Eagles-Giants: Second Take
The Philadelphia Daily News - Eagletarian
Eagles-Giants: Second Take
Paul Domowitch, Daily News NFL Columnist
Some day-after observations after reviewing the tape of Sunday’s 40-17 win over the Giants:
THE LEFT TACKLE
It wasn’t the best of games for left tackle Jason Peters. His fingerprints were on both of the Giants’ sacks of Donovan McNabb. He also was flagged for a holding penalty inside the Giants 10-yard line on the Eagles’ second possession.
Peters wasn’t totally to blame for either of the sacks. On the first one midway through the second quarter, Osi Umenyiora beat him around the corner. But he had forced Umenyiora wide enough that he probably wouldn’t have been able to get to McNabb if not for the fact that the quarterback had been flushed from the pocket by Mathias Kiwanuka, who beat center Jamaal Jackson up the middle. McNabb fumbled on the play. To his credit, Peters fell on the loose ball.
On the second one in the third quarter, which also resulted in a McNabb fumble that was recovered by the Giants, Peters was late sliding over to pick up blitzing cornerback Bruce Johnson.
The first-quarter holding penalty was the first holding call against Peters this season. His only other two penalties this season were a pair of false starts against Carolina in Week 1.
* The Eagles were flagged just five times Sunday for 45 yards. The four flags ties their second fewest total of the season. They were penalized just three times in their Week 3 win over the Chiefs, and four times in their Week 6 loss to the Raiders.
* Even though he hasn’t played all that much yet, right guard Stacy Andrews leads the Eagles in false start penalties. Picked up his fourth Sunday against the Giants. Nick Cole is second with three.
* Peters’ holding penalty Sunday was only the third against the Eagles’ offensive line this season. The other two came a week earlier against the Redskins. Both were on left guard Todd Herremans. Actually, one of the holding calls on Herremans really was a trip.
THE SCORING DRIVES
The Eagles had five touchdown drives against the Giants. None were longer than four plays. Two were three plays. One lasted two plays. The fifth was one play. That was McNabb’s 54-yard touchdown pass to DeSean Jackson near the end of the first half.
The Eagles have had 20 touchdown drives this season. Just three have been longer than six plays. They had a 10-play TD drive in Week 1 against Carolina, an 8-play drive against the Saints and an 8-play drive against the Chiefs.
The Eagles ran just one Wildcat play Sunday. That was a four-yard run late in the first quarter by Michael Vick on a third-and-one at the Giant 15-yard line.
For the season, the Eagles have rushed for 163 yards on 40 carries (4.07 yards per carry) out of the Wildcat/spread. They’ve rushed for 639 yards on 127 carries (5.03) out of their standard sets.
Vick has rushed for 26 yards on 10 carries out of the Wildcat/spread. He also had a -1-yard kneel-down on the Eagles’ final possession Sunday.
DID YOU NOTICE?
* The Eagles used screens and short, quick-developing pass plays to counter the Giants’ fierce pass rush Sunday. They did the same thing the week before against the Redskins. Against the Giants, just three of Donovan McNabb’s 15 first-half passes were thrown more than 10 yards downfield – an early incompletion to Jackson, his 17-yard touchdown pass to Celek and his 54-yard scoring throw to Jackson at the end of the first half. McNabb completed 11 of 15 passes for 201 yards and 3 touchdowns in the first half. Two of those incompletions were batted passes. A third came on a botched screen pass to Weaver.
* The terrific block by Eldra Buckley on the Giants’ Gerris Wilkinson on Ellis Hobbs’ game-opening 35-yard kickoff return.
* The Giants blitzed strong safety C.C. Brown off the right side on Leonard Weaver’s 41-yard touchdown run. Initially, that was the direction Weaver was supposed to run. But Donovan McNabb alertly changed the run to the other side at the line of scrimmage.
* The outstanding job Asante Samuel did of jumping the crossing route by Giants tight end Travis Beckum on his first-quarter interception. That play was the perfect example of the benefit of film study.
* Giants defensive tackle Fred Robbins, who blocked David Akers’ PAT after Celek’s first-quarter touchdown catch, crashed right through the middle of the line, muscling his way between snapper Jon Dorenbos and right guard Nick Cole.
* Jason Babin was credited with the Eagles’ first sack of Eli Manning. But Chris Clemons deserved at least half of it. He chased Manning out of the pocket, then caught him from behind just as Babin got him low.
* Mathias Kiwanuka and Justin Tuck ran a stunt that triggered McNabb’s 14-yard scramble for a first down on third-and-11 in the first quarter. Tuck, who had lined up at left tackle, cut behind Kiwanuka, who lined up at left end. Eagles right tackle Winston Justice wasn’t able to slide over in time to stop Tuck. The Giants were in man coverage, though, leaving a lot of running room up the middle for McNabb.
* Michael Vick was on the field for just one play before replacing McNabb late in the fourth quarter. Came in on a third-and-one late in the first quarter and picked up four yards on a run around right end. One of the reasons that play was successful was the perfectly-legal above-the-waist crack-back block by tight end Brent Celek, who had lined up wide to the right and came in motion, on the Giants’ Tuck.
* The nice job linebacker Akeem Jordan did of blowing up a wide-receiver screen to Domenik Hixon early in the second quarter on a second-and-13 play. Jordan, who had a team-high seven tackles, held Hixon to a three-yard gain.
* LeSean McCoy’s nice block on blitzing linebacker Antonio Pierce early in the second quarter afforded McNabb the time to complete an 11-yard pass to Celek.
* Linebacker Chris Gocong wasn’t on the field on Eli Manning’s 18-yard touchdown pass to tight end Kevin Boss late in the second quarter. He had gotten hurt earlier in the drive and was replaced by rookie Moise Fokou. There appeared to be a miscommunication between Fokou and strong safety Quintin Mikell on Boss’s TD catch.
* The excellent protection McNabb had on his 54-yard touchdown throw to DeSean Jackson late in the first half. The Giants blitzed strongside linebacker Danny Clark on the play, but the Eagles picked him up and gave McNabb the time to hit Jackson on a post-corner route.
* Trent Cole didn’t have any sacks Sunday, but gave Giants left tackle David Diehl fits the whole game. It was Cole’s most dominating performance against Diehl since he became the Giants starting left tackle three years ago.
* The effective way Jeremy Maclin was able to turn around Giants cornerback Corey Webster early in his route on his 18-yard touchdown catch, which allowed him to get inside position on Webster.
* For the second straight week, Maclin had a big block on a long touchdown run. He cut down Giants cornerback C.C. Brown on Leonard Weaver’s 41-yard scoring run on the third play of the game Sunday. The week before, his block on Redskins cornerback Carlos Rogers helped DeSean Jackson get into the end zone on his 67-yard scoring run.
* The blocks by center Jamaal Jackson and right guard Stacy Andrews that created the crease for Leonard Weaver’s 17-yard run in the third quarter. The Eagles were in a two-tight end formation on the play.
THE BEST OF McNABB
His right-where-it-needed-to-be 17-yard first-quarter touchdown pass to Celek. Celek got behind free safety Michael Johnson and McNabb put the ball over Johnson’s head where Celek could make the play.
THE WORST OF MANNING
His bad-awful overthrow of Sinorice Moss late in the first half was intercepted by Quintin Demps, which set up a 2-play, 43-yard scoring drive by the Eagles that gave them a 30-7 halftime lead.
THE RUN DEFENSE
The biggest reason for the defense’s success against the run this season has been the penetration they’ve been able to get from their front four, which has allowed their linebackers to play downhill. Right end Trent Cole, once considered an undersized liability against the run his first couple of years in the league, has developed into an excellent run-defender. You saw that on the Giants’ second possession when he sliced into the backfield and took Brandon Jacobs down for no gain.
How much it might’ve altered the course of the game – maybe not at all -- if Tuck had intercepted the McNabb first-quarter pass he batted into the air and returned it for a touchdown. Instead, McNabb hauled in the ricochet and gained a yard on the play. The Eagles ended up putting together a 15-play, 72-yard drive that resulted in a David Akers field goal that gave them a 16-0 lead.
To read our earlier report from Andy Reid's news conference, click here.