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Eagles defense dominates long enough for offense to catch up

PHILADELPHIA – December football depends on defense. And that fact might just give the Eagles a shot at playoff football in January.  

Whatever else the Eagles have been this season, they’ve shown that they can play some defense. For the fourth consecutive game, the defense allowed fewer than 18 points.  

“They played incredible,” Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni said. “There's no doubt about it. The defense kept the game a game when it when it wasn't going well.” 

The Eagles held the Giants to 74 net total yards in the first half. That includes a 39-yard drive to put New York ahead 3-0 in the first quarter. It was tied at 3 at the break with set to take the second-half kickoff.  

Rodney McLeod spoiled the Giants first drive of the second half with an interception.   

“It was huge, coming out in the second half to be able to put our team in a position that I was able to,” McLeod said. “It created a lot of momentum. That's what we talked about I had just coming out at half. We responded the right way. My interception helped. Then we just kept rolling from there.”  

It was more than huge. The Eagles converted on the opportunity with a 21-yard TD drive. The offense scored the next 24 points.  

“It was a huge, huge play by Rodney,” Sitiianni said. “Unbelievable rush by Genard Avery just to get pressure on the quarterback. You get that pressure. He sails the ball high and Rodney a big play.  

“It was 3-3 at that time, I believe. That was the first drive of the second half.  I mean that was everything. You end up going up seven and the defense feels like they're not going to get any more points. We're up seven we're not freakin’ losing this game because the way our defense is playing.” 

The defense forced first-time Giants starter Jake Fromm from the game early in the third quarter. The Georgia product managed just 25 yards completing six of his 17 throws. Mike Glennon, who had inherited the job after Daniel Jones was placed on injured reserve, didn’t fare much better. Glennon finished 17-for-27 for 93 yards and a garbage-time touchdown. He also threw one pass that ended up in the hands of Eagles linebacker Alex Singleton. 

McLeod broke up a pass intended for Kadarius Toney and Singleton was there for the carom. He was in the end zone 29 yards later to give the Eagles a 34-3 lead with 10 minutes to play. 

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“It's nice, obviously,” Singleton said. “It's exciting to be able to do that. I scored now two years in a row in the NFL. I scored once in college my sophomore year. You kind of don't get those opportunities. For me to just play in the NFL, it's a privilege every week.” 

Saquon Barkley and the Giants rushing attack fizzled. Actually, Fromm authored the best sustained stretch for the Giants with three consecutive carries, gaining a dozen yards and a first down late in the first half. Saquon Barkley never got on track, averaging a shade over two yards on 15 carries.  

The Giants final totals were bolstered by a 17-play, 75-yard, fourth-quarter drive that came after the Eagles had built a 31-point lead.   

Last month in East Rutherford, the Eagles squandered a golden opportunity to pick up an NFC East road win. That wasn’t about to happen again.  

“We knew what we'd have to do to win this game,” Singleton said. “We knew what happened against them last time. We knew we needed to make great plays on defense. We needed to stop them and step on their throat the whole game. That's what we were able to do and give our offense you know, as many opportunities until they got going.” 

Tom Rimback, sports reporter

Tom Rimback, sports reporter

Tom Rimback grew up reading the Burlington County Times and Courier Post sports sections and began writing for the BCT in 1996. He has covered everything from Super Bowls and Final Fours to Tri-County Swimming but he’s happiest on a sideline interviewing South Jersey scholastic athletes for the Burlington County Times, the Courier Post and The Daily Journal. Follow him on twitter @RimbackBCT. Email him with story ideas at and, most importantly, support local journalism with a subscription.

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