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Giants Q&A: Eagles fans flock into MetLife Stadium

Tavares King of the New York Giants catches

Tavares King of the New York Giants catches a first quarter touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. Dec. 17, 2017 . Credit: Mike Stobe

Where was this game played?

At MetLife Stadium, though you’d have been hard-pressed to recognize that with so many Eagles fans in attendance for their team’s 34-29 win over the Giants on Sunday.

For most of the game, the audience was amazingly bipartisan, cheering for both sides as they emerged from their locker rooms before the game and at the half. But there were times late in the game when the chants of “dee-fense” thundered through the stadium while the Giants were driving.

About the only thing missing was the theme from “Rocky” and a chorus of “Fly, Eagles, Fly.”

Eagles cornerback Jalen Mills said of his team’s fans who flocked north: “They’re loud, they’re crazy. We had a great group out there.”

Why was that?

The proximity of Philadelphia to East Rutherford coupled with the disgust of Giants season-ticket holders who flooded the secondary market for this game led to a Lincoln Financial Field-type atmosphere.

“They’re right up the street, right in our backyard,” Jason Pierre-Paul said, “so it’s not surprising to see all of their fans here chanting.”

“I don’t blame our fans,” Eli Manning said. “That’s the way this season has turned out. We didn’t do our part. You’re playing late in the year where you’re not playing for a spot in the playoffs, so it bothers me from that standpoint.”

What effect did that have on the game?

The pro-Eagles cheering was the most full-throated on the Giants’ final drive for the potential game-winning touchdown. In fact, it likely played a role when right tackle Bobby Hart committed a false start on the fourth-and-goal play from the 6. That pushed the final pass attempt back to the 11.

“I don’t blame Bobby,” Manning said. “[Center] Brett Jones couldn’t hear me call the cadence. You don’t think about having that [at home], but I guess when you’ve only won two games, there’s a lot of Eagles fans and they were loud and we couldn’t hear the cadence. That’s why we jumped offsides.”

Did Landon Collins try to play on his sprained ankle?

He did. The third-year safety tested the joint in a pregame workout and was cleared to play, but with 10:10 left in the second quarter, he tried to plant his foot in the turf to set the edge on an Eagles run and the ankle went out from under him. He did not return.

“I have no regrets about having him play,” interim head coach Steve Spagnuolo said. “He doesn’t either.”

Was anyone surprised that Collins gave it a go?

Not on the Giants. “Landon is a very tough cat,” Pierre-Paul said. “Landon is a beast.” Added Spagnuolo: “He’s a warrior.”

Has anyone played every offensive snap for the Giants this season?

Not any longer. Left tackle Ereck Flowers was the last remaining iron man for the Giants, but he had to step out with an injury in the third quarter. He missed three snaps and was replaced by rookie Chad Wheeler. One of those snaps was a 57-yard touchdown pass to Tavarres King that made the score 31-29. Flowers returned to the field for the two-point conversion attempt; Manning was sacked on that play.

Any other injuries?

Linebacker B.J. Goodson left the game with an ankle injury. He’s missed five of the past seven games with the same injury. King suffered a concussion on his 57-yard TD catch and dive into the end zone. Jones had X-rays of his left ankle after the game.

How big an upset would it have been to see the Giants pull this one out?

In at least one regard, it was close to being the biggest in the NFL in almost eight full years. The last time a team at least nine games under .500 beat a team at least nine games over was on Dec. 27, 2009, when the 2-12 Bucs beat the 13-1 Saints, 20-17.

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