Plenty of blame to go around for NY Giants’ 4th quarter collapse in 22-21 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles
Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz stepped up in the pocket, fired a perfectly placed pass on a wheel route just over the shoulders of NY Giants safety Jabrill Peppers and into the arms of running back Boston Scott for an 18-yard touchdown, sealing Philadelphia’s 22-21 comeback victory Thursday night.
It was a play that will undoubtedly give Peppers nightmares.
“It don’t matter if you play well for most of the game and don’t finish,” Peppers said afterward. “We’re not patting ourselves on the back for that. We’re a better defense than we put forth in situational football today. Myself included.
Evan Engram's fourth quarter drop proved costly, as the NY Giants coughed up a 21-16 lead in the waning moments, falling to the Eagles 22-21.
“I’ve got to make that play. If I make that play, we’re not even asking these type of questions right now. We don’t know what happens. We showed that we can play pretty good ball on defense, but we have to show we can execute in situational football and make plays when it matters. That’s been our Achilles heal.”
The Giants’ defense, for nearly 50 minutes held the Eagles at bay, even coming up with a critical goal line stop with 14:07 remaining that gave quarterback Daniel Jones and the offense the opportunity to string together a methodical 97-yard touchdown drive to extend New York’s lead to 21-10 with 7:50 remaining.
That’s when disaster struck.
Wentz and the Eagles scored 13 unanswered points to close out the game.
The Giants’ defense allowed touchdown drives of 68 and 75 yards, coughing up a lead as things seemed to snowball over the final 10 minutes.
“It’s a tough one to swallow,” Giants linebacker Blake Martinez said. “I hate to say it, but it’s the same thing over again. Lapses. One guy here, one guy there, just doing our job.”
While Peppers surrendered the game-winning touchdown, he’s far from the only Giant that shoulders blame for coughing up what would have been the first signature win of head coach Joe Judge’s tenure.
Defensive back Madre Harper was victimized on a three-yard Wentz touchdown pass to Greg Ward to pull the Eagles within 21-16. Harper committed a senseless unnecessary roughness penalty, compounding his lapse in coverage.
Later, Harper committed a dirty penalty when he kneed Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson in the back of the head on a punt return. Harper not only gave up an Eagles touchdown, but shortened the field for Wentz on the next possession.
Even before Harper proved why he belongs on a practice squad, or the waiver wire, Daniel Jones and the Giants’ offense had the opportunity to salt out the victory when they took over with 4:38 remaining.
It looked as though the offense was poised to take the next step in its evolution to becoming a winning team by choking out the clock and getting out of Philadelphia with a victory, rather than an eighth consecutive loss to the Eagles.
However, Jones lofted a nearly perfectly placed pass to Evan Engram, but the struggling tight end let the ball bounce off his fingertips to the turf, forcing a punt with 2:07 remaining, rather than putting the offense in position to either score an insurance touchdown or simply kneel on the final 127 seconds.
“We’ve all got to d a better job executing in those situations,” Jones said The ball’s in my hand, but I’ve got to do a better job in those situations.”
“It sucks,” Engram added. “It sucked not making that play. We had the defense on the field, whether they got the ball back or the Eagles scored, my mind stayed in the game, but it’s frustrating. It’s not a good feeling not making that play and possibly putting the game on ice.”
Instead of a game the Giants led by 11 entering the fourth quarter, Engram’s drop, and the defense folding down the stretch might have put the Giants’ season on ice instead.
Matt Lombardo is the site expert for GMenHQ, and writes Between The Hash Marks each Wednesday for FanSided. Follow Matt on Twitter: @MattLombardoNFL.