Other Eagles shine in win vs. Giants
On a night where Superman was merely mortal, the Philadelphia Eagles showed the New York Giants — and the NFC — that they are more complete team than one-man show, and a force to be dealt with down the playoff stretch.
After he accounted for six touchdowns in last week’s victory over the Washington Redskins, quarterback Michael Vick was held without a touchdown pass on Sunday night. But thanks mainly to players such as receiver Jeremy Maclin and running back LeSean McCoy on offense, and tackle Antonio Dixon and cornerback Asante Samuel on defense, Philadelphia took control of the NFC East with a 27-17 victory before 69,144 at Lincoln Financial Field.
Maclin, not DeSean Jackson, led Philadelphia with nine receptions for 120 yards and a game-high 14 targets. Jackson gets the most attention of the Philadelphia receivers which, combined the Giants’ propensity to blitz, left Maclin with one-one-one coverage on the outside.
“(The Giants) were giving us some overload blitzes in there where they were bringing one extra (man) and Michael (Vick) had to move around and make throws, and do that type of thing,” Eagles head coach Andy Reid said about New York’s defensive strategy.
McCoy, who was stymied for most of the game, also took advantage of the Giants’ focus on Vick to score on a 50-yard run late in the fourth quarter on a critical fourth-and-1 play to make it 24-17 Eagles after Vick’s 2-point pass to Jason Avant.
“We practiced that this week,” McCoy said about the play, in which Vick appeared to bobble the snap and draw the attention of much of the Giants defense before pitching it to McCoy, who broke loose. “We got the ball on the perimeter; we did a great job fooling their defense. The offensive line did a great job selling it inside.”
McCoy also had a 40-yard run on the next drive to give the team a critical first down, which set up a field goal for the final difference.
“25 did it,” Jackson said about McCoy’s performance. “That’s all I’m going to say.”
As for Vick, he finished the game with 258 yards on 24-for-38 passing with another 34 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
And while Vick got plenty of help on offense, Philadelphia’s defense played an equally big role, holding New York’s offense to just 208 total yards. The defense also recorded five turnovers (three interceptions, two fumble recoveries).
Dixon, a key to Philadelphia’s improved run defense of late, helped the Eagles hold New York’s running backs to just 39 yards on 17 carries.
“He’s a big, strong, physical player,” Reid said about the second-year player the Eagles claimed off waivers last season. “It’s important to have somebody in the middle like that. We’re getting (Brodrick) Bunkley back healthy. Bunk got a lot of quality snaps tonight also. (Mike) Patterson gets zero credit since he’s been here, but he’s just so consistent and tough and he doesn’t miss snaps. He’s a stud. (Trevor) Laws has also picked up his game. Dixon is a big part of this. For him to come on the way he has against these power running teams, and to help solidify that thing inside is big for us.”
“Like I said, we put pressure on the quarterback, try to get him off balance and off his rhythm,” said Samuel, who had two interceptions and a fumble recovery. “If you stop their running game in the beginning, you make them one-dimensional and that’s the most important thing. We pretty much did that for the most part. ... It was a good job by the defensive linemen.”
Understandably, a different tune was sung in the other locker room.
“This disregard for the ball, which has been going on for probably a year and a half here, and no one seems to be able to do anything about it, again cost us the football game,” Giants head coach Tom Coughlin said of his team’s turnovers.
Giants quarterback Eli Manning had a critical fumble in the fourth quarter, diving for a first down instead of sliding and losing the ball on the way to the ground.
“Sometimes you’re just going with your momentum and you’re trying to get as much yardage as you can and you’re just kind of running and it comes to the point where you don’t want to slow down, or maybe it’s too late, and you just go down the fastest way you know how to,” Manning said about the play. “It has happened to be before. I just got to not worry the yardage, we already have the first down and I need to get feet first and move the chains.”
The Giants knew they did a good job against Vick, but it wasn’t enough to ensure victory.
“We contained (Vick’s) running, but it wasn’t enough. We had opportunities to get off the field on third-down situations and they took advantage of it, especially late in the game. You give credit. Philadelphia played well, Vick played well, and they beat us,” said Giants defensive end Justin Tuck, who had three sacks in the game.
And now one of the youngest teams in the NFL heads into next week’s game at Chicago at the top of the NFC East — somewhere many didn’t think they would be at this point in the season.
“It feels real good. But, we’re not complacent,” Eagles safety Quintin Mikell said. “It feels good, though. We want to be in first place and we want to have home-field advantage in the playoffs. Our goal is to dominate each week. That’s what we try to do, and we feel real good about it.”