By Kevin McGuire
The Philadelphia Eagles shutout the New York Giants for the first time since 1996 on Sunday night with a national television audience tuning in. It was quite the performance as the Eagles improved to 5-1 following a 20-0 victory over the visiting Giants. With a couple of minor exceptions, it was a flawless performance by the Eagles as they enter the bye week on a high note.
Nick Foles got off to a hot start leading the offense down field with ease. Foles completed 21 of his 34 pass attempts for 248 yards and a pair of touchdowns, giving him a much better performance overall than his New York counterpart, Eli Manning. Foles was sacked once for a minor loss of three yards and he was picked off twice, including once in the red zone. His second interception set the Giants up deep in Eagles territory, but the defense came through with a big stop in the third quarter. After the game Foles admitted his mistakes and committed to improving going forward, but the difference having a stable offensive line in front of him was evident. Grade: B
Speaking of that offensive line, it sure helped to allow the running game to finally get going. The Eagles rushed for 203 yards against a Giants defense that had held three opponents to fewer than 100 yards this season. LeSean McCoy set the tone early on and ended the night with 149 rushing yards, although he did not score a touchdown. Darren Sproles added 39 yards and a touchdown before getting dinged. The Eagles receivers performed well too by catching most of the passes thrown their way by Foles. Foles distributed the ball well, with seven different players catching a pass. Zach Ertz had a terrific touchdown catch in the first half and James Casey added another later. In all, the Eagles rolled up 448 total yards of offense and 24 first downs. The Eagles did have just four third-down conversions out of 13, but there was plenty more good on Sunday night. Grade: A
The Eagles defense played its best game of the season, from start to finish. Philadelphia held New York to 253 yards and 12 first downs and did a terrific job of getting off the field on third downs. The Giants converted just two third downs out of 14 conversion attempts, and the Giants failed on a fourth down from the Eagles three-yard line. New York losing wide receiver Victor Cruz made things a bit easier for the Eagles secondary, but the line up front was dominant as well. The Eagles defense recorded six sacks of Eli Manning and two more on back-up Ryan Nassib late in the game. Connor Barwin had three sacks and Vinny Curry had two as well. The Giants were only able to rush for 85 yards as well after giving up 343 rushing yards the last two weeks. Grade: A+
They did it again! Well, sort of. The special teams managed to get their hands on a punt from Giants punter Steve Weatherford, but this week saw no touchdown scored by the special teams unit. Rookie kicker Cody Parkey did connect on each of his two field goal attempts though, including a long one from 45 yards out, and he converted three extra-point attempts. Punter Donnie Jones continues to perform well as well, with five of six punts landing inside the 20-yard line Sunday night. Grade: A
Flyin’ High As They Hit The Bye
The Eagles soar into their bye week with the best record in the NFL. At 5-1, the Eagles are tied for the lead in the NFC East with the Dallas Cowboys. The San Diego Chargers are also 5-1 for the best record in the AFC. The Eagles are now 4-0 at home as well as 2-0 in NFC East play. The Eagles could not be entering the bye week feeling too much better than they do, but challenges await after the week off.
The Eagles will get back to the field in two weeks on the road against the Arizona Cardinals, currently sitting in first place in the NFC West at 4-1. After that is a trip to Houston to play the Texans, and then the Eagles finally return home on November 10 for Monday night football against Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. Chip Kelly vs. Newton offers another good college football flashback, but we will touch on that more in a few more weeks.
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Kevin McGuire is a Philadelphia area sports writer covering the Philadelphia Eagles and college football. McGuire is a member of the FWAA and National Football Foundation. Follow McGuire on Twitter @KevinOnCFB. His work can be found on Examiner.com.