaged 6.8 yards per carry, which was their second-highest rushing average of the season. They had nine rushing first downs and two rushing touchdowns. They had five runs of 10-plus yards, including a 56-yard touchdown run by Boston Scott.
So, why did they only run the ball 23 times against the Giants, including on just four of 13 offensive plays on two critical fourth-quarter possessions when it still was a one-score game?
Scott never carried the ball again after his long touchdown run in the third quarter. Miles Sanders, who had 85 yards on 15 carries in his first game back from a knee injury, had 14- and 13-yard runs late in the third quarter, then carried the ball just four more times, and one of those was a third-and-18 throwaway play.
The Giants took away the deep ball from Wentz. They took away his most productive wide receiver, Travis Fulgham, who had just one catch for 8 yards on five targets. They sacked Wentz three times and gave the Eagles' interior line pass-protection problems much of the game. Yet, when the game hung in the balance, Doug Pederson forgot about the run.