SUBSCRIBE NOW

Eagles can't stop Daniel Jones in loss to Giants, fail to take control of NFC East

Martin Frank
Delaware News Journal

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – It was only fitting that Carson Wentz was sacked on a 3rd-and-10 late in the fourth quarter, the Eagles desperately trying for one more chance to get back into the game.

That was indicative of the Eagles' day.

Wentz didn't turn the ball over for the first time this season. But he and the Eagles were sloppy in so many ways in their 27-17 loss to the New York Giants on Sunday, beginning with the Eagles going 0-for-9 on third down.

"That’s just not acceptable," running back Miles Sanders said. "That’s not going to get it done. We’re not going to win games like that.”

The Eagles committed 11 penalties. And defensively, they still haven't figured out a way to stop Giants quarterback Daniel Jones as either a passer or runner. They weren't very good on special teams either.

"It’s on me that we played the way we did today, quite honestly," Eagles coach Doug Pederson said. "We’ve gotta stop shooting ourselves in the foot. That’s the bottom line. All three phases had a hand in the loss today with the penalties. Not good enough."

So it's no wonder that the Eagles (3-5-1) blew a chance to take control of the NFC East. Instead, the Giants (3-7) stayed in the running. And the Eagles saw their 8-game winning streak against the Giants come to an end as well.

Safety Jalen Mills was asked what the feeling was like in the locker room after the game.

"Pissed off, you know what I’m saying?" he said. "We haven’t put a full game together, regardless if it was a win or a loss ... We gotta put it together. We gotta find a way.

"We definitely let this game go, and we’re pissed off for sure."

Needless to say, it wasn't the kind of return from a week off that the Eagles were hoping for, especially with five games coming up against teams with winning records, beginning next Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.

It's not like Wentz was awful. He completed 21 of 37 passes for 208 yards. Wentz's passer rating was 72.8, right at his season's rating of 73.2. That season rating, however, is the worst of his career by far.

Wentz wasn't as good as Jones, who went 21 of 28 for 244 yards. Jones also had 64 yards rushing, including a 34-yard TD to open the scoring in the first quarter.

That's why Pederson didn't give Wentz a glowing review after the game.

"I thought he played OK, played good," Pederson said. "Obviously, there were some throws we’d like to get back from the standpoint of just accuracy. He managed the game, the run game, really well. Put us in some really good situations. Hung tough. Did what he’s capable of doing. We’ve got to continue to work on it with him."

Still, the Eagles were expecting more, especially with the return of Sanders, who missed the previous two games with a knee injury, along with right tackle Lane Johnson, and the season debut of Alshon Jeffery.

Sanders played well with 85 yards on 15 carries, and Boston Scott started off the second half with a 56-yard TD run after the Giants took a 14-3 lead into halftime.

The 2-point conversion brought the Eagles to within 3 points.

But the Eagles' defense couldn't hold the Giants. On the next series, Jones hit Sterling Shepard for 27 yards, then Golden Tate for 38 yards on consecutive plays.

Just like that the Giants were at the Eagles' 10. They scored shortly thereafter and went back in front by 10.

"Those were great catches, super-tight coverage," Mills said. "But it’s tough, for sure ... Those catches definitely hurt us."

Again, the Eagles answered on Corey Clement's 5-yard touchdown run. But curiously, Pederson decided to go for 2 points rather than kick the extra point and stay within three.

The conversion failed and the Eagles trailed 21-17 with 5:20 left in the third quarter.

But the Eagles couldn't duplicate the comeback from the first meeting between the two teams, back on Oct. 22. In that game, the Giants had an 11-point lead with 6 minutes left before the Eagles rallied to win 22-21.

There was no comeback this time.

The Giants added two more field goals for some breathing room, taking a 10-point lead with 3:06 remaining.

Then the sack of Wentz on 3rd-and-10 with 2 minutes left set up a 4th-and-16. The Eagles had no choice but to go for it. 

They fell short, much like they did all game.

"We don’t go into any game thinking we’re going to struggle like that, go 0-for-9 on third down and only put up a couple of points," Wentz said. "I think we had to execute at a high level. We did that at times, but we didn’t do it well enough."

So far, that's the story of the Eagles' season.

Eagles bench their 2nd-round pick in '19

Jeffery's return meant that J.J. Arcega-Whiteside was a healthy scratch for the first time as an Eagle.

Arcega-Whiteside, the Eagles' second-round pick in 2019, has been a major disappointment. He has just 2 catches for 45 yards this season. In 23 career games, Arcega-Whiteside has just 12 catches for 214 yards and a touchdown.

POTENTIAL STARS:Eagles' 2 young receivers could surpass DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, and make team history as a duo

SPEED TO BURN?:Eagles' preview: Giants quarterback has the speed, but do Eagles respect him?

GETTING HEALTHY:Alshon Jeffery and two other star players ready to make their return for Eagles

As a comparison, Travis Fulgham, a sixth-round pick of the Lions in 2019 who was released by three different teams this summer, including the Eagles, has 30 catches for 443 yards and 4 TDs in only six games.

Jeffery's return a quiet one

Alshon Jeffery made his season debut, and it wasn't a very noticeable one.

Jeffery played several snaps, but was only targeted once, and did not have a reception.

Eagles' J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (19) makes a two-point conversion reception Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles were defeated by the Baltimore Ravens 30-28.

Jeffery hasn't played since last Dec. 9, when he left with a foot injury that required surgery. His return this season was delayed by about two weeks when he suffered a calf injury in practice.

Report: D-line coaches out last week in practice

On Friday, the Eagles announced that senior defensive assistant Jeremiah Washburn wouldn't be making the trip to the game against the Giants because of an illness. Earlier in the week, the Eagles announced that a staff member had tested positive for COVID-19, and that the staffer and others identified in contact tracing were self-isolating.

On Sunday, FOXSports' Jay Glazer reported that none of the defensive line assistant coaches were coaching this past week. But those coaches, led by Matt Burke, were at the game Sunday. Washburn was the only absence.

Herbig doesn't play on O-line

The Eagles went with yet another combination on the offensive line as Sua Opeta started in place of Nate Herbig at left guard.

After the game, Pederson said Herbig suffered a hand injury during the week in practice. It was the Eagles' eighth different offensive line combination in nine games.

Contact Martin Frank at mfrank@delawareonline.com. Follow on Twitter @Mfranknfl.