Eagles

Roob's 10 observations from Eagles-Giants

Roob's 10 observations from Eagles-Giants

BOX SCORE

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Nick Foles was way better than expected, the defense was worse than expected and the Eagles somehow escaped the Meadowlands Sunday with a way-too-close 34-29 win over the Giants (see breakdown).

With the win, the Eagles clinched a first-round bye in the playoffs, their first since 2004.

It sure wasn't pretty. But that first-round bye will be. 

While we all catch our collective breath, here are 10 instant observations from the Eagles' 12th win of the year.

1. Nick Foles showed a little rust early but ultimately did everything you would want your quarterback to do. Moved the ball, got the offense in the end zone, managed the offense, avoided mistakes. In his first start in 14 months and first start in an Eagles uniform in more than three years, Foles threw four TDs on the road, and that's darn impressive. I really felt good about Foles going into Sunday. He's a good, solid QB, and other than a few bad games on a terrible Rams team in 2015, he's always been a good, solid quarterback. But he was actually better than I expected. He finished 24 for 38 for 237 yards and the four TDs, no INTs and a 115.8 passer rating (see report card). What I was most impressed with was how Foles kept his composure early, when the Giants had that two-TD lead and nothing was going right for the Eagles. This is a guy who hasn't played much football lately, but he was calm and poised in the face of adversity. On the road, down 13 points, nothing going right. Impressive afternoon for Foles.

2. On the other hand? This was an absolutely embarrassing performance by the Eagles' defense against one of the NFL's worst offenses, a team that just fired its coach, a team with a lame-duck interim coach, a team with nothing to play for, a team with the third-worst offense in the NFL. Pathetic. Forget who's playing quarterback for the Eagles, if the defense doesn't get its act together soon, the Eagles' postseason run is going to be a very short one. This is three straight games now where their tackling has been poor, they've allowed big plays and they've been unable to keep an opponent out of the end zone. After allowing just 18 touchdowns in their first 11 games, they've now given up 10 in their last three. For crying out loud, the Giants came into the game averaging 14 points on offense, and they scored three TDs on their first 26 plays and laid 29 points on the Eagles. Are they worn out? Are they being exposed by better, more experienced quarterbacks? Are they just getting away from basics, like tackling and coverage? Whatever the answer, Jim Schwartz has to get this solved very, very soon.

3. A couple numbers to ponder: Eli Manning, benched just a few weeks ago, threw for 434 yards, the second-most yards ever against the Eagles (Jon Kitna once had 446 for the Lions in a 2007 Eagles blowout win). And the Giants netted 504 yards. This is one of the worst offenses in the NFL! It just seemed like there were Giants open 8 to 12 yards down the field on every play, and nothing ever changed. The Eagles were really, really fortunate to escape North Jersey with a win.

4. I have to say I'm just not in love with the Eagles' running back rotation right now. It just seems too hard for any of the Eagles' four backs to get into any sort of rhythm right now. Early in the year, the way the offense was operating, they were all getting enough carries to kind of get going individually, but in close games, when the Eagles are scrambling on offense, it just seems that the rotation is hurting the offense's rhythm. Kenjon Barner had an 18-yard run at the start of the second quarter, then didn't get another carry. LeGarrette Blount gets the ball on a crucial 4th-and-1 midway through the second quarter, but it's only his second carry of the game and the play goes nowhere. Corey Clement runs for 10 yards midway through the first quarter and doesn't get another carry in the next five drives. Jay Ajayi? I've been saying since about the second game he played in an Eagles uniform he should be this team's lead back, but after gaining four yards on his first carry of the game, only five of the next 14 running back handoffs went his way. His next carry? That went 22 yards for a first down. Ajayi had only 12 carries Sunday and that's not enough. He needs to carry the bulk of the load. Has to.

5. I can't think of a more dramatic transformation in Philadelphia sports history than what we've seen this year from Nelson Agholor. It's flat-out remarkable, and that kid deserves so much credit for never making excuses and just working his ass off during the offseason and hammering himself into a legit NFL wide receiver. That insane third-quarter touchdown catch on the heels of his 141-yard game in L.A. last weekend … that's big-time stuff right there. 

6. Howie Roseman has to do everything imaginable to make sure the Eagles don't lose Trey Burton. That kid can play.

7. Impressive day for Zach Ertz, especially that 15-yard catch and run down the right sideline for a huge late first down. Ertz didn't have huge numbers — 7 for 59 with a touchdown — but his history with Foles really showed up. They were together in 2013 and 2014, and you can tell Foles loves having him out there.

8. I'm trying to figure out Ronald Darby. Played awful much of the game, but he did have that huge interception and big return, and then he made an enormous play in the end zone in the final minute, knocking away a potential Manning touchdown pass to Roger Lewis. One thing is for sure — the kid has talent. Another is for sure — he has to be more consistent.

9. With all due respect to Fletcher Cox, sometimes I really believe Brandon Graham is this team's defensive MVP. He was very good once again Sunday, extending his career high in sacks to 9½ and also making a huge play in the fourth quarter, throwing Shane Vereen for a nine-yard loss on a drive that ultimately ended with the Eagles' blocking a field goal. On a day when most of the guys around struggled, Graham continued his brilliant play. He was there when the Eagles needed him the most.

10. The left side of the offensive line was everybody's biggest concern going in, and while Chance Warmack and Halapoulivati Vaitai aren't going to pick up any late Pro Bowl votes for their performances, they hung in there enough, protecting the blind side of a quarterback making his first start in 14 months. Foles didn't always have a ton of time, but he was only sacked once — that was on Big V and caused a fumble (that the Eagles recovered). The Eagles scored 34 points with those guys. Could have been worse. Could have been a lot worse.

Eagles 2018 regular-season breakdown (Part 1)

Eagles 2018 regular-season breakdown (Part 1)

A game-by-game breakdown of the Eagles’ 2018 regular-season schedule.

For Weeks 9-16, click right here. Let’s break down Weeks 1-8 below.

Week 1: Falcons at Eagles
8:20 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018
Lincoln Financial Field

The Falcons come to Philadelphia for a third straight season. The Eagles won 24-15 at the Linc in 2016 and 15-10 last year in the conference semifinal round of the playoffs. The Eagles are 6-1 all-time against the Falcons at the Linc, with the only loss coming in 2012. They’re 19-14-1 all-time vs. the Falcons and 11-6-1 at home. The Falcons’ last win over the Eagles came in 2015 at the Georgia Dome. Going back to 2000, the Eagles have won 10 of the last 14 games against Atlanta.
 
Week 2: Eagles at Buccaneers
1 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018
Raymond James Stadium

The Eagles travel to Tampa for the first time in five years to face the Buccaneers. They’re 4-3 all-time in Tampa and 3-1 at Raymond James. The Bucs beat the Eagles 45-17 at the Linc in 2015 in their last meeting. The Eagles won in 2013 in the last game in Tampa. Overall, the Eagles are 10-8 against the Bucs.
 
Week 3: Colts at Eagles
1 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018
Lincoln Financial Field

From 1996 through 2006, the Eagles lost four straight to the Colts by an average of 25 points. But they’ve won the two matchups since, at the Linc in 2010 and at Lucas Oil Stadium in 2014. Including their years in Baltimore, the Eagles are 9-10 all-time vs. the Colts and 5-5 at home but just 1-0 at the Linc. Since the Colts moved to Indianapolis, the Eagles are 4-5 against them.
 
Week 4: Eagles at Titans
1 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018
Nissan Stadium

The Titans have won four of the last five games against the Eagles, although the Eagles won the last meeting, 43-24, at the Linc in 2014. The Eagles are 7-4 all-time against the Titans/Oilers franchise and 3-2 on the road, but the last road win was the House of Pain game at the Astrodome in 1991. The Eagles  are 0-2 against the Titans in Nashville.
 
Week 5: Eagles vs. Vikings
4:25 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018
Lincoln Financial Field

The Eagles have won seven of their last nine games against the Vikings, including a 38-7 rout in last year’s NFC Championship Game at the Linc. They are 4-1 at the Linc vs. the Vikings, 10-6 in Philly and 14-13 all-time in a series dating back to 1962. Since 1980, the Eagles have won 14 of 20 matchups, including all four postseason meetings. The Eagles have won eight of their last nine home games against the Vikings, with the only loss coming in 2010.
 
Week 6: Eagles at Giants
8:20 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 14, 2018
MetLife Stadium

The Eagles are 9-2 in their last 11 meetings with the Giants in East Rutherford, and their last three wins on the road against the Giants have come with different coaches at the helm – Chip Kelly in 2014, Pat Shurmur in 2015 and Doug Pederson in 2017. The Eagles’ only losses at MetLife Stadium since it opened in 2010 came in 2012 and 2016.
 
Week 7: Panthers at Eagles
1 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018
Lincoln Financial Field

The Eagles and Panthers meet for the fifth time in seven years. The Eagles beat Carolina 28-23 in Charlotte, N.C., last October, and won the last meeting in Philadelphia 45-21 in 2014. The Eagles are 7-4 all-time vs. the Panthers, 4-2 at home and 3-2 at the Linc. The Eagles’ last home loss to Carolina came in 2012, late in Andy Reid’s final season as head coach.
 
Week 8: Eagles at Jaguars
9:30 a.m., Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018
Wembley Stadium, London

After losing their first three games against the Jaguars, the Eagles have won the last two, in Jacksonville in 2010 by 25 points and at the Linc in 2014 by 17 points. The Eagles are 1-2 against the Jaguars in Jacksonville, with the losses coming in 1997 and 2002. The Eagles have never played a regular-season game in London. The Jaguars have played every year since 2013 at Wembley, where they are 3-2.

Eagles 2018 regular-season breakdown (Part 2)

ap-eagles-team-helmets.jpg
AP Images

Eagles 2018 regular-season breakdown (Part 2)

A game-by-game breakdown of the Eagles’ 2018 regular-season schedule.

For Weeks 1-8, click right here. Let’s break down Weeks 9-16 below.

Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018
Bye week

Week 10: Cowboys at Eagles
8:20 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018
Lincoln Financial Field

The Cowboys have given the Eagles more trouble than any other division team of late, winning four of the last seven meetings and five of the last six at the Linc. The Eagles’ only home wins over the Cowboys since 2009 have been in 2011 and 2016. The Eagles overall are 52-66 against the Cowboys, 28-29 in Philly and 6-9 at the Linc. The Eagles haven’t swept the Cowboys since 2011. They lost, 6-0, to the Cowboys on the last day of last season with Nate Sudfeld playing most of the game at quarterback.

Week 11: Eagles at Saints
1 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018
Mercedes-Benz Superdome

The Eagles are 17-13 all-time vs. the Saints but have lost five of seven meetings dating back to 2006. They beat the Saints at the Linc in 2015 after losing to them in a playoff game in 2014. Their last game in New Orleans was a 28-13 loss in 2012. They last won in New Orleans late in the 2007 season. Overall, they’re 8-9 in New Orleans but they’re 8-5 since the Saints moved from Tulane Stadium to the Superdome.

Week 12: Giants at Eagles
1 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018
Lincoln Financial Field

The Eagles are 16-4 in their last 20 games against the Giants, including a four-game home winning streak. A win at the Linc this year would give the Eagles their longest home winning streak against the Giants since they won five straight from 1988 through 1992. The Eagles last year swept the Giants for the third time in the last four years, with the two wins coming by a total of just eight points. The Eagles are 84-86-2 all-time vs. the Giants, including a 10-6 record at the Linc.

Week 13: Redskins at Eagles
8:15 p.m., Monday, Dec. 3, 2018
Lincoln Financial Field

The Eagles swept the Redskins last year for the first time since 2013 after losing five straight against their division rivals. Overall, the Eagles are 78-86-6 against the Redskins in a series that dates back to 1934. They’re 39-42-3 at home against the ‘Skins and 8-7 at the Linc. The Redskins have beaten the Eagles six times in their last 12 meetings at the Linc.

Week 14: Eagles at Cowboys
4:25 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018
AT&T Stadium

The Eagles have won six of their last eight games in Dallas, losing only in 2012 by five points and in 2016 in overtime. Their 28-point margin of victory at AT&T Stadium last November was the Cowboys’ ninth-worst home loss ever. Their last three home losses by 28 or more points have been against the Eagles. The Eagles are 24-37 all-time against Dallas on the road but 6-4 at AT&T Stadium.

Week 15: Eagles at Rams
8:20 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018
LA Memorial Coliseum

The Eagles have won five straight games against the Rams, including two wins in St. Louis, two at the Linc and last year’s comeback in L.A. after losing Carson Wentz for the season. The Eagles are 21-19-1 all-time against the Rams, 6-11-1 on the road and 1-5 at LA Coliseum. Their last loss to the Rams was a meaningless late-season game in 2004. Their last loss to the Rams in Los Angeles came in 1977.

Week 16: Texans at Eagles
1 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018
Lincoln Financial Field

The Eagles have never lost to the Texans, beating them in Houston in 2006 on opening day and in 2014 and in Philly in 2002 and 2010, with all four wins by double digits and by an average of 13 points per game. The Texans and Jets are the only current NFL franchises the Eagles have never lost to.

Week 17: Eagles at Redskins
1 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018
FedEx Field

The Eagles have lost three of their last four games at FedEx Field, with those three losses coming by an average of about four points per game. They did win by 10 points last year during their nine-game winning streak, their biggest win in Landover since 2010. The Eagles are 37-44-3 all-time vs. the Redskins on the road, including three games played in Boston in the 1930s. They’re 12-9 all-time at FedEx Field.