The Giants are a wretched embarrassment of a football team right now, but that did not detract at all from the joy of watching the Eagles strangle the final, shallow breath from their 2013 season. Buried at 0-5, the New Yorkers face an incredibly steep uphill challenge to approach relevance at any point again this year.
By winning, the
Eagles kept pace with the Dallas Cowboys for a share of the top spot in the NFC
East; not of paramount importance in October, but much better to be 2-3 than
they showed that they can produce points under backup Nick Foles, who entered
the game when Vick was injured before the half.
This game was a
must-win for the both teams, and the Eagles prevailed in enemy territory;
however, they did so as much because of the Giants’ ineptitude as their own
acumen. The Eagles did not get sufficient pressure on the quarterback, and, for
the first time this season, were unable to run the ball effectively.
The Eagles did
win the turnover battle 4-0, which was the deciding factor in this game. They
still lack a second receiver to complement Desean Jackson. To compensate for
that, they did a better job of using the tight ends and running backs as
receivers, completing 12 passes to players at those positions, including a touchdown
to Brent Celek.
After the Giants
forced a three-and-out on the Eagles opening possession, and followed up with a
quick touchdown, Eagles fans feared their opponents would embrace desperation
mode in full.
That fear deepened
after Vick failed to complete a pass in the first quarter and the “yard parade”
began again, with red zone possessions yielding field goal after field goal.
By the time the
second quarter was ten minutes old, the Eagles had dominated the game and the
yardage, but were 1-4 in the red zone. The twelve-point cushion was less than
it should have been. After Vick’s hamstring popped on a run out of bounds, second-stringer
Nick Foles was called into action.
At the half,
the Eagles lead 19-7.
finally seeming to have grasped how devastating a loss would be, stormed back
with two third-quarter touchdowns to take a one-point lead, and the momentum
had definitely shifted at that point. The home crowd became thunderous in an
effort to rally their team to a season-saving win.
lead a long and critically important drive that allowed the Eagles to regain a
one-point lead, again settling for one of five Alex Henery field goals on a
redemptive day for the kicker.
the Giants showed a level of incompetence not often seen at the NFL level: Eli
Manning threw three fourth-quarter interceptions. The Eagles defense still had
to make the plays, but Manning was very accommodating.
no time in taking advantage of the opportunities afforded by those turnovers,
tossing fourth-quarter touchdowns to Jackson and Celek.
quarterback rating 46 points higher than Vick’s for the game, and 40 points
better than Vick on the season, Foles’ performance underscored the observation
that he might simply be a better quarterback than Vick is.
running ability is a double-edged sword that has always led to injuries. For
nearly three seasons, Vick has accumulated yards, but not points. His short
stature and indecisiveness are constant problems that are magnified in the red
inability to recognize his deficiencies contributes to the way they have
lingered over his career. Pro Football Focus
did a study and found that Vick holds the ball longer than any quarterback in
the NFL at 3.4 seconds.
related this to him this week, Vick denied he holds the ball too long, castigated them,
and offered to watch the film with them and go through every play. That is not
really necessary as the reporters, like the fans, had already seen the proof
gets the chance to start against Tampa Bay next week, and can further earn the
opportunity he already deserves.
his size and height, is simply better at reading defenses and deciding quickly
where to attack a defense. The offense looks smoother under him than it does
under Vick, who has “happy feet” and a propensity for frenetic play.
receivers stopped dropping passes when Foles came in because he has touch,
whereas Vick throws everything a hundred miles an hour.
In a weak
division, the Eagles need to win as many games as they can in this apparently
soft part of their schedule to give themselves a chance.
For the sake of Eagles fans, here’s hoping it is Nick and
not Vick behind center in Tampa Bay and beyond, and that he stands as tall as
his six-foot, six-inch frame indicates he will.