It's hard to pinpoint an exact reason for the Eagles' four narrow defeats, because they've all come in different manners. But safety Jaylen Watkins said the team's struggled to string together 60 minutes of strong execution since their 3-0 start to the season.
Watkins said the Eagles would have likely pulled out a win Sunday if the offense hadn't turned the ball over twice in the first quarter or if the defense stopped the Giants from turning those takeaways into touchdowns.
"Collectively, we can't shoot ourselves in the foot on offense, and on defense, we got to have their back," Watkins said. "This is one of the first times where they turned the ball over, and we gave up two quick touchdowns. We got to step up and hold them to three there. It got us today, with not giving up three."
Wentz echoed Watkins' message and added the Eagles can derive confidence from much of their play, even as they've dropped four of the past five games. They just have to finish off a close victory to prove they can spin that self belief into positive results.
"All four of these losses we've had a chance to win," Wentz said. "Most of them, we've kind of hurt ourselves. Today, it was the interceptions early. All these others games we just kind of kicking ourselves in the tail early on. We know we're a good team, and we're going to bounce back."
NFL Week 9 Blanket: The Eagles' fall back to Earth is on Doug Pederson - Sports Illustrated
Putting Pederson on the spot: Anyone can look like a genius until opponents get enough game film and things go off schedule. That’s what we have with Eagles coach Doug Pederson, who could do no wrong during Philadelphia’s 3–0 start but has looked anything but a coaching mastermind in the four losses since, including last week in prime-time to the Cowboys and on Sunday on the road against the Giants. All you have to do is look at the Eagles’ 0–4 record in games determined by seven points or less and see that Pederson is more like mentor Andy Reid than Vince Lombardi.
The stat geeks have helped popularize the sentiment that going for it on fourth down is always awesome, but in a real game, sometimes you just need to take the points. The Eagles gave up six points in the second quarter when they turned the ball over on downs at the Giants’ 23- and six-yard lines, both times on awful play calls: a read option by Carson Wentz and a fourth-down run by scatback Darren Sproles. Against Dallas, the Eagles choked away a win late, so at least in this one they merely lost a winnable game. But, man, Pederson has a long way to go as a head coach.
Handing out 10 awards from the Eagles-Giants game - Philly Voice
Personally, I have no issue with the decisions to go for it in those situations. If you have a head coach with an aggressive mindset, you can't applaud the "five for five" on fourth down earlier in the season, and then turn right around and kill him when fourth down conversions fall short.
However, when you've already tried a few quarterback runs that have gone nowhere, maybe that shouldn't be the play call in a crucial situation.
Today, Pederson was aggressive, and his balls burst. It happens.
Don't blame Eagles' defense for loss - Daily News
Manning completed 15 of 22 passes for 175 yards and three TDs in the first half, but was 7-for-14 for just 82 yards in the second half.
Beckham had just two catches in the second half for 19 yards. The Giants converted just four of 13 third-down chances overall. They finished with just 16 first downs and 302 yards, both below their season averages.
"We knew that they had a physical defense, so we had to do our part to get open," Shepard said. "We knew that they were going to be a physical group of guys, so we knew we had to bring our boxing gloves with us, so to speak. We knew it was going to be a physical game going in and that's what we were prepared for."
The Giants' first two touchdowns were set up by Wentz interceptions.
"When something like that happens, you just have to stay calm," Carroll said of the defense's rocky start. "You can't start yelling at each other or pointing fingers.
"It's a long game. You play four quarters, not one. We were in the game at the end. You're not always going to blow a team out. You're not always going to keep them out of the end zone or not give up big plays."