It wasn't pretty, but NFC East contest rarely are. The fact is that it's November, the Eagles faced a good division opponent and escaped with a win. We're 7-3 and sitting on top of the NFC East, what more could we ask? Michael Vick summed up the evening well in his post game comments.
"It's a football game and not every football game is going to be like last week and I knew that. That's the reason why I put that game behind me when it was over. Because I knew the expectations were going to be through the roof and I knew people were going to expect us to score 50 points a game. But it's not going to work that way especially against a good defense like the Giants have"
The defining play of this game really encapsulated the whole night. Michael Vick bobbled a snap with the Eagles down a point late in the 4th quarter, he barely controls the ball with his fingertips and flips the ball back to LeSean McCoy who runs for a 50 yard touchdown. The Eagles overcame a potentially devastating mistake to pull out a miraculous win. That was the story of the whole game.
Funny enough, although the teams arrived at the final score in an unlikely way... I actually think it reflects the balance of the game well and is a fair representation of how the teams played. The Eagles really dominated the first half of this game. I don't believe the Giants offense amassed even 100 yards and the Eagles offense moved up and down the field almost at will. Really the game should have been a blowout, but two awful drops left touchdowns on the board. The first was by DeSean Jackson on a ball that was somewhat tough to catch, but still completely inexcusable. The second however, was a nightmare. Michael Vick found Jason Avant wide open in the back of the end zone on 3rd down, the ball hits him directly between the numbers and the most sure handed player on the Eagles offense drops it. Let's not forget he also dropped a Kevin Kolb pass that hit him on the hands which would have won the first Redskins game. It should have been a blowout at the half, but it wasn't and you got the feeling like eventually that was going to bite the Eagles. It did.
The Giants defense started to show up, the Giants offense started to show up and they started to dictate the play in the second half. The Giants defense gets turnovers, their offense puts up two TDs and before you know it they've got the lead. But then, it became the Giants turn to shoot themselves in the foot.
First, Jason Pierre-Paul jumps offsides on a play that negated a third down stop. That gave the Eagles two more shots at converting and on 4th down LeSean McCoy broke the game open with a 50 yard TD run. Killer penalty there.
Then, as the Giants are driving to tie the game Eli Manning scrambles for a first down on 4th down only to dive headfirst without being touched and fumble the football! Asante Samuel picked it up and the Eagles took over. It was pretty much the exact turnover he committed that killed them against the Eagles last year.
Quick note on rookies in this game. The Eagles and Giants have picked the same position in the first round the past two seasons. Here's how they performed tonight:
Jeremy Maclin - 9 rec 120 yards
Hakeem Nicks - 6 rec 65 yards
Brandon Graham - forced fumble
Jason Pierre-Paul - Huge penalty that made way for the game winning TD
Eli Manning had four turnovers in this game, three of which went to Asante Samuel. Samuel has four picks in two games against the Manning brothers this season. Samuel accounted for four turnovers overall tonight, three that he took away and one boneheaded play where he gave one back after he fumbled on a needless interception return.
LeSean McCoy carried the ball 14 times tonight. On 12 of those carries, he got next to nothing. On the other two, he gained about 80 yards for a touchdown and a game winning first down. That's why you amass home run hitters.
Worst stat of the night? 10 penalties for 119 yards. I believe 30 of those were on Todd Herremans and another 30 or so were on Quintin Mikell for his blatant pass interference during one of those patented Eli Manning "I'm about to be sacked so I'm just going to throw the ball up in the air and hope for a penalty" plays.
Next up for the Eagles is a trip to Chicago next Sunday afternoon to take on the 7-3 Bears who have extra rest after playing this past Thursday night.
[Note by JimmyK, 11/22/10 12:52 AM EST ] - And just because it looks so right...