Four Downs: Eagles Top Giants In Season Finale
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ — The Eagles beat the Giants, 35-30, in the season finale, five days after Chip Kelly was fired.
MOST TELLING STAT: 100%
The Eagles scored a touchdown on all three of their red zone trips, which proved to be the difference in the game. They moved the ball well through the air (more on that later), but some rushing success on early downs made third down easier as well. Because of that, the Eagles converted 10 of their 13 third down attempts.
Philadelphia totaled 120 rushing yards, averaging 4.6 yards per carry. DeMarco Murray led the way with 12 carries for 69 yards, including a 54-yarder, while Darren Sproles had the highest average with 24 yards on three carries. Kenjon Barner had the second-most carries with just five, totaling 18 yards.
The offensive line did a better job of protecting the quarterback as well, allowing just one sack and two quarterback hits.
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There were at least a couple of differences on defense for the Eagles with Chip Kelly gone. The outside linebackers varied which side they lined up on much more than they have the rest of the season, as Connor Barwin is almost always on the left and Brandon Graham is almost always on the right.
Even Marcus Smith, who seemed to play more snaps than he has the rest of the year, changed his alignment on different plays. At least once, the outside linebackers even lined up on the same side in a pass-rushing situation.
On offense, the changes were less clear. It appeared Sam Bradford changed the play at the line of scrimmage once early in the game, but it’s impossible to know for certain without the quarterback’s confirmation. It’s also possible they lined up DeMarco Murray deeper in the backfield when he ran from under center, but that isn’t entirely certain either.
For the sixth time in his last seven games, Bradford finished with a passer rating of at least 91. He completed 30 of his 38 throws for 320 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He also averaged 8.4 yards per pass attempt and recorded a 108.3 passer rating.
However, Bradford had significant yardage left on the table as Jordan Matthews dropped one of the quarterback’s best passes of the day. Bradford threw a beautiful ball with great touch down the left sideline to Matthews, who ran a wheel route from the slot.
Bradford continued his improved play, but he did have a few short-to-intermediate throws that were too far from the outstretched arms of his targets.
With the win, the Eagles will now play the Seahawks in Seattle next season. They also clinched a draft pick as high as 13th, and as low as 17th, as Jimmy Kempski reported.
In Mel Kiper’s latest big board, he ranked Memphis’s Paxton Lynch (No. 6 overall), California’s Jared Goff (No. 10) and North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz (not in top 25) as the top three quarterbacks. Among offensive tackles, Mississippi’s Laremy Tunsil (No. 5), Notre Dame’s Ronnie Stanley (No. 7) and Michigan State’s Jack Conklin (No. 21) are the top three. No guards are included in the top 25.