Eagles let one slip away to Big Blue
Manning shreds secondary with four TD passes in Giants win
Even with Eli Manning toying with Philadelphia’s secondary for much of the game, the New York Giants barely held off the Eagles Sunday. Manning threw for four touchdowns and New York’s defense had two interceptions and three stops on fourth downs to beat the Eagles 28-23.
“Philadelphia, the last few years, has had our number,” said Manning, whose team had lost five of the last six to the Eagles. “We’ve played close games, but haven’t been able to win those close games. So to be able to pull it off today and get that win was nice.”
The Giants (5-3) won their third straight game, stopping the Eagles (4-4 after a 3-0 start) from the New York 17 after Manning was intercepted with less than two minutes to go.
“At the end of the game you have to go out there with confidence, confident that you are going to stop them,” said cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. “We have been playing well in games and when they get the ball down there and our backs are against the wall, we know we
have to stand up.”
Two of Manning’s touchdowns went to Odell Beckham Jr., with the others to Roger Lewis Jr. and Sterling Shepard.
It was a game marked by big plays on offense — six of more than 30 yards in the first half alone — and defense (four interceptions) and special teams (Jason Pierre-Paul’s block of a field goal, Darren Sproles’ 66-yard punt return).
Mostly, it was a mismatch of Manning and his receiving corps against a sieve of an Eagles secondary. New York picked on every Philly defensive back, with the biggest Leodis McKelvin, no matter who he tried to cover.
Less than two minutes in, Landon Collins made his third interception in the last two games; he had one pick as a rookie last year. Manning found Beckham on a slant after McKelvin failed to bump him at the line, and Beckham surged into the end zone for a 26yard score.
Andrew Adams, a rookie safety from UConn, had no interceptions in his previous five games. He sure knew what to do with the ball after hauling in Carson Wentz’s high pass moments later, returning it 19 yards. Manning hit Lewis three plays later after McKelvin and Jaylen Watkins collided and it was 14-0.
Manning’s third TD throw came on a one-yard jump ball to Beckham over McKelvin to make it 21-10.
Wentz looked like a rookie from an FCS school in the first half, often appearing befuddled by coverages. Twice, the Eagles failed on short fourth downs while in field goal range.
But he came out of halftime a different player, quickly guiding the Eagles 70 yards to Kenjon Barner’s three-yard TD run.
Manning, though, was just as precise and decisive on the ensuing drive, capped by his fourth TD throw, 32 yards to rookie
Shepard. That gave Manning his first four-TD game since Game 14 last season.
Wentz remained much sharper in the second half, leading the Eagles to two field goals by Caleb Sturgis. But Philly went 3 for 15 on third downs, 1 for 4 on fourth downs.
Eagles players said veteran safety Malcolm Jenkins spoke up in the locker room after the game, saying they needed to learn how to finish games.
Speaking for the defense, whose two interceptions in the fourth quarter resulted in no points, Jenkins said: “Are you giving your team a chance to win defensively? There were a couple of plays here and there (early in the game) we feel we’ve got to have back. Those small mistakes — there might be only one or two — for our team to win we need to make those plays.”
Manning moved into ninth place in career yards passing with 46,428. Manning, in his 13th NFL season, threw for 257 yards against Philadelphia. He passed Vinny Testaverde, who had 46,233 yards through the air.
In addition to Adams’ first interception, Eagles receiver Bryce Treggs made his first NFL reception, an 11-yarder on a field goal drive. It got even better for the undrafted rookie from Cal when his 58-yard reception set up Philadelphia’s first touchdown. Treggs was in the lineup because Josh Huff was released after being charged with possession of a handgun without a permit and having a small amount of marijuana during a traffic stop.
Giants receiver Victor Cruz hurt an ankle in the first half, and LG Justin Pugh sprained his right knee in the second quarter. Neither returned. Eagles safety Terrence Brooks left with a hamstring issue.
New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard (87) is about to catch an Eli Manning pass for a touchdown against the Eagles during the third quarter Sunday at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. Manning had four TD passes on the day.
Eagles backup running back Ryan Mathews (24) takes a hit from New York Giants strong safety Landon Collins (21) in the third quarter. The Birds’ offense stalled out on several drives during the game.