The Philadelphia Eagles (4-6) traveled to New York to take on the Giants (6-4) in a classic NFC East clash on Sunday Night Football. Philadelphia’s season was on the line, as with one more loss they would be mathematically eliminated from the postseason, and New York looked to get some breathing room with their lead in the division. The Eagles defense played lights out the entire game, and Vince Young, who was filling in for an injured Michael Vick, did just enough to get by and win 17-10 on the road.
Here are some quick thoughts and opinion from the game:
Defense, Defense, Defense!
Juan Castillo and the Eagles defense has been under an immense amount of criticism this season, and have hardly shown up when needed. That was the exact opposite in this game, as Philadelphia’s defense went above and beyond, and was able to shut down the Giants offense from their opening snap. The most impressive part of the game — Philadelphia’s free agent acquisitions finally showed up big. So big, the game ended on a Jason Babin strip-sack on Eli Manning.
Another highlight which should be noted, Philadelphia held New York to 29 yards on the ground.
Vince Young Showed Up When The Eagles Needed Him!
With Vick staying back in Philly with broken ribs, Young was handed the starting job. Young’s day started off poorly, with inaccurate throws and bad interceptions, which led the Eagles offense to 10 points in the first half. After a few more interceptions and stalled drives, it didn’t look like Young was going to be able to win the game down the stretch, but he managed to pull a very USC-Texas-Esque drive late in the fourth quarter to give Philadelphia the lead with two minutes left in the fourth.
The best way I can put it — Young looked like he did at Texas. Money in the clutch.
LeSean McCoy Was Totally Silent
For the first time all season, LeSean McCoy was totally silent. New York’s defense did an excellent job of bottling one of the most elusive running backs in the NFL. Until the last run of the game with under a minute remaining, McCoy was held in check, but ended up finishing the game with 113 yards and no touchdowns, (60 of those came on the last rush). This ends McCoy’s streak of a touchdown in each game, but he still managed to close out the Giants when New York could have stopped Philadelphia and had one more shot on offense.
Luckily, Young was clutch.
Nnamdi Asomugha Was Burned in The Fourth
I understand that Victor Cruz has developed into quite the receiver in New York, but he should not be torching a corner who is often placed in the same category as Darrelle Revis. In the fourth quarter, Nnamdi Asomugha blew his coverage in the red zone, and allowed Eli Manning to toss an easy touchdown in the corner. Considering that Asomugha was supposed to be the final piece in the Eagles defensive puzzle, I’m not sure what’s going on.
Maybe he is having trouble adjusting to Philadelphia’s defensive scheme, but he has not been anywhere near as good as advertised.
DeSean Jackson Made Some Noise
DeSean Jackson for the greater part of this season has been totally dead. Last week he was deactivated by Andy Reid for missing a team practice, and this week, with Young under center, was more involved in the offense than ever. Jackson finished the game with a punt return that almost went for a touchdown, six catches and 88 yards. This is far and away Jackson’s best game of the year, and he made a huge impact downfield.
On the other side, Jackson also made some mistakes. On a 50 yard pass completion, Jackson was flagged for taunting the opposing team, and the play was negated. There was also another play where Young was intercepted and Jackson made no effort to tackle or stop the Giant defender. Considering that he had such a good game, it was a real disappointment to see a clear lapse in mental judgment.
Philadelphia needed to win this game. If there is any shot of the Eagles still making the playoffs, this was it. The way the team played, despite the fact that Vick was not playing, is amazing. The NFC East is still cracked open, and Philadelphia still has to play both the Redskins and Cowboys one more time this season, giving them a definite edge in the division. If the Eagles continue to play the way they have, anything is possible. Even a Super Bowl run.
Philadelphia takes on the New England Patriots at home next week.