Checking the Numbers: Eagles-Giants Game Week 14

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 13: DeSean Jackson #10 of the Philadelphia Eagles catches a ball on his way to scoring a touchdown against Aaron Ross #31 of the New York Giants at Giants Stadium on December 13, 2009 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

I haven’t written a game review in a while, but the matchup this past weekend between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Giants interested me enough to want to write another one. In a game that appeared to be headed for an Eagles blowout, the Giants fought back valiantly in the second half and even took the lead after scoring 14 points to start the third quarter. But, from there, the Eagles took back control of the game, scoring the next 15 points to take a 14 point lead. The Giants scored a final touchdown in the last two minutes, but that proved to be too little, too late in what was surely one of the most exciting games of the season.

If you have read my previous game reviews, you will recall that my method is to compare the box score numbers (taken from Yahoo! Sports) with each team’s average per game numbers (derived from numbers at Pro-Football-Reference.com) up to this point in the season. In earlier posts, I included data from the 2008 season, since there was so little 2009 data in the first few weeks. But, from here on out it makes sense to use 2009 data exclusively.

As usual, I have four tables:

  1. Table 1: compares Philadelphia’s offensive numbers from this game with their per game numbers for 2009, which  indicates how well the Giants’ defense performed in the game.
  2. Table 2: compares New York’s offensive numbers from this game with Philadelphia’s defensive per game numbers for 2009, which indicates how well the Giants’ offense performed in the game.
  3. Table 3: compares New York’s offensive numbers from this game with their per game numbers for 2009, which  indicates how well the Eagles’ defense performed in the game.
  4. Table 4: compares Philadelphia’s offensive numbers from this game with New York’s defensive per game numbers for 2009 prior to last week, which indicates how well the Eagles’ offense performed in the game.

Table 1 

Team Statistics Giants’ Def vs. Eagles’ Off
  PHI PHIAvgOff % Difference
  First Downs 20 18.23 9.70%
    Passing 13 11.38 14.19%
    Rushing 6 5.69 5.41%
  TOTAL NET YARDS 374 360.15 3.84%
    Total Plays 53 60.69 -12.67%
    Average Gain Per Play 7.1 5.93 19.65%
  NET YARDS RUSHING 77 106.08 -27.41%
    Rushes 24 24.08 -0.32%
    Average Per Rush 3.2 4.4 -27.27%
  NET YARDS PASSING 297 254.08 16.89%
    Yards Per Pass Play 10.2 6.9 47.83%
    Times Sacked 1 2.31 -56.67%
    Had Intercepted 1 0.77 30.00%
    Fumbles Lost 0 0.54 -100.00%

Table 2 

Team Statistics Giants’ Off vs. Eagles’ Def
  NYG  PHIAvgDef % Difference
  First Downs 27 19.08 41.53%
    Passing 14 11.46 22.15%
    Rushing 10 5.31 88.41%
  TOTAL NET YARDS 512 320.08 59.96%
    Total Plays 72 65.31 10.25%
    Average Gain Per Play 7.1 4.9 44.90%
  NET YARDS RUSHING 133 101.46 31.08%
    Rushes 31 26.54 16.81%
    Average Per Rush 4.3 3.8 13.16%
  NET YARDS PASSING 379 218.62 73.36%
    Yards Per Pass Play 9.2 5.6 64.29%
    Times Sacked 3 2.77 8.33%
    Had Intercepted 0 1.54 -100.00%
    Fumbles Lost 4 0.92 333.33%

Table 3

Team Statistics Eagles’ Def vs. Giants’ Off
  NYG  NYG AvgOff % Difference
  First Downs 27 20.54 31.46%
    Passing 14 12 16.67%
    Rushing 10 6.77 47.73%
  TOTAL NET YARDS 512 382.38 33.90%
    Total Plays 72 65.08 10.64%
    Average Gain Per Play 7.1 5.9 20.34%
  NET YARDS RUSHING 133 125.23 6.20%
    Rushes 31 29.38 5.50%
    Average Per Rush 4.3 4.3 0.00%
  NET YARDS PASSING 379 257.15 47.38%
    Yards Per Pass Play 9.2 7.2 27.78%
    Times Sacked 3 1.77 69.57%
    Had Intercepted 0 0.85 -100.00%
    Fumbles Lost 4 1.08 271.43%

Table 4 

Team Statistics Eagles’ Off vs. Giants’ Def
  PHI NYG AvgDef % Difference
  First Downs 20 18.46 8.33%
    Passing 13 11.15 16.55%
    Rushing 6 6 0.00%
  TOTAL NET YARDS 374 307.15 21.76%
    Total Plays 53 58.62 -9.58%
    Average Gain Per Play 7.1 5.2 36.54%
  NET YARDS RUSHING 77 100.62 -23.47%
    Rushes 24 25.23 -4.88%
    Average Per Rush 3.2 4 -20.00%
  NET YARDS PASSING 297 206.54 43.80%
    Yards Per Pass Play 10.2 6.2 64.52%
    Times Sacked 1 2 -50.00%
    Had Intercepted 1 0.77 30.00%
    Fumbles Lost 0 0.85 -100.00%

Rather than analyze each table individually as I have in the past, I will just review the data all together and touch on particular highlights. Just looking at these number comparisons, I would conclude that the Giants’ offense outperformed the Eagles’ defense by a larger margin than any other unit in the game. They gained nearly 60% more total yards than the Eagles have allowed per game so far this season. But, the Giants turned it over 4 times to only one for the Eagles, with a first quarter fumble returned 60 yards for a touchdown. In addition, the Eagles’ phenomenal WR Desean Jackson had a couple of huge plays in the game, including a 72 yard PR and a 60 yard reception, both for touchdowns. The 60 yard reception retook the lead in the third quarter.

The Eagles offense did have their part to play in the game as well. They averaged 7.1 yards per play and 10.2 yards per pass play, which was nearly 20% and 48% above their season average, respectively. Those numbers were also nearly 37% and 65% above the respective averages that the Giants defense had allowed so far this season.

This is just one of those classic cases of one good team turning the ball over too often to another good team. Although they fought back and had a real shot to win, the Giants just couldn’t overcome the combination of their own mistakes and Philly’s explosiveness.

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