By Joseph Santoliquito

PHILADELPHIA, PA (CBS) — It’s always been within their scope, yet it seemed to be tantalizing just out of reach the first month of the season. The Eagles everyone expected to see came in portions, a little here, a little there.

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The running game was in a funk, trying to move behind a makeshift offensive line. Nick Foles didn’t seem to trust himself when he threw the ball, the secondary was a joke, except for Malcolm Jenkins, and special teams and opportune defense created what appeared to be a 4-1 aberration.

Maybe it was the Eagles’ “Mean Machine” black-and-white look that stirred the team everyone was hoping to see finally surface. Whatever it was, the Eagles, LeSean McCoy, Foles and the Eagles’ offense arrived, along with a stout defense in pounding the Giants, 27-0, Sunday night at Lincoln Financial Field.

The Eagles enter the bye week sharing first place with the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East and they’re one of two teams in the NFC with 5-1 records, and one of three overall in the NFL (the San Diego Chargers being the other).

It was the largest margin of victory for the Eagles over the Giants since Dick Vermeil’s Birds chewed up the Giants 35-3 at Veterans Stadium on September 22, 1980—the Eagles’ Super Bowl year. The shutout was the Eagles first over the Giants since a 24-0 win on Dec. 1, 1996 at the Vet.

The significance of the Giants’ victory proved what this team is capable of when everything is working as it should.

“Everything works off the ground game, you see when [McCoy] goes off having a great game and that opens up everything else, and there’s also a calmness throughout the team because of the drives are sustained,” said tight end Zach Ertz, who caught three passes for 47 yards, including a nifty 15-yard outstretched TD catch in the first quarter.

“We got the run game and when we get the run game going, that sets up everything else. We are a run-first offense and that eases everything else up. Everything just clicked. Today was the first game we got the run game and you see what happens when McCoy gets going.”

A 97-yard, eight-play drive that ended in a Darren Sproles’ 15-yard touchdown with 5:26 left in the third quarter sealed the victory.

By then, the Eagles had stomped out a Foles’ interception with a goal-line stand, which had tragic implications for the Giants, who lost receiver Victor Cruz for the season with a torn patella tendon in his right knee.

Eli Manning, who had been so sharp during the Giants’ three-game winning streak throwing eight TDs and one interception, was made into a skittish mess. Entering the game, Manning had only been sacked six times this season. The Eagles sacked him eight times—five in the first half (Connor Barwin three sacks, Vinny Curry two sacks, and Trent Cole, Brandon Graham and Brandon Bair had one each).

“We played well because up front we were able to stop the run and on the back end, they were locked in, there were missed assignments, they played great,” Barwin said. “We got into situations that were manageable and we were able to rush the passer. We knew we wanted to put four good quarters up and we didn’t want to let them back in the game. That was definitely on our minds and in the fourth quarter.

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“This is the bar and we have to continue to play like this. It’s about improving. We can’t be satisfied with the way we played tonight.”

With 5:11 left to play, the Eagles had outgained the Giants, 444-145, with the disparity 199 to 52 on the ground. The Eagles finished with 448 total yards to the Giants’ 255, and a 203-to-85 edge on the ground.

Barwin said the reason that the Eagles were able to corral Manning was great coverage and the plays dialed up by defensive coordinator Billy Davis. The Eagles seemed to have Manning guessing.

“When we get [Manning] in manageable downs, it makes things easier,” Barwin said. “The Giants kind of shot themselves in the foot, too. They got first downs and then they got penalties. They helped us out a little as well.”

McCoy shredded the Giants defense, breaking the 100-yard barrier for the first time this year with a season-best 149 yards on 22 carries, including a pair of 18-yard carries and a 28-yard run. Foles was 21-of-34 for 248 yards and two touchdowns, with two interceptions. He hit all three tight ends for a combined eight receptions, for 118 yards and two touchdowns—one a 26-yard strike to James Casey.

“There were different options, we saw space and we made plays,” McCoy said. “We started off hitting them inside, gashing, gashing, and if you can get inside, they began moving in on the edges.”

The Eagles easily played their best half of football this season in rolling to a 20-0 halftime lead. The Eagles scored on four of their first seven possessions and held a 274-89 yardage edge. The Eagles had 15 first downs, and the Giants had just five, crossing midfield just once in seven drives.

Where has this version of the Eagles, the team so eagerly anticipated, been all of this time?

“You build on every week and things got corrected over that time,” Eagles corner Brandon Boykin said. “Every game is different and we came out with the mentality to be aggressive. You see what happens when we’re aggressive. We just have to keep that up. Anytime you get a great pass rush, you can play or press, and that’s what we did tonight.”



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