PHILADELPHIA — So much for the Jalen Hurts shoulder injury affecting the Philadelphia Eagles in the playoffs.
Hurts became just the second Eagles player with two pass touchdowns and one rush touchdown in a playoff game, joining Donovan McNabb on that exclusive list as the Eagles cruised to a 38-7 victory over the New York Giants in a playoff matchup that was never close.
The Eagles are heading to their seventh NFC Championship Game since the start of the 2001 season, and their second in five years. Hurts finished 16 of 24 for 254 yards with two touchdowns (112.2 rating) and had nine carries for 34 yards and a touchdown — all in a first half in which the Eagles took a 28-0 lead and cruised to victory.
The defense also took over the game early as Haason Reddick had 1.5 sacks for the Eagles in the first half, both coming on consecutive plays to stop the Giants from moving down the field on their first drive. James Bradberry had the interception on the Giants’ second possession, the first by an Eagles cornerback since Week 9. Philadelphia had a 14-0 lead at that point in the game.
Boston Scott scored a touchdown for the Eagles in the second quarter to put them up 21-0, his 11th touchdown in nine career games against the Giants. Scott has 19 career touchdowns, living up to his “Giant Killer” reputation. Hurts had a rushing touchdown to cap off the dominant first half.
The Eagles (15-3) just milked the clock from there and advanced to the NFC Championship Game. They will host the Dallas Cowboys or San Francisco 49ers next Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field at 3 p.m. ET. The Giants’ season ends at 9-8-1.
Here are some additional takeaways from the blowout:
Why the Eagles won
Jalen Hurts was back in full MVP-caliber form, Miles Sanders had open lanes all night, and Jonathan Gannon’s entire defense made it look easy getting after Daniel Jones up front. In other words, the Eagles looked like the peak version of themselves from their 2022 campaign. Despite a conservative approach in Week 18 while recovering from his shoulder injury, Hurts was fully rejuvenated, feeding DeVonta Smith and Dallas Goedert with ease, and perhaps more notably using his legs to aid a dominant ground game. Sanders was consistently fluid in space, and Kenneth Gainwell delivered one tough carry after another down the stretch as Philly piled up well over 250 yards rushing. On “D,” sack artist Haason Reddick was busy again, easily outdoing Andrew Thomas to keep Daniel Jones under fire. Ex-Giants star James Bradberry read Jones like a book on an early pick. And Brett Kern did his part to pin New York deep on the Eagles’ few punts of the night.
Why the Giants lost
Both Brian Daboll and Wink Martindale failed to elevate a roster that was already at least a year ahead of schedule in terms of competing. Daboll deserves props for the way he rejuvenated Daniel Jones this season, but his situational decision-making left a bit to be desired; that was never more apparent than on fourth downs, as he elected to go for a fourth-and-long early but punted away near midfield when trailing by 21. Martindale, meanwhile, saw his “D” play soft and conservative for the second straight week, and unlike the Vikings, the Eagles refused to let up on the ground. It didn’t help that Jones had precious few clean pockets, or open receivers, and forced an early throw that sealed a two-score deficit early. All hope is not lost in New York; Daboll has this team on the right trajectory. But they were outplayed, outcoached and overmatched in every phase in Philly.
The Eagles went up two scores in a hurry, with Jalen Hurts finding both Smith and Goedert on back-to-back TD series out of the gate. New York went bold on its own first drive, turning it over on downs after going for it near midfield. Trailing 14-0 on their second series, they still appeared to have life, with Daniel Jones hitting Matt Breida for 19. But then, on the next play, with a free rusher coming right up the gut, Jones threw an ill-advised quick strike across the middle, and former teammate James Bradberry easily picked it. The Eagles didn’t score on their ensuing possession, but the turnover confirmed the momentum belonged solely to the home team.
Play of the game
Haason Reddick had several highlight-worthy pressures, but Dallas Goedert’s one-handed catch-and-run started it all for Philly:
The Giants will go home for the offseason on a bittersweet note: they weren’t even supposed to make it to the playoffs, so they can take pride in that; yet lots of improvements await, with Jones still unsigned at QB and both sides of the ball requiring multiple upgrades. The Eagles, meanwhile, will advance to their second NFC Championship Game in five years, and host either the Cowboys or 49ers on Jan. 29.