The Philadelphia Eagles snapped a five game losing skid after beating the New York Giants by a score of 24-19 on Thursday Night Football to improve to a record of 6-9. What an exciting game it was. From the first whistle to the final kneel, the second meeting of the year between the two teams did not disappoint at all. Even with a late surge from New York that probably left most Eagles fans on the edge of their seats, the Birds were able to hold on for a solid victory. Here are my takeaways from the game:
Welcome back, Lane
Including Thursday night, the Eagles are 4-1 in games this season where Lane Johnson was the starting right tackle. He is a very important anchor to an otherwise shaky line that makes a world of difference. Yes, Wentz was pressured at times because of the line, but you’d be hardpressed to find that pressure coming from Johnson’s side. More importantly, the Eagles ran a sweep to Johnson’s side that ended in Darren Sproles scampering for a 20 yard touchdown. For the overwhelming majority of the night, Johnson kept his side quiet and was an effective run-blocker. This is all after not having played or practiced for ten games also. It’s nice to have the franchise tackle back to shore up the line.
Nelson Agholor had a good game
As soon as Agholor dropped the first pass thrown his way in the first quarter of the game, there was a feeling that he would have another forgettable performance. That was not the case. You might say that Agholor only had two catches for 47 yards. That is true, but one of those catches was for a 40-yard touchdown reception that would prove to be enough to help the Eagles win. The other was a crucial fourth down catch that was athletic and helped the Birds get closer into field goal range. Admittedly, everyone would like more steady production from a first round pick, but Agholor showed up to play tonight, and it seems like he has been turning a corner recently. Oh, and Nelson Agholor now has the second-most touchdowns by an Eagles’ receiver this season. You read that right.
Carson Wentz gave everyone a scare
Carson Wentz didn’t have the best of performances, but he did show more flashes of why he will be scary good in the future. For example, Wentz’s ball to Agholor on the deep touchdown was perfectly placed. Wentz’s future, however, was in question after he took a hard hit that left him rattled. He even had to be escorted to the locker room for further evaluation. It was reported that he had a head injury and after what seemed like an eternity, Wentz was finally cleared to return to the game. Crisis averted. Wentz has taken quite the beating this year, but he only has to survive one more game until the Eagles can get him more O-Line help. If they don’t, these scares and hypotheticals could turn into realities, which would disrupt the rookie’s development significantly.
The D Line is the football version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
One week, Philly’s defensive line looks elite and harasses the opposing quarterback all game. The next week, they look like a shell of that. On Thursday night, the line looked very much like the latter version of itself. In fact, the Eagles’ defense as a whole had zero sacks on Eli Manning. They got pressure on him every once in a while, but it was very spotty. Brandon Graham also came close to getting a sack late in the fourth quarter, but no dice. Fletcher Cox had a couple of nice run-stuffs as well, but on the whole, they were mostly non-factors. The hit-and-miss play of the D-Line needs to solidify a lot more or else the Eagles’ defensive woes will continue into next season. I know the Eagles have spent a lot of draft capital on the line in the draft recently, but they should get another lineman at some point in 2017 to continue to bolster it.
Malcolm Jenkins balled out this game
Man, Malcolm Jenkins had a game. It’s rare to say that a guy had a huge game when he was burned for a touchdown out of the slot, but I can confidently say that Jenkins put together one of the most solid defensive performances for the Eagles this year even with that fact. Jenkins was in on almost every tackle. He broke up a number of passes, including one in which he hit Odell Beckham Jr. very hard to force an incompletion early in the first quarter. He was always around the ball like he was magnetized to it. Most importantly though, Jenkins had two interceptions this game, one of which was a pick-6 in the first quarter to put the Birds up 14-0. The other was in the early fourth quarter and it stopped a Giants drive that could have ended very badly. Malcolm Jenkins is aging and understandably, he may regress a little, but games like this show why he is the best safety the Eagles have had since Dawkins.
Even though the Eagles’ season is over, this game is exactly why there is a lot to be excited for in the near future. The pieces are all coming together and with a few adjustments, the Eagles will likely contend at a high level for a long time. On top of that, it’s always fun to ruin a game for the Giants. Watching New York’s players throw a fit while the Eagles are beating them is like an early Christmas gift. This game was a ton of fun to watch and it is another win in a growing list of Eagles victories over New York. On to the final game against the Cowboys. Fly Eagles Fly!