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Giants’ special teams prove costly

Brad Wing of the New York Giants looks

Brad Wing of the New York Giants looks on after a punt was blocked in the second quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. Dec. 17, 2017. Credit: Jim McIsaac

It didn’t take long for the Giants’ offense to demonstrate what type of game the unit would have against the Eagles. The same can be said for the special teams, but with significantly different results.

After the Giants executed a 13-play, 75-yard drive for a 1-yard touchdown run by Orleans Darkwa on the game’s opening possession, the extra-point unit came onto the field sporting a 94.7 percent success rate (18-for-19).

But nothing was a given for the Giants’ special teams Sunday. The Eagles recorded the first of what would be a trio of blocks — one extra point, one field goal and one punt. The four points left on the field — plus a failed two-point conversion after the Giants pulled within two late in the third quarter — provided the difference in the Eagles’ 34-29 win at MetLife Stadium.

“At the end of the day, it comes down to me,” said kicker Aldrick Rosas, who made a 28-yard field goal but saw a Giants extra-point attempt blocked for the first time since Sept. 10, 2001. “I gotta do it, the team’s gotta do it, the special-teams unit as a whole. We have to get it together . . . we needed [the points].”

With the Giants leading 20-14 late in the second quarter, Kamu Grugier-Hill blocked Brad Wing’s punt. The Eagles took over at the Giants’ 18-yard line and scored a go-ahead touchdown 56 seconds later.

“It was a huge play,” said Darian Thompson, who served as the punt protector and said he should have come off his block to slow down Grugier-Hill. “Any time you get a blocked punt, it’s a huge momentum-changer.”

The Giants’ final special- teams blunder came with a chance to take the lead early in the fourth quarter. Rosas’ 48-yard field goal was blocked, which led to a drive of more than seven minutes and an Eagles field goal that made it a 34-29 game with 3:56 remaining.

“The special-teams miscues put our backs to the wall,” Giants coach Steve Spagnuolo said. “It’s tough. It’s hard enough. The margin for error is very small for us right now with all the injuries and what we’re going through, and to be making it easy on an opponent, that hurts.”

The Eagles scored 17 points on possessions after the blocked punt, the blocked field goal and Eli Manning’s second-quarter interception.

“They can keep us in a game or limit us from being in a game,” Thompson said. “So we would like to have those points, obviously.”With Tom Rock

New York Sports