With Week 3 of the Eagles’ season now in the books, let’s take a look at the winners and losers in their horrendous loss to the New York Giants.
Before I begin, is it even possible to find any winners on this Eagles team after game such as that? There are certainly more losers than winners in this case, unfortunately.
However, I will try to salvage any positives that came from the game and also put a cap on all the negatives (because that would be like writing a novel).
Let’s start with the biggest bright spot and winner from Sunday’s travesty:
Winner: RB LeSean McCoy
McCoy ran 24 times for 128 yards and one TD. It was great to see the Eagles have some semblance of a running game that didn’t involve Michael Vick.
McCoy ran hard up the middle, broke tackles and got to the edge. He showed a nice burst and ran with authority. Now in his third season, he has proven himself to be one of the best running backs in the league.
As a matter of fact, Tony Siragusa, who is part of the Fox Broadcasting team, said on live television during the pre-game show that he thought McCoy was the best running back in the league.
I have to avoid being an Eagles “homer” here and say that I wouldn’t go quite as far as Siragusa, but McCoy is definitely in the top three as an all-purpose running back.
The Giants may have gotten their revenge on the Eagles but Lady Ga Ga tore them up!
Loser: LB Casey Matthews
Matthews is by far the biggest loser from Sunday’s game. Again, he showed nothing to inspire confidence in his ability to be a starting linebacker this season.
He was solely responsible for the early Brandon Jacobs touchdown when he bit on a play fake and failed to cover Jacobs as he released down the sideline.
One of Matthews’ supposed strong suits was being able to recognize and diagnose plays quickly. Well, he hasn’t shown any of that so far this season.
He seems lost, confused and is routinely out of position. And even when he’s in position, he gets manhandled by blockers.
Matthews stands the most to lose from his performance as it seems likely he’ll be replaced in the starting lineup this week, probably by Brian Rolle.
Winner: K Alex Henery
Henery made all three of his field goal attempts along with the lone extra point. Even though they were basically chip shots (two 21-yarders and a 38 yarder), he was our leading scorer from the game.
You know things aren’t necessarily good when your leading scorer is the kicker.
Alas, this was a good confidence booster for the rookie. It’s good for him to be successful early-on and gain some confidence for when he attempts kicks that are longer and more difficult.
So far, Henery has made five out of his six attempts with his one miss being a ridiculous 67 yard attempt in Atlanta just before halftime.
For all intents and purposes, he’s been perfect this season.
Loser: CB Nnamdi Asomugha
What? Our star offseason acquisition a loser? Yep. Mainly because of two plays:
The first one was the 74 yard TD by Giants WR Victor Cruz. Nnamdi wasn’t actually covering him at the time but was in a position to make the tackle right after Cruz bounced off of a weak tackle attempt by Eagles safety Kurt Coleman.
I could say Coleman was the bigger loser on this play but he didn’t sign a $60 million contract this past offseason.
Asomugha was in good position to make the tackle on the play but was juked out of jock strap by a receiver who nobody outside of New York has ever even heard of.
If that wasn’t good enough, Asomugha was covering Cruz on Cruz’s second TD catch in the fourth quarter. Granted, it was a good catch by Cruz but Nnamdi has to come up bigger than that.
At that point in the game, the Eagles were winning 16-14 and the defense needed a big stop to get back some momentum the team had lost. That’s why he was paid big bucks…to come up big at crucial times.
So far this year, the jury is out on Nnamdi when considering the contract he signed and the hype surrounding him. Hopefully, he doesn’t show up on any more “loser lists” this year.
Winner: DE Trent Cole
This is the best word to use when describing Trent Cole: relentless. The man just never gives up on a play.
The Giants were double-teaming him and chipping him with running backs all day. Yet, he constantly battled through them and made plays by chasing down runners and registering a sack.
It’s hard to take him off the field but hopefully the Eagles can find a good balance of plays with him. They need to keep him fresh for the entire season and not let him get worn down by December.
The Eagles only had three healthy defensive ends on Sunday so it will help once Juqua Parker and Darryl Tapp come back.
Loser: Head Coach Andy Reid
Actually, I take that back about Casey Matthews being the biggest loser from Sunday’s game. Andy Reid deserves that honor.
Although unlike Reid, Matthews will probably lose his starting job. But let’s take a look at the man who put Matthews there in the first place.
Andy Reid had yet another horribly managed game. His play-calling for an entire sequence down at the Giants’ goal line after the Eagles started with 1st and goal from the two yard line was just an epic failure.
Four straight mind-numbing run plays (even had the extra one due to penalty) up the middle. Two were QB-sneaks and two were hand-offs to the rarely-used FB Owen Schmitt.
All failed to make the two yards.
And Owen Schmitt? Why did they sign Ronnie Brown then? All four plays down there at the goal line were lackluster and devoid of thought.
The Eagles could have taken a 20-14 lead instead of 16-14. That was just terrible, terrible play calling there.
Then there was a completely idiotic decision to go for it on 4th down at the Giants’ 43 yard line. The Eagles still had a two point lead and could have just pinned the Giants deep.
But no, Reid decides to go for it and fails because of another bad play call that just topped-off the bad decision. McCoy ran wide for -3 yards. The Giants promptly drove down and scored a TD after that.
Just another example of poor game management by the head coach.
I could go on and on with the “loser” portion of this article (notice I didn’t mention Vick?) but I’ll just leave you with a few more generalities that were actually both good and bad.
The offensive line had mixed results. They still have trouble in pass protection but were very good in run-blocking this game. They need to keep their QB clean but this unit is coming along.
The pass defense also had mixed results. With the exception of the two big TDs by Victor Cruz, the secondary wasn’t that bad.
They bottled up the best wide receiver on the Giants’ roster in Hakeem Nicks (3 catches, 25 yards) and only allowed seven total receptions to the entire Giants’ wide receiving corps.
However, the Eagles just don’t have an answer for running backs out of the back field and tight ends.
That responsibility falls on the linebackers. They were definite “losers” in this game and continue to hinder the pass defense overall.
Eight TD passes allowed in the past two weeks is not good, to say the least.
Juan Castillo better come up with some answers…fast.