Eagles Evaluation: Birds Keep Playoff Hopes Alive

By Gia Lanci, Sports Talk Philly Staff

The Eagles play a divisional match-up in their second meeting with the New York Giants this season. In the last meeting, the Eagles got a victory with a score of 34-13. The Giants are on a two-game win streak and the Eagles are coming off a two-game losing streak. Last week they had an embarrassing loss to the Saints. The Birds need to win this game in order to compete in the division for a play-off spot.

Below are my drive by drive analyses:

First Quarter

Drive One (Defense)

  • After a touchback, Brandon Graham tackled star running back Saquon Barkley right away as he carried the ball. Nothing could get by Graham. Then Grugier-Hill and Chandon Sullivan covered the intended receiver very well, causing an incomplete pass.
  • Ellison was wide open because the defense was forced to play man to man coverage. There was also a huge delay for the secondary to get to the ball after it was thrown to the receiver. Ellison was able to get the first down because of that time.
  • Beckham received a short pass and Chandon Sullivan could not get the tackle and was pushed out of bounds. Barkley then ran the ball and got another first down because Chandon could not tackle Barkley. Then Saquon stiff-armed Corey Graham and he was able to push him out of bounds. These young guys in the secondary cannot cover these offensive powerhouses on the Giants because they are still at the developmental stages of their careers, but they were pulled up because the defense needed them in lieu of the players out with injuries.
  • The Giants offensive line was able to hold back the defensive line and gave a huge gap for the runner. Nathan Gerry had his second missed tackle of the day.
  • A screen pass was thrown to Saquon Barkley, who ran the ball right up the middle for a touchdown. He was completely untouched. The pass went right over the head of Chris Long when he began to put pressure on the quarterback instead of blocking Saquon. It was a nice offensive play by the Giants, pushing the defense away to allow Saquan to have a gap and run it in for a touchdown.
  • The Eagles got a penalty on the extra point attempt since they had too many defensive players on the field. This gave the Giants a nice position to go for a two-point conversion. They attempted it, but failed because of the good coverage by Malcolm Jenkins on the pass to Penny.

Drive Two (Offense)

  • Corey Clement returned the ball to the 29-yard line. A decent return by Clement. The returns have been improving week by week.
  • Zach Ertz had a great route and got open for a nice easy catch to get the first down. He was able to get open because he beat out the defenders.
  • Josh Adams ran the ball for a 52-yard touchdown.There was a holding penalty by Jason Kelce and the touchdown was reversed. It was a really great play by Adams, so it was disappointing that it was nullified.
  • A huge pass was intended for Golden Tate that was overthrown by Wentz.
  • A screen pass was thrown to Tate and the Giants were ready for it and stopped him right away. This forced the punt.

Drive Three (Defense)

  • Cameron Johnston had a great punt for 41-yards. The Giants attempted to run the ball up the middle and were denied by Jenkins and Bradham.
  • A screen pass was thrown and Nigel Bradham was ready for Barkley and stopped him right away.
  • The Giants got two first downs by having wide open receivers. They gained a first down by a screen pass to Shepard, who was wide open because of the man to man coverage. Then, a big pass was thrown to Shepard for 18 yards. He was wide open in the middle of the field. Manning had too much time to throw the ball. A blitz call by Jim Schwartz would have been nice here. Also, the secondary needs to have eyes on the quarterback to prevent a pass to a wide open receiver.
  • A pass was thrown to OBJ and Bausby was playing press coverage on him. Odell caught the ball, bringing the Giants within 10 yards of the endzone.
  • They attempted to run the ball up the middle twice with Barkley, but it was halted by the defensive line. Then a short pass was thrown to Barkley and it was incomplete. Malcolm Jenkins had great coverage on Barkley. He made contact with him just as the pass was thrown. This forced a field goal attempt that was made by the Giants.

Drive Four (Offense)

  • Clement returned the ball again for 26-yards. They are obviously looking for a big play with the returns, but there has not been any this season.
  • They attempted a run up the middle with Corey Clement that lost a yard. He has been getting some more playing time since suffering an injury at the beginning of this season. That is what he needs to get back into the big things he was doing last year.
  • A pass was thrown to Ertz with a man on him. He was able to shrug him off to just get a first down. There was a flag on the play by the Giants which gave the Eagles an automatic first down. They needed that little mistake by the Giants to gain the first down.
  • A pass was attempted to Tate, but it was just in front of his hands. He should’ve gotten his hands on that ball. There was a man on him, but the ball was catchable.
  • Clement carried the ball up the middle and gained five yards. It was a decent run by Clement. The offense needed to focus on gaining positive yards and get into the endzone, so even little plays like this count, big time.
  • A completed pass was thrown to Alshon Jeffery, but there was a flag on the play. The penalty was for Jeffrey pushing off of the defender and was ruled an offensive pass interference. This was a bad call by the referees. This pushed the birds back on third down to have to get 15 yards for the first down.
  • Wentz was sacked. Jason Peters and the offensive line could not hold his man back long enough because Carson took way too long to throw the ball. The offensive line did their job but could not protect Wentz long enough for him to throw the ball. This forced the punt.
  • The return was stopped at the 14-yard line by D.J. Alexander. It was a good hault by Alexander since some of the players on the Giants can make huge plays on returns like this.

Second Quarter

Drive Five (Defense)

  • Barkley ran the ball and no one could tackle him. The secondary cannot contain Odell or Saquon. There was an offensive pass interference call on Odell Beckham that pushed the Giants back.
  • A pass was thrown to the receiver for seven yards. The pressure was coming onto Manning, slowly but surely, from Hester and Long. He was able to scramble away. There needed to be more calls to blitz him and put pressure on him so he is unable to get the ball away.
  • A huge pass was intended for Ellison. The pressure was coming onto Manning again by Chris Long and Fletcher Cox. The pass was a catchable ball, but Ellison had Jenkins and Grugier-Hill on him. It was incomplete.
  • Another huge pass attempt was complete to Shepard for 29 yards. Sullivan did get the tackle, however he needs to get in front of the receiver to prevent the pass from happening.
  • Manning threw a pass to Ellison for 18 yards. Bausby and Bradham were on the receiver, but they were not quick enough to get there. The delay was a little shorter than it has been because they anticipated where Manning was going to throw it. Still, they did not get there fast enough to make a move.
  • A screen pass was thrown where Fletcher Cox got to Manning and Malcolm Jenkins was able to put pressure on the receiver. They are leaders and showed the young guys how to anticipate plays and get there to make the tackle.
  • The Eagles defense was able to get a stop here. After the tackle by Cox and Jenkins, a pass was thrown and the receiver was one on one with Tre Sullivan. The receiver stiff-armed Sullivan, but he was still able to push him out of bounds. Great play by Tre Sullivan. This forced the Giants to try for a 51-yard field goal.

Drive Six (Offense)

  • During the kickoff, the offense touched back, but there was a penalty by the Giants that gave the Eagles a better starting position at the 30-yard line.
  • Dallas Goedert got some action and carried the ball for a solid seven yards. He is a great tight end and the offense needs to use him as a weapon more often because, when he is used, he makes good plays.
  • Clement tried to run the ball through the middle and was halted immediately. He then ran the ball up the middle again and was untouched for 32 yards. Clement is back and seems to have healed from his injury. It took him a few weeks to get back into it, but this game has proved it. This was something missing from the offense ever since last season.
  • A pass was thrown to Tate over the head of the defender. He caught the ball and was able to keep the ball protected. It was really an amazing catch. He used his strength to fight the ball away from the defender. He was well covered on this play.
  • On third down, the offense tried a QB sneak that failed, so they went for a 42-yard field goal try that was ultimately good by Jake Elliott.

Drive Seven (Defense)

  • After a touchback, a short pass was thrown to Ellison and he was able to gain 20 yards.
  • Saquon Barkley ran a 51-yard touchdown. There were three defenders on him. Corey Graham, Nathan Gerry and Malcolm Jenkins ran into each other and could not stop him. Then, Rasul Douglas, who was playing through an injury, could not catch him as he ran into the endzone.

Drive Eight (Offense)

  • Wentz threw a huge pass to Ertz that gained 24 yards. He was completely free and untouched.
  • A short pass to Jeffrey and he gained a decent seven yards. They just need to keep it moving like this without any little mistakes. However, there was a penalty on Seumalo for offensive holding. This pushed the Eagles back 10 more yards. These are the things that should not happen.
  • After being pushed back 10 yards, a play-action pass was complete to Jeffery to gain 11 yards. They were looking to score before the first half was over.
  • A pass was overthrown to Jeffery, but there was a penalty on the Giants that gave the Eagles a first down.
  • Dallas Goedert had a great run and spun a man off of him. It was a good play call. Wentz faked it to Tate and threw a short pass to Goedert who was able to gain some yards because of the lead blockers, Lane Johnson and Brandon Brooks. They need to find Goedert more often.
  • Zach Ertz received a short pass and spun the defender off of him. He ran it in for a touchdown. The defender read the play a little too late. Ertz and Wentz had that synchronous timing for Ertz to be able to catch and run it into the endzone.
  • They then attempted a two point conversion. A toss to Clement and he ran it right into the endzone. It was a simple option play where Wentz faked it like he was going to run it, then quickly tossed it to Clement when the defender sold out on covering him. Clement was able to run it in because of a great block by Ertz.

Drive Nine (Defense)

  • The ball was returned for 46 yards. The Eagles just could not block, but the kicker made contact.
  • Barkley caught a short pass and ran out of bounds. No one was able to get to him before the pass because of the man-to-man coverage.
  • A pass was thrown and Bausby was right there to get the stop, but he could not prevent the pass. He needs to get in front of the receiver and read the play before it happens.
  • The ball was intercepted by Malcolm Jenkins. It was intended for Beckham. There were three men on Beckham, which is why it was intercepted. Barkley was wide open. Jenkins ran the ball back for 25 yards.

Third Quarter

Drive 10 (Offense)

  • After a touchback, Josh Adams was tripped up and only gained one yard.
  • Pressure was coming onto Wentz and he got it away to Goedert, but it was ruled incomplete. A pass was then thrown to Tate and he was able to protect the ball and get a first down. He is very good at protecting the ball once it is caught.
  • Adams plowed his way in and gained six yards. Then he ran down the sideline to gain a first down. The run game looks very good. Josh Adams is showing the coaches that running plays need to be called more often.
  • A pass was thrown to Tate, but he did not catch it. It was a good, catchable pass, but it was incomplete.
  • The pass was blocked by a defensive lineman as it was being thrown by Wentz. The offensive lineman that let down his guard there was Brandon Brooks. Jordan Matthews was wide open on the slant, but would have been hit hard by the safety after the catch as he read the play.
  • Wentz was being blitzed and took way too long to throw the ball. He threw it away and it was almost caught by Agholor, but was incomplete. He cannot take that long to throw the ball, especially when the pressure is coming onto him that quickly.

Drive 11 (Defense)

  • During the kickoff there was an offensive penalty that pushed the Giants starting position back 10 yards.
  • Michael Bennett sacked Eli Manning and made the Giants lose 11 yards. He was injured for more than half the game, but he came back and responded like he should.
  • Barkley carried the ball, but was only able to gain four yards because of Nigel Bradham. That was a three and out for the Giants offense.

Drive 12 (Offense)

  • The offense had great field position because of the sack and the bad punt by the Giants punter. Golden Tate got pushed back a little bit and dropped the ball, but was able to regain possession on the return.
  • Adams was able to get a good run for 19 yards. He was able to run through defenders and gain great yardage.
  • The Eagles were able to draw an encroachment penalty from the Giants that pushed the offense forward.
  • Josh Adams was able to give the offense some hope by making good plays for the run game. Another good run by Adams with a block by Nelson Agholor.
  • Wentz had pressure coming onto him and was forced to throw it away. Jake Elliott then attempted a 28-yard field goal, that was successful.

Drive 13 (Defense)

  • After a touchback, two carries were made by Gallman, where he gained a few yards. Sullivan wrapped up on Gallman but had a mistackle and fell to the field injured. He ran off the field as soon as he got up.
  • A false start was made by the Giants that pushed them back five yards.
  • Another penalty was made by the Giants, this time an offensive holding penalty. The penalty was declined because they lost yardage anyway from Grugier-Hill.
  • Grugier-Hill forced a loss of yards for the Giants again on a short pass. This forced the punt.

Drive 14 (Offense)

  • On the first play of the drive, Wentz was sacked by Ogletree and lost eight yards. He was able to go around the line to reach Wentz. Lane Johnson and Dallas Goedert blocked one man together, leaving a free path open for the blitz. Goedert had the edge, so he should have passed his man off to Johnson and then kicked out to pickup or delay the blitz, This is the third time Wentz got sacked during this divisional matchup.
  • A quick, short pass was thrown to Goedert. He was well covered and showed he can catch when he has good timing with Wentz. Then Ertz had a good catch that was thrown low, where only he could get it, to get for a first down. It was a good use of their tight ends.
  • Wentz was sacked again and lost seven yards. Jason Peters could not hold his man back to protect his QB. This forced them to punt.

Drive 15 (Defense)

  • No one could tackle OBJ on the return. Gibson, Tre Sullivan, and Grugier-Hill missed the tackles.
  • A pass was thrown down field, but it was well overthrown intended for Beckham.

Fourth Quarter

Drive 15 (Defense – Continued)

  • A pass was thrown and LeBlanc got in the way and prevented the pass from being complete. They need to do more of this. Instead of just getting the tackle, they need to prevent the pass.
  • Eli Manning was sacked by Michael Bennett and Chris Long. They were able to get to him and stop the offense. This forced the punt.

Drive 16 (Offense)

  • After a return by Tate for seven yards, Adams carried the ball but did not gain any yards.
  • A short pass was thrown to Corey Clement by Wentz with a ton of pressure coming onto him. He was able to run through the defenders, break the tackles and get a first down and more – 23 yards. There was a clear penalty for pulling on Clement’s face mask but the referees inexplicably picked up the flag.
  • Clement ran into defenders, then ran towards the middle and was able to gain eight yards.
  • Josh Adams carried the ball up the middle. The offensive line was able to make a gap and protect Adams on the run.
  • Adams carried through defenders and was able to get into the end zone. He was almost stopped, then jumped in for a touchdown. They then attempted a two point conversion. They just handed the ball off to Adams again and he got in. The Eagles have their first lead since week eight.

Drive 17 (Defense)

  • A penalty on the Birds for having too many men on the field. In a close game like this, they really can’t make mistakes like that to give the Giants an advantage.
  • The ball was carried and Ngata missed him, but Bradham was right there to get the tackle and force them back a yard.
  • LeBlanc fell down and was covering Beckham. Manning was able to scramble and get it to Beckham with pressure coming onto him. Grugier-Hill got there to stop Beckham from going anywhere.
  • Ellison had five men in the secondary on him, but he caught the ball downfield.
  • A pass was thrown in the end zone to Odell Beckham that was overthrown. They probably could have called pass interference on LeBlanc, but they didn’t. This forced a field goal attempt that was good. The game was tied.

Drive 18 (Offense)

  • After a touchback, Adams gained three yards.
  • Alshon Jeffery carried the ball downfield, juking four defenders out. He had a carry for 21 yards. It was a fantastic run by Jeffrey.
  • A pass was thrown to ole reliable, Ertz. He was able to gain 10 yards, but the Eagles still have one yard to go to gain a first down. Josh Adams carried the ball and had no gain. It was then fourth down with one yard to go. Since there was only three minutes left, this is a crucial fourth down for the Birds.
  • Wentz passed to Agholor, who was wide-open, right in the middle of the field. Wentz was able to get the ball away quickly, with a wide-open receiver. That is the throwing plays they need to make more often.
  • Adams carried the ball for the next three plays, and gained no more than two yards on any of those carries. It is now third down.
  • They were close enough to attempt a field goal and that is what they did. Jake Elliott attempted a 43-yard field goal. It was made, just like last season against the Giants.

Drive 19 (Defense)

  • The Giants already used all their timeouts and the clock was running. On the first play, Manning tried a deep pass that was incomplete because Malcolm Jenkins had great coverage on the intended receiver.
  • Barkley carried the ball and only gained four yards because Grugier-Hill was ready for him and immediately got the stop on the play. Great read and preparation by Grugier-Hill.
  • Grugier-Hill had the stop again when it was a short pass to Shepard. Shepard tried to lateral the ball to Beckham, but Grugier-Hill swung his feet around and tripped him up. Amazing body control and coverage by Grugier-Hill. The clock ran out of time.

Game Notes

  • The play calling got so much better progressively throughout the game. They were not huddling which gave them a good rhythm and momentum to drive the ball. Running the ball became more of a crucial aspect of the offensive play calling this game, which is very different than the rest of this season. It worked very well for this offense and that is something they need to bring in every game.
  • The Eagles defense needed big plays like the Malcolm Jenkins interception to get the momentum. The young guys on the secondary really need to take notes from the leaders on the defense in order to make big plays or any plays at all.
  • The secondary is just so young. Some of these players were on the practice squad just a few weeks ago. They are still in the developmental stages of their careers, but they are forced to step up and play. Because of this, the defense has to play man-to-man and they are just unable to make big time plays and stop teams. This means that when another team scores because the defense can’t stop them, the offense must respond and put points on the board. If they don’t do this, they will not win any more games until they get players back.