Time for Teams to Clean Out Their Lockers
Neither team made the postseason. The similarity ends there.
The Eagles (10-6) are walking away frustrated after closing out the season with a 34-26 win over the Giants on Sunday. The defending NFC East champions had a game lead in the division after beating Dallas on Thanksgiving and blew it with consecutive losses to Seattle, the Cowboys and Washington, ending their playoff hopes and making Sunday's game meaningless.
"Overall, it's bad," Eagles center Jason Kelce said regarding the season that saw Philadelphia match its win total of a year ago. "We're upset we didn't make the playoffs. We're happy to get a win today. The only thing we can take away is that we're close to being a very, very good team. "
The Giants (6-10) are not a very good team. They have missed the playoffs three straight seasons and their win total is one less than a year ago.
It's has many wondering whether coach Tom Coughlin is going to be fired. While the 68-year-old has led New York to two Super Bowl titles in 11 seasons — the last in February 2012 — missing the playoffs repeatedly tends to cost people their jobs.
"We're going to evaluate our team, just like we always do," said Coughlin, who has a year left on his contract. "We'll present our information of the pro personnel to the owners and if there's anything else, it'll be initiated by ownership. I'm going to go about my business until I'm told otherwise."
Eagles and Giants players are scheduled to meet on Monday for the final time this season.
"It's bittersweet," said Eagles receiver Jeremy Maclin, who will be a free agent after this season. "It is frustrating that we are not going to be in the playoffs. We had every opportunity to get there. It's over. We can't go back in time."
On Sunday, Mark Sanchez threw touchdowns to Jordan Matthews and Brent Celek, Trey Burton returned a blocked punt 27 yards for a score to lead the Eagles. Chris Polk also scored on a 1-yard run and Cody Parkey kicked two field goals.
Odell Beckham Jr. capped a phenomenal rookie season for the Giants with 12 catches for a career-best 185 yards, including a 63-yard touchdown. Andre Williams scored on a 1-yard run and Josh Brown kicked four field goals for New York, which had a three-game winning streak snapped.
Five things we learned from this meaningless game:
SPECIAL EAGLES: The return of the blocked punt was the seventh touchdown by the Eagles' special teams this season. It was their third return of a blocked punt for a TD. They also had two kickoff returns and two punt returns for TDs. Prior to this year the Eagles never had more than one blocked punt returned for a touchdown in a season. The last NFL team to have three blocked punt return touchdowns in the same season was the Rams in 1987.
MORE BECKHAM: Beckham finished with team highs of 91 catches for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns in only 12 games. He missed the first four with a hamstring injury. The receptions and yards were rookie team records and the TD total tied the franchise rookie mark set by Bill Paschal in 1943. The first-round pick also tied Hall of Famer Michael Irvin (1995) as the only players in NFL history with at least 90 receiving yards in nine consecutive games. Imagine a full season.
MANNING IMPROVES: A year after throwing a career-high 27 interceptions, Manning had 30 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. The 11-year veteran completed 28 of 53 for 429 yards, a touchdown and an interception on Sunday, finishing the year with 4,410 yards, his fourth 4,000-yard season.
EAGLES OFFENSE: Chip Kelly's offense broke a team record scoring 474 points, 32 more than last year's mark. The Eagles also set team records with 54 touchdowns, 390 completions, 4,581 gross passing yards, eight 300-yard passing games and 356 first downs. What probably kept them out of the playoffs were 35 turnovers.
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