The Eagles’ 19-17 win last night said more about the Eagles than it did the Giants. Entering the contest, it felt like the much-maligned Eagles were winless when in fact they were 2-1 with a victory over the Baltimore Ravens in their back pocket.
A win is a win, and that’s how Philly survived Baltimore and Cleveland. A lopsided defeat at the hands of Arizona, however, stirred up the questions surrounding the Eagles.
It felt like Philly had their backs against their wall, and New York was going to play a team with a “do or die” mindset.
Not giving the Giants excuses, but they lose by two points on the road, without Hakeem Nicks and Kenny Phillips, and were in position (twice) to win the game.
If a win is a win, then a loss is a loss. Now the Eagles are 3-1, the Giants are 2-2 and depending on the outcome of Monday night’s Bears-Cowboys game, the Giants could fall to third in the NFC East.
Well, that’ll be tomorrow’s concerns. On this morning, here’s the good, the bad and the ugly from last night’s loss.
Like I just stated, the Giants were in a position to win that game.
After mustering up merely a field goal in the first half, the Giants’ offense bounced back in the second. It showed resilience by the players and good halftime adjustments by the coaching staff.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Nnamdi Asomugha are two of the league’s elite cornerbacks, and this secondary had entered Sunday’s action with the third-best pass defense.
Nonetheless, filling in for the injured Nicks, Domenik Hixon caught six passes for 114 yards. Victor Cruz hauled in the nine passes for 109 yards and a touchdown.
The passing game wasn’t at its best, but it was good enough to win.
Defensively, the Giants held the Eagles to 19 points, 12 of which came from field goals. They were gritty in the red zone when it counts the most. And really, 19 points from an offense that is comprised of Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy, Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson isn’t too terrible.
When the Giants won the Super Bowl last year, they did so with the league’s 19th-ranked run defense. That’s an amazing feat, considering “run the ball and play defense” is the traditional championship-winning formula.
Now, let me preface myself with this: For any defense to contain Jackson and Maclin down the sidelines AND limit Vick’s running lanes AND stop the running game – well, that’s a daunting task.
But it’s hard to win games when you allow opposing running backs to run the rock 23 times for 123 yards against you.
McCoy was dominant, taking over the game in the second half. He was the difference-maker on offense on numerous Eagles scoring drives, including when Alex Henery kicked the go-ahead (and what proved to be the game-winning) field goal.
In staying with the theme of the Giants D, allow me to get nit-picky. I would’ve liked to see more pressure on Vick. Two sacks and three quarterback hits is not enough to rattle him, and he kept his poise for 60 minutes.
Like I said, the Eagles’ offense is so versatile it’s difficult to try and contain the run, pass and quarterback. But more pressure on the quarterback responsible for the most turnovers in the league was probably a better formula.
Eli Manning is not the bad, nor is he the reason the Giants lost this game. Obviously, 309 yards and two touchdowns is a good night for any quarterback. But two of the decisions he made were inexplicable.
Manning’s first pass of the fourth quarter, from the Eagles’ 10-yard line, went directly into the hands of Rodgers-Cromartie. The pass was intended for tight end Martellus Bennett, but whether Manning didn’t get enough zip on the throw, had some miscommunication with his receiver or whatever, the interception was a momentum-killer.
Since 2010, Manning leads the NFL in red zone interceptions. Sure, he wins a lot of games for New York – that’s indisputable. But elite quarterbacks don’t make those types of mistakes in those kinds of situations.
Let’s chalk that up to miscommunication …
The other poor decision was the fade to Ramses Barden on the Giants’ final possession. In being objective, if the pass was completed it could have resulted in a touchdown or positioned the Giants with a first-and-goal from inside the five-yard-line.
But it didn’t.
It led to an offensive pass-interference penalty and set the Giants back an extra nine yards, adding that to Lawrence Tynes’ field-goal attempt. Obviously, those nine yards proved costly.
I just wonder: was a homerun really what the Giants needed in that spot, or would a five-yard dunk to Ahmad Bradshaw or a slant to Cruz just create a shorter field-goal attempt and perhaps a winning kick?