The Philadelphia Eagles finally looked like themselves on Thursday night, and dispatched the division rival New York Giants in dominant fashion on the road to pick up their first victory away from Philly this season.
The Eagles came out firing on both sides of the ball, got off to a hot start and never relented, on the way to a 34-13 win to even their record through six games at 3-3.
Zach Ertz hauled in seven of his nine targets from quarterback Carson Wentz, his streak of consecutive games with double-digit catches ending at two, but he did grab a 10-yard touchdown pass from Wentz in the second quarter, which extended Philadelphia’s lead to 21-6 at the time. It marked the second straight game with a touchdown for Zach, after being held scoreless for the first four weeks of the season.
The short week win gave the Eagles some momentum they’ll take into an upcoming slate of games against some tough defenses.
“We were focused and we took care of the details. We had fun out there and that was the most important thing,” Ertz said. “It was a short week, but we worked. We had a great game plan and we went out and executed, took an early lead and just kept playing.”
Indeed it didn’t take the Eagles long at all to make a statement in the prime-time contest. The Philadelphia defense picked off Giants quarterback Eli Manning on the second play from scrimmage of the game, and just three plays later, Wentz found Alshon Jeffery for a 13-yard touchdown to put the Eagles on the scoreboard.
New York answered with a strong drive, highlighted by a 46-yard run by rookie Saquon Barkley, but the Philly defense stiffened in the red zone and the Giants had to settle for a field goal, leaving the Eagles in front early. After the teams traded punts, the Philadelphia offense got a great return from DeAndre Carter and capitalized, with a 44-yard drive, culminating in a Corey Clement touchdown to give the Eagles a double-digit first-quarter lead.
Zach got involved in the fun in the second, making his first catch of the game on the first play of the quarter. Four of his seven catches came in the second frame, including the 10-yard touchdown, which answered another New York field goal, giving the Eagles a commanding 21-6 lead with just over four minutes to play in the first half.
On the ensuing possession, the Eagles forced a three-and-out, which gave the offense enough time to add to their lead with a 33-yard Jake Elliott field goal before halftime, extending their halftime edge to 24-6.
The Eagles received the second half kickoff and carried over their momentum from the first half into the first drive of the second half.
Wentz connected with Alshon Jeffery for 10 yards on the first play from scrimmage, kickstarting a 12-play, 75-yard drive. Three plays later, Carson found Zach for 10 more to move the chains on a 3rd-and-6. After some strong running from Corey Clement and Wendell Smallwood, Wentz went back to Jeffery, connecting on their second touchdown of the night, and extending the Eagles lead to 31-6.
That was more than enough to roll to victory on the road, giving Philadelphia a W in their first divisional matchup of the season. With three 3-win teams after six weeks, it’s shaping up to be a tight race in the NFC East race early in 2018. So every divisional win will go a long way in determining who will top the East, which could be the difference between a playoff berth and an early vacation.
“We know that if we win the division we’re in the playoffs,” Ertz said. “It’s important to win these games.”
Philadelphia still has five more crucial matchups this season against the Giants, Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins. But, if nothing else, Thursday night proved as a confidence booster. In the national spotlight, the defending Super Bowl champs were finally able to display some of what made them so special a season ago, and this key divisional win could be the spark the Eagles have been searching for during the early part of the season.
“These past few weeks, we weren’t really the Philadelphia Eagles for anybody who was looking in from the outside,” Clement said. “Today was a great platform to showcase who we really are.”
Now the focus will shift to yet another test against Cam Newton, Luke Kuechly and a tough Carolina Panthers team in Week 7. But at least the Eagles will get a long week to prepare for that matchup, next Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field. Kickoff is slated for 1:00 ET and the game will be broadcast on FOX.