A Win Is a Win: Ten Takeaways from Eagles 34, Giants 29

Photo Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

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People seem surprised that a divisional road game was way too close for comfort.

It’s almost like they forgot that the Giants were 0-2 when the Eagles need a 61-yard field goal to win the first matchup back in September.

That doesn’t excuse Sunday’s atrocious defensive performance, but we should all know better than to expect mid-December blowouts and we should probably just stay off of Twitter until the second half begins.

They came from behind to get the job done, just like last week. There’s a cornball saying about teams that find a way to win even when they don’t play well, and this squad fits the bill.

It was 20-7 Giants when LeGarrette Blount failed to convert a 4th and 1 and it looked like the Eagles were headed for a bitterly disappointing, dog shit loss. Then the defense came up with a key interception, the special teams unit blocked a punt, and the offense converted twice to make it a 21-20 game. What followed, then, was a back-and-forth second half where the Eagles simply made a few more plays than the Giants.

What now? It’s home against the Raiders, home against the Cowboys, home in the playoffs. If the Birds get it done on Jesus Christ’s birthday, they shouldn’t have to travel again until you know what game.

Buckle up and enjoy the ride. Stop being a whiner and celebrate your 12-2 football team.

1) Nick “The Franchise” Foles

24 for 38, 237 yards, four touchdowns, zero turnovers.

Yea, he misfired and double-clutched on a couple of looks, but that’s to be expected when starting your FIRST GAME OF THE YEAR ON THE ROAD AGAINST A DIVISION RIVAL WHILE BEING UNFAMILIAR WITH YOUR RECEIVERS.

They came out passing the ball to get him going early, which we all knew would happen. Any thoughts of going run heavy, which I doubt Pederson was going to do anyway, went right out the door when the Birds quickly found themselves playing from behind.

The offense really did not change at all with Foles in there.

They ran the run/pass option, sometimes effectively…

…and sometimes ineffectively:

The biggest positive, in my mind, is that Nick showed off a lot of the traits that make Carson Wentz effective. He shrugged off a defender with a head fake and step-through. He took hits in the pocket. He connected a few times while rolling right. He went through his progressions and picked out a variety of targets for scores, just like Carson. All four touchdowns were caught by a different player.

Sure, it’s only one game against a 2-11 team, but that performance should significantly assuage the concerns of fans who were ready to throw in the towel.

 

2) Giving credit where it’s actually due

I thought we might be in for a hell of a ride when Stefen Wisniewski was ruled out for this game, meaning that the Eagles were rolling out a backup quarterback playing behind a backup left tackle and backup left guard.

Chance Warmack started and did alright.

How many times did you hear his name called on the broadcast? How many times did you hear Big V’s name called?

The one that jumped out was this play, where Eagles’ Twitter was quick to pounce:

We’re always ready to jump on Vaitai when he does something wrong, as if the guy is gonna be perfect in every single game. He rightfully deserves criticism for that sequence.

But I didn’t see a lot of people giving him credit for this textbook block:

And I didn’t see a lot of people give him credit here either:

In fairness, they were probably focused on Jason Kelce pancaking a guy 20 yards from the line of scrimmage.

Yeah, Vaitai he got beat badly on the strip, but he was mostly sound otherwise, especially in the running game. And you have to consider that, when Jason Peters went out, they initially gave him help in the form of a tight end or RB to help on the left side. That’s been slowly drawn back every game since, to the point where he’s on his own for a lot of these plays.

The thing that annoys me is the bullshit cherry picking of negative plays because the guy is a backup. Then, when it comes to giving credit where it’s due, you don’t hear much at all, do you?

 

3) The screen game

Have we seen a lot of this in recent games? No, we really haven’t.

But Pederson used it effectively a few times in this game, with Kelce just putting on a clinic in the downfield blocking department, which you saw in the clip above.

This was another look, with acres of space and more linemen rumbling:

One of Wentz’s limitations, at least early in the year, was his touch on these types of plays. Foles wasn’t perfect on his screen deliveries yesterday, but he put the ball in the right spot and allowed his skill players to take it from there. They gashed the Giants a few times with well-timed and well-executed screens.

 

4) Adventures on special teams

The Birds’ special teams played a massive, monstrous, monumental role in the win.

About 85% of it was good and the other 15% was nerve-wracking:

  • blocked field goal
  • blocked punt
  • blocked extra point
  • 2/2 on field goals
  • neutral zone infraction on a punt
  • double-clutch on a Donnie Jones punt
  • line drive Donnie J special on the final punt of the game

The neutral zone infraction was a killer, but special teams accounted for a four-point swing with the blocked FG and XP. The blocked punt led to a touchdown for the offense, so you could legitimately say the ST unit was responsible for a net of +11 points on the day.

When’s the last time a team ripped off a hat trick of blocks in one game?

Eagles PR, that’s your cue:

https://twitter.com/john_gonoude/status/942525791732228097

 

5) The defense…

This requires its own 2,000 word video breakdown, and maybe we’ll do that Tuesday, or just say “fuck it” and move on.

The energy was lacking, the game-plan was kind of crappy, and the tackling was again subpar.

If you go back to the first Giants/Eagles game, you probably recall that the Eagles played soft and allowed easy underneath routes, since Chris Maragos and Rasul Douglas were forced into starts because of the absences of Ronald Darby, Corey Graham, and Rodney McLeod.

The game plan was to allow those short passes while not letting yourself get beat deep by Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall.

In this game, you saw a lot of the same, with Eli Manning throwing early, the Giants running up-tempo offense, and the Eagles playing with a big cushion:

You see Mills and Darby playing almost 10-yards off there, with McLeod as a single-high safety and Malcolm Jenkins assigned to the tight end inside.
And because of that, they were getting killed underneath, or biting on those slant-and-go (sluggo) routes for huge gains:

Manning finished with 434 passing yards.

434!

He only has two 300+ yards this season and both are against the Eagles.

With the Giants banged up and missing a bunch of key players offensively, they should have pressed these scrubs into oblivion. Instead they played soft coverage and got burned all over the field.

There were some positives, however, and Brandon Graham had a huge tackle for loss to complement a Darby first-half interception. They got enough stops to win the game, but hardly inspired in a woeful defensive performance.

 

6) Ref, you suck?

I didn’t spy a ton of bogus crapola from this crew, but the Giants clearly got away with a pick play on the second touchdown. Not like it matters, since the Eagles’ tackling was shambolic after the catch.

The other one that jumped out at me was the Nigel Bradham/Shane Vereen dust-up, where Bradham got the ole’ retaliation flag. That stuff drives me crazy. If you see two guys engaging in handbags like that, just flag ’em both, let the penalties offset, and get on with life.

At the end of the game, I think the refs got the two holding calls on Darby correct, and on Manning’s final pass of the game, I don’t think it was a catchable ball anyway, was it? Either way, there really wasn’t a ton of contact.

 

7) Run me sideways

Without writing down the actual number, I felt like we saw more east/west runs in this game.

I hated the outside zone and shotgun sweep plays earlier in the year because the line wasn’t great at creating seams and Blount wasn’t great at getting through them. Darren Sproles, however, was another story. Corey Clement did okay on those looks and Wendell Smallwood was decent, too.

But I feel like they can feature that play again because Jay Ajayi does a much nicer job of staying low, finding the gap, and turning up the field:

If they insist on running those east/west designs, he’s the guy that should be handling the rock. Blount would have turned that play into a one-yard loss.

 

8) Doug’s worst call?

It was probably the decision to challenge the incomplete pass in the second quarter. That’s a low upside play and wasn’t exactly critical at that point in the game.

As far as play-calling, I didn’t like the fade on 3rd and 5 in the end zone. I might be alright with Wentz throwing that ball, but I’m not a fade guy in general, whether it’s football or hair cuts.

 

9) Doug’s best call?

They didn’t convert, but going for it on 4th and 1 in the second quarter still made sense. You were 12 for 12 at that point, now you’re 12 for 13. So instead of 100% conversion rate, you fall to 92.3% on the year. Big deal. Blount up the middle is fine there. They would have ran a sneak if Wentz was in the game and did try it with Foles a little bit later.

https://twitter.com/AdrianFedkiw/status/942472592660877312

I also agreed with the decision to kick field goal in the fourth quarter to force the Giants to drive the length of the field for a touchdown. Take the points there. No need for a possibly killer momentum swing.

Overall, I think Doug did a nice job of establishing Foles’ passing ability early and put him in a position to be successful.

 

10) Alshon Jefferies and Wayne Gall

We got Thom Brennaman and Chris Speilman for this game.

I’m pretty sure I heard Brennamen say that Evan Engram went to college at Alabama. He did it once in the first quarter and once in the second, but Engram didn’t go there, he went to Ole Miss. He also referred to Wayne Gallman as “Gall” on one play:

“Swings it out of the backfield to Gall..”

Huh?

We also got an Alshon “Jefferies” from Speilman, which I think happens every other game.

Also, a lot of talk about Dean Blandino on Twitter. Obviously the guy is relatively new to TV and looks somewhat uncomfortable on camera, but I think the issue is that they shouldn’t be double-boxing him anyway. He needs to be looking at a monitor at the same time his shot is up, so I think the better way to do it is just place his audio over the live picture and let him talk while checking different replay angles. It’s goofy when the broadcast team is saying, “yea you can see here on the replay…” while Blandino is looking at the camera. He should be looking down at the same replay the booth has, so he can reference what they’re talking about.

 

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39 Responses

  1. “A win is a win” is lowest common denominator nimrod thinking. Anyone who wasn’t extremely concerned watching that defense get shredded – especially by the same slant pass over and over and over – shouldn’t be allowed to watch this team.

    1. Key Kinkhead.
      What exactly did you do at CBS sports and why did you quit that luxurious job to work at
      the great Crossing Broad Fake Tshirt Factory?

      I hate it when some schlub who is really just a fan attempt to temper down peoples expectations by saying ‘enjoy the ride’.
      People figured that out 4 weeks into the season your dumb fuck.
      thanks kinkhead.

      try thinking before schleping out your next ‘article’.

    2. yea you’re right, 12-2, two straight wins on the road, they really suck

      the defense played like crap, yea, now they get the Raiders and Cowboys at home to figure it out going into a first round bye

      stop being a little sissy boy

  2. You should have highlighted Jason Kelce’s play rather than point out something as meaningless as a challenge and a fade route for “Doug’s worst call”. The offense looked pretty good and scored 34 points. Seems like a sports radio take to me. Something Gargano or Missanelli would bring up.

    1. “But Pederson used it effectively a few times in this game, with Kelce just putting on a clinic in the downfield blocking department, which you saw in the clip above.”

      1. You’re missing my point. Why even bring up his worst call? They scored 34 points. I didn’t see anything wrong with how he called the game. One play call and a challenge would not be among my 10 takeaways from that game.

        1. I do that section in every takeaway post. It’s Doug’s best call and Doug’s worst call. To your point, the last few weeks haven’t featured much of anything in the “worst” entry. It’s just something I take a look at each week

    1. KKKinker will not like your comments.
      I mean after all.. he slaved away at CBS sports for 13 years so he could move up to this
      high quality job at CrossingBored.

  3. Watching Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills, constantly getting burned by mediocre receivers reminded of the days when Izell “Toast” Jenkins, was an Eagles cornerback.

    1. Thats because your hung over and your nappy ‘kevin kinker’ hair is soaked with toilet water from
      your puke session last night.

  4. Dude, I come here every day. Every. Day.
    Now ads in the video links?
    If I could afford a maserati, I would be here. And if I wanted mass produced chicken nuggets, I’d be illiterate.
    You are killing yourself with this stupid ass greed.
    Bye.
    I got 3 months of digital Inquirer and a flyers sweatshirt for $12.

    1. Get a hold of yourself and just get a free Ad+Javascript blocker plugin for Chrome and blacklist crossingbroad.com like everyone else does, they eliminate all of Kyle’s garbage and make the site load like every other site on the internet in 2017. uBlock Origin + NoScript or uBlock Origin + ScriptSafe.

  5. I only black list talentflex and Dan Pastorini scrubby real estate ads.
    I don’t like ‘consulting companies’ who put americans out of work by off shoring
    to India and Asia and you don’t know whos really doing the work.

          1. He doth protest too much about the t shirts…Kyle should throw him a bone and let him do some of the apparel packing. Seems to be angling for a t shirt related job

    1. And Buddy Shouldn’t Have Drafted You in the 1st Round. Just Kidding. Should have Listened to Randall about the knee.

  6. Kevin – how about Grier and Sills returning for their senior years, plus a lot of returning players on defense and a favorable schedule. Could definitely start 9-0

    1. love it, especially because it was always this back and forth of good defense, then the offense sucks

      and when the offense is good, the defense sucks

      so this is the first time I can remember since 2012 that those two things are actually going to line up again

  7. Kevin – I would say that Ajayi should have run that 4th down call. The D was horrific in the first half. It was a unique combination of lack or rush, playing too soft AND taking too many risks (the CB’s who were all burned). A lot of guff towards Darby but Mills had a rough game as well. A lot to clean up but I would rather have that now than in the first playoff game. I really do think that Schwartz needs to dial up some more pressure. I know there is a downside to that but we have an athletic LB like Kendricks who could, with a well disguised design, get to the QB, a couple of times a game. Playing soft with a 4 man rush leads to things like yesterday.

    Still, a lot of positives though especially on the offensive side and special teams.

  8. Hopefully, the D can figure things out. The game plan from Schwartz needs to change. While there is a downside, more pressure needs to be dialed up. We have Kendricks. Let’s use him a few times a game for that purpose.

  9. The ads in the embedded videos make this post unreadable. I gotta sit through 30 seconds of some shitty ad for 5-7 seconds of a ‘streamable’ video… horrible. Host the videos yourself, or anticipate a shitty UX.

  10. Minnesota plays at home for Super Bowl. All they have to do is roll out of bed and play at US Bank. They will actually be staying at team hotel the night before but you get the picture.

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