Sunday night was host to a big time NFC East rivalry game. The Giants and Eagles provided what many fans are use to between them. A close, drama and highlight filled game that would be decided at the last moments of the game. Well that did happen, but for Giant fans it was a tough one as they lost 19-17 to their hated rival. Lets recap the performances from both teams.
Michael Vick had his most efficient game of the season Sunday night. Coming into this game he and his offense were turning the ball over at a high rate. However Vick was able to secure the ball rushing, and passing. He finished going for 19/30 completions, 241 yards, and 1 touchdown. Even though it wasn't a big time passing performance, he made the crucial plays to lead his team to victory. Especially on the ground as he had 6 carries, for 49 yards. Most of those yards came from crucial third down conversions as he took advantage of a lack of containment from the Giants defensive line. Vick protected the ball, produced first downs, and the team won. If your an Eagle fan his game must have pleased you.
LeSean McCoy was stifled by the Giants defense in the first half. Going into the second half with under 30 yards rushing Shady McCoy turned it up, and never looked back. His explosive cuts, and vision led to him to take advantage of the lack of containment the Giants defensive line had. McCoy finished with 23 carries, and 123 yards. He didn't get on the scoreboard but his performance gave the Eagles great field position, and tired out the Giants defense throughout the game so that they could score.
Despite this game not being an air show for Michael Vick, and his passing attack DeSean Jackson still found a way to have an impact game. He was there for crucial third down receptions, and ran exceptional routes against Corey Webster that left the corner looking silly at times. Jackon finished with 6 receptions, 99 yards, and 1 touchdown (19 yard strike from Vick).
Despite the loss Eli Manning still had a pretty good game. If not for a late 4th quarter offensive pass interference call we could be talking about another "Eli Manning 4th quarter comeback". Eli struggled in the first half, as the Eagles pass rush disrupted the Giants offensive line. You could also see how the absence of Hakeem Nicks (knee injury) made things harder on this passing attack against the aggresive man coverage of the Eagles secondary. However in the second half Manning spread the ball around, and put up points. Eli finished going for 24/42 completions, 309 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception. Eli's production at this high level will continue, and should get even higher if Hakeem Nicks can return healthy.
The rushing attack for the Giants came up short despite the previous two good rushing weeks. Even though starter Ahmad Bradshaw was back into the mix, and seemed healthy neither he or break out break Andre Brown could get things going. This was not good, especially seeing as how the Eagles defense is not known for stopping the run. The two finished with a combined 18 carries, and 53 yards on teh ground. The lone bright spot from a running back was rookie David Wilson who made his impact in the return game with a total of 217 return yards. He gave the Giants great field position almost every kick return he could run back. Look for the coaching staff to focus on getting the ground game going again.
Even thought the Giant's pasing attack was missing Hakeem Nicks, they saw another good game from the next guy up. The passing attack struggled in the first half against the Eagles aggresive pass coverage, but in the second half we saw two players step up big time. The first was Victor Cruz who made some big time plays after the catch, and caught everything thrown his way. Cruz finished with 9 receptions, 109 yards, and 1 touchdown. The second was Domenik Hixon who made some big time catches as well, and really helped Eli attack some of the weaker points in the Eagles secondary. Hixon finished with 6 receptions, and 114 yards. However what was the most crucial play from the receiving core that wasn't positive was a late 4th quarter offensive pass interfernce by receiver Ramses Barden. That penalty pushed the Giants out of field goal range with 15 seconds left in the game. I'm sure the Giants coaching staff, and Eli Manning are happy that guys are stepping up at the position but the absence of star Hakeem Nicks is to great to get over.
The Eagles defense stifled the Giants rushing attack the whole game, however they didn't shut down the passing game, but it's not an easy thing to do. Despite that they did prevent one of the NFL's highest scoring teams from scoring more than their own, and that is all that matters. Even though they didn't get a sack on Eli Manning, they did force a late second half 11 yard interception (Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie with the pick) from Manning as he tried to connect with tight end Martellus Bennett in the endzone. On the last drive the defense was in danger of giving up points, and possibly an Eli Manning 4th quarter comeback. However in the winding seconds of the fourth quarter corner back Nnamdi Asomugha got into great position, forcing an offensive penalty by receiver Ramses Barden that pushed the Giants out of field goal range, and thus forcing a slightly missed 54 yard kick by Lawrence Tynes with less than 10 seconds left. The Eagles defense did give up a lot of yards in the air, but in the end their team came out on top. Winning is what matters, especially in the NFC East.
The Giants pass rush made some plays Sunday recording 2 sacks (Osi Umenyiora, Chase Blackburn) on Michael Vick. However they still had much that needs to be revised. The defensive line did a bad job of containment, because of that Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy had big gains to the outside picking up crucial third downs. They gave up over 120 yards on the ground. The secondary played a focused game, giving up only 241 yards to Michael Vick in the air, however they could not force a turnover on this highly turnover prone offense. And on crucial downs the Eagles for the most part were able to convert through the air. Despite the many problems they faced Sunday they still only gave up 2 more points than the Eagles had on them, so at the end a penalty faultered all hopes of a comeback win. Look for def. coordinator Perry Fewell and this defense to revise a lot of defensive line, and secondary play. As well as keep an eye on both safties Antrel Rolle, and Kenny Philips who in the past two weeks suffered from some kind of leg injury.
The New York Giants are now 2-2 on the season. They will be facing the Cleveland Browns (0-4) on Sunday October 7th, at Met Life Stadium at 1pm. Only on CBS.