Philadelphia Eagles

Eagles sweep Giants for second year in a row: Things to love and hate about the win

Eagles come from behind to beat the Giants

It didn’t look like it was going to be a pleasant afternoon in Philadelphia. The game started off going downhill fast for the struggling Super Bowl champs. The Eagles let the Giants put points on the board in each of their first four offensive drives. It took the Eagles three separate drives to finally put three points up, followed by a touchdown on their next possession. It looked like the Giants might be able to put another score up before the half, but Malcolm Jenkins had other plans. The lone starter left in the defensive backfield picked off Eli Manning and the Birds never looked back. Allowing only three points in the second half, the reigning champs stormed back from a 16 point deficit to sweep the season series with the Giants.

Here are a few things to love and hate about the Eagles win over their division rivals.

Thing to hate #1: Carson Wentz is holding the ball too long

The Eagles won, so I won’t spend too much time on things to hate. So let’s get them out of the way. I love Wentz. We all do. The guy is our franchise QB and a great one at that. He is making the throws in crunch time and he led the team down the field on the game-winning drive. However, I mentioned in my article last week that he looks extremely uncomfortable and unconfident in the pocket. That observation carried over into this week as well. He doesn’t look like he has command of the football field as he did last year.

Now, it could be attributed to a number of things. It might be because of his injury, it could be that he didn’t have the offseason to get the reps and build chemistry with the receivers, etc. However, it is something that needs to be improved. He is spending too much time waiting for his receivers to get open instead of putting the ball in a spot that forces them open. If he wants to be that top-level, elite quarterback, he needs to get rid of the ball faster. That would also make sure he was sacked less which is never a bad thing.

Thing to hate #2: Anyone suggesting the Giants lost on purpose

Listen. A win is a win. The Eagles had something to fight for. That was a must win to keep the season alive. The Giants could have easily put themselves in third place, and fought their way back potentially for a wildcard spot. They still have to play the Redskins and Cowboys this season. Anything could have happened.

The Eagles adjusted at halftime and came out with purpose in the second half on both sides of the ball. I don’t know why the Giants didn’t attack our defensive backfield. Neither does Odell Beckham Jr. apparently.

But that’s neither here nor there. Anyone suggesting that the Eagles only won because the Giants are focused on tanking needs to jump off the bandwagon. The Eagles defense made adjustments and started to lay shots on Eli Manning. Those simple 3rd & 2s that the Giants were getting turned into 3rd & 8s, making them much harder to convert. The Eagles lose and you want to call everyone to the carpet. The Eagles win and you don’t want to give them any credit. Lighten up and enjoy the win.

Thing to LOVE #1: Players stepping in and communicating with coaches – Jenkins and Schwartz

One of the big topics of discussion after the game is the dialogue that happened between Jenkins and Jim Schwartz as well as between Lane Johnson and Doug Pederson. There are positives and negatives to these situations but ultimately, they helped the team seal their victory.

With the Jenkins/Schwartz conversation, the safety told his defensive coordinator that they were getting cooked in the first half and needed to simplify the defensive plays for the young and inexperienced defensive backs, and put more pressure on the defensive line to get to Eli Manning. Schwartz clearly took that suggestion and ran with it because the defense played lights out in the second half. The Eagles defense kept the Giants under 100 yards and three points in the second half as compared to the 300+ and 19 points in the first half.

Thing to LOVE #2: Players stepping in and communicating with coaches – Johnson and Pederson

When it comes to Johnson/Pederson, the message there was simple. Josh Adams is running well, let’s run the ball. Part of being a good coach is listening to your players and not trying to coach based on your ego. It’s no secret that Pederson is a pass first guy. Adams was running hard and the offensive line was giving him that space to run.

I think it shows a lot about the culture of the team that not only is it acceptable for the players to have a dialogue with their coaches that includes suggestions, but the coaches are even open to just getting out of their own way and doing what’s best for the win. I think part of the coaching problems this year is that they feel like there is something to prove after winning a Super Bowl. However, in that process, they got away from what made them so great last year. Hopefully, this is a step in the right direction for the playcalling and game planning for the rest of the season.

Thing to love #3: Adams and Corey Clement fighting for every last yard

The Eagles running backs were featured in the offense yesterday and they proved it was well deserved. Clement went for 45 yards on five carries, as well as 31 yards on two receptions. One of those rushes was for a successful two-point conversion attempt.

Finally, the team featured Adams in their offensive gameplan, giving him the ball 22 times. Adams rushed for 84 yards, a touchdown, and a successful two-point conversion. Pederson said that Adams would be featured as their starting running back going forward, and thank goodness for that. Adams hit the holes hard all game and fought for positive yards. One long touchdown run was called back for holding on the offensive line, but other than that Adams had a day. Even getting down early didn’t deter the Eagles from sticking with the run. Ultimately, it wore down the defense and played a big role in the victory.

Thing to love #4: The defense in the second half…wow

I touched on this briefly, but the improvement of the defense from the first to second half deserves a little paragraph of its own. The first half was absolutely brutal to watch. Eli picked the secondary apart, which wasn’t surprising. What was surprising was the amount of time that Manning had to throw the ball. The defensive line wasn’t getting any kind of pressure, the secondary wasn’t covering well, and they couldn’t make a tackle if their life depended on it.

The second half was worlds different. Michael Bennett came out as a man possessed constantly a presence in the backfield. He has 5.5 sacks in the last six games and is showing why the Eagles traded for him in the offseason. Chris Long involved himself in the action, and Tim Jernigan brought a new energy as well. The line finally got some pressure and hits on Manning, forcing some punts instead of constant scores.

Thing to love #5: Jake Elliott in crunch time

Elliott has struggled a little bit this year. But when it’s crunch time, he is still clutch. In another game-winner against the Giants, Elliott knocked it right down the middle for the Eagles win. Not only is the fact that he makes the clutch field goals great, but his reactions are also awesome too.

Will this put the Eagles on a run?

Obviously, the Eagles still have some work to do this season. But let’s just enjoy this win, and appreciate that we have another week of meaningful football coming our way. Let’s cheer for the Saints to beat the life out of the Cowboys on Thursday, and get ready for some Monday Night Football in South Philly next week. One week from today, we could be sitting in first place in the NFC East. In the words of Doug Pederson, “we’re not done yet.”

Featured Image: anne_ber3 via Flickr
Stats: NFL.com, ESPN.com

 

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Jessica Towne

I am a year out of college still trying to figure out this "adulting" thing. My two biggest passions in life are dance and Philadelphia sports. I have been dancing for 20 years and have been teaching dance for 3.5, but been a Philly sports fan for life! I love everything sports but my heart primarily lies with the Eagles. That being said, I'm extremely excited to see where these 4 young teams in Philadelphia continue to grow! #PhillyPhilly

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