Eagles Pressure Bothered Manning
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - The Philadelphia Eagles defense set the tone within the first minute of the 34-13 win over the New York Giants. That unit forced an interception on the second play of the game setting up a very short field for the Eagles offense. Three plays later the Eagles scored a touchdown and never trailed the rest of the way.
The defensive line was able to generate a ton of pressure on Eli Manning. That group of players frequently disrupted the pocket and got to Manning. The Eagles sacked him four times and recorded 13 Quarterback Hits in the game.
"We got to the Quarterback and got him shook up and off his spot," Defensive Tackle Fletcher Cox said after the win. "I think their whole deal is based on timing and we disrupted that timing and made him hold the ball and gave us time to get there."
"It was a big emphasis during the week to get to him," Linebacker Nigel Bradham stated. "We knew he was going to either try to get the ball out quick or he was going to try and hold it. We wanted to take advantage of the opportunities when he wanted to go deep and those plays took longer to develop. We took advantage of that. Our guys up front, their rush is unbelievable. Every week they show us something and a big hat goes off to them."
Like a snowball rolling downhill, the momentum kept building and that pressure continued to develop. It shook Manning and never allowed him to get into anything close to a rhythm.
"It is the hallmark of what we do," Safety Malcolm Jenkins said. "I think rushing and coverage go hand-in-hand. We have to do a great job on our end, the backend, making sure we muddy up the looks to keep the ball in the Quarterback's hand and allow our rush to get home. It is one of those things where we need to continue to create a plan to make the Quarterback hold the ball and we will have success."
Generating pressure on a Quarterback is certainly a byproduct of building a lead. The Eagles did a great job throughout the 2017 season of building early leads and forcing an opponent to become more one-dimensional. That happened for the first time in 2018 Thursday night. The Eagles had a 14-3 lead by the end of the first quarter and built that into a 24-6 lead by halftime.
"Defensively we can pin our ears back and let the rush go," Jenkins said. "The rush yards don't really mean much and drain the clock. When we get into those situations, that is when we are really dangerous as a defense. It is always good for us when the offense is clicking and we can take the ball away, spot them some points and play with a lead."
Manning is not known as the type of Quarterback who can evade a rush and extend a play. That helps a defensive live sellout on a pass rush. The task will not be quite that easy next week when the Eagles host the Carolina Panthers. Cam Newton is a stronger, more mobile Quarterback that requires a more disciplined rush when coming after him. However, the Eagles did get to him for a pair of sacks when they met in Charlotte one year ago.