EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — There’s BIG plays in football — and there are big plays.
The New York Giants made the most of their big plays on both sides of the ball in a 28-23 win over slumping Philadelphia on Sunday.
The Eagles simply didn’t in losing for the fourth times in five games.
This NFC East contest was a game of huge plays.
Rookie quarterback Carson Wentz and the Eagles had seven plays from scrimmage that gained at least 20 yards, including four greater than 30 yards, and a 66-yard punt return by Darren Sproles. The result was 23 points.
Two interceptions, including one late that gave the Eagles a first down at the Giants 34 with 1:48 to play, and the punt return yielded not a single point. Philadelphia also failed to convert a fourth-and-12 and a fourth-and-1 from the Giants 23 and 6, respectively, in the second quarter. And a last-gasp fourth-and-10 pass from the Giants 17 in the closing minute was incomplete.
The Giants (5-3) were just the opposite. First-quarter interceptions by Landon Collins and Andrew Adams were turned into Eli Manning touchdown passes of 26 yards to Odell Beckham Jr . and 30 to rookie Roger Lewis Jr.
A 46-yard pass to Victor Cruz set up Beckham’s second touchdown, a 1-yard jump ball, and Manning capped his first four TD passing day of the season with a 32-yarder to Sterling Shepard in the third quarter.
“I know we won,” Beckham said a day after his 24th birthday. “I know there were some big plays. We made some, they made some. I think this was more of a game of who’s going to come up with a stop. We did that.”
The biggest stop came in the closing minutes with New York ahead by five points. Jordan Hicks intercepted a Manning pass that was tipped by Connor Berwyn. It put the Eagles 34 yards away from beating the Giants for the sixth time in seven games.
A 17-yard pass to Nelson Agholor followed, but that’s where the Eagles (4-4) came up short yet again this season,
Wentz (27 of 47 for 364 yards) missed Agholor on first down. Under blitz pressure, he was not close on the next two plays, and he overthrew Jordan Matthews on fourth down in the end zone.
“I didn’t want to fade him too much like that,” Wentz said. “That’s red-zone football. You’ve got to be precise down there and we just missed that one.”
It’s been the story in each of the four losses.
“As a team, we’ve just got to learn how to finish, that’s what I keep saying,” Wentz said. “It sounds cliché, but it really just comes down to executing. I think, outside of the first two interceptions, I thought we moved the ball OK. We just couldn’t finish drives in the red zone, and we didn’t finish at the end of the game, either.”
That’s the difference with the Giants this season, they are finishing games. Their five wins have been by a total of 20 points.
“Definitely a big win in the division,” Manning said. “Philadelphia, the last few years has had our number. We’ve played close games, but haven’t been able to win those close games, so to be able to pull it off today and get that win was nice.”
The Eagles now have lost three games in the division, so their chances of winning it rely on putting together a string of victories in the second half of the season, which will feature five home games.
“If you look around the league right now we are obviously not in a spot we want to be in, but we are in a good spot,” tight end Zach Ertz said. “We just have to take it one game at a time. The good thing is all of these games we are in position to win, we just have to find somewhere before the last drive, find those plays that we need to make between then and there.”