I Never Doubted The Eagles
12:45 PM EST on January 22, 2023
You don’t get too many of these as a football fan. You may not ever get one. But last night, Eagles fans got one. The team hosted a big playoff game, and they beat the pants off their opponent. The only thing they lost was the coin toss. They beat the Giants, 38-7, to advance to the NFC championship game.
It could not have gone much better. The Giants did not play particularly bad, the Eagles just beat them up. Jalen Hurts threw touchdown passes on the Eagles' first two drives. James Bradberry, cut by the Giants in the offseason as a cap casualty, had an interception. Boston Scott, the man who plays so well against the Giants he’s called the “Giant killer,” had a touchdown. Scott's dominance has to be a long-running gag by the Eagles at this point: 11 of his 19 career touchdowns have come against New York. Hurts ran one in to complete the first-half domination. (A foot-off-the-gas Eagles still won the second half, 10-7, after a late FG and a Kenneth Gainwell touchdown where Gainwell was pushed by the Giants into the end zone.)
I am an Eagles fan, so I am always worried. I was not worried coming into this game. All day I was waiting for when I would start to feel worried. I was in New York for work last week, so I was insulated from any pregame chatter here. I did see that some fans were outraged that Xfinity Live! was hosting a tailgate party for Giants fans pregame. (These same outraged fans would likely later sing, “No one likes us, we don’t care.” Whatever.) There appeared to be some talk about the Eagles being disrespected, but they were two-score favorites and it seemed like most people picked them. But people did seem nervous.
I understood why. Hurts did not look particularly great against a team of mostly Giants backups in the one game he played since coming back from a sprained shoulder suffered in December. There was a lot of talk that Wink Martindale had turned the Giants defense around. Reporters wrote stories about how much the anonymous Giants receivers had improved. Daniel Jones was running, and was good! Maybe he’d break a big run against the Eagles and not fall down while doing it this time! My mom, who I find is a good barometer for local fan feelings, was convinced the Giants would win.
My mom, and others, should’ve been less nervous, and not just because of the result. (“I was so hyped I couldn’t fall asleep,” my mom reported this morning.) The Giants offensive line had struggled with the Eagles pass rush in their first meeting this year. Miles Sanders and Hurts and, yes, Scott had run all over them, too. The Giants were just 4-5-1, including their playoff win last week, after their bye.
This was a game where one team was simply better than the other—and by a lot. The Eagles might really, actually be the best team in the NFC. Which means it's time to start worrying about next week.