The Eagles received an early Christmas present this past Sunday when they miraculously came back to stun the Giants. This game will forever live in infamy as one of the greatest endings to a game to ever be played in the NFL. However, when the Eagles look at the film they will see that they struggled mightily in all facets of the game prior to the 4th quarter. Let’s take a look some areas of concern.
The defense came into the game prepared to stop the running game of the Giants. The problem was that the Giants game plan was to exploit Eagles’ corner back Dimitri Patterson. Eli Manning absolutely abused Patterson in the first half of the game. Patterson gave up a total of three touchdowns in the first half and Mario Manningham was having his way. However, the one play that irked me the most was the touchdown pass to Nicks at the end of the half. Why was Patterson giving a 10 yard cushion? Man up and jam the wide receiver to disrupt the timing.
During these last two weeks the Eagles have been decimated by injuries on the defensive side of the ball. The Eagles are going to have to rely on their depth to get to their ultimate goal, the Super Bowl. The Eagles must improve on their red zone defense and hold opponents to field goals instead of constantly giving up touchdowns. The Eagles rank near the bottom in this area. The difference of giving up three points compared to seven could be the difference between a win and loss.
Prior to the late game heroics the offense had no life whatsoever. The Giants’ defensive line was crushing the offensive line and Michael Vick was taking far too many hits. The hits were starting to take its toll on Vick and this was evident when he ran into a couple of sacks rather than stepping up in the pocket. The comeback was great, but it shouldn’t take this team three quarters to get their offense going. The Eagles must run the ball more or throw in some screens to keep the defense honest.
Outside of the onside kick and the boneheaded punt to DeSean Jackson, the Giants out-coached the Eagles in every aspect of the game. Andy Reid made several mistakes throughout the game that should have cost the Eagles the game. Once again, get LeSean McCoy involved earlier in the game. This will take pressure off of the offensive line and it will keep Vick from taking unneeded hits.
Next, why are the Eagles trying to march down the field with just 20 seconds left in the first half? The chances of getting points out of the scenario is highly unlikely. This lead to a questionable Maclin fumble and put the Eagles in a 24-3 hole going into halftime. I like the aggressiveness, but you have to be smart when you want to take your chances.
Finally, the mistake of the game; why did you not challenge the Jackson fumble? You had nothing to lose there. This nearly cost the Eagles the game. Reid has never been good at challenging plays and this continues to be a weakness.
Overall, the Eagles got the win but there are plenty of areas on the team that need to improve. I hope that the team does not overlook these areas of concern because they got the win. Every area of the Eagles game must improve because, who knows, we might just see those Giants again in the playoffs.