Eagles vs. Giants: Grading Philadelphia's Performance
The Philadelphia Eagles entered New Meadowlands Stadium in a crucial Week 15 matchup with the New York Giants. This game was the biggest of the season for both teams, as the winner would take the indefinite lead in the NFC East. This game was essentially a playoff game, as the winner will most likely make the playoffs, and the loser most likely will not.
Philadelphia entered this game and during the entire first half were simply dominated by the Giants. At halftime the Giants had a 21-point lead, and it looked like the game was seemingly over. However, the Giants allowed Michael Vick and the Eagles offense to get back into the game and tie it late in the fourth quarter.
The Eagles were able to climb their way back into the game, and the Eagles defense was able to hold on the Giants' last possession. With 10 seconds left on the clock, Matt Dodge punted the ball to DeSean Jackson.
Jackson returned the punt for a touchdown.
Miracle at the Meadowlands II.
Here is the Eagles postgame Report Card:
Honorable Mention: Mario Manningham: A+
Mario Manningham was all over the Eagles secondary. No matter what type of coverage or where the Giants were on the field, he made the catch. Not only was he able to make the catch, but he was also able to make the defender miss.
Nice game from Manningham, and he showed that he is a definite weapon in an injury-riddled Giants offense.
He finished the game with eight receptions for 113 yards and two touchdowns.
You better believe it.
Everyone who drafted this guy, go ahead and celebrate, because this may be a sign of things to come.
Passing Offense: B-
The Philadelphia Eagles and Michael Vick had one of the best fourth-quarter performances this season. Not only was the offense able to get the ball moving, they were also able to get the ball into the end zone.
It was almost perfect execution passing the ball—great routes and good catches led to the Eagles tying the game late in the fourth quarter. Jeremy Maclin had a huge mistake earlier in the game, but he was able to make up for it by scoring two touchdowns.
The second-half production of Vick and the rest of the Eagles receivers is enough to earn the passing offense a higher grade. Vick had an enormous fourth quarter, and without him at the QB, the game would have been over.
Even more good news: Brent Celek was finally able to get involved in the offense, making a huge 60-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter.
Awesome performance from Vick, and this should put him back in the running for MVP this season.
Rushing Offense: B+
The Giants defense did an excellent job of holding off the Eagles rushing game. It seemed like as soon as Vick handed the ball off to McCoy or Harrison, there were several blue jerseys surrounding them. It showed that the Giants defense is one of the best in the NFL.
Where the rushing game was really effective, though, was with Michael Vick rushing on 3rd-and-longs, and just all around late in the game.
There were several plays where Vick single-handedly made something happen and kept the Eagles drive alive. I'm amazed that he was able to get so many open lanes against an absolutely brutal Giants defense, but once he found it, he was gone.
Here are the rushing stats for the Eagles:
McCoy: 64 yards, no touchdowns.
Harrison: three yards, no touchdowns.
Vick: 130 yards, one touchdown.
Three letters: M. V. P.
Rushing Defense: B+
The Eagles defensive line and linebackers did an excellent job of keeping Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs in check. Although there were several big runs, the majority of handoffs were stopped in the backfield.
Rookie MLB Jamar Chaney did an excellent job filling in for the injured Stewart Bradley, leading the team in tackles. He was constantly getting pressure and at least making contact with the rusher in the backfield, and even making a nice stop on a crucial third down.
The entire game, the Eagles did a good job stopping these dual-threat rushers, and it seemed like the entire defense was on the same page.
The only reason the defense was not able to pull out the "A" grade was because there were several Giants drives where all they did was run the ball. The Eagles defense knew it was coming, and they still were not able to stop it.
Overall, the rushing defense played well, and it seemed like they had it under control through most of the game.
They held the two Giants rushers to only 100 yards on 31 carries.
Passing Defense: D-
The Eagles secondary was just owned the entire game.
Eli Manning and Mario Manningham had an unbelievable game, and they were able to burn the Eagles defense on almost every single throw. It looked for about one quarter that Manningham was done, and then he came back and was able to get another touchdown.
Patterson was just not good enough to keep up with Manningham, and it showed. Manning was able to find a constant mismatch, and he was able to throw two of his four touchdowns to Manningham.
Chaney was great against the rush, but he was having some difficulty in coverage, blowing one assignment on Kevin Boss, which resulted in a Giants touchdown. There was one more to Boss earlier in the game that went for around 40 yards, and Chaney just fell behind him on the coverage.
Asante Samuel had a relatively quiet return to the Eagles defense. Then again, Manning didn't even take a chance passing in his direction.
The Eagles secondary must improve if they plan on winning games in the postseason.
The Atlanta Falcons and Matt Ryan will tear the Eagles apart if they aren't able to lock down on those quick receivers.
Special Teams: A+
David Akers: Awesome onside kick. Perfect execution. Without a kick like that, the Eagles would not have won the game.
Sav Rocca: Good punts, kicking an average of 41.2 yards per punt.
Kick returns: Fairly average on both coverage and returns.
Punt returns: Two words—DeSean Jackson.
Matt Dodge is going to be cut from the Giants, as all he had to do was punt the ball out of bounds, and he totally messed up the punt.
Excellent return by Jackson.
Andy Reid totally missed a challenge in this game. The Eagles may have won this game in the end, but Reid not challenging a DeSean Jackson fumble could have led to a loss. It seemed like he was just unsure on the call, but either way, he should have just thrown the challenge flag.
This is the first time I have ever seen Reid not elect to challenge.
Marty Mornhinweg did an awesome job of getting Eagles receivers open late in the game, and allowed Vick time to get the ball down the field. The offensive play-calling in the first half was kind of shaky, but it was totally turned around in the fourth quarter.
Sean McDermott had one of the worst games I have seen. There was almost no pressure on Eli Manning throughout the entire game, and he was able to find the open receiver regularly. Not to mention how easily the Giants were able to get third-down conversions. It looked like every time there was a third down, the Giants would have no trouble picking up the first.
McDermott and Mornhinweg were able to turn the game around in the fourth quarter, but it was an average performance from the coaching department all around.
The Eagles narrowly escaped a loss in New York. There was much more sloppy play than the Eagles can afford, and stuff like this will not fly in the postseason. Without a player like Vick starting, there is no way the Eagles would have won this game.
I am relieved that the Eagles were able to win this game and take the first-place spot in the NFC East, but it was not won the way it should have been. There are some big issues that are going to be hurting the Eagles in the postseason, and it could eventually doom them.
Overall, a win is a win.
Now that the Eagles are (10-4) and in first place in the NFC East, they just have to finish out the season and win out.
The Eagles have two games left: the Cowboys at home, and the Vikings at home.
This is an easy finish, and the Eagles should have no problem finishing off the season at home.