Philadelphia Eagles News

Fan-Demonium: A Complete Win


The Eagles sure picked a good week to play their best game of the season. They beat the Giants 40-17 and gave us all a performance to enjoy. This was a complete team effort, as the Eagles won in all three phases - offense, defense and special teams.

I was nervous about the Washington game. That's a team that just gives us fits. We won, but it was ugly. As I started to think about the Giants matchup I was initially nervous because they were coming off consecutive losses. You never want to face desperate teams. The week moved along and as I did more research for the game I started to get more confident about the Eagles' chances. I was cautiously optimistic heading into Sunday.

Things began perfectly. Ellis Hobbs returned the opening kickoff to the 40-yard line. The first play was a screen pass that LeSean McCoy turned into a 16-yard gain. The next play was a run to the right side. That was followed by a simple inside run play that Leonard Weaver took 41 yards to the house.

Touchdown, Eagles.

What a great start. We got good field position from special teams. The coaches fed the ball to the running backs. One of my beefs with Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg is that they will sometimes get too wide receiver oriented. You need to feed the ball to the backs. That lets the line get going and into a rhythm. It establishes a physical tone for the game because the offense can fire off the ball and attack the defense. It also gets the backs going, which is key for any offense. The plays are usually low risk, high reward. It takes pressure off the quarterback and helps the offense get a flow.

Asante Samuel picked off an Eli Manning pass on the next series and returned the ball deep into Giants territory. Donovan McNabb and the offense overcame a holding penalty and scored a touchdown to take advantage of the great field position. The Giants did block the extra point, but the score was 13-0 and things were pretty darn good.

I started to get nervous at this point. Things were almost too good. I didn't want to change the channel for fear of jinxing the team. I didn't want to get out of my seat. The game moved into the second quarter and I could see at this point that this wasn't a fluke. The Eagles were simply the better team. That helped me to relax. Just to be safe, I still didn't change the channel. The Eagles blew the game wide open with two touchdowns late in the half. That took the score from 16-7 out to 30-7.

I loved the offensive game plan. The coaches focused on plays that would move the chains. It just so happened that some of these plays turned into long touchdowns. You never want to get too conservative, but the offense flows so much better when there is a good run/pass balance and a mixture of quick passes and downfield throws. McNabb ran the offense brilliantly. He made accurate throws and good decisions. He was aggressive with some throws, but didn't take many risks.

         <td>Tommy Lawlor, goeagles99 on the Discussion Boards, is an amateur football scout and devoted Eagles fan. He's followed the team for almost 20 years. Tommy has been trained by an NFL scout in the art of scouting and player evaluation and runs</td>

I loved the touchdown pass to Jeremy Maclin. That play showed me a lot about both he and McNabb. Maclin was lined up wide left. He took a step to the outside at the snap. That got the defender to move outside. Then Maclin went back inside. At that point, he'd won the battle. Maclin had inside position. He went down the field and started to look back for the ball. McNabb read the play correctly. He saw that his receiver had inside position and that was the place to go with the ball. McNabb saw some defenders in the underneath area and knew that he needed to put the ball up high. He did that and Maclin aggressively went up to make the catch. He had a defender coming over his back, but Maclin managed to bring the ball into his body and hold on for the score. That is a high-quality, NFL receiver kind of play. Rookies normally don't make plays like that.

DeSean Jackson, Brent Celek and Jason Avant all came up big in the passing game. Jackson and Celek caught touchdown passes. Celek and Avant each had key receptions that moved the chains on third downs.

The offensive line did a good job. One reason that the coaches stuck with the run is that it worked early on. The blockers controlled the line of scrimmage and opened holes for the runners. They generally gave McNabb good pass protection. He was sacked twice, but had good time to throw on key plays. McNabb doesn't throw three touchdowns if he doesn't have time to get the ball out. All three were throws that went at least 17 yards. I thought Jamaal Jackson and Winston Justice played the best of the linemen.

Now let's talk about the running backs. Normally a game without Brian Westbrook means real trouble for the offense. That wasn't the case on Sunday. McCoy got the start at tailback and sealed the win with a 66-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. The coaches finally mixed Weaver in as a runner. He had a great game, running eight times for 75 yards. Weaver was fun to watch. He ran hard and got upfield in a hurry. There was no hesitation. He also showed good speed on his touchdown run. This guy is not a typical fullback. We haven't had an athletic fullback like him since Kevin Turner.

The Eagles defense did give up 356 yards, but kept control of the game. Ten of the Giants' 17 points came on a short field. The defense came up with a pair of interceptions. Both of those takeaways led to touchdowns for us. The defense also stopped the Giants on a fourth down pass play when they were driving.

Eli Manning was only sacked twice, but there was enough pressure on him that he was never able to get in a good flow. Early on it seemed like our defensive backs touched the ball more than Giants receivers. Brandon Jacobs didn't fare much better. He ran for 14 yards on the first Giants play, but struggled the rest of the game. He did keep the chains moving in the second half, but did so in a slow, methodical way. The Eagles were happy to see Jacobs gain three or four yards a run as they protected a big lead.

Trent Cole led the way up front. He didn't get a sack, but got the most pressure. He had a couple of plays where he just missed getting to Manning. Mike Patterson played well. He was solid against the run and got a big shot on Manning. Jason Babin got a sack for the second game in a row and rookie Antonio Dixon got the first sack of his NFL career.

All three linebackers had a hand in controlling Jacobs. Akeem Jordan really stood out because of the physical presence he brought to the middle of the defense. Jordan can really deliver some big hits. I was interested to see how Will Witherspoon would handle the Giants' inside run game. He did just fine. He and Jordan led the team in solo tackles. Chris Gocong wasn't as prominent on the stat sheet, but put on the game tape and you'll see that he disrupted multiple run plays by taking out blockers and giving Jacobs nowhere to go.

Samuel and Sheldon Brown played well on the corners. Quintin Mikell had a solid game. The defensive back we need to talk about is Sean Jones, who got his first start at free safety for the Eagles. Jones played well. That was the best play we've gotten from the free safety position this year. Jones is a big guy and aggressively taking on Jacobs wasn't a problem for him. Jones had big hits on receivers as well. He showed that he could play back in coverage as well as up in the box. I think he'll be keeping the free safety job for another week.

Special teams was a win for the Eagles. Hobbs had two good kickoff returns that resulted in a pair of touchdowns. He got very good blocking on those returns. Eldra Buckley is the lead blocker on kickoffs and stood out on both plays. Babin had a good block on the opening return of the game. That was cancelled out when he failed to cleanly field a short kickoff in the third quarter and New York recovered. The Giants blocked an extra point, which always makes you nervous, but turned out to be meaningless. Punter Sav Rocca had a big game. He got off a 57-yard bomb that pinned the Giants deep. The coverage units were outstanding. Domenik Hixon was red hot coming into the game, but had no room to run on punts or kickoffs.

The Eagles showed just how good they can be when this team clicks in all phases of the game and the coaches call a good game. That wasn't the Chiefs or Bucs on the other side of the field. It was the Giants. They may have lost a couple of games in a row, but that is still a very talented team. The Eagles systematically dismantled them.

Winning that game was huge. It gives the Eagles a 2-0 mark in NFC East games. Last season, the Eagles were 2-4 in the division. You can't have that if you expect to compete for a division title. Next up is Dallas, winners of three straight. Cowboys-Eagles games are always intense battles, but with first place in the division on the line you can bet that Sunday night is going to be a wild game. The Cowboys are looking for revenge because of last year's late season beatdown. The Eagles just want to keep rolling along and piling up wins.

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