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November 06, 2016

Instant observations: Giants 28, Eagles 23

The Eagles had a rough first half up in East Rutherford, and they were forced to play catch up in a critical NFC East battle. And just when you thought the Giants were going to run out the clock and hand the Eagles their fourth loss, Jordan Hicks made a huge play and the Manning Face came out:

Carson Wentz was given a golden opportunity to engineer a fourth-quarter comeback, and yet again, the rookie quarterback and the Eagles offense came up short. The New York Giants defeated the Eagles 28-23, sending the Birds to 0-3 in the NFC East in the process. There was no Miracle at the Meadowlands 3.

In the end, it didn’t feel like the Eagles deserved to win the game but they were handed plenty of opportunities to do just that. Here’s some of what I saw:

The good

•    With the Eagles defense surrendering yardage and down eight points in the fourth quarter, Nolan Carroll made a huge play, reading the slant route perfectly, ripping the ball from Odell Beckham, and maintaining control of the ball:

•    And later, on the most important snap of the game, with the Giants a first down away from a victory, Hicks came up with that incredible snag after the deflection by Connor Barwin.

•    Darren Sproles didn’t make many big plays in the running game, but he was the Eagles’ workhorse with 57 yards on 13 carries.

•    Zach Ertz still has a frustrating habit of avoiding contact, but it’s hard to hate on his production today: eight catches for 97 yards.

•    The Giants only managed 54 rushing yards on 24 attempts.

The bad

•    Overall, this was an up-and-down performance for Jim Schwartz’s defense, which also deserves some of the blame. The pass rush had trouble getting to Manning (four touchdowns) at times, which can’t happen when the Giants receivers are matched up against the Eagles secondary.

•    As well as Sproles has played, it’s unlikely that a 33-year-old back that stands at 5-foot-6 and 190 pounds can keep up with this type of workload. The Eagles need to get their other backs more involved.

•    Wentz finished 27-47 for 364 yards with zero touchdowns and two interceptions. He settled down and played better after the two picks, but despite what happened a few weeks ago against Minnesota, this Eagles team isn’t built to overcome such major mistakes.

•    Given the opportunity to steal the game, the Eagles offense couldn’t get it done.

The ugly

•    Doug Pederson’s play calling was very questionable. Here is one glaring example: After failing with the read option in big spots multiple times earlier in the game, Pederson again dialed it up on a crucial 3rd and 4. Shockingly, it didn’t pick up the first down. Not only did the read option plays not work, they never really had a chance.

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann