Eagles Stay Alive After Defense and Young-Led Win Over Giants by Matt Lombardo

Vince Young made his first start of the season for the Eagles and led the offense on it’s longest drive since 2002 to seal a 17-10 win over the Giants.

Last week the much maligned Eagles defense blew their fifth fourth quarter lead of the season, squandering a sure win against the Arizona Cardinals. Then, last night coordinator Juan Castillo’s unit righted the ship and punished Eli Manning and the Giants offense, leading Philadelphia to a 17-10 win at Met Life Stadium.

After the win the Eagles moved to 4-6 and upped their inter-division best record to 3-1 against NFC East opponents.

Despite the Eagles lacking team chemistry and cohesion for most of the season, the energy and intensity level was at a season high for the Eagles last night. The result was a win that keeps Philadelphia alive in the playoff hunt.

DE Jason Babin’s forced fumble of QB Eli Manning on the NY Giant’s final offensive play of the game culminated a near flawless effort by an Eagles defense that saw it’s season hinging on the outcome of last night’s game. New York wasn’t able to establish any semblance of a run game (29 yards on 17 carries). Eli Manning was beaten and battered by three sacks and ten knock downs from an aggressive Eagles front four. Then, in the game’s most critical moment when Manning and the Giants got the ball back with 1:27 remaining and a chance to drive down the field for the win, the defense stood tall until Babin forced the game clinching fumble.

Manning finished 18-35 for 264 yards, one touchdown and one interception and drove the Giants down the field for a game tying touchdown to open the fourth quarter. In the end though, the Eagles did enough to prevent Manning from marching down the field for his sixth come from behind game winning drive.

The Eagles had become acustomed to allowing game winning drives this season. Five of their six losses were come from ahead fourth quarter clunkers. On Sunday night though the shoe ended up on the Giants’ foot.

“That’s as big a disappointment as we’ve had around here in a long time,” Tom Coughlin said. “I’m really disappointed by our front eight that was dominated by Philadelphia all night long.”

Meanwhile the Eagles offense led by backup quarterback Vince Young rose to the occasion.

It wasn’t pretty for a majority of the night, but Young and the offense did enough to get the job done. The highlight was an 18 play scoring drive which represents the longest in terms of plays since 2002, and chewed up 80 yards and 8:15 of clock culminated with Young’s second touchdown pass of the game, to WR Riley Cooper that gave the Eagles the lead for good.

RB LeSean McCoy reached another milestone on Sunday night. While his 9-game touchdown streak was snapped, his 113 rushing yards pushed him to 1,019 on the season, representing his second consecutive season with more than 1,000 yards rushing. Sunday also represented his eighth 100 yard performance of the season.

Young wasn’t spectacular, but he finished 23-36 for 258 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. However, he got stronger as the game progressed. In the first half Young was 8-18 with 89 yards one touchdown and one interception with a 38.7 passer rating. In the second half, he finished 15-18 for 169 yards, one touchdown, one interceptions and a 103.2 quarterback rating.

“He kept firing as he went,” Reid said of Young’s play. ” He got better as the game went along and he kept his confidence the whole game which is important.”

It’s important to note that Young was working without Eagles leading receiver Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson missed part of the game with what appeared to be a leg injury. One Eagles source told The Philadelphia Inquirer That Young’s play means that the Eagles won’t necessarily have to rush Michael Vick back this week in time for Sunday’s matchup with the Patriots.

Jackson finished with six receptions for 88 yards, including a 50 yard strike down the sidelines that was negated by a taunting penalty when he flipped the ball at a New York assistant coach and taunted the Giants sideline. The enigmatic receiver did add a 50-yard punt return that came a shoestring touching the sidelines away from another dynamic touchdown return.

As impressive as Jackson’s night became, it is worrisome that the fourth year wideout left the locker room wearing a walking boot. More should be known when Andy Reid meets the media on Monday afternoon at The Novacare Complex.

Next up, the Eagles host New England at 4:15 on Sunday afternoon at Lincoln Financial FIeld.

 

 

Matt Lombardo is the Philadelphia Eagles beat  reporter and host for 97.3 ESPN in Atlantic City, NJ. Matt can be reached on Twitter @MattLombardoPHL or by Email at MDLombardo@yahoo.com

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