Here’s a breakdown of the Eagles’ studs and duds on offense from their 36-21 win Sunday over the Giants at MetLife Stadium, along with some other interesting items that stuck out in tape review.
(To read the film review of the defense, click here.)
People think Nick Foles gets too much love from the media, but give the guy credit. He came in cold for an injured Mike Vick and moved the chains exceedingly well en route to a 197-yard, two-touchdown effort.
Most impressive: The Giants blitzed him six times on his first eight passes. He completed five of those six for 37 yards. Against five-man pressure, he hit on all three passes for 31 yards and went 1-for-2 on six-man pressures. The Giant blitzed him only four more times for the rest of the game, and Foles hit on three for 50 yards and his two touchdowns.
DeSean Jackson drew a tough assignment in Prince Amukamara and roasted the second-year corner on several occasions, piling up 132 yards for his third 100-yard effort of the year. He put a sweet outside move on the corner to get a hair open on his five-yard TD catch in the fourth and made a nice adjustment to catch a slightly low and underthrown third-down pass from Foles in the third on a crossing pattern, again beating Amukamara.
Jackson had only one early drop and established a good rhythm with both quarterbacks. He showed great concentration on his 56-yarder in the first half, a pass from Vick that should have been picked by Trumaine McBride, who jumped the route to get in front of Jackson but somehow let the ball sail through his hands and right into Jackson’s.
The rookie tight end gets better each game. He played 33 snaps, his most this season, and lined up all over. As an in-line tight end, he beat linebacker Spencer Paysinger on a corner route for a 24-yard catch to the Giants’ 7-yard line. In the second quarter, he lined up in the slot and found a hole in the Giants’ zone for a 14-yard catch from Foles.
Considering that his drop of an easy touchdown inside the Denver 5-yard line last Sunday completely changed the game’s momentum, Brent Celek bounced back with his best game of the season. He caught all three passes thrown in his direction for 47 yards, including the one-handed grab of Foles’ high-arcing 25-yard touchdown pass.
And now for the not-so-studly. It’s just one guy.
Yikes. Just an awful job of run-blocking against a very good and meaty Giants defensive line. Kelce struggled to generate push and was frequently pushed back against a defensive tackle rotation of Cullen Jenkins, Mike Patterson, Shaun Rogers and impressive rookie Jonathan Hankins. Of the Eagles’ eight runs that netted zero or negative yards, Kelce was involved in six of them.
Kelce is still a tremendous weapon when he gets into the second level and gets matched up against linebackers and safeties, but when the Giants stacked the box and capitalized on Vick’s absence, Kelce lacked the strength to push them back and create inside lanes.
Vick wasn’t at his best, but he didn’t hurt the team and left with the Eagles about to go up 19-7. He didn’t complete a pass until the second quarter and again struggled in the red zone (where he’s 5-for-19 this season), but Vick kept the chains moving several times with some back-breaking runs.
Left tackle Jason Peters and right tackle Lane Johnson were borderline studs given that they were matched up often against Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck. There were some snaps that one or both tackles allowed some pressure, but neither allowed a sack. In general, it was a much better pass protection effort from the offensive line, including Todd Herremans. Vick peeled off an 11-yard scramble on a designed run with Evan Mathis leading the charge. Mathis was beat just a few times in pass pro, but that happens.
How much do the Eagles miss Vick’s ability to change what defenses do against them? In the first half, LeSean McCoy rushed for 50 yards on 13 carries, an average of 3.8 per. In the second, he ran seven times for minus-4 yards. Say what you want about Vick’s quarterbacking, but when defenses don’t have to account for his running, it changes what the Eagles do best offensively.
The blocking he received from the offensive line wasn’t great, but Chris Polk didn’t hit the holes on his two carries against the Giants as hard as he did against Denver.
Riley Cooper was targeted just once and didn’t have a catch on 62 snaps, his fewest this season. Meanwhile, Jeff Maehl saw an increase in playing time with 20 snaps. Neither had a catch. Jason Avant caught three passes.
It continues to be a very so-so sophomore campaign for Bryce Brown, who rushed for just 11 yards on five carries, an average of 2.2 per carry. For the year, he’s averaging 2.7 yards per carry. Again, run blocking was an issue for all the running backs this game.