Eric Hartline | USA TODAY Sports

The Giants had a tremendous season. They exceeded all expectations and restored dignity to an organization that has sunk to the bottom of the NFL. And their future is bright — brighter than it has been in a long time.

But there was always a smoke-and-mirrors feel to their unexpected success under in Year 1 of the Brian Daboll and Joe Schoen era. It was hard to criticize the Giants for this or to point it out with much emphasis. You are what your record says you are, after all. A stirring playoff road upset of the Vikings gave some reason to start believing and dreaming. But in the end, the Giants were who we thought they were: A vastly-improved team, but one that is still a long ways away.

So that’s how we get to Eagles 38, Giants 7 in Saturday’s NFC divisional round showdown at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. Any Philly fears were clearly unfounded. Any hope the Giants would go on another magical Super Bowl run against all odds were severely dashed. The better, far superior team did what it was supposed to do and dominated. So that is that.

MORE: Giants should put Boston Scott in Ring of Honor when he retires

Again, no one should complain. The Giants had an incredible year. They should hold their heads high. The franchise is finally going in the right direction again. This result was just an inevitably sour final chapter. And boy was it sour.

The Eagles ran roughshod in the first half before coasting into next weekend’s NFC Championship Game, which it will host. They stormed right down the field for a 7-0 lead — Jalen Hurts looked quite fine — and then made it 14-0 after Daboll’s tellingly reckless decision to go for it on fourth-and-8 on the Philadelphia 40. And then 21-0 and 28-0 and away they went.

Daboll was signaling to the world he did not believe his team was capable of beating the Eagles straight-up. And guess what? He was right. Hurts was efficient, throwing for two touchdowns and rushing for another. Philly ran for over 200 yards as a team behind Miles Sanders. Daniel Jones was picked off and sacked five times. Boston Scott did some Giant killing. Saquon Barkley was never able to factor into the game. And on and on.

The Giants had an incredible season. But they always felt like a team that had played over their head and were on borrowed time. The Eagles proved that in brutal fashion.

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James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @jameskratch.

 

James Kratch is the managing editor of ESNY. He previously worked as a Rutgers and Giants (and Mike Francesa) beat reporter for NJ Advance Media.