Sunday, October 6, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Philadelphia Eagles
By Phil Sheridan
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A few observations from the Philadelphia Eagles' 36-21 victory over the winless New York Giants on Sunday:
What it means: The NFC East really is as terrible as it looked while the Eagles were enduring that three-game losing streak against AFC West teams. The Eagles are 2-3 overall, but 2-0 within a division that could be won with an 8-8 record. They dropped the sloppy Giants to 0-5 despite losing starting quarterback Michael Vick with a hamstring injury late in the first half. After the Eagles blew a 19-7 halftime lead, Nick Foles directed three scoring drives to secure the win. Mychal Kendricks came up with a game-turning interception to set up Foles' fourth-quarter, 25-yard touchdown pass to tight end Brent Celek.
Vick vs. Foles: Vick ran the ball seven times for 79 yards before injuring his hamstring. He had completed just 6 of 14 passes for 105 yards, and the Eagles' red zone issues continued while he was in the game. Foles took over with 1:25 left in the half and the ball on the Eagles' 7-yard line. He completed 7 of 8 passes for 68 yards to drive for a late field goal, then threw two fourth-quarter touchdowns to put the game out of reach. The run game wasn't as effective without the threat of Vick running, but Chip Kelly adjusted and got Foles into a rhythm, and the Eagles finished with a season-high 36 points. Durability is always an issue with Vick, and now his inevitable injury may have opened the door for Foles.
Stock Watch: Rising -- Eagles defense. It looked like another disaster in the making when Eli Manning hit Hakeem Nicks for 49 yards on the Giants' third play from scrimmage. But the Giants lost running back David Wilson to a neck injury and Manning started throwing the ball to the Eagles, when he wasn't intentionally grounding it, in the second half. The three fourth-quarter interceptions were the Eagles' first since Week 1 against Washington. They set up two Eagles touchdowns and changed the entire tone of the game.
What's next: There will be a lot of discussion about Vick's hamstring and whether it allows him to practice for next Sunday's game against Tampa Bay -- the Eagles' second consecutive game against an 0-4 team. If Vick can go, the guess here is that he will start. Kelly made a point of saying Vick would not have to look over his shoulder after he won the starting quarterback job in the preseason. But if Vick can't play, Foles will get a chance to show what he can do with a full week of practice against a not-particularly-good team.