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NFC East showdown ends in Philadelphia victory

Struggling after being the 2018 Super Bowl Champions, the Philadelphia Eagles (3-3) came out swinging Thursday night as they rose up against the New York Giants (1-5). Looking lost at certain points to begin the season, the Eagles started with a charge as third-year starter Carson Wentz finally eased back into his rhythm from last season.

The rivalry game was highly anticipated after one of last year’s regular season games played between the two teams. One of the NFL’s most decorated historic rivalries, last season added another chapter to the never ending rivalry. Week 15 of last season, the week before Wentz’s untimely ACL tear, was a nail-biter that came down to the wire. With no time left on the clock, rookie kicker Jake Elliott trotted out onto the field and kicked an impressive 61-yard field goal to win 27-24. This kick not only won the Eagles the game but set the record for their longest field goal in franchise history.

Thursday’s game featured two incredibly changed teams with a different end result. From the very first blow of the whistle to the clock expiring in the fourth quarter, the Eagles went to work, dismantling the Giants with a final score of 34-13. The victory edged the Eagles closer toward tying their rivalry record, now 86-85-2, with the Giants now only holding a one game lead.  

The game started off with the Giants having possession, however this didn’t last long as Eli Manning threw an interception to Eagles linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill on the second offensive snap of the game. This set the tone for the game and started the Eagles on the Giants 16-yard line. Upon getting the ball on the quick turnover, Wentz and the Eagles’ offense were stopped on first and second down. Wentz, showing veteran savvy, rolled out of the pocket on third down and fired a strike to wide receiver Alshon Jeffery in the back of the endzone. The Giants defense put in strong effort on the night, as Wentz was being chased down by defensive end Olivier Vernon before making the throw, and Jeffrey fighting off strong safety Landon Collins for the reception. The Giants pushed back the next possession, driving down the field before faltering just short in the red zone. Forced to kick in a field goal after being unable to cross the Eagles 15-yard line, the score brought the game to 7-3 with 10 minutes left in the first quarter.

After a back to back scoreless drives for both teams, the Eagle were able to put one more touchdown on the board before the end of the quarter after a quick six play, 44-yard drive that was capped off a one yard punch into the endzone by running back Corey Clement. The Eagles had possession and the lead going into the second quarter with a score of 14-3 after a quick Giants turnover. The first few minutes of the second quarter proved to be quite uneventful with a sudden rush of urgency in the last six minutes of the quarter. The Giants started this rush with a simple 21-yard field goal. The Eagles responded with a touchdown from tight end Zach Ertz.

After a quick stop the Eagles had possession once again, resulting in a 31-yard field goal to put the score at 24-6. The Giants, quickly falling behind in the one sided contest, attempted a 52-yard field goal to try to put the offense into rhythm. Kicker Aldrick Rosas was unable to convert the attempt, however. The Eagles, knowing the power behind the leg of Elliott, had Wentz attempt to move the offense quickly into field goal range before the half expired. Wentz managed to navigate the offense down the field to set Elliott up for a 54-yard attempt, which sailed to the right of the goal post as the first half came to a close.

Before the half ended, Giants’ star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. frustratingly removed himself from sidelines. Beckham’s reasoning for heading to the locker room early was due to muscle cramps, however Beckham’s history as an emotional player on the sidelines may indicate otherwise. His frustration has been seen on several occasions this season, and on Thursday night he added to his repertoire by punching and headbutting a cooling fan on the sideline.

The second half started off with a slow but steady drive from the Eagles. On third down on the Giants 1-yard line, Wentz found Jeffery for their second touchdown on the evening. Giants rookie running back Saquon Barkley responded swiftly, scoring on a 50-yard sprint down the sideline.

As the third quarter came to a close, the Eagles slowly advanced towards the Giants end zone. After a quick break, Wentz and the offense jumped back onto the field and set their sights on the endzone. The Giants’ defense held strong this time, shutting down Wentz and forcing the Eagles to bring Elliott on for a short field goal. With the score at a comfortable 34-13, there was little to no chance of the Giants coming back. With an inconsistent offense, a tired defense and frustrated players, the Giants were out of the game before the second half even began.

The rest of the game consisted of both teams punting the ball to each other following stopped drives, burning out the game clock and ending the game with a final score of 34-13. The Eagles, sitting with a record of 3-3, sits atop a shaky NFC East, with the Giants, Washington Redskins, and Dallas Cowboys all having records below .500. The Giants, who now sit at 1-5, have many questions to answer, as playoff elimination is on the horizon.

The Eagles will play the Carolina Panthers Sunday, Oct. 21 at 1 p.m. The Giants are set to play that Monday, Oct. 22 against the Atlanta Falcons at 8:15 p.m.

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