Feb 7, 2008, 4:29 PM EDT
What a great day for the Eagles. A month ago, the Giants came into our house and absolutely crushed the Birds. Don’t let the score fool you, New York controlled the game with their bruising ground game and could have won by a lot more.
Same teams, but the roles were reversed. Despite a slow start, the coaches stuck with the running game and focused on driving the ball between the tackles. Before long, 2 yard gains became 5 and 10 yard gains, and in the second quarter Westbrook finally squirted through for a 30 yard touchdown run and a 10-0 lead.
The Giants defense never recovered, in fact the front four started losing their physicality as Westbrook continued to get the call. The results were devastating. With many more manageable third downs, the Eagles were able to convert 12 of 18, including a few McNabb scrambles. They also dominated time of possession, holding the ball for nearly 36 minutes. It was textbook.
Some miscues allowed the Giants to keep it close, none bigger than the field goal block resulting in a touchdown to end the second half at 10-7, but the Eagles stuck to the gameplan, holding New York to one possession and just six offensive plays in the third quarter. They capped their second drive of the half when Westbrook fooled Antonio Pierce with a delayed release, got a step on the linebacker and took an easy pass 40 yards with not a blue jersey in sight.
The defense deserves a lot of credit as well, though the Giants offense never got in sync. With Burress out of the lineup, their receivers ran the wrong routes and dropped several passes, none bigger than the bomb to Dominik Hixon in the second quarter. That said, the Eagles most important task was containing a brutal power running attack, and they did exactly what was needed.
The Eagles added a field goal after another long drive, and the Giants offense finally scored on a late desperation drive, but they took too long. Eagles secured the onside kick and the W, 20-14. Adding to the Eagles fortunes, the Falcons also dropped their match-up against the Saints, which officially means playoff talk is back on the table.
If there were any doubters remaining about the need for balance, this game should show you the way. The running game was miserable early on, but they stuck with it and it paved the way to a well-executed game. McNabb was able to get into his comfort zone, and Westbrook once again became a viable threat in the passing game. The offense has clearly benefited from the drastic change in playcalling the past two weeks.
- L.J. Smith had a nice day catching the ball, and surprisingly made some nice moves to get some crucial first downs. Why does it always look like he’s going to slip and fall after every reception? Also, as much credit as he deserves, what a horrible day blocking.
- Solid day from the outside linebackers, Gocong and Jordan. Greatly improved over the team’s last effort against the Giants.
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