Week 11 Game Recap: Philadelphia Eagles 17, New York Giants 27
What you need to know
The Eagles entered this game reeling, having first suspended their top wide receiver (WR Terrell Owens) and then losing their Pro Bowl QB Donovan McNabb for this game, and possibly longer. Adding insult to injury, Philadelphia had lost three games in a row for the first time this century, an occurrence that had not happened since 1999.
RB Brian Westbrook was featured early in the game plan, but this came as no surprise to the Giants’ defense. New York held Westbrook to just 24 all purpose yards in the first half. He was able to contribute more after halftime, finishing with over 100 total yards, but he did not score. Westbrook was stopped on a 14 yard carry at the one yard line.
QB Mike McMahon stepped into the starting role with a career record of just 1-6. He looked shaky throughout the first half, scrambling early and often in the face of the Giants defensive pressure. McMahon hurried often and fumbled the ball three times in the game, but was fortunate not to lose possession on any of the miscues. He later settled down and threw for over 200 yards and a score in the second half, amassing 298 total passing yards. McMahon also added 31 rushing yards and a one yard touchdown dive.
TE L.J. Smith caught seven passes for 84 yards, becoming the first receiver to catch a pass from a fellow Rutgers alumnus in NFL history. Both he and QB McMahon attended Rutgers at the same time.
Rookie WR Reggie Brown was the leading receiver, catching three balls for 88 yards and a touchdown.
New York was focused on righting their ship against the defending division and NFC champs after their poor showing against Minnesota in Week 10. With the Eagles lacking their Pro Bowl QB Donovan McNabb and WR Terrell Owens, the focus was on stopping RB Brian Westbrook and forcing backup QB Mike McMahon to try and beat them.
For those who have not noticed, the Giants also have a Pro Bowl candidate player under center for their offense. QB Eli Manning has thrown for a touchdown in 11 consecutive games, the longest streak of any NFL quarterback. Manning continued that streak times three, connecting with WRs Amani Toomer and Plaxico Burress and also TE Jeremy Shockey. Burress racked up over 100 yards and sealed the game with the final score, a 61 yard catch and run in the final quarter.
RB Tiki Barber had another 100 yard rushing game and also caught his 500th career pass as a Giant. Barber is one of only two Giants to record 500 catches, and it just so happens his teammate joined him in that club in the same game. WR Amani Toomer’s first catch was also his 500th career catch.
RB Brandon Jacobs was given another goal line opportunity, but failed to capitalize after three attempts from the one yard line. He finished with three carries and zero yards.
The Giants’ defense came into the game looking to continue record setting performances. New York had given up zero touchdowns, nine points and 400 total yards in the last three games combined. Their defensive prowess continued until the second half, where the Eagles finally found the end zone.
What you ought to know
|QB Mike McMahon, Pass: 18 - 39 - 298 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 9 - 31 - 1|
McMahon started his first game of the year for the Eagles, and he looked unsure of himself for most of the first half. He scrambled often after one or two reads, and he even had trouble holding on to the ball on several occasions. McMahon fumbled three times, one as a result of a sack, but the others were either failed exchanges or just mishandling the ball. The Eagles recovered all three, but the third cost the Eagles a good scoring opportunity as they moved backwards from a first and goal at the Giants’ one yard line.
McMahon started by completing just two of nine passes in the first quarter, and finished the first half having completed only five of 15 attempts for 81 yards and an interception. The second half showed marked improvement, as he completed not just more passes but also longer passes. McMahon had over 200 yards passing in the second half, completing three balls for 88 yards to WR Reggie Brown and another six to TE L.J. Smith for 78 more. McMahon continued to show quickness around the pocket and scrambling abilities. He ran nine times for 31 yards, including a leap from the New York one yard line for a touchdown.
McMahon also became the first player in NFL history to complete a pass to a fellow alumnus of Rutgers when he completed a pass to TE L.J. Smith.
Westbrook came into the game as the number one offensive threat for Philadelphia, and both the Eagles and the Giants knew it. He was targeted five times in the first quarter alone, mostly on screens or dump passes, and none of them were completed either due to deflections by the defense or due to pressure on QB McMahon.
Westbrook was given nine carries in the first half, but he was so well defended that he only gained 13 yards. His production increased after halftime, as the Eagles called runs on passing downs and motioned or lined Westbrook up as a wide receiver. Westbrook finished the day with respectable numbers, gaining 123 all purpose yards on 20 touches.
Westbrook nearly scored on a 14 yard run in the fourth quarter, but landed just inside the one yard line. QB McMahon scored on a leaping carry on the next play.
Gordon was used sparingly, carrying the ball just four times for four total yards.
|WR Greg Lewis, Rush: 1 - 5 - 0, Rec: 3 - 64 - 0 (7 targets)|
Lewis started his day with a leaping one handed catch for 25 yards as he was looking back directly into the sun. Lewis added another catch of 34 yards in the second quarter and another for five in the fourth. Lewis was the intended receiver on the Eagles’ final possession on fourth down, but Lewis could not pick a low pass from QB Mike McMahon and it fell incomplete.
Brown is trying to establish himself as the Eagles’ legitimate deep threat. All three of his receptions were for 22 yards or more, and three of the incompletions that went in his direction traveled 20 yards or more downfield. Brown caught a 22 yard touchdown in the third quarter on a skinny post, and added a 44 yard catch on the next drive. His last catch was another 22 yarder in the final quarter. Brown also gained 15 yards for the Eagles by drawing pass interference in the third quarter four plays before his scoring catch.
McMullen caught one pass for five yards in the first quarter, and also drew a pass interference penalty in the end zone from the Giants that helped to set up a short field goal by PK David Akers.
Smith seemed to click well with QB Mike McMahon, but those who know their careers should not be surprised. Both are Rutgers alumnae, having played together for the State University of New Jersey.
Smith’s chemistry with McMahon helped him to be the most targeted receiver for the Eagles in Week 11. Smith caught seven passes for 84 yards, mostly in the final quarter. He grabbed six of his seven catches in the last 15 minutes, amassing 78 of his 84 total yards.
Akers was perfect for the day until his final field goal attempt. Akers lined up for a 38 yard attempt in the final minute that would have drawn the Eagles to within a touchdown of tying the game, but the kick sailed wide right. His other success was from a meager 20 yards.
Philadelphia had a goal line stand against the Giants and RB Brandon Jacobs, as they stopped him from one yard away from the end zone three times in a row. The defense yielded just one big run, a 55 yard dash by RB Tiki Barber in the third quarter. Aside from that one long run, the Giants only gained 60 yards despite 28 attempts. New York gained just three first downs rushing.
The Eagles were surprisingly successful in creating pressure on QB Eli Manning when rushing only four down lineman. DE Jevon Kearse had three sacks in the first half, and rookie LB Trent Cole added two more as Philadelphia amassed five total sacks. The pressure did not continue after halftime, and as a result New York put up two touchdowns and 149 yards through the air in the final 30 minutes.
|QB Eli Manning, Pass: 17 - 26 - 218 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 7 - 0|
Manning was under a lot of pressure for most of the first half, as Philadelphia’s defensive line sacked him four times in the first two quarters. Manning fumbled on two of those sacks, but New York retained possession each time.
Manning had only eight completions and 69 yards in the first half, but did manage to convert a fourth down and goal into a one yard touchdown pass to WR Amani Toomer. The offense behind Manning improved in the second half thanks to better protection and more time in the pocket. He hit both TE Jeremy Shockey for a one yard touchdown and WR Plaxico Burress for a 61 yard score.
|RB Tiki Barber, Rush: 21 - 112 - 0, Rec: 2 - 22 - 0 (3 targets)|
Barber had a tough first half as a ball carrier, gaining only 33 yards on 11 carries. His numbers increased dramatically in the second half, mostly due to his 55 yard run in the third quarter. Barber broke through the line untouched and was off to the races, but it should be noted that he does not appear to have a high end gear as he was ran down by DB Rod Hood.
Barber was the running back of choice for the Giants all game, except for near the goal line. Barber was standing on the sidelines when the Giants recovered a blocked punt at the Eagle one yard line. RB Brandon Jacobs was given three consecutive chances to score, and he failed to gain any yards. Barber re-entered the game on the fourth down attempt (a pass play for a touchdown), and Jacobs was not used again.
Barber also caught two short passes in the first half for 22 yards, and was targeted on a screen attempt that was tipped by Philadelphia at the line of scrimmage.
Jacobs is supposed to be the goal line specialist for the Giants. HC Tom Coughlin may want to revisit that decision, as Jacobs was brought into the game with New York facing a first and goal from the one yard line. Jacobs ran the ball straight up the middle three times, and every time he failed to gain a yard. Jacobs appears to run too upright and is not taking advantage of his size or power. On all three carries he was met at the line and stopped dead in his tracks.
The three goal line carries were the only opportunities that Jacobs had to touch the ball in Week 11.
On the rare instances that RB Tiki Barber was removed for a breather, Ward came in. For example, Barber broke off a long 55 yard run in the third quarter, and the next play Ward was in. Ward carried the ball just twice and lost yardage each time.
Finn was the intended recipient of two short passes coming out of the backfield in the second half. The first pass was knocked away by the Eagles’ defensive line, and the second was completed for an 11 yard gain and a first down.
Burress started the game slow, catching just one pass before halftime despite four first half targets. The Giants thought that he made a great sideline catch in the Philadelphia red zone, so they challenged the incomplete pass ruling on the field. Replay showed that his feet did not stay in bounds so Burress lost what would have been about a 30 yard catch.
Burress caught three of four balls thrown his way in the third quarter, including a 17 yard catch going across the middle of the field. After catching another ball for 14 yards, he finished his day with the biggest catch of the game. Burress reeled in a 61 yard pass for a touchdown that was the final score of the contest. His touchdown put New York up by two scores once again and took away most of the Eagles’ comeback hopes.
Toomer had another active game for the Giants, tying WR Plaxico Burress for the most targets. Toomer had his first chance skip off of his hands, and his second fell incomplete as well but he did get his team 46 yards by drawing a rather questionable pass interference penalty. Toomer was a perfect six for six on his next targets, gaining 58 yards. The biggest of the six catches was a fourth down and goal touchdown reception in the second quarter.
Toomer had two more targets for the game and drew another pass interference penalty in the end zone that set up TE Jeremy Shockey’s one yard touchdown catch.
Shockey almost saw his 48 consecutive games with a reception streak come to an end, as he failed to catch a ball in the first half. Finally in the fourth quarter he caught his only catchable target, and he made the most of the reception. Shockey got open for QB Eli Manning and caught a one yard touchdown.
Shiancoe caught one pass for 15 yards and a first down in the second quarter.
Feely was perfect in his kicking efforts, converting three extra points and two short field goals of 26 and 27 yards.
The Giants knew that the Eagles gained 181 yards rushing in Week 10, and the focus had to be on RB Brian Westbrook with QB Donovan McNabb and WR Terrell Owens out. New York held Westbrook to just 13 yards on nine first half attempts. As Philadelphia started gaining yards through the air after halftime, the Eagles started to gain ground on rushes as well. New York stood firm and although the Eagles gained over 100 yards and scored once, their average was just three and a half yards a carry.
New York held QB Mike McMahon to under a 50% completion rate despite allowing nearly 300 yards passing. McMahon was under consistent pressure all game as the Giants forced three fumbles and intercepted one pass. The Giants held McMahon to a low 70.1 rating, evidence that they held Philadelphia’s passing game in check. The Giants failed to sack McMahon, but that was more a testament to his elusiveness than their lack of pressure.