An Eagles vs Giants Haiku
Danny Dimes fell down
No one was even around
Daniel Jones just tripped
One of the worst football teams in the entire NFL played a couple of nights ago and if you aren’t sure which team I’m talking about your instincts are probably right. Nevertheless, the Eagles emerged victorious and now sit atop the NFC East, a division so bad that the first team to 6 wins will likely claim the division crown. So let’s get down to business and dive in and talk about some individual performances.
On a Giants 4th down the Eagles failed to cover one of the gunners, surrendering what would have been an easy 4th down conversion if said gunner had an ounce of situational awareness at all. Jake Elliott missed another field goal, this one from 29 yards. On the positive side, Greg Ward recorded the longest punt return of the season for the Eagles, but that ceases to be a positive when you realize it was only 11 yards. The only part of the Eagles special teams that has been good this season in Cameron Johnston.
The Eagles defense allowed the Giants to score 25% more points than their season average. They allowed the Giants to rush for nearly double their average rushing yards per game. In a game that the Eagles should have dominated across the board, they struggled mightily.
The Offensive Line
The Giants boast the 2nd worst pass rush in the NFL. On Thursday they sacked Carson Wentz 3 times and hit him 10 more. Lane Johnson left the field once again due to injury. Sua Opeta looked every bit as bad as Jamon Brown. Even Jordan Mailata got in on the act, turning in his worst game as a pro. If Prince Tega Wanogho doesn’t get the call up for next Sunday’s game against Dallas then you seriously have to question how badly his acclimation to the NFL must be going.
NRC had yet another terrible game for the Eagles. He is a terrible tackler, bad in coverage, and doesn’t even display effort on many plays. Are you seriously telling me that he couldn’t catch Daniel Jones on an 80-yard sprint? The rest of this season should be spent evaluating players who will be here next season. Nickell Robey-Coleman is not one of those players and as such I don’t want to see him on the field again this year. I’m serious, bench him. Cut the bum. I don’t care. I would rather see a practice squader play like he wants to be on the team than watch NRC take another snap.
Defensive Tackle Group
Fletcher Cox is the 5th highest-paid defensive tackle in the NFL. Javon Hargrave, the Eagles priority free agent signing, is in the top 15. They have combined for 6 QB hits this season. Javon Hargrave has 7 tackles in 7 games. Maybe spending 21% of your salary cap on interior defensive linemen isn’t a wise allocation of resources.
Last week Croom was listed in the stock up portion of my column for scoring a TD on 100% of his offensive snaps. This week he failed to live up to the hype, playing 9 offensive snaps and scoring 0 TDs. Not only is that a massive letdown from expectations, it lowers his TD percentage to 10% for the year.
Oh Doug, what happened to you? I feel like this game is the beginning of me turning against Doug Pederson. I have no doubt that Pederson is the guy you want in the locker room coaching through adversity. I have massive doubts that Pederson is the guy you want calling plays on the sidelines.
On the first drive of the game, the Eagles went up-tempo, marching down the field to score an opening drive TD. Seeing that that worked so well, Pederson never tried it again. His play-calling with 2 minutes left to go until halftime was beyond cowardly. He used Boston Scott as a lead blocker on a 2 point conversion attempt. His usage of Jalen Hurts was one of the least creative things I have ever seen. He was slow throwing a challenge flag on an obvious challenge situation late in the game. He dialed up a fade on 4th and goal to a guy who had never played a snap in the NFL before.
I could get over all of that. I really could. What I can’t get over is how bad this team has been in the RedZone this season while Jalen Hurts sits on the bench.
If you have even watched 1 Oklahoma Sooners game with Jalen Hurts at the helm, you know that Jalen Hurts was deadly in the QB power running game in the RedZone. That was the majority of Oklahoma’s RedZone offense a year ago. Do you know how many QB power plays the Eagles have run with Jalen Hurts this season? Zero. But yeah, run a speed option.
Doug Pederson is the coach that I want on the sideline for the Eagles, but he needs to give play-calling responsibilities to someone else. It is sad that this is the place we find ourselves, but Pederson as a play-caller has to go.
Boston Scott shall forever be known as the Giant Killer. In three games against the Giants as a Philadelphia Eagle, Scott has averaged 119 all-purpose yards and 1.6 TDs per game. Teams facing the Giants should work out a deal where they just pass Boston Scott around each week. At that pace, Scott could turn in a season with 848 rushing yards, 21 rushing TDs, 1,060 receiving yards, and 5 receiving TDs if he played the Giants for 16 games a year. Those numbers would have given him the most rushing TDs in the league in 2019 and the 2nd most all-purpose yards. Such a missed opportunity.
In all seriousness, Carson Wentz appears much more in sync with Boston Scott than Miles Sanders. Scott should continue to thrive as a pass-catcher even after the return of Sanders.
Rodgers had 85 receiving yards against the Giants, a feat that Zach Ertz hasn’t accomplished since week 13 last year when he did it against… the New York Giants.
That pretty much speaks for itself.
Ripping off an opponent’s helmet on the 2-yard line was a heads up play by Jason Kelce. Kelce understood that the Eagles had been dreadful in goal to go situations and rightly reasoned that while 1st and goal from the 2-yard line was doomed to fail, 1st and goal from the 17-yard line was money in the bank. That is a very intelligent play made by a seasoned veteran. You can’t coach instincts like that.
Young Wide Receivers
To no one’s surprise, DeSean Jackson lasted less than 1 game before going on IR again. DeSean won’t be here next season so, like NRC, I don’t need to see him in an Eagles uniform again. Fortunately, the Eagles will no longer have to resist the temptation to keep him off the field since the decision was made for them.
Travis Fulgham had another standout game with 5 catches for 73 yards while drawing 2 huge defensive penalties. Greg Ward turned in a solid game from the slot with 5 catches for 42 yards and 1 TD. John Hightower had a 59-yard reception late in the game to help spark the comeback.
These are the guys that the Eagles need to see for the rest of this season. I am perfectly fine with a receiving corps of Jalen Reagor, Travis Fulgham, Greg Ward, and John Hightower. Thanks for the memories Alshon and DeSean, but let’s keep the past in the past.
4th Quarter Comebacks
Last week the Eagles were down 2 scores in the 4th quarter and came storming back against the Ravens before ultimately losing by 2. This week the Eagles were down 2 scores in the 4th quarter and came storming back against the Giants before ultimately winning by 1. You can argue that the Eagles should stop digging multi-score holes for themselves to climb out of and you would be right. Nevertheless, digging out of said holes with such a depleted roster is an achievement worth noting. If the team can ever figure out how to play with their backs against the wall for the entire game they could be something special.
Wentz started the game in the stock up portion before bottoming out for a solid 2 and a half quarters only to surge back again at the end. As a result I have no idea where to place him so let’s just talk about him instead.
Wentz started the game on fire, moving the team methodically down the field to a touchdown. Wentz ended the game on fire, completing 5 of 6 passes for 121 yards and 2 TDs (resulting in a perfect passer rating) on the final 2 drives. His throw to Boston Scott to take the lead is one of the best throws that you will see this year.
On the flip side, Wentz struggled mightily in the mid-game. The pressure was clearly in his head as his footwork went out the window. I can’t tell you how many passes I saw him fall away (or even jump away) from. The interception he threw in the RedZone? You don’t even see rookies make that mistake often.
Wentz has a never say die attitude and is fully committed to playing YOLO ball. Can you really blame him? He has no offensive line and his top 7 offensive weapons are all injured. And so Wentz tries to overcompensate by playing hero ball. Sometimes it works like on the throw to Boston Scott. Sometimes it doesn’t, like on the interception. This is the give and take with Carson Wentz.
That said, Wentz has to make better decisions at some point. I don’t mind a certain element of hero-ball given the circumstances, but there was no chance anyone could make a play on that interception. That throw might have taken 7 points off of the board for the Eagles, although it is unlikely given the atrocious nature of the Eagles RedZone offense. Even if the Eagles were unable to punch it in, they still would have put up 3 points (maybe… Jake Elliott you know). Ok, maybe I understand Wentz’s decision a little more now.
It is maddening at times but it is the ride that fans are in for for the rest of the season, so we might as well buckle up and enjoy the ride.
Next week the Eagles host the Dallas Cowboys in primetime on Sunday Night Football (I sincerely apologize to any non-Eagles fan who is forced to watch this team 2 weeks in a row in primetime) with the division lead on the line. As poor as this season has gone, a win on Sunday would insure that the Eagles are in sole possession of 1st place headed into the bye week, as they hopefully get healthy and set themselves up for a run to the playoffs.
Also this, just for fun…