Was Joe Judge suddenly coaching too conservatively?
That thought lasted a few minutes Sunday, from the time he decided not to let the Giants offense go for the kill shot on fourth-and-1 in Eagles territory late in the first half to the time early in the third quarter when he really needed to show some guts.
After the Giants’ lead was trimmed from 11 to three points, Judge and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett entrusted turnover-prone quarterback Daniel Jones to be aggressive. It was the right button to push at the right time — and the reward was a six-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that proved there would be no wilting to the Eagles yet again in this 27-17 victory at MetLife Stadium.
“This is an [opponent] where if you think you’re going to watch the clock tick down, and it’s just going to run out in your favor, you’re going to be really wrong against the Eagles,” Judge said. “They can score points at any point. We couldn’t sit back today and in any way, shape or form think that we had scored enough points.”
Leading 14-3 with 1:17 to go in the second quarter, the Giants took an intentional penalty at the Eagles’ 44-yard line and punted. Just situational strategy. Not indicative of a broader philosophy.
“The emphasis was to keep scoring, play the entire game on through,” Judge said. “That’s always the emphasis, but with these guys, we knew it had to be very driven towards getting points on as many drives as we can.”
Jones hit Sterling Shepard for 27 yards across midfield and Golden Tate for 38 yards on back-to-back plays. Tate — who was inactive last week as punishment for selfish behavior — made one of his trademark contested catches at the 10-yard line.
Wayne Gallman carried on the next three plays, leaping into the end zone from the 1-yard line and a 21-11 lead.
“That was huge,” Giants safety Jabrill Peppers said. “I was telling the defense, ‘The offense bailed us out, Let’s go!’ To see the offense go down and respond that quickly, it definitely gives you confidence and makes you want to go back out there and get them the ball right back.”
Jones also delivered a 40-yard pass to Darius Slayton to set up the field goal that gave the Giants the breathing room of a 10-point lead. Another aggressive decision on a day where the Giants stopped an eight-game losing streak to the Eagles by dictating the tempo.
“That was a great call by Coach Garrett there in that situation,” Jones said. “Obviously, they were expecting us to try to keep the ball on the ground and drain out the clock. Just tried to give Darius a chance and you saw the play he made was an incredible one.”
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