1674373238 Giants season ends in lopsided playoff loss to Eagles

Giants season ends in lopsided playoff loss to Eagles

PHILADELPHIA — This season saw a lot of nice noises from the Giants, but it ended with a thud.

“You lose at this time of year, it sucks,” said coach Brian Daboll.

That sums up what happened for the Giants on Saturday night. They were led out of the playoffs – roughly and decisively – to lift the curtain on a season of rebirth and revitalization. The time will come soon enough to look back and evaluate the progress the franchise has made in Daboll’s first year as coach, but for now, the sting of being blown out by rival Eagles 38-7 at rough Lincoln Financial Field is the immediate irritation after a game that was never close.

“It sucks,” Saquon Barkley said in a subdued visitors’ locker room. “It was a fun team. The guys here, the coaches, what we’ve been able to build this year, the way we’ve played for each other this year, that was something special. Obviously it didn’t end the way we wanted it to.”

No, it hasn’t. At all.

GiantsDaniel Jones is released by the Eagles during the Giants’ playoff loss on Saturday. Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

“Yeah, everyone here thought we were going to play either the Niners or the Cowboys next week,” center Jon Feliciano said. “It sucks.”

The Giants are playing for the season. The end of the road and being eliminated from the playoffs isn’t a pleasant one for any team, and the Giants certainly believed they had what it took to advance deeper and keep their season alive for at least another week. This belief could not be translated into action. Over time, however, what the franchise has gained will be an overwhelming success given the (tenuous) expectations and the likelihood that they would put together a successful season and actually make it to the postseason for the first time since 2016.

“I’m proud of where we’re from, to see the growth we’ve made as a team, it’s been great to be a part of it,” said safety Xavier McKinney. “We’re not there yet and we know that.”

Daboll used a personable and level-headed approach to keep the Giants going, and their 9-7-1 record was a quantum leap beyond even the most optimistic forecasts. Daniel Jones’ rise to franchise quarterback was almost officially stamped with his performance in a 31-24 first-round playoff win over the Vikings.

Jones and Barkley aren’t signed until 2023, and what comes next with them will shape the franchise. Barkley has made no secret of where his heart and mind wants to be, and he repeated that after rushing for 61 yards nine times and not having a major impact on the blowout loss.

“I’ve been vocal about how I feel and where I want to be,” Barkley said. “It’s out of my control. I wanted to show the Giants that the guy they drafted is still here, I hope I did that. Everyone knows that I would like to be a giant for life.”

Barkley then paused and said, “I can’t imagine this being my last time in a Giants uniform.”

Jones endured a tough final act, passing just 135 yards and firing an interception late in the first quarter when his former teammate, cornerback James Bradberry, undercut Darius Slayton’s route.

Jones has steadfastly refused to discuss his future with the Giants, and after that game he was given two opportunities to state he wants to return. He declined to make his wishes known.

EagleJalen Hurts celebrates a touchdown against the Giants on Saturday.Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

“Yeah, I think we’ll deal with that later,” Jones said. “I think it’s still very fresh at this point, this season, this defeat. We will take some time to regroup and consider how to proceed.”

When asked if his goal offseason is to stay with the Giants, Jones added, “Yeah, I mean, I think like I said, we’re going to cross that bridge when we get there. I really enjoyed playing here. I appreciate all these guys in the dressing room, it’s a special group of guys and I’ve really enjoyed being a part of it so we’ll see where that goes.”

No one around the Giants felt like thinking after that awful show. The Eagles were 14-3 and No. 1 in the NFC and beat the Giants three times this season, twice crunchily.

This was a mismatch. The Eagles led 14-0 after a quarter and 28-0 at halftime. The Giants were outplayed 258-64 in the first half. The Eagles had 18 first downs and the Giants had three. Jalen Hurts, showing no ill effects from the sprained shoulder that kept him out of two games late in the season, passed for two touchdowns and ran for a third before halftime.

GiantsSaquon Barkley is tackled during the Giants’ loss to the Eagles Saturday night. Corey Sipkin

Trailing 7-0, the Giants managed to get two first downs, but went away empty-handed when Daboll rolled the dice, as usual. Jones was released by Haason Reddick in third, fielded fourth and eighth from the Eagles’ 40-yard line, and pushed the Giants out of field goal position. Daboll didn’t call the punt team. Jones was released again by Reddick to field the Eagles at their 48-yard line.

You didn’t waste the golden field position. Hurts threw a screen to DeVonta Smith, who eluded Nick McCloud for a 9-yard scoring connection to make it 14-0.

It never got better for the Giants.

“I’m disappointed,” said Daboll. “I wish we could have done a better job. I wish I could have done a better job. I feel bad. That’s as honest as you can be.”