Giants – Eagles: Hits, Misses & Musings
While I am sure some of you are still smarting over the Giants’ 19-17 loss against the Eagles, I went looking for something – anything – to help ease the sting, if just a bit.
What I found is that the statistics show that the games between the Giants and Eagles are a lot closer than they often times seem, and that the notion of the Eagles having the Giants number is slightly exaggerated.
Allow me to explain. I went back to see just how “bad” the Giants losses were to the Eagles since 2008, when Philly’s supposed dominance kicked in. With the exception of the 2009 season, the Eagles haven’t beaten the Giants by more than 20 points in the annual series (two regular season games).
In 2008, Philly just edged the Giants 51-50 in the two games played. In 2009, it was 85-55. In 2010, 65-48.
Last year, the Giants had the upper hand (and snapped the Eagles’ win streak over them thanks to the first game in the series), 39-33. This year, the Eagles got by with just a two-point victory.
Do these numbers mean much? Maybe not in the grand scheme of things. However, I still found them interesting, though if you don’t find comfort in knowing that the games haven’t been as bad as they’ve looked, there are always the four Lombardi trophies that proudly greet visitors to the team’s headquarters to remember.
* * *
Few quick thoughts before I turn the page on this one.
Initially I thought tight end Martellus Bennett might have a big game against the Eagles. Well, his pass receiving numbers weren’t gaudy, but his blocking was huge and went a long way toward the offensive line allowing zero sacks against Eli Manning. But if you want impact in the passing game, how about that play late in the first half, a two-yard gain in which Bennett wisely got out of bounds to stop the clock (the Giants had no timeouts left) which gave his team enough time to get its field goal unit out there.
Loved the job done by Domenik Hixon against the Eagles’ aggressive press coverage. Philly always puts up a nasty fight against opposing receivers. Hixon fought off jams (including one play where it looked like he was hit beyond the five-yard range that’s allowed by the rules), and just did a great job in making his six receptions for a team-leading 114 yards.
Kudos to David Wilson as the kickoff returner. He does an excellent job of setting up and then following his blocks, though it did look like on a couple of his returns he was a little deliberate in getting out of the gate, perhaps to make sure that he had a firm grasp on the ball before moving. It’s just a matter of time before Wilson breaks one.
For those who thought that Stevie Brown might be the guy who is cut when Tyler Sash is added back to the active roster, Brown is unlikely to be going anywhere.
Check that. Brown just might have earned the right to start this weekend if as expected, Kenny Phillips can’t play. Brown’s blitzes were aggressive enough and he nearly nailed Michael Vick on a sack after beating LeSean McCoy.
I hate to harp on a guy for one play when he otherwise had a good showing, but as we noted in this week’s issue of Inside Football, Lawrence Tynes appeared to loft his game-winning field goal attempt and not hit it as a line drive. That it fell short by what appeared to be a couple of yards reinforces, at least in my mind, that the kick might have been successful had he put just a little more leg into it.
And, while Coughlin said that the mechanics of that kick weren’t pristine, to that, I say it would be nice to always have a perfect snap and hold, but I don’t think it happens on every kick in every game. Remember, Tynes didn’t have a perfect snap and hold when he had to kick the game winner in the NFC Championship game last year and he still came through. And that reinforces the point I’m trying to make which is he’s shown that he’s been able to work through less than perfect conditions.
Overall, Kevin Boothe has had a good season, but in this last game, his two whiffs against the Eagles were biggies. The two I’m referencing include the one against Cullen Jenkins on the third drive of the game that turned a second-and-sort into a third and long. The other play came later in the first half when Boothe missed a double-linebacker blitz inside, resulting in DeMeco Ryans hurrying Eli Manning into throwing an incomplete pass, on third down.
I have very little issue with how the offensive tackle tandem of Will Beatty and Sean Locklear are playing, as with them in the lineup, Manning has had two games this season in which he was not sacked.
With that said, at some point wouldn’t it be nice to have an offensive tackle in there who doesn’t require help blocking against teams with premier pass rushers?
In the stretch of games in which the Eagles have topped the Giants, New York’s offensive production has been below their season average with the exception of the 2009 season, when the Giants actually topped the Birds (yet still lost both games, so go figure).
Here are the stats:
(Season) YDS/G vs. Eagles
2008 355.9 305.5
2009 366.0 434.0
2010 380.3 286.0
2011 385.1 306.0
2012 411.0 366.0
With the backs and tight ends needing to be kept in to deal with the Eagles’ pass rush, you’re removing potential weapons from the quarterback’s arsenal as well as potential plays that move the chains and potentially lead to more points.
If you have at least one tackle that is capable of holding his own against a Trent Cole, then I would think that’s one more resource you free up to become more involved in the action.
After thinking about it, I don’t think it’s fair to completely fault Ramses Barden, who drew the critical pass interference penalty that pushed a 44-yard field goal attempt back ten yards. If Barden doesn’t interfere with Nnamdi Asomugha, that ball is likely an interception and the Giants have zero chance of pulling the game out.
The one quibble I did have with that play is that I had hoped that maybe Barden could have just stick an arm in there and not to grab the defender as perhaps the officials wouldn’t have flagged it.
If Barden somehow finds a way to knock the ball away instead of mugging the defender the way he did, then maybe offensive pass interference isn’t called. But again, if given the choice between OPI and an interception, I think the Giants would prefer the former.
While I didn’t agree with the play calling after that – and even Coughlin expressed remorse over the decisions he made – I think given how well Tynes had been kicking the ball, it wasn’t too far-fetched to think that he might be able to kick a new career high of 54 yards (his previous high was 53 yards).
Don’t mean to nitpick here, but did anyone else find defensive end Justin Tuck’s comments about the defense becoming “gun shy” after Phillips went down with a knee injury a bit curious? And along those veins, when I asked Coughlin about the kickoff return coverage, specifically the job done by the blockers, he said, “I think you’ll find an axiom in this business, when they think the guy back there maybe has a chance to score, they block better.” Shouldn’t the blockers be expected to give 100% regardless of who’s back there?