No Carson Wentz, no problem.
On Sunday at MetLife Stadium, the Giants couldn’t match Eagles backup Nick Foles and the NFC East leaders, losing 34-29.
In front of a “home crowd” that generated more noise for the visitors, the Giants blew an early 20-7 advantage and a 23-21 halftime lead en route to their 12th defeat of the season.
An Aldrick Rosas 48-yard field goal attempt that could have given the Giants the edge in the fourth quarter was blocked. The Eagles took over at their own 29, drove 60 yards and tacked on a Jake Elliott field goal to make it 34-29 with 3:56 remaining.
The Giants offense threatened to put together a game-winning drive, moving the ball into the red zone. But on fourth-and-goal from the 11, following a Bobby Hart false start penalty, Eli Manning’s pass for rookie tight end Evan Engram was broken up in the end zone.
Making his first start in place of Wentz, who suffered a torn left ACL last week, the 28-year-old Foles was impressive (24-of-38 for 237 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions), as Philadelphia improved to 12-2 and clinched a first-round bye.
Big Blue’s defense, which played much of the day without Landon Collins after he talked his way into the lineup, surrendered 341 total yards and didn’t force a turnover.
Playing in his 214th game as a Giant — two shy of tying the franchise record — Manning threw for a season-high 434 yards on 37-of-57 passing with three touchdowns and one pick.
Big Blue’s offense came out of the gates firing.
A 75-yard drive was capped by a short Orleans Darkwa touchdown run. It was the Giants’ first opening-drive TD of the season. Manning accounted for 71 of the 75 yards and was 7-for-9. But Rosas’ extra point was blocked, leaving it 6-0.
But the Eagles quickly answered. With help from a 32-yard pass interference penalty on Darian Thompson, they needed just seven plays to reach the end zone, scoring on a 3-yard Foles pass to Alshon Jeffery.
On the Giants’ ensuing possession, Manning followed up a big completion to Engram with a 13-yard touchdown to Tavarres King.
Following the first defensive stop of the day, the Giants got the ball back at the start of the second quarter and struck for the third time on a 67-yard catch-and-run touchdown from Sterling Shepard. The 23-year-old receiver, who finished with 11 catches for 139 yards, has scored in all four career games he has played against Philadelphia.
The Eagles had an opportunity to put the next points on the board, but failed to convert a fourth-and-1 from the Giants’ 44. Manning promptly was intercepted by Ronald Darby, who returned it 37 yards into the red zone. Foles soon connected with tight end Zach Ertz on a 10-yard TD to cut the Giants lead to 20-14.
Big Blue went three-and-out on their next drive and Brad Wing’s punt was blocked, setting up the Eagles in the red zone again. Foles took advantage with his third touchdown in the first half — a 13-yard hit to a wide open Trey Burton — to put the Eagles up 21-10.
But just before halftime, the Giants went 65 yards and Rosas tacked on a field goal to make it 23-21.
To begin the third quarter, it looked like Philly might run away with it. Elliott nailed a 28-yard field goal to cap off a 64-yard opening drive. When the Eagles got the ball back shortly after, Foles threw another touchdown — this one to Nelson Agholor — to make it 31-23.
Yet the Giants refused to go away. They responded with a 57-yard touchdown from Manning to King. The two-point conversion was unsuccessful, leaving Big Blue down 31-29 entering the final quarter.