The New York Giants manhandled the Philadelphia Eagles in practically every way imaginable today, virtually ending the Eagles' faint playoff hopes with a 23-7 victory at Giants Stadium.
"I wish I had some answers, but I don't," said Philadelphia quarterback Ron Jaworski, sacked eight times for 61 yards in losses. "We aren't playing with any confidence. We couldn't do anything against them today. We never established a thing."
The Giants, 3-3 after their third straight victory, held the Eagles to 41 yards rushing and no first downs on the ground. The Eagles (1-5) ran only 52 plays. Their pass defense was weak and their punting got them into trouble, also.
"Those are the kinds of things that happen when a playoff team like the Giants plays a nonplayoff team like us," said Eagles Coach Dick Vermeil.
New York's Scott Brunner completed 17 of 26 passes for 272 yards and two touchdowns, with five of the completions and 148 of the yards going to Floyd Eddings, a 177-pound rookie free agent from California who had never caught a pass in the NFL. Eddings got to play because starting wide receiver Johnny Perkins sat out the game after being poked in the eye last week.
Eddings' first NFL reception was a 41-yard catch that put the ball at the five-yard line and set up the Giants' first touchdown, a five-yard pass from Brunner to Butch Woolfolk that gave them a 10-7 second-quarter lead. On the Giants' next possession, Eddings caught a 29-yard pass to set up his team's second touchdown, which came on a 17-yard pass from Brunner to Earnest Gray.
Punt returner Leon Bright, who hadn't played since Leonard Thompson of Detroit leveled him while he was trying to field a punt Thanksgiving Day, repeatedly gave the Giants good field position by returning nine punts for 143 yards.
"The punting game really hurt us," said Vermeil. "Max (Runager) was hitting low line drives and you can't do that against a good punt returner."
The game started with a light snow falling and players from both sides slipping and sliding.
A 47-yard punt by New York's Dave Jennings was downed on the Eagles' one by Larry Flowers. Four plays later, Runager, punting from his end zone, got off one of those low line drives and Bright returned it 33 yards to the 19.
Joe Danelo later kicked a 37 yard field goal for a 3-0 New York lead.
The Eagles came back as Jaworski threw 57 yards to tight end Joe Spagnola and two plays later threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Harold Carmichael. Tony Franklin's extra point gave the Eagles a 7-3 lead, but their offense wasn't heard from much the rest of the game.
Brunner's two touchdown passes and Danelo's field goal, his first of three, gave the Giants a 17-7 halftime lead.
The only scoring in the second half came on kicks by Danelo of 34 yards and 29. The last one came at the end of an 18-play, 88 yard drive that consumed 10 minutes and one second of the third and fourth periods.
The Giants were content to run Rob Carpenter (26 carries for 58 yards) in the second half and let the defense handle Jaworski.
"We never really established any offensive continuity and without a running game, we were in a hole from the beginning," said Jaworski. "We had to throw and they knew it and were ready. They doubled our wide people and bracketed our other receivers with the linebackers and just let Lawrence Taylor (three sacks) come at us. He may be the best defensive football player in the game and he showed it."