UPDATED: A series of awful playcalls transformed a second half the Eagles were dominating into a 22-16 fourth-quarter deficit in a sloppy, sluggish home opener, with Mike Kafka quarterbacking after Michael Vick suffered a broken right hand
First the Eagles had to settle for a field goal aftyer getting first and goal at the Giants' 2. They tried to run fullback Owen Schmitt into the line twice, QB-sneaked Michael Vick once. Actually twice, with the Giants offside for one of the sneaks. Somehow, they didn't quite gain the 2 yards, though it seemed quite possible Vick scored on the second sneak. The final run by Schmitt never had a chance.
Then, facing fourth and 1 from the Giants' 43, the Giants doing nothing offensively, the Eagles eschewed a punt and ran Shady McCoy into a pile of Giants. McCoy tried to bounce outside, as he had several times, but this time linebacker Michael Boley ran him down for a loss. The Giants promptly drove for the touchdown and two-point conversion that gave them a 22-16 lead.
And then Kafka was in the game, Michael Vick out with a broken right hand. Eagles coach Andy Reid felt he was too conservative when he put Kafka in against Atlanta, so this time the call was a bomb to a well-covered DeSean Jackson, intercepted by Aaron Ross.
Two huge gaffes by the Eagles defense led to a 14-0 Giants first-quarter lead, but the Birds have clawed their way back to 14-13 at halftime. Then they took a 16-14 third-quarter lead, settling for a field goal when they couldn't punch the ball in after first and goal from the Giants' 2.
The off-key first quarter started with an Eagles drive that ended abruptly, when ex-Giant Steve Smith, in for his first snap against his old team, volleyballed a Michael Vick pass into the air, where the Giants' Aaron Ross intercepted.
The Eagles' defense needed to get the ball back for the offense there, limit the damage, but just as last week in Atlanta, it could not. Rookie linebacker Casey Matthews bit on play action and left Giants running back Brandon Jacobs all alone for a 40-yard catch-and=run for a touchdown.
It got worse when Giants wideout Victor Cruz caught a short pass at the Giants' sideline, shucked a Kurt Coleman tackle, juked Nnamdi Asomugha, and took a pass 74 yards for a touchdown. Not what the Lincoln Financial Field crowd had in mind for the home opener.
But the Eagles began a drive that featured eight successive runs (yes, Andy Reid was spotted on the sideline, and his headset seemed to be connected), and 10 runs in 12 plays. Despite a first-and-goal from the 3, the Birds settled for an Alex Henery field goal, but at least they were on the board.
The Giants went for it on fourth and 3 from the Eagles' 31, got just 2 yards, and the Eagles began a drive that ended with a brilliant LeSean McCoy touchdown run. McCoy found safety Deon Grant in the left side hole he was trying to hit, so McCoy spun left, eluded Antrel Rolle, and scored from the Giants' 11.
The the fired-up Eagles got the ball back for one last drive, which ended in a 38-yard Henery field goal, off a scramble when Vick was tackled with no timeouts remaining and less than 20 seconds left, at the Giants' 21.
McCoy, who missed the final drive with cramps, ran 15 times for 88 yards in the first half. Vick completed 11 of 16 passes for 113 yards and the pick that Smith caused.
Eli Manning was nine for 14 for 143 yards and two TDs.