Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
XFINITY Sports NFL Columnist Jordan Raanan takes a look at the studs and duds from the Eagles win over the Giants
There were a lot of positives in the 19-17 victory (bet you didn't guess that score) over the Giants on Sunday night. More so than any of the other two Eagles wins this season. The defense played well, the offense played well, the specials teams, ummmm, not so much.
That pretty explains it all. The offense and defense were represented in the studs section. The special teams in the duds. Again, thanks for voting.
Michael Vick - The only numbers that matter are 3 and 0. Three is the number of victories the Eagles have with Vick as their leader after four games. Zero is the number of turnovers Vick committed on Sunday night. Three and zero. No interceptions and no fumbles. All good numbers. In a hard-fought divisional battle like this against the Giants, Vick (19-of-30 passing, 241 yards, 1 TD) did exactly what was necessary. He ran five times for 50 yards (not including the final play kneel down) and earned three first downs with his legs. That's what makes him special and is exactly what the Eagles needed from him with Jeremy Maclin clearly not 100 percent and the screen game non-existent without center Jason Kelce. It was far and away Vick's best and cleanest game of the season. Good choice, people.
Brandon Hughes - Even before Hughes stepped in for an injured Nnamdi Asomugha late in the second quarter he made some nice defensive plays in coverage. He blanketed Giants wide receiver Dominik Hixon on two incompletions in the first quarter, and when he did step in to replace Asomugha, Hughes held his own as the Giants went right at him to begin the second half. The Eagles backup cornerback also might have been the Eagle to make a play in special teams coverage, tackling Ruben Randle for a two-yard loss on a punt return in the first quarter.
Kickoff Coverage - The kickoff coverage unit barely beat out Nnamdi, who struggled some after returning in the second half from an eye injury. There is no doubt the kickoff coverage unit deserves scolding. It was absolutely disgraceful. The Eagles couldn't stop David Wilson. The Giants rookie took five of six kickoff returns to the 35 or beyond. If not for a touchdown-saving tackle by Mardy Gilyard on one return late in the third quarter it would have been an even more disastrous effort from the Eagles kickoff coverage unit. Even without Colt Anderson and Akeem Jordan - two of the teams's best special teams players - the Eagles were unconscionably incompetent in this phase of the game Sunday night. Wilson finished with a 36.2-yard average. Eagles kickoff returner Brandon Boykin, meanwhile, hasn't taken a single kickoff return more than 29 yards this season. He averaged 16.7 yards on three returns in the victory over the Giants. Special teams coach Bobby April's units have been underwhelming the last two seasons.
Bryce Brown - The sample size Sunday night was small. Brown had five yards on four carries (1.3 ypc), but because the Eagles played a fairly clean and solid overall game there wasn't the usual pile of negatives to attract my attention. So Brown turned into more of a cumulative choice than based solely on his performance Sunday night. It's obvious what the Eagles see in the raw rookie running back. He has great burst and impressive size. So far, however, it hasn't translated to the field in an NFL game. Brown has a fumble (even though it was officially charged to Vick), dropped pass and hasn't shown much elusiveness. Maybe, just maybe, it's time to give fellow rookie Chris Polk a shot, even if Brown may have the more promising long-term future.