Eagles Defense Hurting Itself
EAST RUTHERFORD – The Philadelphia Eagles clinched a first-round bye Sunday with a 34-29 win over the New York Giants. However, there was very little celebration in the locker room after that victory.
The Eagles gave up 504 total yards to the Giants with 429 of those yards coming through the air. The Giants used a hurry-up offense to try and negate some of the pressure the Eagles typically generate. Eli Manning frequently hit slant routes for success.
The Eagles defense hurt itself frequently. Jalen Mills committed multiple defensive holding penalties. Nigel Bradham was flagged for a personal foul. The team also committed several offsides penalties. The Eagles also failed to make several tackles that directly led to huge plays for the Giants. Ronald Darby missed a tackle on Tavarres King’s 57-yard touchdown reception. Rodney McLeod missed a tackle on Sterling Sheppard’s 67-yard touchdown reception.
“The sky isn’t falling,” Defensive End Chris Long stated. “It wasn’t falling when they scored 24 on us in the third week of the season. We are going to improve, get better and we will be at our best.”
The Eagles have been a good tackling team throughout most of the season. There were some missed tackles last week in Los Angeles and that was followed up by more missed tackles Sunday.
Defensive players were not at all pleased with their collective effort against the Giants. However, they believe their mistakes are easy to fix.
“You can’t step on your foot,” Defensive Back Jalen Mills shrugged. “You can’t shoot yourself in the foot. Coach always says that. We have to tighten up and that is an easy fix.”
“In general, we can all do the little things better, especially on defense,” Long said. “We were the weak link today and we have to improve. We can’t be that in big games.”
The Eagles have been really good throughout the season at getting off the field on third down. That was not the case against the Giants. They converted 10-of-18 third down plays.
“It’s little things like that we have to fix,” Defensive Lineman Fletcher Cox said. “It is frustrating because we are one of the better third down teams in the league. We get off the field on third down.”
The poor play on defense left a sour taste in the mouths of the players involved. The Eagles found a way to beat the Giants. In doing so, they clinched a first-round bye and are on the verge of locking up homefield advantage throughout the playoffs.
Home cooking appears to be just what this team needs. The Eagles won two of three games on this recent road trip that included games in Seattle, Los Angeles and East Rutherford.
The Eagles are undefeated at home this season. One more win or a Minnesota Vikings loss will guarantee the Eagles remain home until the Super Bowl should they punch their tickets for that big game.