Wide receiver Tavarres King
Before Sunday, King was best known for scoring the only touchdown in last season’s Wild Card loss to the Green Bay Packers. He was rewarded by getting released in Week 2. After the Giants’ receiving corps turned into a MASH unit, King was re-signed by the team. His performance against the Eagles will make the Giants think twice about letting him go again. He turned Eagles cornerback Jalen Mills into the receiving end of a You Got Mossed highlight in the first quarter with one of the most beautiful slant-and-go routes you’ll ever see. King wasn’t finished with the Eagles secondary though. In the third quarter, he made Eagles cornerback Ronald Darby look like he was running with weights on his feet on a 57-yard touchdown run reminiscent of Bo Jackson on Tecmo Bowl. King suffered a concussion after his second touchdown and didn’t return to the game. It was an awesome performance from a player who only had one NFL touchdown before Sunday. One can only wonder what else King could have done to torch the Eagles secondary.
Quarterback Eli Manning
No. 10 had his best game of the season. It might have been his best game since 2015. Manning thrived in the Giants’ up-tempo offense. He found his playmakers (Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard) early and often. He finished 37-of-57 for 434 yards (his ninth 400+ yard performance), three touchdowns, and an interception. The 434 yards were the most thrown by Manning since a 403-yard game against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 6 of last season and the fourth highest total of his career. Manning proved that rumors of his professional football demise are greatly exaggerated. Not a bad day from a quarterback who will turn 37 on Jan. 3.
Defensive end Olivier Vernon
The Eagles’ offensive line had no answers for Vernon. He couldn’t be stopped or contained. Vernon only had one sack but that was because Eagles quarterback Nick Foles somehow managed to get the ball off a few times when Vernon was closing in. The Giants had seven quarterback hits as a team. Vernon accounted for five of those hits. He also forced a fumble that the Eagles recovered by the skin of their teeth. Vernon has spent most of this season banged up, missing games for the first time in his career. It is good to see a player of Vernon’s caliber playing hard even though the Giants are playing for nothing more than pride.
Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul
You would think that JPP would have had free reign to attack the quarterback with all the pressure his running mate Vernon applied. This was not the case. Pierre-Paul was shut down by Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson. He didn’t record a sack or a quarterback hit, a headscratcher since he played in 94 percent of the Giants’ defensive snaps. Pierre-Paul also got hit with an illegal use of hands penalty. The club on his right hand may be a reason for his performance or lack thereof. Pierre-Paul has not had a great or even good season by the standards he set before signing his contract extension. If the Giants defense is to return to the top of the NFL, they will need better play from No. 90.
Giants special teams coordinator Tom Quinn
On a day where the offense scored and the defense made stops when they had to, the special teams play was rotten, rancid, awful, and putrid. They missed a punt, field goal, and an extra point attempt. It got so bad that the Eagles special teams unit actually dared Kalif Raymond to return punts and kicks. Raymond averaged 20 yards on five kickoffs and had one punt return for seven stinking yards. The extra point and field goal blocks came from the same side of the field, the side where Ereck Flowers and Rhett Ellison were lined up. It was as if the Eagles sat in on the Giants’ special teams meetings. Interim head coach/defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said “the special teams protection obviously got us in trouble”, a statement so drenched in the obvious that he couldn’t use Coaching English to spin it. It’s hard to picture any scenario that involves Quinn keeping his job after the end of the season, especially after the special teams unit cost the Giants a game they should have won.