Philadelphia Eagles Outlast Giants at Home

Dec 22, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11) and New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) meet on the field after the game at Lincoln Financial Field. The Philadelphia Eagles won 24-19. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 22, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11) and New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) meet on the field after the game at Lincoln Financial Field. The Philadelphia Eagles won 24-19. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

Against one of the top defenses in the NFL, the Philadelphia Eagles found a way to move down the field proficiently and hold their own in the trenches to get their first NFC East victory of the season.

The buzz around Lincoln Financial Field was electric in a game with little implications for the team itself. The Philadelphia Eagles had the ability to keep the New York Giants out of the playoffs for at least one more week by playing spoiler on Thursday night in front of a packed crowd in south Philadelphia.

And when it comes to beating a divisional opponent, Philadelphia Eagles’ fans need little motivation to get fired up and back their team to play hard and with passion.

With Lane Johnson returning from suspension to bolster the offensive line and top Giants corner Janoris Jenkins out of game action, the stage was set for rookie quarterback Carson Wentz to really control the offense at the line and move them down the field steadily.

The Birds made quick work of their opening drive, utilizing Ryan Mathews‘ agility behind their big men Johnson and Barbre to eat up yardage. Eventually, Darren Sproles broke free for a 25-yard touchdown through a collective combo block effort from numerous Philadelphia players at the line of scrimmage.

On the ensuing Giants possession, safety Malcolm Jenkins read the eyes of quarterback Eli Manning and played under the coverage to intercept him and take it to the house for his sixth career pick-six which is most by an active player at that position. This ultimately set the tone of the game in the department of making Eli second guess himself even with all the talented wide receivers at his disposal, one of which being Odell Beckham Jr.

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“We needed to stop Odell” Jenkins said following the game. “We played a lot of split safeties, especially in the second half… we moved around, didn’t give him the same looks, made them run into what they thought was two man coverage… we disguised the entire game.”

This proved to be fruitful for an Eagles’ secondary that has been far from stellar all season long. Philly provided tight play at the line of scrimmage prevented any real success on the Giants’ end in rushing the football against Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham which allowed for the corners and safeties to read the game the way Eli Manning does on a consistent basis.

Jenkins made this a key point for his defensive backs throughout the game. “You’ve gotta do that with a quarterback like Eli who reads the entire defense and a receiver like Odell who’s in every spot on the field. You’ve gotta be very versatile as a defense and I think Jim Schwartz had a good game plan.”

Possession after possession, the Giants made progress in accumulating yardage with Sterling Shepard and Beckham Jr. Yet the deep play from the linebackers and double safety packages made the big plays from Manning very difficult to execute as New York was held to four field goals as result of solid red zone defensive play by Philadelphia. Jenkins picked off Eli again later in the game with a textbook deception drift in coverage that helped the Eagles run down the clock late in the game.

Carson Wentz found success on the other side of the ball by allowing himself to move and escape the pocket to make plays on his own. Despite the improved protection from his line all night, the rookie out of North Dakota was incredibly elusive in evading the pressure of the recently stellar Giants defensive front.

“He (Wentz) gets a little more comfortable with the offense… that’s why you’re seeing him being able to take off and run and utilize his strength and athleticism to make some big plays with his legs” head coach Doug Pederson noted about his young quarterback. “Really is getting better at seeing the field and letting the game kind of come to him and unfold.”

The night wasn’t perfect for Wentz as he did get picked off downfield after scrambling to continue the play in the 2nd quarter. He also took a late hit from Olivier Vernon near the end of the 3rd quarter that put him into the concussion protocol and brought backup Chase Daniel into the game for a drive until Wentz was cleared to reenter the game.

The Giants certainly made it a game late with their offense pushing down the field; converting once on 4th down to put the Giants across the middle of the field into Eagles’ territory. New York’s prime time star Odell Beckham Jr. made every effort to help his squad claw back into this match-up; making big plays left and right to convert down the stretch.

But the secondary held their ground firmly with big plays coming from Nolan Carroll and safety Terrence Brooks who came up with the game sealing interception with under two minutes to play. A challenge by Doug Pederson in regards to the ball being spotted across the first down marker also set the Eagles up to stand their ground and play the effective defensive scheme that seemed to work for them all night long.

While the implications of this victory come with little direct benefits for Philadelphia, the Eagles will take being spoilers of their division rivals as reason enough to celebrate a victory that this locker room has certainly needed after their recent stretch of defeats.

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“Those guys have a lot of pride” Doug Pederson said in his postgame interview. “For us it was a chance to win a division game, number one, and erase that sort of negative feeling we’ve had these past couple of weeks. And to do it in front of our crowd, I thought it was awesome.”

Awesome indeed, Doug…


The Birds will close out their season with a game against the newly appointed NFC East champion Dallas Cowboys, who clinched the top seed in the conference and the division crown with last night’s Giants’ defeat. While the prospect of beating the Cowboys will bring no further continuation of this roller coaster season for the Eagles, last night showed that fighting hard and prevailing against any rival in this division makes being a fan of this organization that much easier.