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3 things we learned about the Giants

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PHILADELPHIA — Just two weeks ago, the Philadelphia Eagles were 1-3 and in last place in NFC East.

Now the Eagles are 3-3 and in first place after beating the New York Giants 27-7 Monday night at Lincoln Financial Field.

The Eagles intercepted quarterback Eli Manning twice and returned one of the picks for a touchdown as they moved past the Giants in the division. Both teams are now 3-3, but head-to-head competition is the first tiebreaker, so the Eagles are alone in first for now. The third-place Dallas Cowboys (2-3) had a bye this week before playing the Giants next week.

“There’s no big secret to all of this — we’re just playing better football,” said linebacker DeMeco Ryans, who had one of the Eagles’ interceptions. “We got off to a slow start tonight on both sides of the ball, but we stuck with it and kept working, and good things started to happen.

“Now we have to build on this win and keep playing the way we’re capable of playing. We still haven’t put together 60 minutes of good football, and that’s our next challenge.”

The big play of the game came when Eagles cornerback Nolan Carroll picked off a Manning pass and returned it 17 yards for a touchdown that gave the Eagles a 14-7 lead in the second quarter. The Giants never scored again.

“That was just a terrible read by me,” Manning said of Carroll’s interception.

Manning, who completed his first 10 passes, finished 24 of 38 for 189 yards, one touchdown and the two interceptions. Manning, who was sacked just four times in the Giants’ first five games, was sacked three times Monday night and was penalized twice for intentional grounding.

“In the second quarter and throughout the second half, we just got outplayed,” Manning said.

What we learned about the Giants:

1. The team is not going anywhere unless the offensive line starts blocking better for Eli Manning. The quarterback threw only two interceptions and was sacked just four times in the Giants’ first five games, but he was intercepted twice and was sacked three times Monday night. Plus, the Giants’ running game never got untracked against the Eagles’ rugged front seven.

2. The big topic of conversation in the Giants’ locker room after the game was the mistakes they made, including 12 penalties, a lost fumble, the interceptions and the sacks. The Giants don’t have enough talent to overcome that many mistakes, especially since some of them came at critical times. “We didn’t bounce back well from those today,” defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins said of the mental errors. “We can’t win football games like that.”

3. The defense is going to keep giving up big plays and lots of points unless it can find a way to pressure the passer. The Giants came into the game ranked 29th in the NFL in sacks per pass play and they only had one sack of Eagles QB Sam Bradford on Monday night. It all starts up front, and the Giants are struggling there right now.

Etc.

–WR Odell Beckham Jr. needs help. The Pro Bowler, who missed practice last week with a sore hamstring, had seven receptions in the first half Monday and none in the second half, when he had just one pass throw in his direction. QB Eli Manning said one reason Beckham disappeared was the Eagles’ double coverage and the pressure from their pass rush didn’t give him time to find his favorite receiver. “They mixed it up,” Beckham said. “They did a great job rolling some coverages late. They did a good job disguising it and keeping it hidden until the last moment.”

–QB Eli Manning, who was off to one of his best seasons, was under the gun all night Monday, and neither his blockers, his receivers or his running backs did much to help him. The Eagles have had success against him in the past because they were able to pressure him into mistakes, and it happened again Monday night. “They rushed the passer well,” Giants coach Tom Coughlin said of the Eagles, “and we didn’t do a very good job of protecting.” Manning finished 24-for-38 for 189 yards with one touchdown pass and two interceptions.

–DL Damonte Moore made one of the biggest mistakes of the game when he was called for roughing the passer in the first quarter with the Giants leading 7-0. That came on third down and kept alive a drive that ended up in a Philadelphia touchdown. Giants coach Tom Coughlin called it “a very bad penalty.” Moore took complete blame for the boneheaded play. “It was just me having a poor football IQ and not being aware of the rules,” he said.


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