The Eagles' win against the Giants was incredible. Absolutely historic. However, before all the good things took place in the fourth quarter, there were a lot of things that went wrong in the first three quarters.
If the Eagles didn't play so bad early in the game, they wouldn't have had an opportunity to complete that historic comeback. I would have preferred that they didn't have to make a comeback of that caliber.
All of that is over though, so we just have to take it for what it was: An amazing game with plenty of ups and downs for both teams. At the end of the day, the Eagles ended up on the right side of the scoreboard, and they control their own fate in the NFC East.
Today, I take a closer look at the game and nominate the Eagles I thought were studs and duds.
Surprised? With the punt return, this guy could have missed the entire game and still would have made the top of the list. It was amazing.
The whole series of events is just mind blowing. First, the punter hits the ball wrong and shoots a line drive right at Jackson instead of punting it out of bounds. On the perfect opportunity, Jackson immediately drops the football. After he picks it up, he's forced to back pedal and it looks like there's no where to go. Then he finds a seam in the middle of the field and makes a great play behind some nice blocks.
It was simply stunning. Even if you aren't an Eagles or Giants fan, you had to be blown away after watching that play.
Offensively, Jackson had a decent day at best. He recorded three receptions for 52 yards and had a costly fumble (although it should have been challenged). This was the second time this season that the Giants kept Jackson quiet, while Jeremy Maclin piled up the big numbers.
At the end of the day, Jackson was still the last one laughing.
More specifically, fourth quarter Michael Vick. He only led the Eagles to 10 points in the first half and threw a very bad interception. The offense simply looked flat, and it was not the start anyone was hoping to see.
However, Vick proved to be clutch, yet again, for the Eagles. Trailing by 21 points halfway through the fourth quarter, Vick was not ready to give up. He hooked up with Brent Celek for a quick touchdown when they really needed it and continued to make throws late in the game.
The thing that was the most impressive was the way Vick ran the ball late in the game. He ended with 130 yards on just 10 carries and simply couldn't be stopped. He had a big run on a third down and also had a few more big gainers that put them in position to score.
Without Vick, the Eagles would have never been in a position to make such a dramatic comeback.
Jamar Chaney worried me a little bit going into Sunday's game with the Giants. He was making his first career NFL start against a team who has seen a lot of success running the ball this year.
In the Giants game last week against the Vikings, Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs were both able to run for over 100 yards. Against the Eagles, the tandem finished with 100 yards total, and Chaney played a big part in that.
The Eagles rookie linebacker led the team in tackles, with 16, and recorded a tackle for a loss. Although you can equate the high number partly to the fact that the Giants had the ball much longer than the Eagles, Chaney still had a nice game for his first NFL start.
Although Stewart Bradley may make a return for the playoffs, it was reassuring to see Chaney play well in his first complete game.
Although I like to point out individuals as my studs and duds, you have to give a lot of credit to the special teams unit. They made some critical plays for the Eagles down the stretch.
They started with an onside kick, where they didn't line-up in the typical onside formation. Instead, they lined up as if they were going to kick it deep. It was still reasonably early for an attempt like that and it caught the Giants off guard. The Eagles had two players run down and make blocks so that Riley Cooper could go up and make a play on a ball that was beautifully placed by David Akers.
The special teams came up huge again for the Eagles with under 15 seconds remaining in the game. Although DeSean Jackson is getting a ton of credit for what he did, the Eagles return man was really sprung by some great blocking. After the game, Jackson made sure to give credit to Jason Avant who laid down a monster hit that really allowed Jackson to break around the corner and use his speed to score.
Great effort all around on that return.
I was very happy to have Asante Samuel back in the line-up with Dimitri Patterson. Patterson has been solid as of late, and I thought he would be even better as he wouldn't have the pressure of being the Eagles' top corner anymore.
However, Patterson easily had his worst game of the season. He was continually beat by the Giants' Mario Manningham. Manningham had eight receptions on the day for 113 yards and scored two touchdowns. For some reason, Patterson couldn't do much to contain the Giants' quick receiver.
He played much stronger later in the game, but I was still extremely disappointed with how many plays Patterson gave up in the first half.
It still blows my mind that Andy Reid didn't challenge the DeSean Jackson fumble. Jackson was clearly touched as he went to the ground, and it's hard to believe that the fumble would have stood as called.
I know that there are supposed to be people up in the booth who can see the replays and tell the head coach what to do, but come on. It was a very pivotal point in the game, and it could have made a big difference for the Eagles if they would have kept the ball in their possession there.
Reid had the flag in his hand and it looked like he was going to throw it. I'm not sure if someone told him not to, but the big guy has to pull the trigger in that situation.
I can't decide which was more disappointing, the way the Eagles offense failed to execute early or the way the Eagles defense let them do whatever they wanted in the first half.
The Eagles failed to get much pressure on Eli Manning early, and he was able to sit back and hit the open receiver. Everyone knows that Manning tends to make errors when he faces a lot of pressure, but Sean McDermott failed to dial-up many blitzes.
McDermott's been known to shy away from sending a lot of pressure, and we saw this out of him again. I was very surprised that the Eagles didn't try to get in Manning's face more often, especially with the success they were having against the run.
I think Dunlap played more consistently than he did against the Cowboys, but he's clearly proving these last two weeks that he's still not ready to be a starting tackle in this league.
The Giants have very talented defensive ends, so Dunlap was going to see a challenge no matter who the Giants decided to line up against him. Although he had some nice plays against a talented group, he's not giving the type of protection Michael Vick needs to be able to sit in the pocket.
It's a shame that Dunlap can't step it up because the rest of the line is playing pretty well. Their starting to gel as a unit, and I think we would see them do a much better job overall if Winston Justice never got hurt.