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The Eagles forced four turnovers, including Mychal Kendricks' fumble recovery in the second quarter. (AP)
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Ten random observations from the Eagles’ 36-21 win (see Instant Replay) over the Giants Sunday at MetLife Stadium:
• Gotta love the way the secondary played Sunday. Yeah, they gave up another 300-yard passing game, their fourth this year. But they were very aggressive to the ball, tackled well, forced turnovers. They finally made plays. Good stuff, especially from Brandon Boykin, who picked up his second interception of the season, and Nate Allen, who has actually put together a stretch of three fairly decent games. At this point, you’re just looking for progress, and we saw that Sunday.
• Heck of a performance from Nick Foles, who doesn’t get first-team reps during the week and had thrown only five passes all year. He was a little spotty early but got into a rhythm in the second half, read the field extremely well and threw the ball accurately. Should he be starting when Michael Vick is healthy? I’m not ready to say that yet. This offense is much more difficult to defend when Vick is out there. But I like what I saw. Foles finished 16-for-25 for 197 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions or fumbles and a 114.9 passer rating. Good stuff.
• OK, sorry, but one gripe here. Somebody has to explain this to me. Huge drive. Eagles clinging to a 19-14 lead but the momentum swinging over to the Giants, and the first two plays of the Eagles’ next drive were a Bryce Brown run and a throw to Bryce Brown? Brown gained minus-one yard on the run and dropped the pass, as he is prone to do. I just don’t get why on the biggest drive of the game up to that point, Brown is on the field and not LeSean McCoy. I’m all for a change-of-pace guy, but not then. Not there.
• One other gripe. I’m starting to wonder about Trent Cole. Five games in, he’s still without a sack. After averaging 11 sacks a year from 2006 through 2011, he has just three in 21 games since opening day last year. Still love his effort. But he’s just not getting to the quarterback. He turned 31 on Saturday, and you just wonder how much he has left.
• If the Eagles ever figure out their red-zone issues, this offense will be very difficult to stop. Nobody has shut them down yet. In fact, the Eagles on Sunday became first team in NFL history to open a season with five straight games with 430 or more total yards. Nobody in the history of the game has moved the ball as consistently and productively as this team. And they’re only going to get better.
• DeSean Jackson really showed his maturity the last two weeks when the ball didn’t come his way. After opening the season with games of 104 and 193 yards, he had just 62 vs. the Chiefs and 34 in Denver. Maybe in the past you would have sensed frustration from D-Jack, but not this year. He put his head down and kept working, and it paid off with another big game Sunday, 7-for-132. He now has 525 yards through five games, on his way to a career year. Nice to see. Jackson now has 18 career 100-yard games, fourth-most in Eagles history and just five fewer than Pete Retzlaff.
• Still waiting for Fletcher Cox to make a big play. We all keep saying it’s only a matter of time until he’s a stud, but 21 games into his NFL career, we’re still waiting. Right now, he just looks like another guy. He hasn’t been bad, but he just hasn’t been a special player. Not what you need from the 12th player in the draft. He’s only 22, so you figure it’ll come. But it hasn’t yet.
• It was nice to see the Eagles finish a game for a change. They were up a point going into the fourth quarter, then really took over on both sides of the football, dominating the hapless Giants in the final quarter. This is only the second time since 1996 the Eagles have scored 14 or more points in a fourth quarter and not allowed any, and only fourth time in the last four years they’ve even scored 14 points in a fourth quarter. Before Sunday, the Eagles had been outscored 46-24 in the final quarter this year. Encouraging to see them close somebody out.
• Good to see Alex Henery make all five of his field-goal attempts, but they ranged from 27 to 41 yards. I still need to see him bang through a bunch of kicks in the 45-to-50 range to really feel confident in the kid.
• Final note: If I had to name an Eagles defensive MVP through five games, it would probably be Brandon Boykin. Maybe Cedric Thornton. But I just think Boykin is going to be a terrific player in this league. He’s always had the athleticism and speed, but he’s really starting to build confidence and make plays.