What We Saw: Week 12

Is Cordarrelle Patterson the best waiver wire find of the year? Probably.

Eagles @ Giants

Final Score: Giants 13, Eagles 7

Writer: Benjamin Haller (@benjaminhaller1 on Twitter)

 

Jalen Hurts and the red hot Philadelphia Eagles marched into the Meadowlands to go up against Daniel Jones and the New York Giants in a crucial NFC East matchup. After parting ways with Jason Garrett last week on the back of a horror show offensive performance against the Buccaneers, former Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens assumed play calling duties for the Giants.

A dreadful, scrappy first half of football was evident by four punts, a missed field goal and two interceptions. Trailing 3-0 after a dismal showing, a subdued Eagles offense finally catapulted into life as Hurts scampered twice for 14-yard and 18-yard gains to put the Eagles on the edge of the red zone for the first time in the game. After a Boston Scott run into the end zone was brought back by penalty, Hurts connected with Jalen Reagor just short of the goal line. Patrick Graham‘s defense stuffed Hurts on a designed quarterback run before Tae Crowder then picked Hurts off on the final play of the half to preserve the Giants’ slim advantage.

 

 

If the first half was dreadful, the second half was absolute garbage with both offenses failing to meet anywhere near the standard that the National Football League requires. We had another four punts, two turnovers on downs, another interception and a crucial fumble late in the game by Eagles backup rusher Boston Scott to effectively hand the game to the Giants with 1:39 to play.

Still, Hurts and the Eagles offense did get the ball back once more a mere 20 seconds later, trailing by just six points. However, Jalen Reagor dropped a perfectly flighted pass from Hurts over the middle at the goal line on fourth down to finish a miserable day for the Eagles.

The Giants came away with the victory but even their mood at the end was glum after a dour contest.

 

Philadelphia Eagles

 

Quarterback

 

Jalen Hurts: 14/31, 129 yards, 3 INT, Sack | 8 carries, 77 yards

 

After a remarkable last month, in which Jalen Hurts established himself as the top scoring fantasy quarterback in the NFL, the Eagles second-year quarterback came back down to reality with a bang against the Giants defense, who you have to give immense credit to – they were inspired on the day.

A rough start to the game for Hurts was compounded by a horrible throw on the Eagles’ second drive of the game. On a third down, Hurts got impatient as the stuttering offense wasn’t creating separation from his view in the pocket. He forced a down the middle looking for Quez Watkins, however his throw was way too high and the Giants had plenty of coverage to take the ball away.

 

 

Another awful decision from Hurts at the end of the first half resulted in a second interception as the clock ticked down to zero. On a third down play with only eight seconds remaining, Hurts tried to extend a broken play and force a pass into the end zone instead of throwing it away and settling for a field goal.

The final turnover was a desperate deep heave into double coverage as Hurts showed frustration at the offense being a complete non-starter. Xavier McKinney came away with the ball.

 

 

This was Hurts’ first single digit fantasy score of the season and it couldn’t have come at a worst time for the Eagles. His production on the ground salvaged some respectability, but not really, especially when you consider what we have been used to with Hurts.

 

 

Running Back

 

Boston Scott: 15 carries, 64 yards, TD, Fumble (Lost) | 3 targets, 2 receptions, 8 yards

Miles Sanders: 9 carries, 64 yards | 1 target, 1 reception, 0 yards

Kenneth Gainwell: 4 targets, 3 receptions, 32 yards

 

Boston Scott went from hero to zero for the Eagles, giving them hope at the start of the fourth quarter by forcing the ball in from a yard out to bring his team within three points.

 

 

However, later that quarter as Hurts meandered his team into Giants territory, Scott fumbled at the 45-yard line as Dexter Lawrence punched the ball out for the Giants at a crucial moment. After Miles Sanders fumbled twice last week, Scott was given a chance by his coaches but let his team down when they needed him the most. It still baffles me why Sanders isn’t the feature back in this offense. I guess the Eagles deserved this for not utilizing their weapons properly.

 

 

Sanders came out firing on the first play of the second half, breaking off an impressive 27-yard run to put the Eagles in Giants territory. Hurts couldn’t convert on fourth down once again, however and the Eagles turned the ball over on downs for the second time in the game. Sanders then went into the medical tent with what looked like a recurrence of his ankle problem. He managed to return to the game and had a couple of productive runs before giving way to Scott to run in for the touchdown.

 

 

This backfield is a mess, and the fact the coaching staff hasn’t worked out how best to use this group is worrying. Kenneth Gainwell did not see a touch until the game was on the line at the end, notching four catches on the final drive which resulted in the Eagles turning the ball over on downs, again.

 

Wide Receiver/Tight End

 

Jalen Reagor: 7 targets, 2 receptions, 31 yards

Quez Watkins: 5 targets, 2 receptions, 23 yards

DeVonta Smith: 4 targets, 2 receptions, 22 yards

J.J. Arcega-Whiteside: 1 target, 1 receptions, 13 yards

Dallas Goedert: 3 targets, 1 reception, 0 yards

Greg Ward: 1 target

 

As disappointing as Hurts was on the day, he was consistently let down by his receiving corps. Jalen Reagor, in particular, excelled at both poor technique and questionable application. His effort at the end of the game, on fourth down, was simply unacceptable. The ball going straight through his hands as Hurt found him on a scrambled play, giving him the opportunity to make an easy grab and win the game for his team.

 

 

Quez Watkins was probably a better option for that last play. Watkins has shown plenty of ability this year but was again criminally underused in this game, as he has been all season. This grab on the sideline was the play of the day for the Eagles.

 

 

The worrying aspect of the Eagles’ offensive meltdown in this game was just how little rookie DeVonta Smith and Dallas Goedert were used. Smith saw his second fewest targets of the season and Goedert put up a big fat zero with just one catch on three targets. Yikes, Things went south quickly in this one and hopefully this is just a blip in the road for Hurts and his offensive weapons.

 

New York Giants

 

Quarterback

 

Daniel Jones: 19/30, 202 yards, TD, Sack | 9 carries, 30 yards

 

Daniel Jones started the Freddie Kitchens era looking much like the quarterback who has stuttered and flashed throughout his career in New York so far. Jones was functional, completing throws he was expected to and struggling to find receivers when asked to push the ball deeper downfield. He did return to using his legs again, something that had dwindled significantly under Garrett.

 

 

Freddie Kitchens dialled up some interesting plays to try and bring Jones out of his shell a little and in some respects it worked. This flea flicker screen for Evan Engram was more creative than anything Garrett cooked up in 11 weeks.

 

 

Jones needed a fantastic grab from his backup tight end to register a passing score. It was his fifth-straight game with at least one passing touchdown which is encouraging. What was more encouraging was the fact Jones didn’t turn the ball over. There was little in terms of fireworks, but the Giants won the game and Jones did enough to inspire some confidence that could serve the team well going forward.

 

Running Back

 

Saquon Barkley: 13 carries, 40 yards | 5 targets, 4 receptions, 13 yards

Devontae Booker: 3 carries, 10 yards | 1 target, 1 reception, 17 yards

 

Another mediocre performance from Saquon Barkley was not what the Giants needed but it is what they got. The offense as a whole failed to ignite on multiple drives, and this moment revelatory of many in his early career that made Saquon a household name, was the only bright spark of another irrelevant fantasy outing.

 

 

Barkley did see a healthy five targets out of the backfield but many of these were check downs behind the line of scrimmage and not surprisingly, he was immediately stuffed and unable to get anything going behind an atrocious Giants offensive line.

 

Wide Receiver/Tight End

 

Kenny Golladay: 7 targets, 3 receptions, 50 yards

Darius Slayton: 4 targets, 3 receptions, 40 yards | 1 carry, -13 yards

Evan Engram: 6 targets, 3 receptions, 37 yards

John Ross III: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 28 yards

Chris Myarick: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 11 yards, TD

Pharoah Cooper: 2 targets, 1 reception, 6 yards

 

It’s probably not helpful to talk about your game plan prior to the game, but the Giants’ desire to find Kenny Golladay in the end zone was certainly noted and actioned by the Eagles.

 

 

Golladay was thwarted twice on red zone passes, the first time by former teammate Darius Slay and the second on the Giants’ opening drive of the second half. Golladay led the team in targets but was well marshalled on the outside by Slay.

 

 

Evan Engram was prominently targeted also, a clear shift in focus from Kitchens, away from the dink and dunk Garrett-led offense. Engram nearly fluffed a pass from Jones out of his hands and into the hands of the Eagles defense, however the defensive back completed the catch out of bounds. Despite an increase in looks, Engram again failed to make a significant impact.

Who or what is Chris Myarak? The backup Giants tight end, called up from the practice squad prior this game made a sensational play to haul in a touchdown with his…legs?!

 

 

I mean, how? The 26 year-old was making his NFL debut and hauled in his first ever career catch to give the Giants a decisive lead.

 

 

There is talent in this receiving room but whether it be the offensive coordinator, the quarterback, or the level of play from the receivers, things aren’t clicking. Complementary guys like Darius Slayton and John Ross III made a couple of useful catches but ultimately they did not make a significant impact on the scheme to move the sticks or score points.

 

Benjamin Haller (@benjaminhaller1 on Twitter)

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