If there was an NFL mercy rule it would have been invoked on Saturday night.
PHILADELPHIA – Talk about the stars aligning.
On the fifth-year anniversary of an emphatic 38-7 NFC Championship Game win over Minnesota, the Eagles replicated the same kind of dominance by dismissing the New York Giants by the very same score in the divisional round of the playoffs.
Philadelphia will now host the NFC Championship Game against the winner of San Francisco and Dallas on Sunday.
The Eagles scored on the game’s first offensive possession and never looked back as Jalen Hurts completed all five of his passes, including a 16-yard touchdown pass to Dallas Goedert.
Much like the Vikings five years ago, the Giants played road apple from there, losing to the Eagles for the third time this season.
Jalen Hurts – It’s win or go home in the playoffs and that meant if Hurts was 100 percent or not, the Eagles’ full plate was installed on offense, and the QB1 delivered despite being limited for the final month of the season with an SC joint sprain in his throwing shoulder.
On the first drive of the game, Hurts completed all five of his passes to three different receivers, including the 16-yard scoring throw, and also ran it twice making things far more complicated for New York defensive coordinator Wink Martindale.
The Giants should have waived the white flag right there.
Coaching – Most of the hype coming in was on the job Brian Daboll and his coaching staff had done and getting the talent-deficient Giants to this point. The Philadelphia staff, though, put on a clinic with Shane Steichen having the New York defense on its heels for the entire first half and Jonathan Gannon making Daniel Jones’ life miserable.
30 Minutes to Zero – That was the story for the Giants who would have had difficulty trying to play a worse half of football. The score was 28-0 at intermission with the Eagles outgaining the Giants 258 to 64, including a 140 to 20 advantage on the ground. The first-down difference was 18 to three in the Eagles’ favor and New York converted just one third down.
Penn State bragging rights – Miles Sanders played caddie to Saquon Barkley with the Nittany Lions and continues to do so from a pedigree and reputation standpoint but it was Sanders who was the better running back on Saturday night, running for 90 yards on 17 carries. Barkley, the lynchpin of the Giants’ offense, was at seven yards on four carries when it mattered. All his damage was done in extended garbage time.
Lane Johnson – Playing through a torn adductor muscle in his groin the All-Pro looked like his All-Pro self, helping Philadelphia run up 268 rushing yards and keeping Hurts clean while in the pocket.
Boston Scott trolling – Wink Martindale claimed Boston Scott isn’t a Giants killer and that’s about all the New York defensive coordinator got right. Scott didn’t have a lot of traffic, carrying it six times for 32 yards but one was a three-yard TD. Scott has now scored TDs in all nine games he’s played against the Giants and 11 of his 18 career scores have come against New York. The Eagles like tweaking NY with Scott.
Clete Blakeman – The Eagles are now 14-1 when Blakeman is the referee in their games.
Tropes – “It’s tough to beat a team three times in a season.”
The exact opposite is true because the team that sweeps a home-and-home series is typically better and playing Round 3 at home. That was the case here and if this were a boxing match, it would have been waived off early. Teams shooting for the three-game sweep as the home team are now 14-6 in such situations during the Super Bowl era.
-John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com’s Eagles Today and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John, alongside legendary sports-talk host Jody McDonald every morning from 8-10 on ‘Birds 365,” streaming live on YouTube. John is also the host of his own show “Football 24/7 and a daily contributor to ESPN South Jersey. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen