The Eagles offense pulled its defense out of the fire again, but can they continue do it. For most of the day against the Giants, the Birds pass rush was non-existent and the secondary was vulnerable.
The right cornerback position was the main problem. To put it bluntly this football team has one cornerback who can play and his name is Asante Samuel. Everybody else who wears midnight green and plays the position is suspect.
The Giants showed us yesterday that if you stay away from Samuel and attack the other side, you will flourish. Veteran cornerback Ellis Hobbs, who was victimized earlier in the season, has decided to retire after injuring his neck again. I’m starting to wonder if maybe his replacement Dimitri Patterson should consider the same move.
Patterson was clearly the target of the New York Giants yesterday. He was beaten for three touchdowns in the first half of the battle against New York. Tom Coughlin and company made it a point to stay away from Samuel and focused their attack on the other side.
On the first touchdown, Giants wide receiver Mario Manningham ran a double move on Patterson and he bit on it, hook, line and sinker. Manningham went downfield about ten yards, then stopped and looked back for the ball. When the receiver looked back, so did the cornerback.
Once Manning pumped the ball, Manningham turned back upfield and the cornerback knew he was beaten. He should have tackled to wide out and taken the penalty. Instead he grabbed Manningham for a split-second then let him go. The ref threw the flag and Manningham headed for the end zone with a three or four yard lead on Patterson. It was an easy throw for Manning.
On the second score, Manningham ran a comeback route against Patterson. It was a simple route, but the cornerback seemed to have that first touchdown in his mind, so he was slow coming up to the make the tackle. He wanted to make sure it wasn’t another double move.
Manningham caught the ball then turned and realized he had plenty of room to easy avoid Patterson, who was slipping. The wideout didn’t make much of a move, and had no trouble avoiding the cornerback as he turned upfield and again headed for the end zone. This was the second score as it became quite apparent that New York was focused on victimizing Patterson.
It wasn’t so much that New York had a game plan as much as they had a target. They had already burned Patterson for two scores and the half wasn’t yet over.
When the Birds got the ball, Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin caught a curl route then fumbled the ball with only seconds remaining in the half. After a long review, the call on the field was upheld and it gave the Giants another chance to score before the half.
There were only about nine seconds to go on the clock, so New York had only one play to score a touchdown before kicking a field goal. They decided to go after Patterson again by having big wide receiver Hakeem Nicks go after him one-on-one.
It was like taking candy from a baby. Nicks, who is the size of a tight end, came off the ball and ran downfield like he was headed to the back of the end zone. Patterson dropped inside to take away the slant, so Nicks took a step inside to freeze Patterson then came back outside on an out route.
Manning dropped, looked up to his left to see Nicks coming free, then put the ball on the money and Nicks halled it in. The refs signaled touchdown as the big wide receiver brushed off Patterson and held the ball up in his huge hands. There were still seconds remaining before halftime and the score was now 24-3.
The Giants kicked off and the final seconds ticked off the clock. Thankfully the half was over for Patterson, who had been beaten for three touchdowns in a half.
I know that Michael Vick, DeSean Jackson and the Birds were able to make one of the greatest comebacks in their history to get the victory over the Giants, but I don’t know how much longer they can continue to play and win with Patterson as the starter on the right side of their defense.
If the Giants can victimize him so severely, what will happen the rest of the way after other teams watch the tape.