Eagles-Giants 1st half observations

 Here are some observations and ruminations from the first half of Sunday night's Eagles win: 

The "book" says to blitz Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, and the Giants apparently read every chapter last week.

The Giants don't typically have a defense that relies on the blitz. With that front four, why would you need to send extra pass rushers?

But the Giants sent blitzes at Vick from all over the field in the first half, and the Eagles weren't prepared to handle them. The Giants sent pass rushers up the middle, from the edges and from the slot.

Vick did his best to avoid sacks, contact and turnovers _ a notable improvement over the first three games _ but the offense couldn't get into a rhythm for much of the first half as a result.

- Jeff McLane 

Early challenge 

Eagles coach Andy Reid used a challenge flag in the first quarter on an 11-yard catch that was initially ruled incomplete on a 2d-and-10 play. The challenge was successful and gave the Eagles a first down to extend a drive.

It's often risky to use a challenge flag so early on a play that doesn't change the game in a big way. But the play changed the drive, and the drive could have resulted in the Eagles taking a lead.

Instead, the Eagles were soon forced to punt, and Reid had just one challenge left for the rest of the game. 

- Zach Berman 

A running start 

Well, it wasn't quite a 60-40 split, but it was a start. 

A week after ignoring the run in the first half, Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg satisfied the masses by calling a few rushes in the first quarter. LeSean McCoy had three carries, Bryce Brown had two, and quarterback Michael Vick dropped back to throw 10 times.

        It should be noted that the Eagles gained only three yards on those five carries. Vick, meanwhile, completed 5 of 9 passes for 72 yards and had to scramble once.

- J.M. 

New-look punt 

The Eagles unveiled a new look on their punt return team with David Sims standing 15 yards in front of returner Damaris Johnson on his first return of the night.

Sims might have been back there to help the rookie, who has had problems fielding punts too close to his own goal line. Johnson did fine on the first punt, fair catching a punt at the 10-yard line.

Eagles special teams coordinator Bobby April said last week that he likes his returners to let anything inside the 8 bounce.

On Johnson's second return of the night, however, he fielded a punt at the 7 and was dropped after gaining only three yards.

Johnson did let the third Giants punt bounce into the end zone for a touchback, and a number of fans at that end of the stadium stood and applauded.

- J.M. 

He's No. 2 

Bryce Brown is cementing himself as the Eagles' No. 2 running back. 

Brown got just two carries in the first half for minus-1 yard, but he was often on the field, even on third downs.

His role in the offense seems to increase by the week, and the Eagles want him to evolve into a true complement for starter LeSean McCoy.

- Z.B. 

Same coverage 

The Eagles kept the secondary coverage scheme from a week ago, when they used Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on one side, Nnamdi Asomugha on the other, and Brandon Boykin in the slot.

        So, even when Giants receiver Victor Cruz lined up in the slot, they kept Boykin, a rookie fourth-round pick, on him in coverage.

- Z.B. 

They're back 

During the pregame coin toss, referee Ron Winter, who could be heard throughout the stadium, greeted the captains by saying: "Gentlemen, it's good to be back."