Forget about tough defense, good offense, or FG kicking. The real reasons we won involve me. That’s right. I deserve a special game ball.
First, I wore my lucky Eagles underwear. I didn’t have them on last week since they were in the laundry basket. This week they were clean as a whistle (give or take) and led us to a glorious victory.
Second, I switched back my Sunday breakfast place. In the first 2 weeks I went to a local joint that tends to get crowded. Last week I ventured elsewhere to avoid the crowds. This week I went back to the crowded joint and spent 15 minutes waiting for a table. That’s the kind of sacrifice that helps lead a team to the big game. Right?
I won’t take all of the credit. The players and coaches can have a bit. I’ll admit they did their part.
Go back to my pregame post on reasons to be optimistic for an Eagles win. I talked about:
* OL should improve. It did.
* Marty/Andy fear the Giants D, will run a more balanced offense. They did.
* Giants have trouble sustaining drives vs us. They did. Only 3 of longer than 50 yards.
* Andy has been very successful vs Giants. Happened again.
* We’ve been very good on SNF recently. Happened again.
Michael Vick played a terrific game. I’ll write up a post or column on him. This was really critical. I don’t want to go into Baldinger hyperbole and say this game was a career crossroads for him, but it was more important than a lot of people realize. Vick only made a couple of mistakes in the game. He played smart. He didn’t turn the ball over. This was the version of Vick that Andy loves so much.
Shady was huge. The running game in the 1st half wasn’t working. The coaches were trying to burn the Giants with draw plays and some other runs. Worked great last year. Problem is that the Giants watched the tape and knew what to do. Andy/Marty made a great in-game adjustment by using the I-formation. That changed everything.
I haven’t had a chance to study the tape yet so I can’t get into too much depth here. The key to the I-formation is that you get a FB on the field and he can serve as a lead blocker. The RB can read his blocks and cut accordingly. Also, the I-formation is great for play-action passes. The RB and FB can stay in to block or they can release on short, safe routes.
The I-formation helped get the offense going and then we could go back to some spread sets and doing different things. I thought the coaches did a good job of focusing on short and intermediate passes. Shady’s running also opened up some holes for Brent Celek.
The offense only scored 19 points and that is a concern, but did gain 422 yards. They didn’t turn the ball over. They also had to deal with lousy field position all game long. Only 2 drives all night started beyond the 20 yard line (our 30, our 44). That’s rough.
I’ll get into the goal line plays in the DGR. I like the fact they stuck with the run. Looked like Shady made at least one bad read. And give the Giants some credit. They tightened up when they needed to. The one play I absolutely hated was 3rd/GL late in the game. I can’t stand rolling the QB out like that. The play rarely works for us. I would have preferred to see them go shotgun with 4 WRs and a RB. Run a QB draw with Vick going behind the RB.
The OL deserves a lot of credit for doing their part. They struggled early, but then got it going as the game wore on. Amazing how a little success can boost your confidence and help you get in a rhythm. I didn’t see Dallas Reynolds with any major issues. Todd Herremans was the key culprit early on. I don’t know what was wrong with him. Luckily he got going. Demetress Bell was about what we figured. He played okay enough for us to win, but he’s still not someone you want on the field.
The defense had an odd night. They only gave up 17 points. That’s good. They did let Eli throw for 300 and didn’t sack him once. That’s hardly impressive. There was a lot of pressure on Eli early. As the game progressed, it got more hit and miss. Eli is tough to sack. He holds the ball, but has an uncanny ability to throw the ball away at the last second. He did that a few times.
As for giving up the 300…we did a good job in coverage a lot of the time. Eli made some great throws and the receivers, especially Domenik Hixon, made big time catches. This wasn’t a case of Giants running around wide open, play after play.
Our zone coverage must improve. Brandon Boykin and the LBs must do a better job. There were some plays when guys got lost by the defense. The good news is that this is something you improve through experience and coaching. Has nothing to do with physical skills.
Kurt Coleman must quit attacking the LOS on play-fakes. He needs to hesitate and truly identify run vs pass. His aggression has cost us the last couple of games. Before you get ready to send him packing, almost all Safeties get caught being nosy and get burned.
The KO coverage was atrocious. I hope the biggest problem was not having Colt Anderson or Akeem Jordan, our 2 best STers. Don’t let that totally overshadow Alex Henery going 4 for 4 with a new holder. He hit his first really clutch kick as an Eagle and also nailed a 48-yd FG. This is why the Eagles wanted this guy. He was big time at Nebraska. Very clutch.
* FB Stanley Havili played his best game and did some good things.
* Mardy Gilyard made the tackle on the opening KO and I think one more. Hidden hero.
* That was absolutely OPI on Barden late in the game. I don’t know why Collinsworth was so hesitant to acknowledge that.
* Good showing by DJax. Love the way he’s playing this year.
* Nice catch ‘n run by Damaris.
* Fletcher Cox looked like our best DL. He was the best guy wearing #91 on the field, not Justin Tuck.
* Brandon Hughes came in and played well. Glad to see him embrace the challenge.
* DRC says he “isn’t a knee-taker”. Run out of the endzone like that again and you’ll be dealing with a “knee-breaker”. Dumb.
Doesn’t it feel good to be 3-1? That 1-4 mess from last year was awful, just awful. We’re not perfect, but finding ways to win is huge. That ability to be clutch can stick with a team all year. That said, I sure could use a couple of blowout wins to make my life easier.