It was hard to decide what was the more compelling story as the Philadelphia Eagles finally won a game, as they usually do against the New York Giants, who fell to 0-5 for the first time in 26 years: Either Nick Foles stepping up big time for the injured Michael Vick, or Eli Manning completely destroying any chance his team had to end the losing streak, and the existence of any following or support he had as someone who isn’t to blame for where the Giants are at right now.
The Eagles don’t really care for the worst team in the NFC East and the second-worst in the league thanks to the Jacksonville Jaguars being historically awful. Michael Vick, who was exciting to watch but not very accurate before taken off late in the second quarter after injuring his hamstring, wasn’t very accurate. The Eagles changed their style once Nick Foles came on, but it only seemed to make them better as they ran away with the 36-21 victory, scoring 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter.
The train wreck that are the New York Giants, from the aging and incompetent offensive line, to an overrated defensive line and the non-existing running game couldn’t match the way Eli Manning imploded in the fourth quarter, throwing three interceptions on three consecutive drives, bringing Tom Coughlin to bite his tongue from actually blaming him for the loss, even though it was easy to see what he was thinking when speaking after the game.
How bad was he? He had 3 intentional grounding penalties, something that hasn’t happened to anyone for the last 13 years. He completed less than 50% of his passes once again, including only 3-of-16 (18.8%) when passing for 15 yards or more downfield. Since the start of 2008, no quarterback with as many attempts has had fewer completions. The short game wasn’t working as well, 5-of-14 (35.6%) passing within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage with two interceptions; his completion percentage on those throws was the worst of any quarterback in a game this season. The end result: The Giants join the ’54 Cardinals as the only teams in NFL history to start a season with 5 straight games in which they allowed 30 points and committed 3 turnovers.
As for Philly, it was weird seeing them play like a traditional team. Their defense is still bad, but it’s not Giants bad, as Mychal Kendricks picked up a fumble recovery and an interception, but the team playing a less run-oriented kind of offense fit them pretty well, especially with Foles making the most of the short-field situations he received from his defense, throwing two touchdown passes in the final quarter to Brian Celek and DeSean Jackson.
With the NFC East looking wide open except for the Giants, the 2-3 Eagles are still very much in the playoff picture, with a chance to fix things on the fly. Michael Vick is still the starting quarterback, but Chip Kelly now has another option to throw into games in order to confuse teams, which might partially be another way to conceal the obvious problems on this team. For the Giants, there is no hope, and it looks like things haven’t even reached their low point.