It's usually too late in the year to schedule a tee time, but the Eagles defense were able to do just that on Sunday in a 40-17 win over the New York Giants.
After the Eagles scored a touchdown on the opening drive of the game, cornerback Asante Samuel intercepted Eli Manning's first pass of the game and returned it to the Giants' 10-yard line. The Eagles converted the turnover into another touchdown and just 3:45 into the game the Giants dug themselves a 13-0 hole. The Giants never recovered as the Eagles unleashed an aggressive attack, flushing Manning from the pocket time after time again and sacking him twice. Manning was 20-of-39 for 222 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.
"If you can execute on defense like that, bring pressure and create turnovers and special teams getting good field position, that's definitely a formula for success," said Samuel, who also intercepted Manning in the Divisional Round battle back in January. "If we move forward and keep that going we'll be all right."
The Giants still maintained a heavy dose of 267-pound running back Brandon Jacobs, who gained 86 yards on 20 carries. But other than an 18-yard touchdown pass from Manning to tight end Kevin Boss in the second quarter, the Giants were never in the contest. The quick start by the Eagles offense certainly made life easy for the defense.
"That's a great feeling. That really sets the tone there at the beginning of the game," said Will Witherspoon, who had six tackles and had a pass breakup. "Now teams are thinking, 'We can play and get in our game plan and feel the ebb and flow of the game, but we're already behind the 8-ball. What are we going to do about it and try and get ourselves back into the game and really back into an even scenario.'"
Even though the Giants were going to lean more towards the pass, the Eagles still loaded up the box by bringing down free safety Sean Jones. In his first start as an Eagle, Jones registered six tackles, including one for loss and a quarterback hit. Jones started for the injured Macho Harris, but with Jacobs toting the ball head coach Andy Reid said after the win that he was going to tab Jones to start anyway. Weakside linebacker Akeem Jordan led the team with seven tackles and safety Quintin Demps recorded his first career interception. Jason Babin and Antonio Dixon each brought down Manning for a sack.
"That was by far the best game we played this year as a football team and I'm proud of the performance," cornerback Sheldon Brown said.
Brown, an eight-year veteran, was quick to point out that one win does not determine the outcome of the season.
"I've been here for a long time and one win doesn't mean anything," he said. "We're trying to win the division. That's the number one goal."
The Eagles are now tied for first place in the NFC East with a 5-2 record. The team that they are tied with, the Dallas Cowboys, come to Philadelphia to play next week on Sunday Night Football. The last time Dallas came to Philadelphia, the Cowboys were pasted 44-6 and the Eagles advanced to the playoffs. The Giants left Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday the same way the Cowboys did last December. And while the rematch is a few weeks away, the Eagles will be ready for anything retribution from the Giants.
"It's definitely not the Giants to think that they would come in and give up 40 points on defense," defensive end Darren Howard said. "Definitely, I think they are shocked and they now have some things to work out and we have to go up there and play them again, so I'm looking forward to that rematch."
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 8:31 p.m., November 1