The positives in the Philadelphia Eagles’ iffy win over the New York Giants


The temptation after certain plays in the Philadelphia Eagles’ win over the New York Giants is to harp on deficiencies. Let’s give positivity a chance for a change.

Baseball Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt once said, famously, that in Philadelphia an athlete could enjoy “the thrill of victory, and the agony of reading about it the next day,” and never has a remark seemed so appropriate as in these first hours after the Philadelphia Eagles’ semi-miraculous win over the New York Giants Sept. 24.

Lots of Eagles fans will soon be on sports talk radio and livid about several things that occurred in the attempt to hand the Giants Sunday’s game – Coach Doug Pederson’s acid dream attempt to convert a fourth and eight (8) with roughly 2:35 to go in the first half and a 7-0 lead. At midfield. Zack Ertz’ fumble…


A win is a win, no matter what, and especially that the Giants’ offensive line is every bit as bad as advertised (roughly the equivalent of The Big Bang Theory cast pitted against Conan the Barbarian and his larger brothers). New York begs to be beaten.

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There were four terrific aspects of this 27-24 victory besides the Eagles’ defensive front that forced Manning to pass more, perhaps, than he should have, and that had a key goal-line stand late in the first half. We. Will. Not. Be. Negative. Here.

The Team Has Finally Practiced Handoffs!

After a week of criticism about their running game, the Eagles produced, largely running, an 18-play 90-yard drive, the longest in the young NFL season as Fox’ Joe Buck and, later, CSN’s Ray Didinger noted. LeGarrette Blount led a rushing attack early that saw multiple holes opened for long, if not spectacularly long, gains. He booked 12 rushes and averaged 5.6 yards a carry; the somewhat maligned Wendell Smallwood also carried 12 times for 5.9 yards a touch. Both tallied long runs of 20 yards.

Best, however, was the run-pass ratio – 39:31, or 55% runs (excluding kicks from scrimmage). Corey Clement even got to carry the ball and did so reasonably well (six for 22 yards).

Alshon Jeffery

The high-profile wide receiver has somewhat quietly established himself as a key piece on offense, in this game catching only four passes, but for 56 yards, one yard more than Zack Ertz who was targeted more frequently and caught twice as many passes. Jeffery had the second longest catch in the game – a 19-yard grab. (Unfortunately, the longest was Giant Sterling Shepard’s 77-yard catch and run for a touchdown.)

The Gutsy Play of the Overmatched Defensive Backfield

Four defensive backs were on the shelf with injuries, one – Ronald Darby – with an injury that may have ended his season. The paper version of the Inquirer had suggested that Rodney McLeod would play, incorrectly (page D5), but there’s always that print time needed for a newspaper on actual paper. The team would have to make do with McLeod on the bench and prominent roles given for the day to Rasul Douglas and Dexter McDougle.

For a while, as the front seven were still somewhat fresh in the extreme temperatures on the field, they were better than adequate. Douglas picked off an early pass; veteran Patrick Robinson defended a key pass early on, and later had an interception on a tipped ball by Mychal Kendricks.

At the end of the day, though, Eli Manning had piled up 366 passing yards; Odell Beckham Jr. had caught two touchdown passes and made an ass of himself imitating an animal urinating on the end zone after the first. Jalen Mills had largely played him tough, but….

Jake Elliott

Finally, by far the most pleasant surprise in this game and perhaps the most promising thing to report is the game-winning, team record, 61-yard field goal by rookie Jake Elliott, who was on the Cincinnati Bengals’ practice squad less than two weeks ago.

Next: Philadelphia Eagles: 3 things we learned from win vs. New York Giants

Better perhaps than the winning FG itself is the fact that Elliott seems to have the ability to recover from a disappointing miss – his attempt from 52 yards earlier had plenty of distance but faded left. In front of reporters after the game, Elliott slipped in the suggestion that the fade was a matter of the wind. If that helps, Jake, fine. Emergency kicker Elliott may have just taken Caleb Sturgis’ job, a sobering point for at least one person who may not exactly be a part of the feel-good victory celebration today.