I won't lie, I was a bit nervous heading in the Sunday night game last week. The New York Giants had been playing pretty well, winning 3 straight along the way. While the Philadelphia Eagles came into the match-up at 4-1, they had yet to really impress a majority of fans. My, how one game can change all of that! The Eagles dominated the Giants, winning 27-0 in impressive fashion. They will head into the bye week at 5-1, tied with the Dallas Cowboys (surprisingly). Let's look back at the Eagle's first shut out since before Andy Reid was coach:
That's a lot of green! Clearly the numbers support the score in this game, in all but one area (turnovers). No I didn't forget to put in the Giants score, but it seemed as if they forgot how to score. The Eagles offense put up 27 points and the defense allowed 0. If that wasn't bad enough, Philadelphia outgained New York in net yards by a margin of nearly 200. Are you kidding me? The Eagles averaged 2 more yards (6.3 to 4.3) while running 71 plays to the Giants 59. In a game where it may not be too surprising if NY had passed for more yards than Philly, the opposite was true. The Birds had more passing yards (248 vs 211) AND more rushing yards (203 vs 85), while also doubling the amount of first downs the G-Men had. While Philadelphia didn't fare too great on third downs (31%), they still dominated New York (a mere 14%). Aside from the 2 turnovers, the Eagles played a clean game with only 3 penalties for 25 yards; the Giants must have thought penalties were points, as they had 10 for 74 yards. Neither team was able to capitalize off turnovers.
Welcome back LeSean McCoy! Shady ran for 149 yards on 22 carries, good for a 6.8 average. He was able to find the edge often, and most of his plays went for positive yardage. McCoy seemed to be running more north and south as opposed to east and west, and hopefully he has his confidence back. Nick Foles looked OK, as the 2 interceptions he threw were downright terrible. He did look sharp on more throws this week though, especially on the laser TD pass to Zach Ertz. Foles didn't have many deep plays this game, but the Eagles didn't need them since the running game was working so well. He was able to spread the ball around, as 7 players caught at least 1 ball (9 were targeted). I have confidence that Nick can spend the bye week watching some tape to fix his mistakes.
As I mentioned above the ball was spread around well; Riley Cooper, Jordan Matthews, Brent Celek, and Ertz all had at least 45 yards receiving. I do want to call out Jeremy Maclin: he has shown time and time again this season that he cannot come back to the ball. That, I think, is the reason we still miss that Jackson guy. Maclin can get open just as well if you ask me, but when Foles underthrows him it's almost an automatic INT. Before I wrap up the offense, I have to give the MVP to the offensive line. Still banged up, but this was probably their best game all year. Foles was only sacked once for 3 yards, and often had plenty of time to throw. And obviously they were able to open up holes for the running game. All in all the Eagles had several excellent drives, but did they ease up too much in the 4th quarter? And will the red zone play calling get any better than 50% efficiency?
Overall I think I have to give the defense the MVP for this week. And how can you not? They allowed zero points and only a tick over 250 yards. The Eagles defense recorded 8 sacks, held the Giants to only 14% efficiency on third downs, and forced a whopping 10 punts (including their first 7 real possessions). After a stellar stop on 4th and goal to preserve the shutout in the 3rd quarter, the Eagles offense responded with a 97 yard TD drive which essentially sealed the game with 5:26 left in the quarter. To really make sure they sealed it, the defense then proceeded to record 2 consecutive 3-and-outs. In fact, they forced 6 throughout the entire game; another 2 drives ended after 4 plays for NY, and only 3 of 14 went 7 plays or longer. Somehow they only recorded 1 turnover, but they were able to contain the run and put constant pressure on Eli Manning. The Philly D only allowed 2 plays of 20 yards or more (with the longest in garbage time) and played great the entire 60 minutes.
I really don't have anything negative to say. The defensive line played great and the secondary covered well. Moving on.
It may be easier to list the Eagles who didn't perform well on defense, but I'll still list the standouts. Nate Allen (6 combined tackles), Fletcher Cox (5 combined tackles), Brandon Graham (4 solo tackles, 1 sack, 1 tackle for a loss, and 1 forced fumble), Trent Cole (3 solo tackles, 1 sack, 1 tackle for a loss, and 2 QB hits), Vinny Curry (2 solo tackles, 2 sacks, 2 tackles for a loss, and 2 QB hits), and yes, Casey Matthews again (5 combined tackles, 2 tackles for a loss, and a fumble recovery). And don't worry I didn't forget Connor Barwin, I just wanted to highlight his nearly perfect game. 5 solo tackles, 3 sacks, 2 tackles for a loss, 2 QB hits, and (only) 1 forced fumble. Enough said.
While they too a break from the touchdowns, the Eagles special teams play was excellent again. They were certainly underrated this game, but made no mistakes. Cody Parkey continues to impress, as he was 2 for 2 in FG attempts with a long of 45 that he made look easy. He kicked touchbacks on 4 of 6 kickoffs; the 2 returns only averaged 26.5 yards. The lone kickoff by the Giants resulted in a touchback. And the special teams tipped a punt, if that counts for anything.
Donnie Jones was able to kick 5 of 6 punts inside the 20 (3 inside the 10), with only 1 touchback and 1 return for -1 yards. On the flip side, Darren Sproles (who will probably only miss 1 game with an injury) yet again remains a threat on every punt whether he gets the ball or not. He averaged 14.3 yards per return, with a long of 43. Though they didn't have a huge influence on the game, the Eagles special teams also didn't allow the Giants to make any big plays to get back into it.
-Believe it or not, Nick Foles only had a better passer rating by 2.5 points over Eli Manning (79 vs 76.5)
-Philadelphia scored on 5 of 13 possessions. However, they were 4 for 7 in the first half. 26 of 51 on the season.
-Fuck Seattle. The Philly fans were loud as hell, and caused 3 accepted false start penalties.
-The Eagles won the TOP battle with 32:26. TOP is now 3 of 6 on the season as an indicator of the winner.
-Speaking of TOP, one of the Eagles best drives was in the 4th quarter. They were able to take up nearly 6 minutes of clock, while only gaining 24 yards on 8 plays. By comparison their longest scoring drive was 4:31 long, as they ran 10 plays for 81 yards and a TD.
-The Eagles head into the bye with a 5-1 record, tied with Dallas atop the NFC East. They are exactly where I thought they would be at the start of the season, winning every game but the San Fran match-up. I will admit that the next 4 games look a little tougher than they did before the season, so the Eagles will have their work cut out for them. I think they still can go 2-2 through those games, but 7-3 is a pretty good record with 6 left to play.
(Eagles vs Giants PDF)
Last week vs Rams: W 34-28
Next week: Bye
Next game Sunday 10/26 @ Arizona Cardinals (4-1), 4:05pm