PHILADELPHIA (AP) — With the Giants' season in the balance, coach Brian Daboll punted on a comeback.
Yes, New York was down 21 points early in the fourth quarter, and while its divisional playoff game against Philadelphia seemed out of reach, wilder rallies have happened in the postseason.
At the Eagles 42-yard-line, facing fourth-and-6 with 13:21 left, Daboll decided against going for a first down.
Jamie Gillan punted.
And the Giants got the boot Saturday from the playoffs.
The NFC East wild-card team that was one of the surprises of the season trailed 28-0 at halftime and could never get going against the top-seeded Eagles. Daniel Jones threw for just 135 yards and the Giants fell 38-7, losing to their division rivals for the third time this season.
“Crash-landing in the playoffs,” Daboll said.
The Giants were bad from the beginning.
“Bout to put my pads on,” Giants great and Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor tweeted.
L.T. in his prime couldn’t have helped these G-Men.
Jones was strip-sacked by Josh Sweat in the waning moments to complete the debacle.
“It was a collective effort in terms of not being able to get it done,” Daboll said. “That starts with me.”
The season still goes down as a win for one of the NFL’s signature franchises after years of hard times. In his first year as coach, Daboll took over a team that had five straight losing seasons and led it to the playoffs. The Giants beat the Minnesota Vikings 31-24 last week, their first postseason win since their Super Bowl victory under Tom Coughlin 11 years ago.
Daboll was the fourth head coach hired by the Giants since 2016 led the team to a 9-7-1 record in the regular season after it went 4-13 a year earlier.
The next question for New York: Will Jones be around to build on what he helped start?
The Giants did not pick up the fifth-year option on his rookie deal last offseason, leaving him with a murky future with the organization. Jones, the No. 6 overall pick in the 2019 draft out of Duke, threw for 301 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 78 yards in New York’s win over the Vikings.
“I really enjoyed playing here. I appreciate all of those guys in the locker room,” Jones said. “It is a special group of guys and I have really enjoyed being a part of it. We will figure out where that goes, but I have nothing but love and respect for this organization and the group of guys in the locker room.”
Against the Eagles, Jones was pressured all game and went 15 of 27. He threw one interception -- to former Giant James Bradberry. Jones didn't want to think about the possibility that he's played his last game for the Giants.
“I think we will get into that down the road. At this point, this is still very fresh,” Jones said. “This season. This loss. It will take some time to regroup and think through that going forward.”
The game was essentially lost in the first half.
The Eagles had 258 total yards to New York’s 64 at halftime. The Eagles had 18 first downs to only three for the Giants. Oh, and yes, it was 28-0.
Still the decision to punt was confusing for the Giants — and their fans who hit social media to second-guess the coach who had otherwise made so many correct calls this season.
“Yeah, they hadn’t scored yet in that half," Daboll said. "I’m counting on the defense maybe ... to get a three-and-out. We probably could’ve went for it, but we weren’t executing well enough to be there so that’s what we did.”
The four-time Super Bowl champion Giants have lost 10 straight games at Philadelphia since their 15-7 win on Oct. 27, 2013.
Saquon Barkley, who rushed for a career-high 1,312 yards with 10 touchdowns, was held to 61 yards rushing. Barkley also is a free agent and the former Penn State standout said he wanted to return.
“I can’t envision that being my last time in a Giants uniform," he said.
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