The Philadelphia Eagles beat the New York Giants 36-21 to improve to 2-3 on the season and now find themselves on top of the NFC East. The question I still find myself asking after the win is whether or not the Eagles played well, or if the Giants are just that bad.
It’s a legitimate question and one that could be used as fodder for discussion. The truth is probably that it was a mixture of both. The Giants are that bad, but the Eagles played a decent game for the most part.
They certainly weren’t without their faults and made some mistakes that would have cost them much more if they were playing against a better team.
However, that’s a discussion for another article. For now, let’s get right to the awards…
Things that made me say WTG! (the positives) -
I have to start with DeSean Jackson, who reappeared in this game to catch seven passes for 132 yards and a score. Djax did make me say WTF! early in the game after he dropped a third-down pass that would have given the Eagles a first.
However, he more than made up for that the rest of the game. The offense looks much better when he’s involved and making plays.
Bradley Fletcher had a terrific game. He had tight coverage with no pass interference penalties and was credited with five passes defensed per ESPN stats.
Brandon Boykin had another strong performance and was the primary reason we didn’t see any salsa dancing in the end zone yesterday. He also had one of the best interceptions I’ve ever seen when he reached out — in mid-air — and ripped the ball from Cruz’s hands for the pick.
I’ll give Mychal Kendricks a WTG! just for being around the ball when he came up with a fumble recovery and an easy INT. However, I give him a minor WTF! when he was chased down from behind by lead-footed Brandon Jacobs on the INT return that could have went for a TD.
Nick Foles also deserves some props for coming off the bench and leading the Eagles to 20 of their 36 points. He came in the game with about a minute and half left in the second quarter with the Eagles facing a second and 10 from their own seven yard line.
He proceeded to drive the team down the field and ended the half with a field goal. He ended up throwing for 197 yards and two touchdowns in just over a half’s worth of action. More importantly, there wasn’t a drop-off in production for the offense when he came in.
The only two nit-picky things I’ll say is that he needs to tighten his spirals and he missed a wide open Riley Cooper that would have been an easy touchdown in the third quarter.
Although he only returned three punts for 24 yards, I wanted to point out something I liked about Damaris Johnson on a punt return. On a second quarter punt, he caught the ball and made the first defender whiff, and as he started to run up-field, he gave a quick glance back to see where that guy was.
It was a minor thing, but it showed he had an awareness of someone who could come from behind and potentially make the tackle and pop the ball loose (that’s a frequent cause of fumbles).
Vinny Curry again showed that he should be getting way more playing time than he does. In just 12 snaps, he had a few pressures and a hit on Manning. No sacks, but his presence was felt. Give the man more playing time!
For the second week in a row the Eagles did not commit any turnovers. That deserves a WTG! as well.
Michael Vick also deserves a WTG!, which I’ll describe below because it came after a big WTF!.
Alex Henery made all five of his field goal attempts, which is good. If you keep him within 40-45 yards, the man’s money! Unfortunately, things get shaky outside of that range.
On to the WTF! awards…
The refs were brutal in this game. They just couldn’t seem to get any call right, even after a replay. Let’s see, the Eagles clearly…I mean CLEARLY tackled David Wilson in the end zone for what should have been a safety.
But, the refs called that his forward progress was stopped. However, it was stopped very briefly and he regained footing and tried to make another “football move” and was tackled in the end zone. Mike Pereira, the former VP of officiating, even stated it should have been a safety.
Then, the Giants challenged a big third-down catch by LeSean McCoy that clearly showed he did not maintain possession of the ball throughout the catch, but didn’t overturn the call. Even though that was in our favor, it was still a botched call by the refs.
They also called an extremely lame fair-catch interference call on Brandon Boykin. He was behind the punt returner so how exactly did he interfere? That penalty gave the Giants killer field position that led to a score and the lead in the game.
Lane Johnson was called for a false start on the very first play of the game to continue his penalty streak.
On the first series on defense, the secondary was beat deep two times in a row. The first time the pass was simply dropped, but the Giants went right back and got it.
Tom Coughlin was made to look like a moron by Michael Vick. In the first quarter, they had stopped the Eagles on third down, but accepted a holding penalty to give the Eagles another crack at it.
Vick scrambled for 34 yards and a first down on the next play and instead of having to punt, the Eagles got a field goal out of the drive.
At one point during the game yesterday, it seemed Chip Kelly went into Andy Reid-mode and abandoned the running game. That stats will show the Eagles ran it 37 times versus 39 passes. However, many of those 37 runs were QB scrambles and not designed runs.
The Eagles faced a third and six late in the first when a designed screen pass had McCoy wide open in the flat that would have went for a big gain. Unfortunately, someone forgot to block Jason Pierre-Paul and he batted-down Vick’s pass.
How do you let someone like JPP come free?
Where’s the pass rush? Besides when Curry was in there, the Eagles DL again didn’t generate much pressure on the QB even though the Giants’ OL has been a sieve this year.
The secondary continues to make no-name receivers look like Jerry Rice on a weekly basis. First it was Eddie Royal, then it was Donnie Avery and yesterday it was Reuben Randle.
Randle has five career touchdown receptions…four of them against the Eagles, including two yesterday.
Luckily, because the Giants’ ineptness stole the show, the Eagles’ WTF! moments weren’t too bad this week. However, the Eagles still have a ways to go before they can legitimately compete with the above average teams this year.
Fortunately, the schedule is favorable over the next four weeks.