The Giants looked as if they were finally going to turn the corner, with quarterback Eli Manning was initially hurling beautiful spirals to Hakeem Nicks. But after Sunday’s demoralizing 36-21 loss to the Eagles, it looks like the only thing spiraling for Big Blue is their season down the drain.
The Eagles (2-3) had an answer for the Giants (0-5) in every facet of the game. It didn’t matter that starting quarterback Michael Vick couldn’t finish the game as he was dealing with a left hamstring issue. Backup Nick Foles promptly came to the rescue and finished 16-of-25 with 197 yards and two scores. Foles entered the game on the Eagles’ final drive before the half and led them on a drive that culminated with a short Alex Henery field goal.
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Foles’s biggest play came when he hit speedy wideout DeSean Jackson for 21 yards on a flag route on the penultimate play of the first half. Foles was 7-of-8 on the drive, looking every bit as efficient in head coach Chip Kelly’s uptempo attack as Vick.
The Eagles had an answer to the red-hot Victor Cruz, even if it did open things up for Nicks (nine catches for 142 yards) and Rueben Randle (six catches for 96 yards and two scores). Cruz had a tough time getting in rhythm, netting only five receptions for 48 yards. Cruz’s opposite number, Jackson, was able to post big numbers against a depleted Giants secondary as he notched seven catches for 132 yards.
Jackson’s shining moment came when he shook loose of cornerback Prince Amukamara with a double-move in the end zone that resulted in a 5-yard touchdown reception — and promptly mocked Cruz’s “salsa dance” end zone celebration. The score essentially salted away the game, as it gave the Eagles a 36-21 lead with 8:46 remaining in regulation.
Manning was battered and bruised and alone on an island without a running game as he finished 24-of-52 for 334 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions.
What we learned ...
1. Where's Wilson?
The Giants saw missed opportunities galore in the game, starting with missed blocks on passing plays when Manning had receivers open down field. Running back David Wilson, who didn’t return after halftime due to a neck injury, was mainly a spectator even when he was in the game because of his ineffectiveness in rushing for 16 yards on six carries or pass blocking. Not even the Vick injury could help the Giants’ cause, as Foles was efficient in relief. The Giants defense also held the Eagles’ explosive offense in relative check, but couldn’t capitalize because of an offense that was offensive.
2. Line of no return
Heading into the season, the Giants offensive line was a major question mark, due to age, injury and ability at key spots. But after five weeks of watching Manning run for his life and failing to open up running lanes for any of the Giants’ tailbacks, this unit may end up being historically bad this season. Manning was only sacked once, but he was harried often — including on all three plays that resulted in an interception — was knocked down more than he cared to be and even picked up a few intentional grounding penalties.
3. Not in a rush
The Giants’ running game may be the worst in the league, which is certainly aiding in Manning’s awful season. Wilson left with a neck injury and didn’t return for the second half. Brandon Jacobs’s best days are behind him if his 37 yards rushing are any indication. Da’Rel Scott was recently released, meaning the only 100-percent healthy body behind Jacobs is rookie Michael Cox. And while he flashed some great moves in preseason and training camp, the Giants’ staff is unlikely to entrust a player who was the second-to-last player drafted this past spring and very unproven.
Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.