The Philadelphia Eagles rallied to beat the New York Giants, 23-17, in overtime on "Monday Night Football.'' The victory boosted the Eagles to 6-7, which ties them for first place in the division with the Dallas Cowboys.
After one of the most uneventful quarters of football of the entire season, Darius Slayton started the second quarter off with a bang. On the first play of the quarter, the Giants' rookie wide receiver caught a pass right in front of Eagles corner Ronald Darby, then broke a tackle and took it to the house for a 35-yard score. A late-quarter drive from Philly ended around midfield, and left the Giants too much time on the clock to respond. Slayton split bracket coverage and hauled in a deep ball down the left sideline, staking the Giants to a 17-3 lead. Eli Manning threw for 179 yards and two touchdowns in the first two quarters, but would be unable to replicate his play in the second half.
The two teams traded punts on five consecutive possessions to open the second half, and then the Eagles finally got their first touchdown of the game with a 10-play, 58-yard drive that ate up 5:39 of game time and ended with third-string running back Boston Scott plowing into the end zone from two yards out. With only the fourth quarter left to play, the Giants clung to a 17-10 advantage. Excluding punts, New York ran just eight plays on offense in the fourth quarter. Late in the game, Carson Wentz led the Eagles on a 14-play, 85-yard drive that was capped by a two-yard Zach Ertz touchdown. That tied the game, and sent us to overtime.
The Eagles got possession first in the extra period, and needed just eight plays to go 75 yards down the field as Ertz again found the end zone to secure a six-point victory.
The Eagles came back to beat the Giants in OT and tie Dallas atop the NFC East, and there's a lot to go over. Listen to Will Brinson and the Pick Six Podcast Superfriends break down the game and much more in the player below, and be sure to subscribe for daily NFL goodness.
Despite being down to just two healthy wideouts, the Eagles leaned on other weapons to help them move the ball in the second half. Ertz finished with nine catches for 91 yards and two touchdowns, Dallas Goedert had three catches for 41 yards and Scott had 128 total yards and a touchdown.
It was a sloppy game in dreadful weather, but the Eagles found a way to remain alive in the postseason race.
Let's take a deeper dive into how the Eagles survived the Giants on Monday night:
Why the Eagles won
It certainly wasn't because of their first-half efforts. Depleted and lifeless for the opening 30 minutes of action, the Eagles turned things around when Doug Pederson finally decided to switch things up and speed things up, relying on more tempo, not to mention a heavy dosage of reserve RB Boston Scott, in the second half. Even bigger reasons for the Eagles' comeback victory: A defense that went from lost to inspired in a hurry, plus a QB in Carson Wentz who had a similar in-game evolution -- from off-target and uncomfortable to nearly flawless. For so much of Monday's game, the Eagles looked as if they didn't deserve or even care to win, but Wentz couldn't have been much sharper on his final drives, leading Philly from down 14 with a cast of preseason-caliber characters. Scott (128 total yards) was consistently elusive filling in for Miles Sanders and Jordan Howard, who missed his fourth straight game, to aid No. 11, while Jim Schwartz's "D" rendered Eli Manning ineffective for pretty much the entire second half.
Why the Giants lost
Pat Shurmur has kind of become a punching bag for Giants fans at this point in the season, but it's hard not to declare him reason No. 1 for New York's collapse. Darius Slayton, for example, torched the Eagles secondary on repeat occasions during New York's 17-3 start, but was hardly heard from during the final two quarters. Manning was at one point tasked with running a flea flicker on a third-and-14. And for some reason the G-Men allowed Pederson to coax them into wasting time and then spending a timeout at the end of regulation, when the Birds bluffed a fourth-down attempt just before OT. All of those errors fall back on the head coach, who was clearly outmatched once the game got close. Manning wasn't bad in relief of Daniel Jones, but he wasn't great as the night wore on, either. Sam Beal and the notoriously porous Giants secondary, meanwhile, came out to play (in a bad way) during the latter stages of action, all but handing Wentz open throwing lanes on the game-ending drive.
After the Eagles came back from down 14 to tie things at 17, the Giants had 1:53 to answer -- and potentially steal the game from Philly once and for all. Instead, Manning and Co. went three-and-out. And while Wentz's squad actually punted once more before overtime, it was New York's failed drive that guaranteed the G-Men wouldn't get another shot at scoring before the end of regulation. Sidney Jones, of all corners, came up with a crucial third-down deflection to break up a potential first-down pass on that series, keeping momentum in the Eagles' favor and increasing the likelihood of an extra 10 minutes of play. By that point in the game, it was becoming increasingly apparent the Giants would turn the "W" over to their rivals.
Play of the game
Ertz was responsible for the game-winning score in OT, but his fourth-quarter touchdown to tie things up was even more impressive, not only because his catch was more contested but because of how precise Wentz was on the throw, with just 1:56 left in the game and the Birds trailing by seven. It was clutch, and it was beautifully executed.
"The first 12 weeks of the season, we've been killing ourselves. We just said at halftime, 'Let's see how tough we are not only physically but mentally, especially' ... We had to win this game."
Ertz had nothing but high praises for Philly's second-half unity while talking to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo after the game, and he was absolutely right: The Eagles needed this one. Let's see whether their renewed spirit can actually carry into consecutive weeks.
The Eagles (6-7) have another NFC East matchup on tap, with the Washington Redskins (3-10) playing host in a 1 p.m. ET Week 15 showdown on Sunday, Dec. 15. The Giants (2-11), meanwhile, will return home for a clash with the same team that beat the Eagles back in Week 13 -- the Miami Dolphins (3-10).
Relive all the action from Monday night's rivalry right here: