Eagles

Eagles 34, Giants 13: Total domination to even record at 3-3

Eagles 34, Giants 13: Total domination to even record at 3-3

BOX SCORE

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Thanks, Giants.

After a couple ugly losses, the Eagles bounced back with a prime-time 34-13 win over a wretched Giants team Thursday night at MetLife Stadium. The Eagles are 10-2 in their last 12 games at the Meadowlands and 7-2 all-time at MetLife.

The two-game road losing streak is history. The two-game losing streak overall is history. The Eagles are back to .500 at 3-3 with a mini-bye coming up.

Let's take a look with 10 observations! 

1. This is the Eagles team I expected to see a month ago. It took a while, and it took a terrible Giants team to help bring it out, but we finally saw the Eagles play a complete game on both sides of the ball, and the result was a comfortable 34-13 win over the Giants. I don’t care who the opponent was or how wretched it is — the Eagles needed this. They needed a win. They needed a road win. They needed a fast start and they needed to shut the door and take away a team’s heart early, and they did that. They still have a long way to go, but this was a very big step.

2. I love the aggressiveness and playmaking we saw early on from the defense. Before the end of the first quarter, the Eagles got a big red-zone stop, a Kamu Grugier-Hill interception off a Jordan Hicks deflection and a Michael Bennett strip sack of Eli Manning down to the Giants’ 1-yard line. It was the brand of really hyper-charged defense we haven’t seen much of this year, and it really set the tone for the Eagles as they built a 14-3 first-quarter lead and then just rolled from there. I thought the defense played with more aggression Thursday than we’ve seen all year. And it tackled better than it has tackled all year. 

3. We’re really seeing Carson Wentz just get more and more comfortable each week, and I thought Thursday night was really the first time he totally looked like 2017 Wentz in terms of playing at the speed of the game, recognition and comfort in the pocket. Look at Wentz’s stats through four games: 108 for 159 (68 percent) for 1,192 yards, with eight TDs and one interception. That’s without the benefit of a preseason. With poor protection for much of the season. With a constantly rotating group of receivers. He's opened the season by becoming the first quarterback in franchise history with four straight games with 65 percent completion percentage and 250 passing yards. He’s just so freaking consistently good it’s insane.

4. I give Lane Johnson so much credit for going out there and battling on a high ankle sprain. You could see him hobbling around between plays, but he actually performed at a high level. Johnson limped off the field after the third quarter, but don’t you know he tried to go back into the game. Jeff Stoutland wasn’t having any of it. Johnson’s night was over with the Eagles up three touchdowns. What a warrior.

5. The Eagles’ red-zone defense is such a weapon. With the Giants going 0 for 3 Thursday night, the Eagles have allowed just seven touchdowns on 21 red-zone drives this year, and that 33 percent figure is second best in the NFL. A lot goes into red-zone defense, but the cornerbacks’ aggressiveness and physical play is a big part of it. Jalen Mills has had his issues between the 20s, but he’s really a very good corner in the red zone, where his lack of burner speed isn’t a factor but his aggressiveness and physical nature is huge. The Eagles are still giving up too many big plays to allow teams down inside the 20, but once they get there, the Eagles are exceptional.

6. It was really encouraging to see Nelson Agholor finally have a typical Nelson Agholor type of game. He came in with just 212 receiving yards in five games but had a 58-yarder and a 32-yarder — two of his three-longest catches this year — and the 32-yarder was a real nice adjustment on a deflected ball that helped get the offense going early. Just a very heads-up play.

7. I love everything Corey Clement brings to the table, and I just think the kid is going to be a stud. He’s still limited with that quad that kept him out of the Titans and Vikings games, but he really made an impact on the game with just a handful of snaps, going 11 for 43 rushing with a touchdown and 3 for 26 receiving. That's 69 yards on 14 touches. Terrific production. Clement now has nine career touchdowns in limited snaps. He’s got a real nose for the end zone. I’d love to see him get 15-18 touches a game once he’s healthy.

8. I just can’t believe how bad Manning played. Looks like he has no arm left at all. Brutal.

9. The Eagles lost Sidney Jones early with a hamstring injury and lost Mills for a bit in the fourth quarter and they had Rasul Douglas at safety, Avonte Maddox moving back and forth between safety and nickel, and even Tre Sullivan — who just re-signed — on the field for some reps. Now think about this: Ronald Darby, Mills and Sullivan are 24. Douglas is 23. Jones and Maddox are 22. Malcolm Jenkins was the only defensive back the Eagles had in uniform Thursday older than 24. Mills has taken a lot of heat and some of it has been deserved, but the reality is that this is a very deep, very versatile and very talented group of young defensive backs, and they all played at a high level Thursday night.

10. Have to mention Saquon Barkley, who is one of the most impressive young running backs I’ve ever seen. His combination of power and balance reminds you of Barry Sanders, but he looks like he’s a more polished receiver than Sanders. With 130 yards rushing and 99 receiving he came up one yard shy of becoming the first player with 100 yards rushing and receiving against the Eagles since Herschel Walker of the Cowboys, who had 122 rushing and 170 receiving in a game at Texas Stadium in 1986. Astonishing talent. 

More on the Eagles

John Clark is keeping busy with Zoom, music, exercise and 'Curb'

John Clark is keeping busy with Zoom, music, exercise and 'Curb'

During this time of self-quarantine, we’re checking in with those in the Philly sports world to see How They’re Keeping Busy. Next up, NBC Sports Philadelphia airport specialist, John Clark.

What are you doing to keep busy during these strange times without live sports?

I am making sure to get outside every day and get some sort of exercise like running, biking, and tennis -- keeping plenty of physical distancing. Thank goodness the weather has been pretty good here. Places like Chicago, it’s tough to get outside when it’s in the 20s and 30s.

How are you getting your sports fill?

I am getting my sports fill right now covering NFL free agency and the Eagles moves. And tracking down the new Eagles players and doing interviews with them over the zoom app. It’s really hard for me to watch old games, except for the Eagles Super Bowl win. Part of sports for me is not knowing what’s going to happen. The suspense of that is amazing. My parents tape Villanova games and other sports and watch them sometimes a day later. I just can’t do that! And I would have heard what happened before it’s too late.

Tip(s) for everyone stuck at home who may be stressed?

Listen to plenty of music, the artists and songs that make you feel good. I have also tried to reach out to one person a day that I haven’t talked to in a long time that I am friends with or used to be friends with and we’ve lost touch.

Specific content you’d recommend to others? Anything you’re binging/reading/listening to?

If you want to laugh, I would suggest Curb Your Enthusiasm. And I watch Impractical Jokers a lot and the immature silly humor makes me laugh every time. Netflix standup comedy specials can give you a good laugh too. I think it’s also cool to go back and watch some concerts you have been to on YouTube or listening to them on Sirius radio, it brings you back to such a great night. Music always makes me think of good memories.

Is there a local business or charity you’re supporting during these tough times?

I am going to pick up food a lot because I wanna support restaurants and businesses that need it right now. I have friends who are restaurant owners who have laid off a lot of their staff and been forced to close down. Times are so tough for these businesses and I feel we need to support them. And I’m trying to leave bigger tips when picking up food.

Previously:

How the lengthy delay could hurt or help Flyers, Sixers, Phillies, Eagles

How the lengthy delay could hurt or help Flyers, Sixers, Phillies, Eagles

There will be sports again. I am confident of that. When that will happen and what it will look like remains to be seen. Will we jump right to the playoffs in the NHL and NBA or will they attempt to play regular season games? How many games will MLB look to play and how far are they willing to extend the season into late fall or even winter?  

We don’t know what we don’t know. But that doesn’t mean authentic fans can’t prepare right now. And we’re here to help. Here’s a prepared excuse for each of the Philadelphia sports teams if they come up short when play resumes. We’ll also give you a denial that the break was beneficial if each team performs especially well. 
 
FLYERS 

Potential Excuse: No team was hotter than the Flyers before the NHL postponed its season. So, it goes to reason that no team was hurt more by hitting the pause button. In a traditional season, the Flyers would have steamrolled their opponents just like they were doing in January, February, and early March. But then you lose momentum and a young team has to deal with a completely unique situation. Another Cup taken from us. 
 
Argument If Things Go Well: The Flyers were already rolling before the break. It really speaks to the mindset instilled by Chuck Fletcher and Alain Vigneault that nothing could derail this juggernaut. Looks like a dynasty in the works. 
 
76ERS 

Potential Excuse: This Sixers team needs Joel Embiid going at 100 percent and it’s impossible for a man that size to be at top conditioning with that long of a break. It’s hard to think of a player in all of sports more negatively impacted by a months-long break than Embiid. It’s just not fair to the Sixers at all. 
 
Argument If Things Go Well: Everybody knew the Sixers didn’t care about the regular season this year. It was all about the playoffs. So it didn’t matter if it started in April or August, this team was going to bring it when it mattered. That’s why you sign a veteran like an Al Horford. For winning time. 
 
PHILLIES 

Potential Excuse: Starting pitching was always going to be the key. Aaron Nola was primed to win the Cy Young. Zach Wheeler was going to provide the best 1-2 punch in the National League. But a condensed schedule with a lack of training time diminished the Phillies’ greatest strength. MLB should have done a full spring training after the break and played 162 games, into the new year, if needed. 
 
Argument If Things Go Well: 2020 was always going to be better because of Joe Girardi. Gabe Kapler cost them like 20 games last season. Go back. Count them. But Girardi is a winner. He’s won everywhere he’s been. Plus, he’s Philly tough. Blue collar. 
 
EAGLES 

Potential Excuse: No team was banking on new faces and a new structure more than the Eagles. The offensive coaching staff was overhauled. They needed all of the prep time they could get. The draft wasn’t even legit this year because there weren't enough in-person meetings. Everyone knows the game tape lies. You have to get to know a guy to see how he fits, especially inPhiladelphia. It’s not even a real season if you don’t have a full mini-camp, in my opinion. 
 
Argument If It Goes Well: Football wasn’t even impacted that much. We won the division last year regardless. Then we turned the team over to Carson Wentz and made him the top leadership voice. Carson’s always been a great leader. Everybody knows that. We just had to make sure his voice and Doug’s voice were the only ones being heard. I don’t think it’s crazy to say Carson might win the next 3-5 MVPs.