McAdoo a Better Job – Ten Takeaways from Eagles 34, Saquon Barkley 13

I laughed out loud when Giants fans began booing their team down 14-3 in the second quarter last night.

Why?

Because these were probably the same fans who threw a childish fit when Ben McAdoo benched Eli Manning for Geno Smith last season, whining to the high heavens because it brought an end to Eli’s streak of 210 consecutive starts for the Giants, who were 2-9 at the time and going nowhere quickly.

McAdoo lost the war and got himself fired. Manning is still calling the shots, yet the Giants continue to suck, and last night they fell to 1-5 with a 21-point home loss to a division rival.

I guess McAdoo knew what he was doing after all. Maybe New York fans were full of themselves, sentimentally clinging to a fading veteran when they had their shot at one of five franchise quarterbacks on the draft board back in April. Instead they went for a stud running back who will unfortunately waste the early portion of his career playing for a God-awful team.

It’s surely ironic, but also deserved. I bet a lot of those fans that cried about Eli’s demotion probably also booed him last night. You reap what you sow, and the Giants stubbornly sowed the seeds of future ass kickings, which are now bearing fruit. The G-Men now inherit from the Browns the role of NFL slump buster, the team you beat up on to get your season straightened out. They played that role to perfection last night, allowing the Eagles to find their groove with a comfortable divisional win that sees them pull back to .500 with a 3-3 record.

1) Carson Wentz

He made game-changing plays last night, plays that we didn’t see from him in week three or week four.

Starting with the first touchdown, he escaped the pocket, rolled to his right, and fired across his body for a score on a 3rd and 7.

Another play that stood out to me was the third down in the second half where he again moved to his right, held the play, and then spotted Nelson Agholor down the field to pick up a huge chunk of yards move the chains.

The franchise quarterback just looked a lot more like himself last night and started to show shades of 2017 Carson in completing 26 of 36 passes for 278 yards and three touchdowns. He picked out eight different targets and really connected with top receiver Alshon Jeffery, who caught two of those scores and eight of his 12 targets for 74 yards.

It’s now 11 career games with a 100+ passer rating for Carson, which is already 6th-most in Eagles history. He’s thrown 133 consecutive passes without an interception, which is the 3rd longest streak of his career, a streak he’ll break in week six if he throws three more without a pick.

That’s good stuff for a third year, 25-year-old quarterback coming off an ACL injury.

2) Play calling

Much better than it was four days ago.

The early lead allowed the Eagles to settle in with their running game and control the clock a bit, which in turn also allowed the defense to really get after Manning and force the Giants into a one-dimensional dink and dunk type of crap attack.

38 called pass plays to 29 runs is a really nice mix, a 57-43 ratio. That’s just about perfect, and it’s what the Eagles typically finished with last year, usually 60-40 pass/run for the middle chunk of the season when they were just ripping teams apart.

Wendell Smallwood ran the ball 18 times and Corey Clement 11 times, so they got through relatively unscathed without having to risk Clement too much in his return from injury. Clement was on a “pitch count,” so to speak, and was limited coming into this game.

I particularly thought this was a really nice play call, sort of a tunnel/bubble wide receiver screen for Jeffery, but at the goal line:

Really poor effort from the Giants there, but nice design from Doug, and actually stolen from the New England Patriots and inserted into the Eagles playbook this week. 

3) Situational football and auxiliary wins

They really struggled in this department on Sunday, and let me dump that in here for reference.

versus Vikings:

  • lost time of possession, 33 minutes to 27 minutes
  • -1 turnover margin
  • 2 for 9 on third down (22.2% conversion rate)
  • allowed Minnesota to go 4-9 on third down (36.4%)
  • lost 28 yards on three sacks
  • 2 for 5 success rate in red zone
  • 8 penalties for 52 yards
  • allowed a defensive touchdown

versus Giants:

  • won time of possession, 32.5 minutes to 27.5 minutes
  • +1 turnover margin
  • 9-16 on third down (56.3%)
  • allowed New York to go 4-14 on third down (28.6%)
  • lost 7 yards on 1 sack
  • 4 for 6 success rate in red zone
  • 4 penalties for 25 yards
  • no special teams or defensive touchdowns allowed

Literally every single one of those areas was improved upon last night, and these are the kinds of things that win you football games. Wentz was especially fantastic on third down, a carryover of the situational football smarts we saw from him last season.

4) The offensive line

They certainly picked it up after a poor week five, allowing just one sack and five quarterback hits, three of which took place during the first two drives.

Jason Peters, however, cannot stay on the field, and it might be time to just let JP ride off into the sunset as the Eagles hand the left tackle reins to Big V and Jordan Mailata:

The biggest positive is that Lane Johnson made it through the game with the bum ankle and now gets to rest up for nine full days. Isaac Seumalo also did fine at left guard and laid a nice block on Corey Clement’s touchdown run, with Clement just following the left side of the line into the end zone:

Obviously Johnson needs to stay healthy going forward. Last night was a positive step for the line, but if Peters can’t play with the bicep, you’ve got Big V on the left, and if Johnson misses time, you have to pull Seumalo over to right tackle and put Stefen Wisniewski back at left guard. I don’t know how far this team goes with a pair of backup tackles on the field, one of whom is not even a tackle.

5) I’m on a boat

The Giants are 4-19 since taking this photo:

You also saw Odell Beckham Jr. hit the locker room early before halftime. He lied and said it had to do with “hydration.” Maybe he’s thirsty for a new quarterback.

There was another situation where he started yelling at a fan, not a New York Giants supporter, but an actual mechanical fan on the sidelines:

After the game, I appreciated Martellus Bennett telling Joe Buck and Troy Aikman to “shut the fuck up” –

That’s a  take. Can’t say I disagree, but OBJ is just a shitty leader overall. He’s not the problem, but he says and does stupid things that don’t help his case.

And if it feels like no one is talking about the Eagles this morning, you sensed that correctly, because 99% of what I’m hearing is focused on how bad the Giants are. Hell, that was the first four paragraphs of this story, plus the headline.

That’s not to take anything from the Eagles, not at all, but New York truly is a raging dumpster fire at this point.

I made this terrible image last night of the Cowboys and Giants as dumpster fires in a modified Spider Man meme:

Not my best work. I put about five seconds into building this, same amount of time the Giants spent building their offensive line.

6) Jalen Mills

The first play in which he stood out was when he whiffed on Barkley’s big run in the first quarter, the 46 yarder that set up the field goal. Mills was 12 yards deep on the play, lined up almost behind safety Malcolm Jenkins if you can believe it.

In the second quarter, he gave up the 39-yard pass to Cody Latimer, which was the only completion he allowed that went more than ten yards.

Again he was pretty good in the red zone, keyed by that pass break up on OBJ in the corner. He finished with two PBUs and actually led the Eagles with 10 tackles.

I’ll go through the film later today and next week, but it looked like Jim Schwartz had his corners playing a little more press coverage in this game, which you can afford to do when you’re playing with a lead. The defensive line also did a really nice job of getting to Manning, which took some pressure off the secondary. The only really bad thing I saw from the defense overall was Nigel Bradham and Rasul Douglas getting cooked on the Saquon Barkley touchdown run.

7) Refereeing

It was alright.

They missed a helmet-to-helmet collision on the third drive, when Clement was stuffed near the goal line. Officials also didn’t flag Sidney Jones when he got his feet tied up with a receiver in the end zone on the Giants’ second drive. Seemed like a good no-call to me, because I don’t think Jones had his hand on the opponent.

I swear I also saw a facemask on DeAndre Carter’s third or fourth punt return, the one where he broke a tackle and picked up an extra yard or two.

Michael Bennett, on the roughing the passer, I mean, whatever. It’s the weight rule, you know? He didn’t try to break his fall, and that now gets you a whistle in the modern day NFL:

The penalty called against the Giants for bringing down Wentz was much worse, because it was basically a grab and takedown, like a Judo throw on the football field.

Good camera angle also on the Smallwood fumble that was overturned. I think we made it through this game relatively unscathed from an officiating perspective. It also helps when you’re beating the tar out of the other team.

8) Doug’s best call?

Kicking the field goal before halftime made a lot of sense. At that point New York was pretty much cooked, so take the points there and don’t give them anything that might provide the slightest momentum change or glimmer of hope.

I also think the decision to hurry up to the line and run the ball after the iffy Zach Ertz first down catch in the third quarter was really smart. No Giants challenge there because the Birds kept it moving.

9) Doug’s worst call?

I don’t think he had any poor calls. I’m not sure what the hell that was with the 3rd and 5 run/pass option in the fourth quarter that Wentz threw to Ertz behind the line of scrimmage. Looks like they sort of jumbled the hand off and the timing was botched.

Doug looked pretty dialed in. The glasses were a pretty sharp look. I think he has a little bit of Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg going on here:

Photo Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

10) Joe Buck and Troy Aikman

Again I thought they were fine. Buck has a little bit of a sardonic side to him that pops up if you pay attention closely. I think he’s more wily and clever than most people realize.

I think the takeaway from the broadcast was those weird Tide commercials featuring the broadcast crew. What was the deal with that?

Agree with Sludge. I actually would prefer Tide pod eating to watching another one of those commercials.

The Aladdin trailer was also interesting. Goofy commercial night overall. I’d prefer a Joe Cordell advertisement or maybe Barbera’s on the Boulevard moving forward.

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