Philadelphia prevents Giants from clinching playoff spot
Published 12:00 am Friday, December 23, 2016
By Barry Wilner
AP Pro Football Writer
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The New York Giants will have to wait a while to make the playoffs.
Malcolm Jenkins had the second two-interception game of his eight-year career, returning one for a touchdown, and the Philadelphia Eagles snapped a five-game slide by beating the Giants 24-19 on Thursday night. The loss handed Dallas the NFC East title — and home-field advantage throughout the conference playoffs.
It also put the Giants (10-5) in a more difficult spot for ending their four-season playoff drought. They still own the top wild-card position heading into their finale at Washington.
New York can still get in this weekend if Detroit, Green Bay, Tampa Bay or Atlanta loses.
Carson Wentz threw a touchdown pass to Nelson Agholor, then returned from being examined for a concussion in the fourth quarter to guide a drive to Caleb Sturgis’ 41-yard field goal. After New York’s Robbie Gould made his fourth field goal, Philadelphia (5-9) held on downs with just under two minutes remaining.
The Giants got the ball back with 1:31 left and Terrence Brooks intercepted to clinch it with 5 seconds to go.
Eli Manning was inconsistent with his throws all night. On Jenkins’ second interception, the throw was woefully short.
Right tackle Lane Johnson’s return from a 10-game suspension paid dividends immediately. Twice Johnson wiped out the left side of New York’s defensive line, with his block helping spring Darren Sproles for a 25-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 lead.
It was 14-0 1:28 later when Manning’s short pass to Will Tye was way too soft. Jenkins cut in front of the tight end, then romped down the right side for a 34-yard score.
The current Giants’ offense isn’t built for big comebacks, and now New York needed one. Manning hit Odell Beckham Jr. on a 30-yard play that highlighted an 80-yard drive to Gould’s 35-yard field goal. But Manning also made two inaccurate throws in that series.
It was that way all night.
Manning finally found his touch on the last drive of the half, with a gorgeous 29-yard connection to Victor Cruz keying an 84-yard mark. Shepard slipped past Jenkins’ bump at the line to score from 13 yards for a 21-13 deficit.
It was all field goals in the second half — and some more imprecise throws by Manning.
Agholor, the Eagles’ first-round draft pick last year who had only 57 catches in 26 career games, scored his first touchdown this season and third of his career with the 40-yarder in the second period. He had not reached the end zone since the season opener.
Giants: DT Damon Harrison left before a fourth-and-inches play at the goal line with a right knee injury. The Giants stopped Philadelphia’s run anyway.
Eagles: Aside from Wentz, guard Allen Barbre hurt his right hamstring in the first half and didn’t return. Safety Jaylen Watkins left in the third quarter with a concussion. Mathews left in the fourth quarter with a stinger.
Giants: Finish season at Washington.
Eagles: Host Dallas to finish season.
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