Monday, November 22, 2010

Ten Eagles-Giants Takeaways

Production from me should be down this week, as I'm on vacation. Please check the blog anyway, as I'm hoping for support from Other Tools to keep everyone amused. And here's what I've got from the TV that showed me tonight's game, a scant 1,100 miles south of the Man Cave...

10) Is there something wrong with David Akers, or does he just break out in hives when he sees Big Blue? The man did hit four out of five figgies tonight, but nearly all of the makes were hairy, the miss was a block that nearly went for six, and the kickoffs were as bad as I've ever seen him. I'm really hoping he's hurt, actually.

9) It was a meaningless play at the end of the game, but it was still nice to see MLB Stewart Bradley get a pick on a ball to a TE. He remains the main coverage guy on those throws, and if he can get better at it, a major way to attack the defense goes out the window. Also noteworthy is that Giants TE Kevin Boss did little tonight, though he probably had a very valid beef with a lack of PI call on S Nate Allen in the second quarter.

8) As meaningful and essential as the win was, it should provide a wealth of good/bad film for Eagle oppos to use against QB Michael Vick. The man missed some very open WRs tonight, and WR Jason Avant blew a bunny TD, but the Giants had a very strong scheme against him, and gave some real clues to the future on how to stop him. That would include varying the blitz packages, force him to his off hand to make the chance of throws much less, go for the strip whenever possible, and take every chance you can to put a smack on him, since his prowess as a runner basically means the refs don't call roughing half as much as they do non-mobile QBs. In other words, what Jim Johnson did to him in a NFC championship game a lifetime or three ago. It still works.

7) Anyone who thinks that this win makes the Eagles the best team in the NFC is smoking something. All they did was hold serve, at home, in a game where a fourth down run went to the house on a length of DE Osi Umenyiora's finger, which is how far away the Giant standout was from forcing a fumble on the flip. And they could have still easily won this game, if their QB were only capable of falling down without disaster. Besides, it's not as if the Packers don't have the head to head advantage, that the Falcons might have a very different outcome in a home game, or that the Saints aren't defending Super Bowl champions with a very strong last couple of weeks. Green stayed in the conversation this week, and made their path to the playoffs much more possible; nothing more.

6) What on earth is Giants coach Tom Coughlin doing with the challenge flag after Eli's Boner? The play is going to be upheld, he loses the chance to challenge again for another minute, and that time out could have been a very big deal if his defense suddenly didn't become allergic to RB Shady McCoy in crunch time. I get that a reversal is huge, but that had no chance of happening. It's not just Blue that's got a recent history of fading down the stretch; it's also the coaches.

5) I'm starting to love this young and gritty Eagles team; it's explosive and talented and seems to be having fun. But good grief, it picks up yellow laundry like a concierge working on commission. (Many less tasteful jokes considered and rejected there.) That's seriously tempering my playoff dreams here, along with the next point...

4) As good and careful as Vick has been with thrown balls this year, he's bound to throw some picks soon. It's amazing to me that after 11 years of a QB with one of the lowest INT rates in the history of the game, Green's actually gotten better on that metric this year. Of course, if Vick goes down and QB Kevin Kolb has to take over again, all bets are off.

3) How on earth does CB Asante Samuel fumble the possible clinching return on (Yet Another) Eli pick tonight? I get that the man is trying to make a play, but I'd happily take the CB taking an intentional knee there, rather than give RB Ahmad Bradshaw a chance to be the hero.

2) Honestly, how long does Eli's Magic Month buy him in NYC? Performances like tonight, when he more or less costs his team the game with repeated weak-arm mistakes under duress, make me wonder. A lot. And continue to be appreciative of his presence there, because honestly...I think I was more scared of Kerry Collins in his time in that laundry. Or maybe even Jared Lorenzon, just because the man made cannibalism of a blitzing DB seem like a very real option.

1) Not to belabor the point or minimize a tense and exticing game... but my abiding image from this one will be how Green won because Eli couldn't slide, fumble and chew gum at the same time. If my family weren't all around me sleeping off 1,100 miles of car travel, I'd have been laughing like a hyena. A hyena on really, really good drugs. Blue Fan, I'm so glad he's all yours...

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