NYG-PHI: Sloppy NFC East matchup leaves both at 3-3
Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Eagles’ 27-7 victory over the Giants on Monday Night Football:
– After a rough start to the season, last night was a breakout for this new look Philadelphia offensive line, paving the way for DeMarco Murray’s (+0.2) first 100-yard game as an Eagle. Led by LT Jason Peters (+4.7) the Eagles’ line looked back to its physical best, gaining vertical movement on their double-teams to open up big lanes for running backs (Murray and Ryan Mathews), particularly on the drive that led to Murray’s touchdown. All five offensive linemen earned a positive grade this week, paving the way for Murray and company to gain 91 of their 158 rushing yards before contact.
– The signs are still showing in flashes for Sam Bradford (-0.8). A real breakthrough would catapult the Eagles even further forwards, but costly mistakes are still limiting his progress. His deep pass to Riley Cooper for his lone touchdown was one of a trio of downfield completions that were offset by a trio of downfield interceptions (one overthrown, one forced, one miscommunication). This performance was indicative of the work Bradford and the Eagles still have to do to realize their full potential.
– A sixth straight positive grade of the season moves Fletcher Cox inside our top 5 graded 3-4 defensive ends at this early stage of the season. Cox added four stops to his season total, including his fifth sack of the season, which came early in the third quarter, driving through Giants’ RG Geoff Schwartz (-0.7) to force a fumble from Eli Manning (-3.9), bringing a swift end to the Giants’ first drive of the second half.
LT Jason Peters (+4.7)
DE Fletcher Cox (+4.2)
OLB Brandon Graham (+3.0)
RT Lane Johnson (+2.8)
S Malcolm Jenkins (+2.4)
New York Giants
– Only two quarterbacks sit below Eli Manning (-3.9) in terms of overall grade after the first six weeks of the season, as Manning turned in a third straight poor start. After a strong start, culminating with a well-placed touchdown pass to Odell Beckham Jr. (+1.1) for a touchdown, the wheels fell off for Manning and the Giants. His pick six was baffling to say the least and he did nothing to overcome that the rest of the way.
– The support around him was lacking, but DT Johnathan Hankins (+4.6) turned in the kind of quality all-round display that has made him one of the better defensive tackles in the league over the last two seasons. Hankins registered a batted pass and four hurries in the passing game, while giving all he had against the Eagles’ interior in what, at times, seemed to be a lonely effort to stop the Philadelphia ground game.
– It’s rare that a player contributes in all three phases of the game these days, but that was the case for Nikita Whitlock last night, contributing (not always positively) on offense (+0.9), defense (+0.9) and special teams (0.0). Starting with a low note, it was Whitlock’s running into the kicker penalty that re-started a drive that ultimately led to DeMarco Murray’s rushing touchdown after the defense had forced a three and out. Whitlock worked hard to offset that throughout the game with some solid lead blocking, two tackles on special teams, and his fifth pressure of the season on only 31 defensive snaps.
DT Johnathan Hankins (+4.6)
LB J.T. Thomas (+1.5)
LG Justin Pugh (+1.2)
WR Odell Beckham Jr. (+1.1)
FB/DT Nikita Whitlock (+0.9 offense; +0.9 defense)