The Giants' playoff hopes were expiring by the time they got to the locker room after their 42-7 pounding of the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night. The Chicago Bears were in victory formation, and when they finished off their 26-24 win over the Detroit Lions, the defending Super Bowl champion's season ended officially.
“The first thing is you don't want to rely on anybody else in this business,” coach Tom Coughlin said afterward. “You've got to take care of your own business.”
New York did that on Sunday, albeit too late to save its season. The Giants out-gained, out-possessed and out-scored an Eagles team that beat them in Week 4, and they made it look remarkably easy.
QB Eli Manning completed 13 of 21 passes for 208 yards and five touchdowns, running backs Ahmad Bradshaw and David Wilson combined for 182 yards and a touchdown on 31 carries and rookie WR Rueben Randle filled in for WR Hakeem Nicks, who was active but went unused, to finish with four catches for 58 yards and two touchdowns.
The defense was just as strong, holding the Eagles to 18 first downs. QB Michael Vick completed just 19 of 35 passes for 197 yards and Philadelphia finished the game having converted just 4 of 14 opportunities on third down.
Ultimately though, the dominating performance left the Giants with more questions than answers.
Coughlin said he'll ask each of his players for their thoughts on what happened, but he's not likely to get any satisfying answers. The fact is, the Giants were in first place three weeks ago and big losses to the Atlanta Falcons and Baltimore Ravens ended their hopes of a Super Bowl repeat.
“For whatever reason those last two games we just weren't ready to play,” S Antrel Rolle told reporters afterward. “Whatever reason that was, there's really no explanation behind it.”
When the game turned: The Eagles surprised the Giants with an onside kick to open the game, but S Stevie Brown rectified the situation with his eighth interception of the season on the ensuing drive. The pass, which was intended for TE Brent Celek, was returned 48 yards and set up the Giants for an easy four-play drive for a touchdown.
The Giants moved to 6-0 this season when Brown intercepted a pass. They were just 3-7 when he didn't have a pick.
The Eagles shocked everyone, particularly the Giants, with the opening onside kick, which was recovered by former New York practice squad CB Brandon Hughes. ... After starting their first offensive possession with three runs by Wilson to the left side, Manning tossed a play-action pass to Randle in the end zone along the right hash mark. The throw was to the rookie's back shoulder, but he hauled it in flawlessly. ... Randle caught a second touchdown on the Giants' second drive by beating Eagles CB Nnamdi Asomugha down the left sideline, spinning around and hauling in the 38-yard pass from Manning. ... Manning's third touchdown pass came on the third drive, and while it was thrown slightly behind Wilson, the pint-sized running back was still able to run past Eagles LB Jamar Chaney on a wheel route before out-leaping him in the end zone. ... Eagles QB Michael Vick hit WR Jeremy Maclin for a seven-yard touchdown at the beginning of the second quarter. On fourth and one, Vick faked a handoff to RB LeSean McCoy before rolling out to his left and finding WR Jason Avant cutting across the end zone with Giants CB Prince Amukamara in pursuit. ... After stopping the Eagles on fourth down with 23 seconds remaining in the half, Manning connected with WR Domenik Hixon on a 30-yard reception down the right sideline. He was knocked out of bounds at the Philadelphia 24-yard line and Manning followed with a 24-yard touchdown pass to WR Victor Cruz, leaving just four seconds remaining on the game clock. Cruz had no trouble running past CB Brandon Boykin and S Colt Anderson to haul in his 10th touchdown pass of the season. ... FB Henry Hynoski registered his first NFL touchdown in the second half when he caught a one-yard pass from Manning at the right pylon and punctuated the score by miming a rhino in the end zone (his nickname is “Hynocerous”).
- RB Ahmad Bradshaw -- 16 rushes, 107 yards, one touchdown
- WR Rueben Randle -- four catches, 58 yards, two touchdowns
- WR Victor Cruz -- four receptions, 52 yards, one touchdown
- S Stevie Brown -- six tackles, one interception
- RB LeSean McCoy -- 10 rushes for 45 yards, five catches for 61 yards
- S Colt Anderson -- nine tackles
What they said about Andy Reid's future:
- Andy Reid: “I've loved the Philadelphia Eagles, I've loved every moment I've been able to coach them. … Either way, I understand. ... I've been doing this a long time and I have a lot of respect for [owner] Jeffrey Lurie. I'll go in [to the year-end meeting] with eyes wide open. I understand, either way. This is the business I've chosen and I'm very fortunate to be here as long as I have. And if I'm (still) here, I'll love every minute, and if I'm not, I understand that, too.”
- Coughlin: “I have tremendous respect for Andy Reid for what he's accomplished over the years. Regardless of what happens there, he's been an exceptional football coach in this league and I'm sure that if he wants to coach again, if that's what happens there, he'll be right back at it.”
- Vick: “He's a great man and I love him to death and I wish we weren't having this conversation right now. Coach can't go out and play the game. He can only coach and it's our responsibility to go out and make it right and we didn't.”
|The home of the Super Bowl|
What they said about the Eagles' season:
- Vick: “To me, I can't even say it was ups and downs. It was dismal. It wasn't what we thought coming into the season. We had high expectations and we didn't perform to the best of our abilities by any means.”
What they said about impending changes with the Giants:
- DE/SLB Mathias Kiwanuka: “We know there's going to be changes made but for anybody who comes back, we know that we've got to deal with it, step up and answer the call week to week.”
- Soon-to-be free agent TE Martellus Bennett: “When I got to the locker room [I thought about it] a little bit, but I have a good feeling I'll be back next year. I want to be back and I think that everybody here from the maintenance people to the cleaning people to the people who cook our food, I think everybody wants me back."
- DE Osi Umenyiora: “I really don't know what's going to happen here. I really don't have any control of that. My agent's gonna see what happens and we'll go from there.”
What they said about the presence of Sandy Hook Elementary families:
- Tom Coughlin: “Sandy Hook Elementary School children and parents were here today and we certainly wanted to honor and respect them. We wanted to try and do our part to help them in the healing process. I hope they left with some inspiration today.”
|The home of the Super Bowl|
Numbers you should know: The Eagles never gave up more than 27 points under former defensive coordinator Juan Castillo, but in the 10 games since he was fired, the Eagles yielded an average of almost 32 ppg. Over that time they allowed 25 touchdown passes and picked off just one pass. The 32 touchdown passes the team allowed this season is a franchise record.
Injury update: Giants -- CB Corey Webster left the game in the fourth quarter with what appeared to be a knee issue. Eagles -- WR Jason Avant left the game in the first quarter to have X-rays on his foot and knee. LB Casey Matthews suffered a concussion in the second quarter and did not return.
Going forward: Giants -- Several Giants, including Umenyiora, Bennett and S Kenny Phillips, may have played their last game in blue. Nobody was too talkative about the subject, but Bennett and Brown both stated their desire to be back. Eagles -- Vick and Reid may have made their last appearances with the Eagles. The franchise is expected to do a massive overhaul in the offseason.
For more Eagles coverage, follow Kevin Noonan @CBSEagles.