EditorsNote: Adds quotes and info, other changes
If questions persisted about whether Jalen Hurts had fully recovered from a sprained throwing shoulder, Saturday’s emphatic playoff performance should put them to bed.
Hurts threw for two touchdowns and ran for another, and the top-seeded Philadelphia Eagles dominated the first half en route to beating the visiting New York Giants 38-7 in the NFC divisional round on Saturday night.
Philadelphia raced out to a 28-0 halftime lead on the sixth-seeded Giants and cruised from there. Hurts finished with 154 yards on 16-of-24 passing and 34 rushing yards for the Eagles, who will host either the No. 2 seeded San Francisco 49ers or No. 5 Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Championship Game on Jan. 29.
“We had a lot of hunger built up in us and I think we were just starving, eager for our opportunity to come out here and play,” Hurts said postgame on Fox. “This is a division opponent, they’re a really good team, they have a lot of momentum going on and we just wanted to come out and play our best ball. I think we chose the right time to do that.”
The Eagles piled up 268 rushing yards, their most in a playoff game since 1949. Kenneth Gainwell had a career-high 112 yards on 12 carries, with a 35-yard burst for a touchdown after the two-minute warning in the fourth quarter, and Miles Sanders added 90 on 17 attempts.
Their defense thwarted Daniel Jones, sacking the Giants’ quarterback five times and intercepting him once. Jones was limited to 135 yards on 15-of-27 passing and Saquon Barkley had 61 rushing yards.
On Philadelphia’s opening drive, Hurts connected with Dallas Goedert and his defender was picked and fell over, allowing the tight end to score a 16-yard touchdown.
The Giants’ first drive ended in a turnover on downs at the Philadelphia 48. Haason Reddick finished the defensive stand with a sack and half-sack on consecutive plays.
Philadelphia marched downfield and struck again with 1:21 left in the quarter. Hurts tossed a pass to DeVonta Smith on his right, and the former Heisman Trophy winner beat out two would-be tacklers to make it a two-touchdown game.
Two plays from scrimmage later, former Giant James Bradberry jumped in front of Jones’ pass, just the second interception the quarterback has thrown since Nov. 20.
Boston Scott scored his 11th touchdown in nine career games against the Giants when he barreled in from the 3-yard line to make it 21-0 with 7:29 left before halftime.
Hurts added a 5-yard touchdown scamper with 43 seconds left before halftime. An unnecessary roughness penalty by Giants linebacker Jarrad Davis on a second-down incompletion aided Philadelphia’s cause.
The Eagles outgained the Giants 258-64 in net yardage in the first half and had an 18-3 advantage in first downs.
The Giants ended a string of four straight three-and-outs with an 88-yard scoring drive powered by Barkley’s 39-yard sprint. Barkley later took a direct snap and handed it to Matt Breida for an 8-yard touchdown with 6:15 left in the third quarter.
The Eagles had a quiet third quarter, but they bled more than half the fourth-quarter clock with a 15-play, 70-yard drive culminating in Jake Elliott’s 30-yard field goal with 5:16 to go.
The Giants surpassed expectations in their first season under coach Brian Daboll, making the playoffs for the first time since 2016 and earning a 31-24 wild-card win at the Minnesota Vikings. But they finished the year 0-3 against the Eagles, who are one win away from their second Super Bowl appearance in six seasons.
“It was a collective effort in terms of not being able to get it done,” said Daboll. “That starts with me. I appreciate our team. I told those guys, I appreciate their effort the entire year, their work ethic, the people in the organization, but Philly deserved to win that game.
“So it’s a crash landing in the playoffs. Losses hurt. These losses hurt even more.”
--Field Level Media