Defense helps Eli and Giants avoid another heartbreaker to Eagles

Eli Manning is a charitable, generous guy, but left a Cheap Tip for the Eagles and it was about to ruin the Giants’ season.

It would join other excruciating and humiliating losses the Giants have suffered against the Eagles in the last 40 years.

The Fumble in 1978.

Clyde Simmons 15-yard run with a blocked Eagles field goal to win in overtime in 1988.

Giants’ Victor Cruz doesn’t start, leaves game with ankle sprain

DeSean Jackson’s 65-yard punt return with no time left in 2010.

Really, out of respect for Giants Nation, we’ll stop right there.

But there is something different about the Giants this season. They are a flawed team no doubt — they should have beaten the Eagles by two touchdowns Sunday – yet they are coming up with ways to hang on instead of finding impossible ways to lose.

That’s a nice improvement over the final years of the Tom Coughlin era.

Ben McAdoo’s adjustments have Giants utilizing all their talent

Eli Manning gets some tough luck late in the game but his defense bails him out.

Eli Manning gets some tough luck late in the game but his defense bails him out.

(Al Bello/Getty Images)

“We believe and we execute,” rookie coach Ben McAdoo said.

As a result of their 28-23 victory, the Giants reached the halfway point of the season in second place in the NFC East at 5-3, two games behind the Cowboys with a big game against Dallas at MetLife Stadium one month away.

They also broke The Curse of The Birds. The Giants had lost four in a row and 13 of the last 16 games to Philadelphia.

It didn’t take a lot of imagination to have flashbacks Sunday to Jackson’s punt return, the finishing score on a 38-31 victory when the Giants held a 31-10 lead with eight minutes left, or The Fumble, when all the Giants needed to do was kneel down to win, but called a running play instead and fumbled.

So, when the Eagles called their second timeout with 1:55 remaining and the Giants had a third and four at their 29, they were one play away from putting the game away.

McAdoo had two choices. He could run it with a bad running game and without Justin Pugh, his best lineman. If he didn’t pick up the first down, the Eagles would have used their last timeout and the Giants would have punted with 1:50 left. Or he could throw it, try and get a short completion out of Eli Manning and win the game right there. An incompletion would have stopped the clock for Philly.

He put the game on Manning. He went for the win. It was the right call.

The Giants' $200 million upgrade on defense looks to be worth it so far.

The Giants’ $200 million upgrade on defense looks to be worth it so far.

(Al Bello/Getty Images)

But then more Philly follies.

Manning’s pass intended for Will Tye was tipped at the line when Connor Barwin swatted it with his left hand and the ball floated to linebacker Jordan Hicks at the Giants 37 – he returned it three yards – with 1:48 remaining.

“I hate tipped balls,” Manning said. “I hate cheap interceptions and that’s kind of as cheap as they come with the tipped ball at the line of scrimmage. We had a good play, everybody did the right thing and you have to give them credit, their defensive line getting a hand up and getting piece of the ball.”

Manning took a three-step drop out of the shotgun. He said he never considers that one of the defensive linemen will get their arms up in the air when he finds a passing lane. On quick throws, Manning said he is counting on his offensive linemen tying up the guy across from him and preventing them from getting arms up. It’s a standard blocking technique.

Tye was open. Manning saw a clean window to get him the ball. He fired. Barwin turned it into a duck.

Last year, the Giants defense would have cracked and lost the game. But the defense with the $200 million upgrade has carried them the first half of the season. It gave Manning a short field by twice intercepting rookie Carson Wentz in the first quarter and Manning cashed in with TDs to Odell Beckham and Roger Lewis.

But now Wentz had the ball at his 34 with 1:48 remaining with a chance to win it. In all three of the Eagles previous losses, Wentz had the ball with a chance to win or tie on his last possession. He was 0-for-3. Now he’s 0-fo- 4.

Carson Wentz overthrows Jordan Matthews as the Giants finally get a big win against the Eagles.

Carson Wentz overthrows Jordan Matthews as the Giants finally get a big win against the Eagles.

(Bill Kostroun/AP)

After completing a 17-yard pass on first down, the kid with the rocket arm threw four straight incompletions with the last one in the end zone, a poorly thrown fade pass to Jordan Matthews.

On the third down play, Jonathan Casillas blitzed and tipped Wentz’s screen pass and Jason Pierre-Paul nearly intercepted. “It was going to be big,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said. “Great job by them tipping the ball.”

One year ago, the Giants lost five games in which they had the lead in the final two minutes but gave up the winning points to the Cowboys (seven seconds left), Falcons (1:14), Saints (no time on clock), Patriots (one second) and Jets (tying TD with 27 seconds left and then lost in OT). They lost by three to the Panthers on a field goal with no time left.

Coughlin didn’t have the defensive personnel McAdoo has now, but he also seemed helpless to prevent the Giants from making huge mistakes at the most important times in the game. That’s why he’s no longer the Giants coach. They needed a new voice and McAdoo has given it to them.

“Last year is in the rearview mirror,” McAdoo said. “You go back, you learn from the past and you work on today. We believe that we are going to win these football games. We’ve just got to hang onto leads and win the games. We know we’re going to get better as the game goes on and we’re going to win in the end.”

Manning left a Cheap Tip before the $200 million defense bailed him out.

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Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News

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