Eagles back on track, beat Giants
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — It took six weeks, but this was the type of performance the Philadelphia Eagles had been waiting for this season.
After appearing like a shadow of the Super Bowl champions while slogging through the first five games, the Eagles assuaged mounting concern about them with a dominant 34-13 win over the New York Giants on Thursday night.
The Eagles had not scored more than 23 points in a game yet this season. They reached 24 by halftime. They totaled only seven first-quarter points through the first five games. They scored on the opening drive and had 14 points by the time the second quarter started. Carson Wentz played to the
MVP standard he set last season and the defense swarmed Eli Manning. The Eagles moved to 3-3, giving them the most wins in the NFC East, and they now have extended rest entering next Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers.
Wentz went 26 of 36 for 278 yards and three touchdowns for his best game of the season Alshon Jeffery caught eight passes for 74 yards and two touchdowns. Wendell Smallwood and Corey Clement combined for 29 carries for 94 yards in their first game after Jay Ajayi’s season-ending injury. And the defense had four sacks and a turnover.
The Eagles used their formula from last season. They built an early lead, allowing their pass rushers to pin their eyes back and get after Manning and the running backs.
It looked like it would be a good night from the game’s first minute, when Jordan Hicks deflected Manning’s pass on the second play of the game and Kamu GrugierHill grabbed the interception and returned it to the Giants’ 16-yard line to give the offense favorable field position.
Still, the red zone has been a problem for the Eagles in recent weeks. They scored touchdowns on only 3 of 9 visits during the previous two games. Wentz made sure the Eagles capitalized on this trip. Facing a third-and-7, Wentz rolled to his right and hissed a pass across his body to Jeffery in the end zone for a 13-yard touchdown. It was an exceptional play by Wentz, who played like the franchise quarterback on a night the Eagles needed it.
The Giants’ only chance to take a lead thereafter came when they regained possession at their 9-yard line with a 7-3 deficit, except Michael Bennett burst past $62 million offensive tackle Nate Solder for a strip sack of Manning. Although the Giants recovered, they were pushed backward and the Eagles had favorable field position after forcing a punt.
The Eagles turned on the rout. Clement’s one-yard touchdown run came two plays after a 14-yard rush and on a night when he’s trying to convince the front office that they don’t need to add a running back in the coming weeks. That touchdown gave the Eagles a 14-3 lead, and it turned out those were the only points they needed.
The Eagles converted 9 of 16 third downs, including a 58-yard pass to Nelson Agholor in the second quarter. Agholor showed impressive awareness, breaking off his route when needed if it helped Wentz complete a pass. Wentz finished the drive with a 10-yard touchdown to Zach Ertz.