On Further Review: Maclin, Avant clear path to history
Here are some observations and ruminations about Sunday's wild Eagles victory over the Giants: Blocking stars We all know the Eagles receivers can catch. What gets far less attention is how spectacularly they block.
Here are some observations and ruminations about Sunday's wild Eagles victory over the Giants:
We all know the Eagles receivers can catch. What gets far less attention is how spectacularly they block.
Jeremy Maclin, who caught two touchdowns Sunday, helped create a third with a big hit on the Giants' Terrell Thomas, clearing out the last man on Brent Celek's 65-yard touchdown.
"Maclin does an outstanding job. Best that I've seen since I've been here," said fellow receiver Jason Avant.
Avant did just as well on the game's final play. With the Eagles playing for a punt return, Avant was the one true punt rusher, there just to keep the Giants honest. But after charging ahead, he got back to throw a key final block, springing DeSean Jackson for the winning score.
Getting after Vick
The Giants' defensive game plan was obvious early: Hit Michel Vick. And it worked on the Eagles early.
Deon Grant slammed the quarterback on the Eagles' first offensive play, reprising a role he played in the first meeting between these teams.
On second down, Vick was chased from the pocket and made an ill-advised throw, which was intercepted. The Eagles' defense held, but it was a message that the Giants weren't afraid to go after No. 7.
The Eagles love to fool their opponents with odd formations - and at times it works - but on Sunday it backfired a few times.
The Eagles ran out seven defensive backs several times in the first half, featuring four safeties. That meant rookie seventh-round pick Kurt Coleman got on the field, along with special-teams star Colt Anderson, who, until Sunday, had never played a defensive down in his NFL career.
The results were ugly.
The Giants beat the seven defensive backs on third and 11 and then on third and 8 for their first touchdown. Later, the Giants converted another third down against the formation when end Trent Cole was dropped into coverage, even though the scheme had seven other guys who make their living covering receivers and only four pass rushers.
The Eagles were using seven defensive backs when rookie Nate Allen suffered a freak knee injury. That was the end of his game - and that formation.
Andy Reid will be criticized for a number of decisions he made in this game. Not challenging a completion to Hakeem Nicks in the first half - it was a drop - may go to the top of the list. But his choice to have Michael Vick drop back with 22 seconds left in the first half was the most costly. A play earlier, Vick gained only 1 yard with a scramble.
The Eagles offense gave it a shot. But it was time to shut it down and have Vick take a knee. But, no, Reid had to show how explosive the Eagles' offense was, and he had Vick throw. The pass was completed to Jeremy Maclin. (At least it was ruled so.)
But he fumbled away the ball, and the Giants scored a touchdown with five seconds to go on the ensuing possession. So instead of going into the half down by 17-3, Reid and the Eagles trailed by 21 points.