Instant Observations: Eagles-Giants

Eagles defense the story of the game.

Courtesy of USA Today

Courtesy of USA Today

Here’s what we saw during the Eagles’ 27-7 win over the Giants from the Linc, which puts them in first place in the NFC East:

* Billy Davis‘ defense stole the show, coming up with three takeaways, four sacks and big play after big play to shut down what had been an effective Giants attack coming in. They dominated despite playing opposite an Eagles offense that turned the ball over four times.

*Sam Bradford was responsible for three of those turnovers. He ended 24-of-38 for 280 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions (61.3 rating). Threw a bad interception midway through the second, sailing a pass well high of Zach Ertz and into the chest of Jayron Hosley, and added two more in the second half — including one in the end zone that again was intended for Ertz. Bradford now has nine interception on the young season, second only to Peyton Manning (12).

*Fortunately for the Eagles, the ‘D’ was up for the challenge.

Nolan Carroll returned an Eli Manning offering 17 yards to put the Eagles out in front early in the second quarter. Carroll was originally on Rueben Randle but switched off him to pick up Manning’s intended target, Dwayne Harris. Carroll read the play and jumped a quick pass to the left sideline.

*DeMeco Ryans left late in the first half with a hamstring injury but made his presence felt when he was in there. With the Giants owning a 7-0 lead and set up with a first-and-10 at the Eagles 23, Ryans ripped a would-be catch out of the hands of Larry Donnell for the interception on New York’s second possession.

The Eagles were bailed out by a roughing the passer on the next possession, setting up a 32-yard Bradford-to-Riley Cooper touchdown in the left corner of the end zone.

The veteran linebacker came up with a fumble recovery early in the second quarter as well on a ball that was popped out by Malcolm Jenkins and was credited with two passes defensed.

*Brandon Graham was credited with 1.5 sacks, a forced fumble, two quarterback hits and two tackles for a loss. Vinny Curry finished with 1.5 sacks as well.

*Manning had been sacked just four times and intercepted twice coming in. The Eagles doubled those numbers in one game.

*DeMarco Murray flashed some signs of his 2014 self in the second half and finished with 109 yards on 22 carries (5.0 avg.) with a TD after being limited to 12 yards on five carries in the first half. He scored from 12 yards out midway through the third quarter, hitting Brandon Meriweather with a fierce stiff arm on his way to pay dirt.  Ryan Mathews, active for the game despite a groin injury, had nine carries for 40 yards.

*Manning was a perfect 5-for-5 on his opening drive, including a 13-yard strike to Odell Beckham over the middle to open the scoring. Ryans was lined up over Beckham in the slot. The Eagles appeared to be in zone and it looked like either Walter Thurmond or Chris Maragos should have been in the area to help, but weren’t.

*Cooper had a key special teams tackle on a punt return prior to Carroll’s pick six to go along with his touchdown catch. He led all Eagles receivers with three catches for 76 yards.

*Jordan Matthews‘ third-quarter fumble stalled a promising drive. He entered with four drops on the season, per Pro Football Focus. His early missteps continue.

*Cooper and Josh Huff both left briefly with knee injuries but returned to action. Darren Sproles was checked for a head injury after slamming hard into the turf on a third-quarter punt return but came back in the game. Ryans (hamstring) missed the second half. He was replaced by Najee Goode.