Eli Helps Eagles Figure it Out
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (973espn.com) - Forget the Eagles' ills, the New York Giants might be the cure to things far greater.
The rumor that the NFL's October Crucial Catch initiative was canceled with the assumption Pat Shurmur's team could also cure every version of the most insidious disease known to man was wishful thinking but Big Blue was certainly the only tonic Philadelphia needed for the poor football that plagued Doug Pederson's team for the first five weeks of the season.
The Eagles (3-3) routed the Giants (1-5) 34-13 on "Thursday Night Football."
Carson Wentz threw for 278 yards and three touchdowns and Corey Clement added another TD on the ground but the real story was the continued regression of the Giants' Eli Manning, who was dismal from the outset, forcing the football over the middle on the second offensive play of the game. The poor pass was deflected by Jordan Hicks to Kamu Grugier-Hill for the interception and Philadelphia was set up on a short field.
Shortly thereafter, an ill-conceived Wentz throw across his own body to the middle of the field didn't even matter as Alshon Jeffery hauled it in for a 13-yard score and the Eagles were off and running.
Later in the first quarter, Manning nearly gave the Eagles a defensive TD when Michael Bennett strip-sacked the veteran at the 1-yard line. It did result in another short field, however, and Clement, returning from a two-game absence due to a quad injury, put Philadelphia on the doorstep with a 14-yard run before punching it in from the one.
"Everyone is a more dynamic team when you have the lead," Wentz said. "The defense kind of feeds of that. It's always kind of big for us to get up early. Like I've told you guys countless times we preach start fast and tonight we finally did that."
Manning finished 24-of-43 with a 66.1 passer rating and was sacked four times.
About the only thing the Giants had going for them was brilliant rookie running back Saquon Barkley, who recorded 229-all-purpose yards -- 130 rushing and 99 more receiving -- his sixth consecutive game passing the century mark.
Shurmur was so frustrated with Manning's inability to run his offense, the typically mild-mannered coach was seen on the sideline imploring Manning to "throw the football" instead of settling for the check-down.
Meanwhile, receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who was held to six catches for 44 yards was so frustrated he left the field early at halftime, returned late for the third quarter and was not exactly hiding his own frustration at times.
"We had one of the more complicated game plans and we performed well," safety Malcolm Jenkins said. "We didn't have any mental errors. The guys did a good job of keeping Odell under wraps, taking away some of those quick looks. Giving the D-Line the ability to rush so definitely proud of the unit."
The only bad news for the Eagles were injuries to cornerback Sidney Jones and left tackle Jason Peters.
Jones was ruled out with a hamstring injury in early in the second quarter and Avonte Maddox dropped down to the nickel position with Rasul Douglas taking over at safety when five defensive backs were in.
Halapoulivaati Vaitai replaced Peters, who left in the third quarter with a biceps issue. Meanwhile, Lane Johnson, who was fighting through a high-ankle sprain, left in the fourth quarter with Isaac Seumalo moving out to right tackle and Stefen Wisniewski returning to left guard.
Here were the big plays for the Eagles on the night:
Alshon Jeffery TD:
Ertz in the Red Zone:
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen