Studs, duds, turning point and more from Eagles-Giants

Studs, duds, turning point and more from Eagles-Giants


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The Eagles are 1-0 in the second Nick Foles Era. 

It just wasn't easy. 

The lowly Giants put up a pretty good fight Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium. But Foles played pretty well, special teams came up big and the Eagles eventually made a late fourth-down stop on defense in a 34-29 win (see Roob's observations)


With the win, the Eagles improved to 12-2 on the season and clinched a first-round bye in this year's playoffs. Another goal accomplished. They didn't clinch home-field advantage this weekend because the Vikings beat the Bengals. That could come next week. 

With the loss, the Giants fell to 2-12 in their miserable season. They're just waiting out the rest of the year. 

It turns out Foles might not be the problem down the stretch. While Foles turned in a pretty efficient performance while working through rust, the Eagles' defense struggled again (see report card)

That's been a theme over the last few weeks. Jim Schwartz's unit that started the season so strong has become a liability recently. The Birds might not have to worry about Schwartz leaving for a head-coaching gig anytime soon. 

On 4th-and-goal with under a minute left, the Eagles got a huge stop to wrap up the game. Corey Graham covered Evan Engram and the pass went incomplete. The Giants wanted a flag but didn't get one. 

The Eagles came out really slow and let the Giants get up on them, 20-7, before a couple big defensive and special teams plays gave the Eagles' offense short fields. The Eagles took a 21-20 lead before the G-men kicked a field goal to go up 23-21 at halftime. 

Turning point
The Eagles just desperately needed a play and Ronald Darby provided it in the second quarter. The cornerback stepped in front of a pass from Eli Manning to pick it off, then returned it 37 yards. That set up the Eagles at the Giants' 20-yard line. They scored a touchdown to cut into their early lead and it seemed to flip momentum. Sure, the Eagles trailed at halftime, but things had turned around from a disastrous start.  

Key stat
The Eagles have gotten back-to-back four-touchdown performances from two different quarterbacks. 

According to the NFL, this is the first time teammates have thrown four touchdowns in back-to-back games since 2011, when the Packers had Aaron Rodgers and Matt Flynn do it.

Offensive stud
Foles missed a few passes, but he played a pretty solid game. He had three touchdown passes in the first half, making it his eighth-career three-touchdown game. He then added another TD pass in the third. 

Offensive dud
LeGarrette Blount really took a backseat Sunday to Jay Ajayi. He got a huge carry on 4th-and-1 in the first half and couldn't convert. 

Defensive stud
The entire defense didn't play great, but Brandon Graham seemed to have a good afternoon again. 

Defensive dud
Jalen Mills didn't have his best game. He was beaten badly for a touchdown and had some costly defensive holding calls go against him. Aside from his interception (which was big), Darby really struggled too. 

Key plays 
• The Eagles stopped the Giants on 4th-and-goal inside a minute to save the victory. 

• After the Malcolm Jenkins' field goal block, the Eagles put together a FG drive of their own to take a 34-29 lead with just under four minutes left in the game. 

• Jenkins got in to block a 48-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter. The field goal would have given the Giants a lead. This came after the Eagles had already blocked a punt and extra point in the game. 

• The Eagles' defense forced a three-and-out in the third quarter, but a neutral zone infraction from Najee Goode on the punt gave the Giants new life and Manning hit Tavarres King on a 57-yard touchdown pass. After the two-point conversion failed, the Eagles led 31-29. 

• Nelson Agholor made a tremendous touchdown catch over Darryl Morris in the end zone to put the Eagles up 31-23. After the score, Alshon Jeffery tossed up an alley-oop to Agholor, who threw it down. Ajayi had a big impact on that drive, rushing for a 22-yarder and catching a 32-yarder. 

• Jake Elliott kicked a 28-yarder to give the Eagles a 24-23 lead in the third quarter. Foles had a strong drive. 

• After the Eagles took a lead, the Giants converted two big third downs and drove down the field to kick a 28-yard field goal to take it back. They went up 23-21. 

• Kamu Grugier-Hill broke through the line to block a punt in the second quarter. That set the Eagles up inside the Giants' 20-yard line. A few plays later, Foles hit a wide-open Trey Burton for a 13-yard touchdown pass on third down to give the Eagles a 21-20 lead. 

• On third down, the Eagles desperately needed someone to make a play and Darby obliged. The corner stepped in front of a Manning throw to pick it off and then returned it 37 yards to set up an Eagles scoring drive. 

• Foles hit Zach Ertz for a 10-yard touchdown pass to cut into the lead, 20-14. 

• On 4th-and-1 from the Giants' 44-yard line in the second quarter, Blount was stuffed for no gain to turn the ball back over the Giants. 

• Early in the second quarter, Sterling Shepard got open with a rub play on 3rd-and-2 and went for a 67-yard touchdown to put the Giants up 20-7. Rodney McLeod made a poor attempt at a tackle near the sideline. Shepard has caught two of the three longest passes against the Eagles this season. 

• Jalen Mills was crushed on a double move in the red zone. He bit hard on a 13-yard touchdown catch by King to give the Giants a 13-6 lead. 

• The Eagles responded with a 75-yard drive of their own. The big play came when Foles avoided pressure to throw the ball deep to Torrey Smith. Smith couldn't catch it but drew a pass interference call and the Eagles scored a few plays later to go up 7-6.

• The Giants marched down the field on the first drive of the game. The big play came when Darby was beaten on a double move by Roger Lewis Jr. for a gain of 18. The drive went 75 yards. Derek Barnett blocked the extra point to make it 6-0 Giants. 

Stefen Wisniewski (ankle) missed the game. Chance Warmack started in his place. Robinson left in the second half to be evaluated for a concussion. 

Up next
The Eagles return home for the last two weeks of the season. They play the Raiders on Christmas Day and then the Cowboys to finish the regular season. 

Warrant issued for Michael Bennett's arrest

Warrant issued for Michael Bennett's arrest

Eagles defensive end Michael Bennett has been indicted for a felony charge in Harris County, Texas, the Harris County district attorney's office announced on Friday afternoon.

Because of the indictment, a warrant has been issued for Bennett's arrest. According to the release, prosecutors are working with Bennett's lawyers to coordinate a surrender.

Bennett is being charged with "injury to the elderly, included intentionally and knowingly, causing bodily injury to a person 65 years or older." The penalty for the charge is up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

The felony charge is for injuring a 66-year-old paraplegic woman who was working at NRG Stadium last year during Super Bowl LI, when Bennett was there to watch his brother Martellus play in the game. The Patriots played the Falcons in Super Bowl LI in Houston on Feb. 5, 2017.  

Bennett, 32, allegedly "shoved his way on to the field" during the postgame celebration, when the elderly worker told him to use a different way for field access. Instead, the district attorney's office said, Bennett pushed through workers, including the elderly disabled woman.

Neither the Eagles nor the Seahawks knew about the incident, a league source told NBC Sports Philadelphia's Derrick Gunn. Bennett has been an Eagle officially for just over a week.

During a news conference on Friday afternoon, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo asked Bennett to turn himself in as quickly as possible, calling Bennett "morally bankrupt" and entitled. Acevedo said there is no video of the incident, but there is a police officer eye-witness.

Acevedo said Bennett forcibly opened locked doors to get onto the field and then pushed his way past three workers. One was a male, one was a 28-year-old female and one was a 66-year-old female, who sustained a sprained shoulder. The 66-year-old female is a paraplegic and the force of being pushed back in her motorized wheelchair is what injured her. Acevedo said the woman needed medication prescribed to her because of the alleged assault.

According to Acevedo, Bennett said, "Ya'll must know who I am, and I could own this motherf-----. I'm going on the field whether you like it or not," as he pushed past the women.

A police officer, called "Officer Morgan" by Acevedo, the same one who saw the alleged incident, then tried to stop Bennett, but Bennett disregarded him, saying "f--- you." The officer then decided to tend to the woman instead of pursuing the suspect, as he thought Bennett no longer posed a threat.

The extended time between the incident and the indictment was explained by Acevedo as a lack of resources. He said the department decided to handle cases that put citizens in danger. This was pushed to the back burner. He also said it was exceedingly difficult to get in touch with Bennett.

"Mr. Bennett may think because he's an NFL player and because some time passed he may have thought rules don't apply to him," Acevedo said. "No. 2 he doesn't have to respect the dignity of a paraplegic woman trying to earn a living. He may believe he doesn't have to answer to a police officer trying to detain him, but I'm here to say I'm very proud of the fact our department took this case as seriously as we should have."

The Eagles released the following statement on Friday afternoon:

"We are aware of the situation involving Michael Bennett and are in the process of gathering more information. Because this is an ongoing legal matter, we will have no further comment at this time."

The Eagles officially traded for Bennett on March 14. They sent receiver Marcus Johnson and a fifth-round pick to Seattle for Bennett and a seventh-rounder.

10 random Mike Wallace stats

10 random Mike Wallace stats

In Mike Wallace, the Eagles are getting a veteran wide receiver who’s now playing for his fifth team in the last seven years.
Wallace has put up fairly consistent numbers since the Steelers drafted him out of Mississippi in the third round in 2009.
And we all know what a veteran wide receiver means. Lots of stats!
So let’s get to know Mike Wallace with 10 Random Mike Wallace Stats That You Didn’t Know (And I Didn’t Either Until I Looked them Up!):
• Since entering the NFL in 2009, Wallace ranks ninth in the NFL with 8,072 receiving yards, behind only former teammate Antonio Brown (9,910), Larry Fitzgerald (9,570), Calvin Johnson (9,532), Brandon Marshall (9,316), Julio Jones (9,054), Demaryius Thomas (8,653), DeSean Jackson (8,575) and A.J. Green (8,213).
• Wallace’s 57 touchdown catches since 2009 are seventh-most in the NFL during that span by a wide receiver.

• With a 95-yard touchdown catch from Ben Roethlisberger against the Cardinals in 2011 and a 95-yarder from Joe Flacco against the Steelers in 2016, Wallace is one of just three players in NFL history with two career TD receptions of 95 or more yards.

The others are Gaynell Tinsley of the Chicago Cardinals, who caught a 97-yarder from Pat Coffee in 1937 and a 98-yarder from Doug Russell in 1938, and Pennsauken’s John Taylor, who caught a 95-yarder from Joe Montana in 1989 and a 97-yarder from Steve Young in 1991.
• Similarly, Wallace’s four career TDs of 80 yards or more — the two listed above plus catches of 81 and 82 from Roethlisberger in 2011 and 2012 — are fifth-most in NFL history behind Derrick Alexander, Lance Alworth, Bobby Hayes and Jerry Rice, who all have five.
• Wallace has had at least 725 receiving yards in eight of his nine seasons in the NFL. Since 2009, only Fitzgerald has had 725 or more yards more often than Wallace.
• Wallace’s career rushing average of 7.1 yards per carry is fifth-highest among active players (with 32 or more attempts), behind Cordarrelle Patterson (10.3), Tyreek Hill (8.0), Deshaun Watson (7.5) and Ted Ginn (7.1).
• Wallace had nine catches for the Steelers in Super Bowl XLV against the Packers after the 2010 season. That’s tied with several players (including Nelson Agholor) for eighth-most in Super Bowl history by a wide receiver.
• Since he entered the league in 2009, Wallace has 43 receptions of 40 yards or more, second-most in the NFL during that span behind only former Eagle DeSean Jackson, who has 56. Those 43 passes were thrown by five quarterbacks (Roethlisberger 23, Flacco 9, Ryan Tannehill 7, Charlie Batch 3 and former Eagle Dennis Dixon 1).
• During the same span, Wallace has 19 TD catches of 40 yards or more, again second-most in the league during that span to Jackson’s 26.
• In 2010, Wallace caught 60 passes for 1,257 yards, and his 20.95 average was sixth-highest in NFL history and highest in the last 33 years by a player with 60 or more receptions. Since 1965, only Hall of Famer and one-time Eagle James Lofton has had a higher average (21.95 in 1984).