EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — As Eli Manning walked to the sideline, his helmet in his hand after yet another interception, he looked like a beaten man.
He has been exactly that — five times in as many games this season. His New York Giants fell to 0-5 for the first time since the 1987 strike-interrupted season with a 36-21 loss to Philadelphia on Sunday in which Manning was picked off three times in the fourth quarter. The two-time Super Bowl MVP has thrown 12 interceptions already.
With the season spiraling out of control, and a short week ahead — the Giants play at Chicago on Thursday night — Manning couldn’t fathom how his team could be keeping company with Jacksonville at the bottom of the standings.
“We’ve got to keep working and start playing better football and put our team in a better situation,” Manning said. “I still feel like guys are hanging in there tough, hanging in there strong, and doing all the preparations. But we’re having mistakes, having bad plays, and doing too many things that are costing us the game.”
The Giants rallied from a 19-7 halftime deficit to take a 21-19 lead. Then their defense turned into a sieve and their offense stagnated. Worst of all: four turnovers while not getting any takeaways.
The once mighty Giants’ defense has now given up at least 31 points in each of its first five games, tying an NFL record set by the Chicago Cardinals in 1954.
Manning blamed himself, but there were plenty of dropped balls, weak blocks and missed assignments on offense. And plenty of phantom tackles, poor coverages and damaging penalties on defense.
“I know I can play better,” he said. “Sometimes, things are going to go wrong, but you’ve got to make the best decision. Throw it away, take a sack. I know I can’t keep turning the ball over every time.”
His coach knows it, too.
“It’s 22-21 and we’re in a good football game,” Tom Coughlin said. “We’d just scored twice in the third quarter and no reason to think we wouldn’t continue that type of play, and then the turnovers start. That gave them the short field, the quick scores, and it’s very, very demoralizing for the sideline.
“They didn’t stop us, we stopped ourselves.”
The Eagles (2-3) got key plays from their bottom-ranked defense and a timely performance from Nick Foles after he replaced an injured Michael Vick late in the first half. Foles threw fourth-quarter touchdown passes of 25 yards to Brent Celek and 5 yards to DeSean Jackson as the Eagles snapped a three-game losing streak.
Vick, who ran for a team-high 79 yards and threw for another 105, left with a hamstring injury late in the second quarter after a 13-yard scramble.
LeSean McCoy added a 1-yard touchdown run and Alex Henery kicked a career-high five field goals for the Eagles, who gained 439 yards.
David Wilson scored on a 5-yard run for the Giants and Manning threw two touchdowns to Rueben Randle.
Right after the Giants took the lead on Manning’s 6-yard pass to Randle, Foles led a drive to Henery’s 41-yard field goal late in the third quarter.
Linebacker Mychal Kendricks intercepted a pass by Manning (24 of 52 for 334) and returned it to the 25 and Foles hit Celek, who got away with a push-off on safety Ryan Mundy in the end zone. That increased the lead to 29-21.
The touchdown pass to Jackson just minutes later was set up by an interception by Brandon Boykin near the Giants 40.
After being outscored 69-7 in their last two games, the Giants’ offense scored on its opening possession. Wilson capped a 62-yard, five-play drive that featured a 49-yard pass to Hakeem Nicks with a 5-yard run. Wilson injured his neck on the final play of the first quarter and did not return.
NOTES: New York spent two timeouts on a challenge in the third quarter. Coughlin took a timeout to give his coaches more time to review replays of McCoy’s sideline catch. The Giants decided to challenge the call and lost it, leaving them with one timeout. … Nicks led the Giants with nine catches for 142 yards.
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