Sunday, November 20, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Eagles 17, Giants 10
By Dan Graziano
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Some thoughts on the Philadelphia Eagles' stunning 17-10 victory over the New York Giants on Sunday night at the Meadowlands.
What it means: Bad news for the Giants, who drop into a first-place tie in the NFC East with the Dallas Cowboys and whose next three games are at New Orleans, home to Green Bay and at Dallas. They needed to pick up this win against an Eagles team that was playing without its starting quarterback and its best wide receiver, and they got manhandled at home. For the Eagles, I guess it technically means they're still alive, since they can get to 10 wins if they "run the table," as running back LeSean McCoy suggested they would earlier Sunday. But to me, if you're an Eagles fan, this one just lets you know what might have been if they'd been able to show this kind of fourth-quarter fortitude all year long.
QB controversy in Philly? No, I do not think the Eagles should bench Michael Vick for Vince Young. But the fact is that Young led an 18-play, 80-yard fourth-quarter drive that put the Eagles up 17-10 with less than three minutes left in the game. Vick has not led a drive like that in the fourth quarter this year, despite several opportunities. So there's going to be ammunition for those who will say Young should take away the job. And Young deserves credit. He was terribly shaky for much of this game, throwing three interceptions and getting bailed out a couple of times by circus catches by his receivers. But he made the late plays when he had to make them.
Giants' run-game problems are real: Giants fans kept booing Brandon Jacobs all night as he was repeatedly tackled in the backfield. But I still think the reason Jacobs looks shy about hitting the hole is that there's almost never a hole to hit. The Giants' offensive line has been awful in the run game all year, and it was again Sunday night. The return of Ahmad Bradshaw from injury isn't going to change that, when and if it ever happens.
Eagles more physical: When the story of this disappointing Eagles season is written, it should focus on the high-paid playmakers who didn't make enough plays -- the Vicks, DeSean Jacksons and Nnamdi Asomughas. Because as the Eagles showed all night Sunday, they are fully capable of and very good at winning the physical battles in the trenches. Their defensive line completely dominated the Giants' offensive line, stifling the run game and harassing Eli Manning in the pocket. And while the Giants did a good job on running back LeSean McCoy, the Eagles' offensive line kept Young clean pretty much all night. The reason the Eagles won this game was the way they played on both lines.
Victor Cruz owns Asomugha: As he did twice in the Giants' Week 3 victory in Philadelphia, Cruz beat star free-agent cornerback Asomugha for the touchdown that tied the game at 10-10 in the fourth quarter. Cruz made another big play -- a 47-yard catch-and-run -- on the Giants' final drive to get the Giants in range to tie the game again after the Eagles scored, but Manning was sacked by Jason Babin on the following play and fumbled the ball away to seal the upset victory for the Eagles.
What's next: The Giants will travel to New Orleans to continue their tough second-half schedule with a "Monday Night Football" matchup next week against the Saints. The Eagles will host the New England Patriots in a Sunday afternoon game in Philadelphia.