Eagles outlast Giants, take division’s top spot

By JEFFREY WARNER
Staff Writer — jwarner@highhopesblog.com
_______

Assante Samuel was the defensive star in the Eagles' win over the Giants. (Photo: Philly.com)

In the 157th meeting of the longest rivalry in the NFC East, the Eagles and Giants, had all of the implications of a huge game.  First place in the division was on the line at the Linc, in front of the whole country in prime time on Sunday Night Football.

And the nations saw the Eagles regain first place in a classic NFC East battle, winning 27-17. It was a dog fight but the Eagles came out on top and continue their stride as they have won three straight sitting at 7-3.

Eagles Report Card

Eagles Offense —  C:

After a record-breaking performance last week against the Redskins, the Eagles’ offense comes into this week very sluggish. The Eagles couldn’t get in a rhythm and unable to move the chains and establish consistent drives. They could only manage 17 total first downs and only convert three third down conversions in the game. They only established one good drive that went for 13 plays, 68 yards, and took over seven minutes of the clock to set up the first touchdown. But a unit that has been known lately for getting the ball in the end zone, was back to its old ways again. In five trips in the red zone, they could only punch it in once for a touchdown when a few were given with short field. Philly was just unable to take advantage and execute in key situations when given the opportunity. The Eagles had to rely on David Akers for points and in the NFL it’s not going to get the job done.

QB Michael Vick who has resurrected his career in Philadelphia has been putting up a show this season, but this was one game he would like to forget. Yes he did have almost 300 yards of offense and a touchdown on the ground. But he did commit his first turnover this season and only recorded a quarterback rating of 83.0. He just wasn’t the Michael Vick we have been accustomed to seeing.

Vick was very inaccurate with his throwing missing his receivers by wide margins and throwing into coverage. Due to the amount of pressure he had in his face, he was unable to read the defenses effectively and scan the field. He was able to extend the plays with his mobility and elusiveness but just had bad decision-making whether to pass or run in certain situations that cost the Eagles valuable field position and opportunities to extend drives. But Vick isn’t completely to blame for the offensive blunders.

The receiving corps didn’t have the best of nights. The bright spot was another great performance by WR Jeremy Maclin who hauled in nine grabs for 120 yards. But overall the unit that is normally a strength, was very inconsistent. Too many dropped passes by the receivers including a couple of potential touchdowns that had to be settled for field goals. The Giants secondary did a good job to slow down this receiving core. Desean Jackson could only put up 50 yards receiving. Only six different targets had a reception in the game. With all the speed they have on the field, the Eagles could have hoped for a better production by this team.

The only bright side of the Eagles offensive game plan was the play of RB Lesean McCoy. McCoy racked up 111 rushing yards and the game winning 50 yard touchdown run on 4th and 1 late in the 4th quarter. RB Jerome Harrison, after having his first 100 yard game in midnight green a week ago, didn’t get a single touch. The run game was non-existent for the first half of the game until it was finally picked up late in the game. In the second half, Mccoy racked up 105 rushing yards and the team finished the game with 148 yards. A big part of that was the mediocre offensive line play early on.

The line was very inconsistent giving up a big day to Giants DE Justin Tuck who recorded three sacks in the game on Vick. They were giving up too much pressure in this game and just had no answer for the Giant’s D. They gave Vick no time in the pocket to scan the field, they couldn’t execute their blocks in the running game, and were getting called for too many penalties. When you have to deal with all of this, it gets frustrating for an offense because you can’t get in that consistent rhythm and move the football. This is just a unit that one week look amazing and then the next can’t get it together. Andy Reid and company have to do something about this before it cost them games.

But the good that came out of this was Vick showed somewhat what he can do when down late in the game and the Eagles offense was able to put up almost 400 yards and 27 points on the first ranked defense in the league. They held the ball for about 34 minutes, keeping the Giants offense off the field. So there were some positives but still a lot of work to be done as they face another stiff defense against Chicago.

Eagles Defense — A-:

-Coming into this week all the talk was how will the Eagles D control the 2nd ranked offense and an offense that rushes for over 146 yards a game? Well the answer to that is pretty darn well.  The Giants could only manage a total of 208 yards in the combined for 39 yards on the ground. New York couldn’t even get half of their average total as they only had 61 total averaging only 3.2 yards a carry. It was just a brilliant job by the defense to keep the Giants from running all over them.

Also the Eagles were causing havoc for Giants’ quarterback Eli Manning. Manning had 147 yards and two touchdown passes but a QB rating of 53.5 They were unable to bring down the quarterback in this game but Defensive Coordinator Sean McDermott’s blitz schemes and game plan was enough to get pressure on Manning for him to make mistakes with the football as he turned the ball over four of the five G-Men giveaways.

The secondary did a tremendous job to control their big physical receivers. New York’s big play weapon, Hakeem Nicks, only recorded 65 yards on six receptions. CB Asante Samuel again could be player of the game. He adds two more interceptions to bring his total to a league leading seven, and a fumble recovery were big on setting up the offense to put points on the board. But he needs to learn to just fall on the ball because instead of the game being over, he fumbles the ball after an interception and gives the Giants another chance to try and come back. But overall they did a good job not to give anything big down the field and stick to their coverage assignments very well. WR Mario Manningham could only manage 24 receiving yards and was pretty much a non factor in the game as well as Eli’s other weapons like TE Kevin Boss. Only thing they need to work on which in my opinion were questionable, were the amount of penalties.

The defense got called for a big unnecessary roughness on Samuel that moved the chains and led to the Giants getting points and also a big pass interference call by Quintin Mikell that set New York up on the two yard line to go up late in the game. Some of this is just part of football but still have to be smart and think about what you’re about to do because with today’s NFL they are taking away all of this and will call it every time.

Eagles Special Teams- B+ :

-Kicker David Akers again having a good game as the Eagle’s offense struggled again in the red zone. They had to rely on their place kicker to get the job done. He went 4/5 with a 38 yard long and an extra point for a total of 13 of the Eagles’ 27 points. He did get one blocked where the line blew their assignments right before half time that switched the whole momentum in the Giants’ favor. On kickoffs Akers was booming them and with help from the coverage team they only allowed 15.3 yards a return giving the Giants horrible field position.

Punter Sav Rocca had himself another decent game as he averaged 44.7 yards on three attempts pinning one inside the 20. He really didn’t give anything for return man Will Blackman as he only had 16 yards on three attempts. It was a good job by Rocca but also the coverage team sticking to their lanes and not allowing anything big.

As for the Eagles return game it was non-existent. Ellis Hobbs had a high of an 11 yard return before getting hurt in the second quarter which put RB Eldra Buckley back there as the return man.  And they gave nothing for Jackson to handle as he only had one return for nine yards.

So overall it was a decent day for Bobby Aprils unit.

Overall Grade- B:

-It was ugly but a win is a win. The Eagles have some things to work on but its games like these that show the difference between the good and great teams. When it’s a tight back and forth battle being down late in the game and not give up to come back and win just shows how good this Eagles’ team actually is. Vick made mistakes and was still able to come up with the win. The Eagles are undefeated when Vick plays a full game. Lesean Mccoy didn’t give up as it was frustrating he couldn’t pick up any yardage early to come up in the clutch with the game winning touchdown. And what a game it was by the defense, playing spectacular against a top notch offense forcing turnovers and keeping them in check. Overall it was a good day for the Eagles as they move into first place in the NFC East and prepare to travel to the windy city of Chicago to face the Bears.

Box Score

1 2 3 4 T
NYG 0 3 7 7 17
PHI 7 6 3 11 27

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTER NYG PHI
TD 02:16 Michael Vick 4 Yd Run (David Akers Kick) 0 7
SECOND QUARTER NYG PHI
FG 09:10 Lawrence Tynes 24 Yd 3 7
FG 05:37 David Akers 38 Yd 3 10
FG 03:11 David Akers 24 Yd 3 13
THIRD QUARTER NYG PHI
FG 06:38 David Akers 28 Yd 3 16
TD 00:27 Travis Beckum 2 Yd Pass From Eli Manning (Lawrence Tynes Kick) 10 16
FOURTH QUARTER NYG PHI
TD 13:35 Derek Hagan 5 Yd Pass From Eli Manning (Lawrence Tynes Kick) 17 16
TD 04:25 LeSean McCoy 50 Yd Run (Michael Vick Pass To Jason Avant For Two-Point Conversion) 17 24
FG 00:22 David Akers 30 Yd 17 27
NYG PHI
1st Downs 13 17
Passing 1st downs 8 12
Rushing 1st downs 3 5
1st downs from Penalties 2 0
3rd down efficiency 5-11 3-14
4th down efficiency 0-1 2-2
Total Plays 52 67
Total Yards 208 392
Passing 147 244
Comp-Att 20-33 24-38
Yards per pass 4.5 6.4
Rushing 61 148
Rushing Attempts 19 26
Yards per rush 3.2 5.7
Red Zone (Made-Att) 2-3 1-5
Penalties 6-54 10-119
Turnovers 5 2
Fumbles lost 2 2
Interceptions thrown 3 0
Defensive / Special Teams TDs 0 0
Possession 25:56 34:04

Player Stats

Passing-

-Eagles: Michael Vick- 24/38 258yds 0TD 83.0 QB Rating

-Giants: Eli Manning- 20/33 147yds 2TD 3int 53.5 QB Rating

Rushing-

-Eagles: Lesean McCoy- 14 carr. 111yds 1TD; M.Vick- 11carr. 34yds; D.Jackson- 1carr. 3yds

Team: 26carr. 148yds  5.7aver. 2TDs

-Giants: Ahmad Bradshaw- 12carr 29yds; E.Manning- 2carr 22yds; Brandon Jacobs- 5carr. 10yds

Team- 19carr. 61yds 3.2aver.

Receiving-

-Eagles: Jeremy Maclin- 9rec. 120yds; Desean Jackson- 5rec 50yds; Jason Avant- 2rec 39yds; L.Mccoy- 5rec 29yds; FB Owen Scmitt- 2rec 14yds; TE Clay Harbor- 1rec 6yds

-Giants: Hakeem Nicks- 6rec 65yds; Mario Manningham- 3rec 24yds; TE Kevin Boss- 2rec 22yds; RB B.Jacobs- 1rec 22yds; Derek Hagan- 3rec 10yds 1TD; RB A.Bradshaw- 2 rec. -5yds

Defense-

-Eagles: Sacks- none; Interceptions- Asante Samuel(2); Stewart Bradley (1)

Fumble Recoveries- Asante Samuel(1); Darryl Tapp(1)

-Giants: Sacks- DE Justin Tuck(3); Interceptions-none Fum

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