Oct 1, 2012, 4:32 PM EDT
Eagles defeat Giants, 19-17
By Michele Tafoya
When a game is won by inches, as Sunday night’s was
by the Eagles, it’s usually the little things that make a big difference. Here are a few sidebars to Sunday night’s game:
VICK vs GIANTS SECONDARY
While this game may have come down to the Eagles ability to run the football effectively in the second half, one has to wonder how the Giants’ limping defensive backfield played into the outcome.
Of course, every player has some role in the outcome of a game. A tackle here, a block there… they all count.
But you can’t overlook how depleted New York’s secondary was heading into Philadelphia. CB Corey Webster (3 tackles) was playing with a cast on his right hand. His counterpart, Prince Amukamara (4 tackles, one PD), was making his first NFL on a recovering ankle.
Giants FS Antrel Rolle (2 tackles) was playing on a bum knee, which he’d injured the previous week by running into a camera on the sideline. Before Sunday night’s game, Rolle had his knee wrapped up tight and told me he was not going to let the injury affect his play.
Rookie CB Jayron Hosely was inactive because of a hamstring injury. Head coach Tom Coughlin told us before the game that Hosely’s absence was “a big blow” because the Virginia Tech product is “very competitive” and has “outstanding hands.” Hosely has shown his coaches that the stadium is not too big for him.
Michael Coe was was active but playing with a hamstring issue.
And then SS Kenny Phillips left the game with an injury to his right knee.
No coach or player will ever use injuries as an excuse for a loss. But opposing teams will attack vulnerabilities, and the Eagles did that on Sunday night.
Vick spread the ball around to eight different receivers, and while he didn’t have a huge night passing (19/31 for 241 yards, TD), he was not picked off as he had been six times already this season.
And while Vick had been sacked nine times coming into this game — with all of those sacks coming at the hands of linebackers and defensive backs — he was sacked twice in Sunday night’s win, once by LB Chase Blackburn and once by DE Osi Umenyiora.
The lack of bodies in the secondary also may have contributed to the Giants defense wearing down late in the game and allowing 172 yards rushing in the second half.
EAGLES O-LINE IMPROVES
When we met with Andy Reid in our production meeting before the game, he told us that handling New York’s vaunted defensive line was “an absolute must.”
And for the most part, the Eagles passed that test.
In his post game interview with me, Vick gave a lot of credit to his offensive line for setting up the running game and keeping the QB upright.
Given that Vick came into Sunday night’s contest having been hit a league-high 28 times, his night against the Giants was relatively pain free.
What is notable about the protection he received was that it came from an offensive line that, well, has struggled.
After injuries to starting LT Jason Peters and starting C Jason Kelce, the Eagles front five has been shuffled. And reshuffled.
On Sunday night Philly played with it’s third LT, Demetress Bell, as King Dunlap sat out with a strained hamstring.
Dallas Reynolds started at center, and he’s proving to be a solid replacement for Kelce.
Even though Reynolds is listed as a first-year player, this is his fourth year with the Eagles. He’s been on the practice squad for the last three seasons and is well-versed in the Eagles offense.
Reynolds’ Dad, Lance, is the associate head coach at BYU and was a graduate assistant there when Reid played on the offensive line for the Cougars, so there is a long history between the two families. (Dallas’ brother, Matt Reynolds, is on the Eagles’ practice squad.)
Dallas has given the Eagles confidence that there won’t be a problem with communication on the line.
BRIGHT SPOT FOR NEW YORK
If you want to look for a bright spot in the Giants loss look no further than rookie David Wilson
In a game where field position should have and could have been a big difference-maker, Wilson gave New York all it could ask for.
Like the aforementioned Hosely, Wilson hails from Virginia Tech. The former Hokie returned six kicks for 217 yards (36.2 average). His longest return was 53 yards.
Philly’s boo birds made it clear how they felt about the Eagles’ kick coverage.
But the first round draft pick nproved himself a valuable asset in the return game and could add spice to the running game as the season progresses.
The 5-9, 205-pound back played LeSean McCoy in practice all week, and Coughlin said Wilson gave the Giants’ defense a heck of a test all week.
Wilson didn’t get any carries in the game, but the rookie could see more action in the weeks to come.
Sunday Night Football TwitterView all »
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Sunday Night Football Headlines
- Norv Turner on Brian Hoyer: He was released, he was available
- Goodson’s first hearing conflicts with Jets’ minicamp
- Practice snap counts back up even QB comp for Eagles
- Deonte Thompson getting noticed in Ravens receiver competition
- Mario Williams should brace for ugly fight over ring
- Falcons were careful in trying to talk Gonzalez back
- Bucs saw Darrelle Revis knee injury as an opportunity
- Cliff Avril dealing with plantar fascia injury
- Leon Hall tore a ligament in his thumb
- Kyle Love’s not surprised the Patriots released him
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