Don’t be fooled by the familiar markings of a football field. Lincoln Financial Field is actually a House of Horrors.
Take it from the Ghost of Evan Engram’s Dropped Pass chasing the 29 yard line. Or Victor Cruz’s Spirit of Agonizing Screams that startles the end zone. Or the Pigskin Frankenstein reportedly living beneath the surface in midfield since Jake Elliott’s 61-yard field goal.
The Giants have not only lost nine games in a row to the Eagles. According to Elias Sports Bureau, guts broken, hearts broken and minds numbed under five different head coaches during the longest road losing streak against a single opponent in franchise history and the eighth longest running streak by one team visiting another. No player on the roster has won at Philadelphia in a Giants uniform
“It’s definitely something I want done this week,” said fourth-year receiver Darius Slayton. “We haven’t played badly. We’re just not done with the game. You remember them all, but it doesn’t affect my mentality when I go in there.
Head coach Brian Daboll tells his players that nothing matters except how the Giants and Eagles perform in the NFC division playoffs on Saturday. Not the (excessive) difficulty of beating the same team three times in a season. Not the history that the Giants have reached the Super Bowl in the last three seasons where they won a playoff game. And not the gory details of the nine-game slide.
For instance …
The 27-0 2014 loss that started it all, when Cruz tore the patellar tendon in his right knee jumping for a fourth down pass. The sound of Cruz suffering pain and the sight of him hiding his tears in his hands as he took off on a cart flattened the Giants as the Eagles recorded their first shutout in 18 years. Cruz went 700 days without a game and scored just one more touchdown, ending his time as a phenomenon in a flash.
Or the 24-19 loss in 2016 that marked the unveiling of the Color Rush jerseys and the delay in clinching a playoff spot as Eli Manning threw three interceptions on a career-high 63 passes. It’s the furthest slip date for a current Giant (Landon Collins and the injured Sterling Shepherd).
Comebacks have been wasted, like in 2017 when Manning threw three touchdown passes in the 5:27 span of the fourth quarter to turn a 14-0 deficit into a 21-14 lead. A complete momentum swing-offset as the Eagles converted two field goals in the final 51 seconds to win 27–24 on the longest winning punt by a rookie in NFL history: Jake Elliott’s 61-yarder as time expired.
Too many comebacks are allowed. The Giants blew leads of 16, 14 and 11 over three consecutive years as the core of the current team was first assembled. How does that happen?
With the help of odd staffing and turnover, the hallmarks of a 25-22 loss in 2018. Saquon Barkley had just five touches in the second half (after 15 in the first half) and Manning threw a game-changing interception to the 2- yard line after the Eagles cut into a 19–3 deficit.
With an injured starting quarterback – Manning started over Daniel Jones for the first time in 12 weeks – and three times as many punts (six) as first downs (two) after halftime as a 17-3 lead turned into a 23-17 loss overtime in 2019.
With an opportunity that literally slips through Engram’s fingers, who in 2020 got a pass off his hands for an interception and another fall for an incompletion. The second, with 2:11 left in the fourth quarter, forced a punt instead of a first down that would have forced the Eagles to use all of their timeouts and was sandwiched between the two touchdowns giving a 21 lead -10 evaporated and resulted in a 22-21 defeat.
“It’s like a fresh start, a whole new season,” said Barkley, the team’s longest-serving consecutive regular. “Whatever happened, two, four, five, eight [years ago]that is all in the past.”
There are standard losses, like 27-7 in 2015, 34-10 in 2021 and 22-16 just two weeks ago, when the Giants backups surprisingly scared the NFC East champs as the starters sat to health retained for the playoffs.
The bottom line is that the Giants are in the company of the Lions who have the longest active streak (13 straight losses at the 49ers) and longest historic streak (24 straight at the Packers, 1992-2014), according to Elias Sports Bureau . The Lions compared their streak-busting victory over the Packers to winning the Super Bowl. If the Giants stop theirs, they’ll be one win away from the actual Super Bowl.
“We’ve been close, but I don’t even think about that history when I’m there,” said fifth-year left guard Nick Gates. “It’s a tough place to win because they’re a good team and their crowd brings it. A year ago I saw a 6 year old boy birding me double while his dad sat next to him with the proudest look on his face. Where else does that happen? I will never forget that as the funniest thing ever.”
Some things will never change about the way the Giants are received in Philadelphia. Will the way they leave be different from the past nine times?