NFC East spin cycle: Week 4
Excerpt: "At the quarter pole, the Eagles, Giants and Redskins and Cowboys are all at .500 or better, although the Giants currently sit at 0-2 in NFC East games. The Eagles’ Sunday-night victory over the Giants puts them atop the division at 3-1. This still promises to be a fun divisional race this season.
What we learned: There’s nothing too fundamentally wrong with this team through a 2-2 start, but there are a few areas that need to be cleaned up. The run game remains an inconsistent venture, and the defense has not generated as many big plays as it did during its best stretch last season. The biggest problems right now sit in the secondary — and partially with the pass rush, too. The Giants failed to generate a turnover against the Eagles and Michael Vick, who had 12 in three games coming in. They played a more controlled game, sure, but the Giants didn’t make enough impact plays with their injury-plagued secondary or force enough of the action up front with their talented defensive line.
What’s in store next: The defensive shortcomings, which included allowing LeSean McCoy to rush for 121 yards on 17 carries in the second half after limiting him to two yards on six carries in the first, must be cleaned up before the Browns come to MetLife Stadium Sunday. Despite all the Browns’ flaws (they’re 0-4), they have made some plays offensively and have been competitive defensively. The Giants also hope to continue getting healthy and getting WR Hakeem Nicks, who missed the loss in Philly, back on the field. Nicks’ replacements stepped up, but his presence can make the offense hum even better.
What the heck? Interestingly, some of this team’s greatest strengths came up a little short in the loss to the Eagles. Eli Manning was mostly good, and he led a critical drive with ease to give his team a late 17-16 lead, but Manning also put his team in a bad situation by being unnecessarily greedy. With 25 seconds left, trailing 19-17 and at the Eagles’ 26-yard line — well inside PK Lawrence Tynes’ range — Manning chose to go for the carotid artery, and it ended up being a bad decision. Emboldened by two consecutive pass-interference calls against the grabby Eagles secondary, Manning chose to go for a fade route to WR Ramses Barden; the X-receiver was not his first option, Tom Coughlin later said. Manning’s throw was off target, and Barden felt the need to interfere with Asomugha, moving the ball back 10 yards (and out of Tynes’ range) to the 36. “Not a good throw by me,” Manning said. Tynes’ subsequent FG tries — one before an Andy Reid timeout, and one after — both missed and the Giants lost. Manning is still the man in the fourth quarter, but he made a mistake there." Read more...