Giants hang on, best Eagles and their fourth-down woes in NFC East battle

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Stop us if you’ve heard this one before. With time ticking away in the fourth quarter, Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz had the football in his hands with Philly down by one possession (twice)against NFC East rivals the Giants.

But the rookie played like a rookie once again down the stretch as the Giants held on for the dramatic 28-23 victory.

Eli Manning was the story for the Giants, as the two-time Super Bowl champ fired off four touchdown passes on 22-for-36 passing, tallying 257yards in a win that moves New York to 5-3 on the year.

Wentz had a career high, compiling 364 yards, but he wasn’t the story on the Eagles’ side. Instead it was head coach Doug Pederson, who peculiarly went for it twice on fourth and short in the fourth quarter, opting not to take three points in both situations — each costing Philly big time in the loss moving the team to 4-4.

In the key Philly drive with seven minutes onthe clock, a dropped Nelson Agholor pass on third down forced Pederson to go for it on fourth-and-nine. Jordan Matthews converted the third fourth-down try for the Eagles on a pass right over the middle to keep the drive alive. Caleb Sturgis hit a 39-yard field goal to cut the Giants lead to 28-23 with just under four minutes to play.

With the Giants ready run down the clock inside the two-minute warning, a tipped pass by Connor Barwin ended up in Jordan Hicks’ hands — the interception setting Wentz up one more time with the chance to make a game-winning march.

Fittingly, it took a fourth fourth-down try for the Eagles to keep their hopes alive but Wentz’s fade toss to Matthews in the corner of the Eagles’ end zone hit the turf, and that was that.

Wentzthrew two interceptions in the first quarter for the second time in three games. But unlike in their defensively dominant win over the Vikings in Week 7, the Giants turned both turnovers into points, with touchdown passes to Odell Beckham Jr., and then to Roger Lewis.

The picks made by Landon Collins and Andrew Adams put the Giants up, 14-0, and after two long drives from Philly resulted in a chip shot field goal and missed fourth-and-two try, New York was up 14-3 and rolling. The ugly fourth-down play was a designed Wentz run that lost 5 yards, and lost Philly possession.

But the Eagles defense settled down getting a couple key stops and Wentz eventually found his groove as well,connecting on a deep bomb to newly activated rookie Bryce Treggs for 58 yards to set up an 8-yard Ryan Mathews run to cut things to 14-10.

The Giants got their lead back to two scores midway through the second, finishing an 86-yard drive with a second TD pass to ODB in the back of the end zone.

Philly once again came away with zero points on a short field a drive later, when a near punt return for a touchdown by Darren Sproles resulted in another red zone fourth down try — this one a failed Sproles scamper.

Having left six easy first-half points off the board, Philly got a three-and-out and a couple Wentz-to-Jordan Matthews connections gave Philadelphia another scoring chance, but a leaping Jason Pierre-Paul blocked Sturgis’ field goal try — taking even more easy points off the board from the Eagles.

The Giants failed on their own fourth-and-short try, and the two rivals went to the locker room with a 21-10 spread.

After a short break, the Eagles came out with energy on offense, plowing downfield thanks to a big Sproles run and big catches byAgholor and Matthews, setting up a Kanjon Barner touchdown run to cut the Giants lead to 21-17.

The Giants’ energy was just as high on their ensuing drive, as Sterling Shepherd beat Malcolm Jenkins deep catching a 32-yard bomb to up the lead, once again to 11 points.

The Eagles cut it to a one-possession game after more impressive offense, driving deep into Giants territory before settling for a field goal and 28-20 deficit. Then after a few first down runs from Paul Perkins, Nolan Carroll III ripped a pass out of Beckham’s chest for an interception. The turnover didn’t lead to much offense for Philly, which went three-and-out.

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