Eagles spoil Coughlin's possible finale
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) What might have been Tom Coughlin’s final game with the New York Giants was yet another tough loss in a season of excruciating losses.
Former Giant Walter Thurmond scored on an 83-yard interception return in the third quarter and the Philadelphia Eagles added to Coughlin’s season-long frustrations with a 35-30 victory on Sunday.
It was the third straight loss for the Giants (6-10) and finished a third straight losing season and a fourth straight year out of the playoffs.
After meeting with Eagles interim coach Pat Shurmur at midfield, Coughlin walked off the field, waving to the crowd just before walking into the tunnel.
Coughlin, who led the Giants to two Super Bowl titles in his 12 seasons, has a year left on his contract. His future is expected to be decided soon by co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch.
The 69-year-old might retire and end his 20-year NFL head coaching career.
Coughlin refused to address his future immediately after the game, saying he wants to meet with ownership.
The Giants lost five games in the final 74 seconds of regulation and another in overtime.
The Eagles (7-9) didn’t wait for the end of the season to start changing things. Chip Kelly was fired on Tuesday after Philadelphia missed the playoffs for the second straight season, a year many expected it to challenge for the Super Bowl.
Kelly was given control of personnel moves this season and he made a lot of bad ones, releasing three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver DeSean Jackson, trading two-time All-Pro running back LeSean McCoy and signing running back DeMarco Murray.
Sam Bradford, who Kelly acquired from the Rams, threw two short touchdown passes to Jordan Matthews, the last one a 3-yard with 9:19 to play to give the Eagles a 35-27 lead.
Josh Brown added his third field goal for the Giants with 4:30 to go to cut the gap to five points, and New York’s defense got the ball back for Eli Manning and the offense with 1:43 to play. However, the Giants turned the ball over on downs at their own 42 with 28 seconds left.
Murray scored on a 54-yard run and Darren Sproles tallied on a 6-yard as the Eagles used long drives and long returns to beat the Giants once again.
Rashad Jennings rushed for a season-high 170 yards and scored a touchdown for the Giants. Manning threw touchdown passes of 9 yards to Will Tye and 45 to Rueben Randle, with both scores set up by turnovers forced by the Giants’ leaky defense.
The biggest play in the game came late in the third quarter with the Giants looking to expand a 27-21 lead. They had a first down at the Eagles 15 after a holding call and Manning went back to pass. He hit by Connor Barwin and the ball fluttered into the flat. Thurmond grabbed the ball, fought off a tackle attempt by Shane Vereen and ran untouched for the touchdown.
There wasn’t much defense played in the first half as the teams combined for 519 yards total yards.
Philadelphia scored touchdowns on drive of 80, 85 and 80 yards. Murray capped the first with a season-long yard run. Sproles scored after a 60-yard catch and run by tight end Zach Ertz and Bradford and Matthews connected on a 4-yard TD pass.
Jennings carried the Giants in the half, rushing for 116 yards, with the final two on a touchdown run with 13 seconds left. Tye’s touchdown came after Jason Pierre-Paul, who missed the first two months of the season after mangling his right hand in a fireworks accident, tipped a pass to set up a Jonathan Casillas interception. Brown kicked two short field goals.
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