On the eve of the Super Bowl, the Philadelphia Eagles are what many would consider being a surprise team to be competing for the franchises first Lombardi Trophy. Entering the season many felt that either the Cowboys or the Giants would claim the NFC East title and could make it to the Super Bowl. Yet games are not won or lost by what is written in a paper or said on television. The games are won or lost on the field. During this surprising run by the Eagles, there was one game that showed this could be a special season for the Eagles and one that sealed the fate of their division rival.
In week 3 of the NFL season, everything is still up for grabs and that includes playoff spots and division titles. Going into the game the New York Giants were looking for their first win while the Eagles were trying to bounce back from their first loss of the season to the Chiefs. If the Giants won they would have tabbed that elusive first win while simultaneously forcing the Eagles to have an identical 1-2 record.
Depending on your rooting interest the Eagles got off to a strong start and had a 14-0 lead heading into halftime with one of the plays that foreshadowed the Giants season was Sterling Shepard catching the ball in bounds for a touchdown on the Giants final drive of the first half but Shepard lost control of the ball when he fell out of bounds meaning it was not a catch.
Big Blue’s offense still looked stagnant until the 4th quarter when the offense exploded for 24 points. There were two touchdowns from Odell Beckham Jr. within a span of fewer than two minutes to tie the game. Then there was a 77-yard strike from Manning to Shepard to give the G-Men the lead at 21-14.
Even though the offense started to show up in the 4th quarter the Giants defense faltered. First, the defense allowed the Eagles to march down and tie the game at 21 after a Corey Clement’s 15-yard touchdown run. The offense was able to drive down for a field goal giving Big Blue a 24-21 lead but that lead would be short-lived.
On the ensuing drive, the Eagles were able to knot the score at 24-24. And what would become a recipe for future Giant losses was fully illustrated with a crucial failure on offense, special teams, and defense. The offensive failure was the inability to pick up a first down and going three and out. The special teams’ failure was a poor punt from Brad Wing that only went 28 yards. The defensive failure was giving up a 19-yard completion that set up the eventual game-winning field goal of 61 yards by the Eagles.
After that game, both teams went spiraling in opposite directions. The Eagles flew to the top of the NFC East and are now going to compete for a world championship. The G-men, on the other hand, imploded, then fired their head coach Ben McAdoo and General Manager Jerry Reese before the season ended. While working in the realm of hypotheticals if the Giants were able to hold onto that week 3 victory their season could have been different because they would have claimed that much needed first divisional victory in week 3 instead of week 17 of the season and could have had a fighting chance to make a run at the NFC East crown in 2017.Instead, the Giants can do what the rest of America is doing and that is watching the Eagles and Patriots compete for a Super Bowl championship.