EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – For Eagles fans, other than the whole quarterbacking thing, the most worrisome bit about facing the Giants Sunday at MetLife Stadium might have been having Chance Warmack as the starting left guard, Stefen Wisniewski unable to play with an apparent high ankle sprain.
But it turned out, Nick Foles’ quarterbacking instead of Carson Wentz was not the reason the afternoon hinged on a single Giants incompletion with 43 seconds left. And Warmack wasn’t a problem, either, pretty much for the first time in the eight games he has played this season.
“I feel like a little kid out there, man,” Warmack said. “I’m just happy to be out there.”
Warmack, 26, the 10th overall pick in the 2013 draft, by Tennessee, has seemed lead-footed at times, but he moved just fine Sunday. The Giants’ lone sack of Foles wasn’t Warmack’s fault, and he got downfield in front of runners several times, as the Birds rushed for 108 yards on 27 carries.
“It was beautiful, man, to just play and not have to think about it,” he said.
Unlike last week at Los Angeles, the coaching staff didn’t sub Isaac Seumalo for Warmack, though neither Warmack nor Seumalo was designated the starter when the Eagles announced Wisniewski would be among the inactives.
Warmack said that Foles, who threw four touchdown passes and no interceptions, “was amazing – he was calm, collected. Said everything he needed to say … was clicking on all cylinders.”
Wisniewski, limited in practice Thursday and Friday, said he felt he will have a better chance of playing Christmas night against the Raiders.
“We’ll see,” he said. “Hopefully, I’ll be ready.”
“From what I saw, it looked like he did a good job,” Wisniewski said of Warmack.
Not so Goode
The Eagles had the game under control, after a rough start. They hadn’t given up a touchdown in five possessions, after allowing one each of the first three times the Giants had the ball. They’d fought back to a 31-23 lead, and now, they’d stopped Eli Manning again, fourth-and-4 on the Giants’ 26, Brad Wing back to punt.
It sure seemed the Birds were going to take charge and win comfortably, the way their fans thought they would when the afternoon began.
Then, flags and whistles. Eagles linebacker Najee Goode was called for a neutral-zone infraction. First down, Giants. Five plays later, Tavarres King beat Ronald Darby on a slant and took it 57 yards to the house.
So much for taking charge.
Goode said that after he nearly blocked the first Giants punt, the blocker in front of him got “hesitant” and on the fourth-and-4 play, “leaned back,” which should have been a false start.
“They ended up throwing it on me because I crossed the line” after the perceived movement,” Goode said. “We can’t have that and be a championship team. I’ve just got to go on the ball snap.”
Goode added that he felt he would have blocked the punt had the whistle not blown, stopping the play.
The play, and subsequent touchdown, changed the tone of the second half.
“One play, one lapse of judgment, and the guy’s running through the defense,” said safety Malcolm Jenkins, whose field-goal block might have been the pivotal play. “That’s how small the margin of error is, especially as you move through the month of December.”
Eagles cornerback Patrick Robinson exited in the second half with a concussion, leaving the defense without its slot cornerback. Robinson was down on the field for a few minutes before he was escorted directly to the locker room.
Because he had a concussion, Robinson was not permitted to discuss what led to a dispute on the sideline in the first quarter. Television cameras caught Robinson being restrained during a discussion with defensive backs coach Cory Undlin.
The Eagles moved Jenkins from safety to the slot after Robinson’s exit and used Corey Graham as the extra safety. Jaylen Watkins was the only cornerback active other than the top three, with Rasul Douglas inactive for the first time since Week 1.
The Eagles added linebacker Bryan Braman on Tuesday for special teams and needed to sit someone to make room. Douglas, who has a small role on special teams, was relegated to the sideline. The Eagles continued to activate fifth-round pick Shelton Gibson, who doesn’t have a big role on offense or special teams.
Braman made his season debut – one of three Eagles players in uniform for the first time this season. Quarterback Nate Sudfeld and tackle Will Beatty were the others, although neither player entered the game.