Monday, December 29, 2014

Domo's Eagles-Giants Day-After Dissection

Reviewing the Eagles’ 19-17 win over the Giants while wondering how a team with a minus-5 turnover ratio that has been outscored 83-66 and has a quarterback with a 72.7 passer rating can possibly be 3-1:

Domo's Eagles-Giants Day-After Dissection

LeSean McCoy stiff arms Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul on Sunday night. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
LeSean McCoy stiff arms Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul on Sunday night. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

Reviewing the Eagles’ 19-17 win over the Giants while wondering how a team with a minus-5 turnover ratio that has been outscored 83-66 and has a quarterback with a 72.7 passer rating can possibly be 3-1:

--At his Monday news conference, Andy Reid made mention of the ``adjustments’’ that offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and line coach Howard Mudd made at halftime Sunday. One of the most significant was their decision to go with more two-back formations in the second half.

Fullback Stanley Havili, who had played just 48 of 226 offensive snaps in the Eagles’ first three games, played just six offensive snaps in the first half, when the Eagles managed just eight first downs, 151 net yards and 19 rushing yards. In the second half, the 6-0, 245-pounder was on the field for 17 of the Eagles’ 38 offensive plays as they racked up 14 first downs, 271 net yards and 172 rushing yards. The main reason the Eagles went to more two-back sets in the second half was to keep the Giants’ base defense on the field.

Havili made the most of his extended playing time. He rushed for 15 yards on two carries, had a reception for seven more yards and did a solid job of blocking for LeSean McCoy. McCoy, who rushed for just two yards on six carries in the first half, had 121 on 17 carries in the second half.

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Havili had a nice block on McCoy’s 34-yard run on the Eagles’ first possession of the second half. He kicked out linebacker Michael Boley and created an alley on the right side. On the very next play, Havili had a nice downfield block on cornerback Prince Amukamara on a 22-yard run by McCoy.

The Eagles drove down to the Giants one-yard line, but couldn’t punch it in, as three straight McCoy runs netted -1 yard. If McCoy had followed Havili inside on second down, he likely would have scored. But for some reason, he opted to run it outside of the tight end and was stopped cold.

On an early fourth-quarter scoring drive, Havili twice lined up on the wing and ran the ball, picking up seven and eight yards on his two carries. He also had a seven-yard reception out of a three-wide receiver, two-back set on the drive, which resulted in a 35-yard Alex Henery field goal that gave the Eagles a 16-10 lead.

--For only the third time in his last 26 starts, Michael Vick had a turnover-free game. He also did a good job against the Giants’ blitz, completing 8 of 12 passes for 125 yards and one touchdown when they sent five or more rushers. Vick was 18-for-45 against the blitz in the Eagles’ first three games. One of his best throws of the night against the blitz was a 17-yard second-quarter completion to Damaris Jackson on the Eagles’ first scoring drive. He recognized a blitz and quickly delivered the ball to Johnson, who was the hot receiver on the play.

--Middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans had a mixed bag of a night. He played pretty well against the run as the Eagles held the Giants to 57 rushing yards on 19 carries. But he had problems in coverage. He had man coverage on running back Ahmad Bradshaw on a second-quarter screen, but couldn’t get off a block by center David Baas. Bradshaw gained 22 yards on the play. Ryans forced an incompletion on a third-and-four in the second quarter when he got pressure on Eli Manning via an A-gap blitz. But he was slow in getting over to cover Victor Cruz on a third-quarter slant. Ryans could’ve had an interception on the play if he had reacted quicker. Instead, Cruz ended up with a 14-yard touchdown. It appeared that Ryans also was at fault in leaving tight end Bear Pascoe uncovered on his six-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter that gave the Giants a brief 17-16 lead.

--LeSean McCoy did a nice job of keeping linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka off of Vick on his 19-yard touchdown pass to DeSean Jackson at the end of the first half. Vick also displayed patience in the pocket on the play, stepping up to avoid the outside rush and throwing a strike to a wide-open Jackson on a route that needed time to develop.

BY THE NUMBERS

--Trent Cole played 47 snaps Sunday night, the most of any Eagles defensive linemen. He was followed by Cullen Jenkins with 46, Jason Babin with 45, Fletcher Cox with 43, Derek Landri with 27, Darryl Tapp with 23, Cedric Thornton with 18, Phillip Hung with 13 and Brandon Graham with 10.

--The absences of Jason Peters and Jason Kelce is showing in the Eagles’ poor red zone production. In their last three games, they’ve converted just 3 of 11 red-zone opportunities into touchdowns, including 1 of 4 Sunday.

--Last season, DeSean Jackson had just two red-zone receptions. He’s already matched that total this year with his 19-yard touchdown catch against the Giants. Jackson currently is on pace for 80 catches and 1,332 yards this season. Both would be career-highs. Jackson has been targeted a team-high 38 times this season.

--The Eagles have scored just once on their first two possessions this season. Three of their 12 turnovers have come on their first two possessions.

--The Eagles gave up just two runs of more than five yards to the Giants. For the first time this season, they didn’t allow a double-digit run. The Eagles have given up just one rushing touchdown in their first four games and one in their last eight games dating back to last season.

--Two weeks ago, the Cardinals’ Kevin Kolb completed 7 of 7 passes on third down against the Eagles. On Sunday, Eli Manning was just 4-for-9 for 43 yards on third down.

--The Eagles gave up their first touchdown catch to a tight end or running back Sunday when the Giants’ backup tight end Bear Pascoe caught a six-yard scoring pass in the fourth quarter.

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