Oh man, WHAT A GAME! It seems like the Eagles have been on the wrong side of games like that far too often, so what an incredible feeling it was to actually come out on top this time! We shouldn’t have expected anything less to be honest. The Giants and Eagles have played so many classic games over the years, I should have known it was going to be 3 hours of agita.
The 0-2 Giants were on the ropes and they came in with a good game plan of quick throws and underneath routes to protect Eli and allow the offense to move up and down the field. The Eagles game plan was to play soft coverage and allow the underneath stuff, just don’t give up the back-breakers. Outside of a Sterling Shepard 77 yard catch and run, the Eagles “bend but don’t break” game plan worked pretty well.
Coach Pederson finally made an effort to establish the run game and it worked wonders. The Eagles rushes for 193 yards and won the time of possession battle 37:32 – 22:28. When you factor in the Eagles winning the turnover battle as well 2-1, it really would have been a shame for them to not come out with a win in the home opener. Jake Elliott ensured the home crowd went home happy with a kick any of us are soon to forget. The Eagles are now 2-1 on their way to Los Angeles to play the Chargers. Before we look too far ahead let’s look at the 10 Biggest takeaways from the week 3 win…
Carson’s signature win?
Many have been waiting to finally point to a game and say, “Yes? That was all Carson! He overcame the odds and has now officially arrived”. So was this that game? I’m going to say not quite yet. He did lead 3 4th quarter drives that led to scores against arguably the Eagles biggest rival. The only thing I would say is that I would expect a “signature win” to come primarily because of his performance and against an opponent the Eagles are not supposed to beat. The kid is phenomenal, but those looking for that superficial “signature win”, be patient, it will come.
So long Sproles:
I hope we can all appreciate what this man did while he was here. His injury (broken arm/torn ACL) not only ends his season, but probably his career. He has been a tremendous weapon for this team and will be sorely missed. Every time he touched the ball he made big plays. here was a sense of comfort when he had the ball in his hands. Now that element of the offense is gone and the team is without answers to fill that role. You can’t just replace a Darren Sproles. For years, analysts have compared prospects coming into the league to Sproles and none have even come close. He is a truly special talent and a great person. If his time with the Eagles is over, we should all be thankful for a great 4 years.
Oh that’s what a running game looks like:
Getting the running game going was essential to the ultimate success of this offense. They’ll draft their RB of the future next April but for this season they have to find a way to make the running game respectable. On Sunday, they did just that and more. Doug made the commitment to run the ball and gave his running backs 33 carries which went for 171 yards. The entire group was involved and with Sproles out I’m sure we will see that trend continue throughout the season. It doesn’t matter who leads the charge, if they continue to run the ball like they did on Sunday, everyone will be better for it.
Left Guard Roulette:
Benching Isaac Seumalo after 2 games seemed a little bit like a panic move. Granted, he didn’t play well but let him work through the tough times and grow. He remains a very promising prospect. Why shake his confidence with an early benching? Shortly into Sunday’s game new starter Chance Warmack was thrown aside by Giants defensive tackle Jay Bromley and a full on rotation started with Steven Wisniewski rotating in series the rest of the game. An offensive line needs continuity. To shake things up game to game, quarter to quarter or even drive to drive is not going to help things in the long run. Pick a guy and stick to plan.
4th and 8. Really Doug?
By now we know that Doug has the gusto to go for it on 4th down. He went for it 3 times alone on Sunday converting twice. The 4th and 8 call was the one that stands out as an unnecessary risk. To that point in the game the Giants hadn’t really threatened the Eagles at all. There were only a couple minutes until halftime. Just punt it, pin them deep and make them drive the length of the field. Instead Doug goes rogue and goes for it on the Giants 43 and Carson gets sacked. Now the ball is at midfield. If not for a huge stop on 4th and goal, the game would have been tied at halftime and the Giants would have had momentum getting the ball after halftime. Pederson later went on to say that his analytics guy said it was worth the risk to go for it. Well Doug, sometimes you just have to put numbers aside and use your football brain. Calls like this may cost the Eagles an important game later in the season.
Overcoming defensive injuries:
If I told you before the season that the Eagles would beat the Giants without Ron Darby, Fletcher Cox, Jordan Hicks, Rodney McLeod, Corey Graham and Jaylen Watkins what would you have told me? My guess is the answer would contain a lot of condescension and 4 letter words. It’s a credit to the front office for building the depth of the defense, in particular the secondary. The Eagles just beat the Giants without those players for all of or most of the game. Let that sink in.
Mills vs. Beckham:
In a bit of a surprise, the Eagles has Jalen Mills following Beckham for much of Sunday’s game. Mills was targeted 21 times by the Giants which is more than any other corner in a single game over the last 10 years. Mills allowed 15 receptions (9 to Beckham) for 119 yards and 2 scores. However, those 15 receptions only averaged 7.9 ypc and he didn’t allow a reception longer than 14 yards all game. Beckham made 2 spectacular touchdown catches because that’s what Odell Beckham does but for the most part Jalen Mills held his own in this battle. It’s easy to see his growth in year 2 and it’s nice to have a corner who’s not afraid to take on the best.
Douglas brings ball skills to secondary:
Rasul Douglas throughout the draft process and offseason was touted as a ball hawk after leading the NCAA in interceptions a year ago with 8. Watching his interception on Sunday it’s safe to safe that those talents will translate to the next level. Douglas extended his long arms and smoothly reeled in the pick, cleanly catching the ball with his hands and not allowing it to get to his body. He looked like a wide receiver making that play. The secondary has lacked a playmaker with ball skills like that since Asante Samuel. We know he doesn’t exactly have great straight line speed but he will still be a huge asset to this team if he can turn the ball over so fluidly.
We’ll never forget you Jake Elliott. Unbelievable. For a kicker that was shaky in the preseason with the Bengals, had already missed 2 kicks with the Eagles, and was said to have a more accurate than powerful leg to begin with, it’s simply amazing that he made that kick. On the 50 yard miss earlier in the game you could tell that it had more than enough leg but 61 yards seemed stretching it. The weather conditions were just right on a hot and humid day and Jake Elliott was able to make the kick of a lifetime. Hopefully that spawns confidence in the kid to settle down and be consistent the rest of the season.
*BIGGEST TAKEAWAY FROM THE GAME*
Overall team resiliency:
Last years team would have lost this game. To battle for the full 60 minutes and not get despondent after giving up 21 points in 5 minutes really shows the heart of this team. Credit to the coaching staff. Two 4th down stops early in the game were huge. Playing without a number of star players on defense and still playing solid defense was tremendous. Driving down the field to tie the game at 21 and then again at 24 before ultimately getting in position for the game winning kick shows that this team is learning how to win. Going through the adversity and getting a win against a division rival like the Giants is such a big indicator as to where this team is going. Success is contagious.
Next up a trip to San Di……..Los Angeles, to play the Chargers. The Chargers are a team that can’t seem to figure out how to close a game but have enough weapons to where they are really dangerous. Beware the west coast road trip.
Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports