Philadelphia Eagles: 6 Observations from Week 5 Win over New York Giants

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Philadelphia Eagles: 6 Observations from Week 5 Win over New York Giants
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY

Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles came away with a huge 36-21 victory over their division rival New York Giants, putting the Eagles right back in the thick of the NFC East playoff race.

It was a must-win game for the Eagles, who improved to 2-3 following a three-game losing streak. Michael Vick left early due to injury, but Nick Foles filled in remarkably, and the defense came up with a trifecta of huge turnovers early in the fourth quarter to seal the victory.

Building off this win will be huge for the Eagles, as they travel to Tampa Bay next to take on the 0-4 Buccaneers. In fact, this is in a stretch in which the Eagles play five games against teams with a combined total of three wins. Coming off their first 15-point win in two seasons, Philadelphia will enter Tampa Bay with a load of momentum.

 

Nick Foles Played Well Enough to Spark a Quarterback Controversy

The inevitable finally happened to Michael Vick right before halftime, with Vick leaving the game to a hamstring pull. Vick was 6-of-14 for 105 yards, plus an impressive 79 yards on seven carries. He had led the Philadelphia Eagles to 16 points in about 28 minutes of game action.

Nick Foles was terrific in just over a half. He took over with the Eagles at their own 7-yard line and marched the team into field-goal territory in less than a minute. Foles directed two fourth-quarter touchdown drives, bringing the Eagles back from a 21-19 deficit. He threw a beautiful 25-yard touchdown pass to Brent Celek on a fly pattern and a well-placed jump ball to DeSean Jackson in the end zone to seal the game.

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY

In all, Foles finished 16-of-25 for 197 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. That’s a 114.3 passer rating for a player who hasn’t taken first-team snaps in two months. After the game, Chip Kelly was adamant that his starting quarterback will be Vick if he’s healthy. But if Vick misses time and Foles continues to play well, Kelly may have to look at the younger guy as his future, especially with how well Foles has played.

 

The Giants Are Just a Bad Football Team

The fact that the Philadelphia Eagles won by 15 was a terrific start for a team trying to get back on track. But this was against a really, really bad New York Giants team.

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY

The Giants all but abandoned their running game once David Wilson got hurt and Brandon Jacobs lost a fumble. They’re down two starters on their offensive line, and they haven’t been able to generate any sort of pass rush all season. Eli Manning played a horrendous game, getting called for three intentional grounding penalties while throwing three interceptions in a seven-minute span in the fourth quarter.

And Tom Coughlin pulled off arguably the dumbest coaching move in recent years, calling a timeout to challenge a play, which resulted in the Giants losing two timeouts on one play.

 

Not Turning the Ball Over Wins Football Games

The Philadelphia Eagles seem to have figured out the secret to winning football games—not turning the ball over.

Against Kansas City two weeks ago, the Eagles turned the ball over five times and never really had a chance. This week, they won the turnover battle by three and subsequently won the game. Coincidence? I think not.

Michael Vick and Nick Foles each played turnover-free football, and that is the key for an Eagles team that so many times has gained tons of yards but not a ton of points due to a propensity for turnovers.

 

Alex Henery Came Up Huge

After missing kicks in three consecutive weeks, Alex Henery got right back on track in a big way. He kicked five field goals, making all of them. They ranged from 27 to 41 yards—all makeable—but nonetheless crucial in the Philadelphia Eagles’ win.

Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

Henery still hasn’t proven he can consistently hit kicks over 45 yards, and that should be expected from a kicker taken in the fourth round. But he played a big role in the Eagles’ victory today, and that’s a positive sign after his struggles from Week 2 through Week 4.

 

The Secondary Had Some Rough Moments But Came Through When It Mattered

The Philadelphia Eagles had their defensive struggles today. They allowed over 330 passing yards and two touchdowns to Eli Manning. I charted Cary Williams with allowing 95 yards on nine receptions and Bradley Fletcher at 151 yards and nine catches.

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

But Fletcher had at least four pass knockdowns, and Williams came up with an interception. Brandon Boykin also had a highlight interception of his own, and the Eagles recorded three interceptions of Manning in the first half of the fourth quarter.

The defensive game plan was essentially to double Victor Cruz, which allowed Hakeem Nicks to rack up 142 yards on nine catches. But Manning also threw a high number of incompletions. He completed just 24 of his 52 passes, becoming only the 16th quarterback to pull off that feat. Credit the Eagles for coming up big when it mattered the most.

 

The Eagles Are Right in the NFC East Playoff Race

It’s amazing that the Philadelphia Eagles are now tied for first place in the division, but such is the case. The Eagles are 2-3 following a 36-21 victory over the New York Giants, and the Dallas Cowboys (2-3) lost a tough matchup to the undefeated Peyton Manning-led Denver Broncos.

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY

While Chip Kelly has already undergone a three-game losing streak, he’s 2-0 against the division. He’s averaging 34.5 points against his NFC East foes, and he’s actually 2-0 in the conference as well. He gets a Tampa Bay team next week that is coming off a bye week, but it will be starting its backup quarterback, Mike Glennon.

It’s no guarantee at all that the Eagles win that game. But if they are forced to go with Nick Foles again, this is a team he torched for his only win last year. The Buccaneers have greatly improved their secondary with the additions of Darrelle Revis and Dashon Goldson, which will make for another competitive game. The key will again be not turning the ball over and pounding the Buccaneers with the ground game.

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