A defensive explosion and the ignition of the running game saw the Eagles fly to a 27-7 win and sit tied at the top of the NFC East. Last night was a huge team win but there were some incredible individual performances, here are our top 5.
5: Miles Austin
Probably the biggest surprise of our list and the player to cause the most disagreement. Miles Austin caught all three passes thrown his way for 60 yards. Why is he listed in our top five performances? In a game where Sam Bradford struggled massively, he needed a receiver to turn to. Matthews caught just six of eleven passes, and the rest of the corp suffered everything from drops, miscommunications, fumbles and poor route running. Austin was perhaps the only constant in the receiving category but also made some big blocks for DeMarco Murray to run through. He contributed in more than one area and whilst his numbers don’t scream breakout or MVP..they say enough. He was consistent, ran his routes accurately, was often open when Bradford chose to throw elsewhere and helped Murray to establish a running dominance…a solid performance from an unlikely receiver.
4: Jordan Hicks
This is where it gets tricky because the next four players all had fantastic games. We have come to expect nothing less from Jordan Hicks now. The rookie has had a sensational season so far and in a game where DeMeco Ryans who was putting in work left early due to a hamstring injury, a thin linebacker core was kept strong by Hicks. The 23 year old led the team in tackles with 10, the most he’s recorded in a single game so far and almost had yet another interception. It seems as though when the pressure grows, so does Hicks’ ceiling. A huge performance from the Eagles linebacker who played a large part in establishing dominance over Eli Manning.
3: DeMarco Murray
FINALLY, DeMarco Murray had a big game for the Eagles. We predicted in our build up articles that he would rush for 100 yards and a touchdown and he did. 22 carries for 109 yards saw the most complete performance from the running back in an Eagles uniform to date. The Offensive line stepped up and was able to help Murray massively, but the running back was able to finally show efficiency in the Eagles’ up-tempo system. There was no more one decision dives, no more pushing where there were no holes. This was a methodical game by a back who seems to have taken a much more tactical approach. He would examine the field, and take time to look for the holes as opposed to try and force them..needless to say it payed dividends. In an Eagles Offense that struggled massively, Murray became the spine that kept it together in what was a great performance.
2: Nolan Carroll
The world has been waiting for Nolan Carroll to breakout for quite some time and just days after he claimed he would record his first interception..he got the job done. Carroll ball hawked his way into intercepting a slant route pass, reading the eyes of Eli Manning and returning it for a touchdown. Not only that but Carroll had seven tackles on the day and made some crucial pass deflections. Carroll has been great all season but been unlucky when it comes to drawing penalties and losing his footing. Last night, the complete package came together and he was able to take this Eagles Secondary up yet another level.
There was no other real contender for number one was there? The Eagles’ very own Mufassa sat out a large portion of the game due to a hamstring injury and still put in a performance to silence the critics. Ryans became the only linebacker in the NFL to have an interception in each of the last four seasons after violently ripping the ball out from Donnell. Not only was the play itself incredible but it changed the dynamic of the game entirely. It sparked an Offensive response and a fire inside the belly of a Defense that was previously unable to stop the Giants on a single third down on route to an opening drive touchdown. Ryans went on to be a presence all over the field, knocking two passes clear after sprinting after receivers and amassing five tackles. Ryans is a born leader..and nothing says a leader like making a big play and watching your team replicate the heart and desire you showed just moments before…a huge game for a player who was previously written off by many.