Unlike their previous two games, where nothing seemed to go right for the Philadelphia Eagles. On Thursday night, everything went their way as they dominated the New York Giants in all three phases of the game en route to a 34-13 victory.
The Eagles made their presence felt immediately as the defense came up with an interception on Giants quarterback Eli Manning. From there, it did not take long for them to get on the board as quarterback Carson Wentz found wide receiver Alshon Jeffery in the back of the end zone for a touchdown.
Philadelphia played with a lot of confidence on both sides of the football, which should help them in their next game against the Carolina Panthers. With the victory, the Eagles are now 3-3 on the season and have their first victory on the road.
Here are three takeaways from the Eagles’ first NFC East win:
1. Carson Wentz shines on the road
After a disappointing performance last Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings, the Eagles’ offense needed to come out strong versus New York. To the surprise of no one, Wentz and Co. lit up the scoreboard at MetLife and had their way with the Giants’ secondary.
The third-year signal caller completed 72.2 percent of his passes for 278 yards, three touchdowns, and zero interceptions. Wentz did a great job of hitting his wide receivers in stride and made it an emphasis to get Jeffery involved often.
The former second overall pick was also impressive on third down, which was key in helping the Eagles win. Wentz was 12-of-13 for 169 yards and two touchdowns. If he can replicate this performance throughout the rest of the season, you have to like Philly’s chances.
2. Smallwood, Clement steps up at RB
On a short week, there was a lot of concerned about who would step up at running back without Jay Ajayi. Ajayi tore his ACL last Sunday against Minnesota and will be out for the rest of the season.
Head coach Doug Pederson did not shy away from the run game on Thursday night and made it a point to run both Corey Clement and Wendell Smallwood.
Clement, who missed the last two games with a quad injury had 43 yards on 11 carries and a touchdown, along with three receptions for 26 yards. Smallwood, however, pitched in with 51 yards on a career-high 18 carries.
Both young running backs showcased their toughness by running the ball in between the tackles against a Giants’ defense, which had given up 124.4 yards per game on the ground.
3. Defense gets their act together
Over the last few weeks, the Eagles’ defense has been under the microscope, specifically the secondary. They have not done a good job at tackling and allowed too many big plays through the air.
However, against New York, the defense went back to their back-but-don’t-break style and it helped them secure the victory.
Philly’s defensive line put immense pressure on Manning, sacking him four times and racking up 13 quarterback hits.
In addition to Manning, the secondary did an impeccable job covering wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepherd. In their Week 3 matchup last season, Beckham Jr. and Shepard went off for a combined 16 receptions for 212 yards and three touchdowns.
That was not the case on Thursday night as cornerbacks Ronald Darby, Jalen Mills, and Sidney Jones held their own against the Giants’ talented wideout tandem. Beckham Jr. only had six receptions for 44 yards, while Shepard had a modest three receptions for 44 yards.
Nevertheless, the defense did have trouble containing rookie running back Saquon Barkley. The second overall pick had three plays of 40 plus yards, including a 50-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
The former Penn State running back had a ridiculous 229 yards of total yards, which is unheard of from a rookie playing in his sixth career game.
Now with the proverbial monkey off of their backs, Philadelphia needs to replicate this performance next week against the Carolina Panthers. They might not score the same amount of points next week, but they need to show the same amount of urgency, awareness, and execution.