Published October 07, 2013
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Scrambling down the right sideline late in the second quarter, Michael Vick had Chip Kelly's up-tempo offense in gear and the winless New York Giants reeling again.
With a tackler approaching, the Philadelphia Eagles' quarterback stepped out of bounds and suddenly reached back and grabbed his left hamstring.
It was one of those moments in which an NFL game can change, and it did.
Before the quarter ended, Nick Foles replaced the gimpy Vick and led Philadelphia to a 36-21 victory over the Giants on Sunday, ending the Eagles' three-game skid and putting them in a tie for first place in the NFC East with Dallas (2-3). The Cowboys dropped a 51-48 shootout to the Denver Broncos.
The loss sent the Giants to their fifth straight loss, their worst start since the 1987 strike season when the NFL used replacement players for three games.
"Every week is the season and that's what this deal is all about," Kelly said after the Eagles got back in the division race. "You're five games into a 16-game season. Understand that you don't just show up and win. When you have a good week of preparation it pays off for you."
Foles didn't do most of the prep work for the Giants last week but he was ready when sent in with 1:25 left in the half. He engineered one of Alex Henery's career-best five field goals and another one late in the third quarter after Eli Manning threw the second of two touchdown passes to Rueben Randle to put New York (0-5) ahead 21-19.
Foles iced the game by converting two interceptions by the bottom-rated Eagles' defense into fourth-quarter touchdown passes of 25 yards to Brent Celek and 5 yards to DeSean Jackson.
"He played great," Celek said of Foles, who was 16 of 25 for 197 yards. "He was out there poised, played well, and threw a great ball. He did a good job of leading us."
Manning and the Giants self-destructed once again. Manning threw three interceptions and New York turned the ball over four times in handing the Eagles 17 points.
Defensive captain Justin Tuck said the Giants are not going to sulk, and he's glad New York will be back on the field Thursday in Chicago.
"There are only two ways to finish this season," Tuck said. "And that's figuring some kind of way to right the ship and getting some positive momentum going here or you can sulk and feel sorry for yourself and have the worst season ever in Giants' history."
Here are five things we learned in the Eagles' win against the Giants:
UP-TEMPO EAGLES MINUS VICK: While Foles did a great job taking over for Vick, Kelly's offense isn't the same with him at quarterback. Vick's ability to run — he had a team-high 79 yards on seven carries — puts defenses on their heels and makes LeSean McCoy even more dangerous. The Giants keyed on McCoy's running in the second half and he lost a yard on seven carries. He had 50 on 13 carries in the first half.
NOT SO COOL ELI: Two years ago, Eli Manning led the Giants to a Super Bowl title by being a money player with the game on the line. Manning threw three fourth-quarter interceptions against an Eagles defense that was ranked last in the league. He has thrown 12 picks in five games and some have been in money time. He had one returned for a touchdown late in the season opener against Dallas and two of his picks were converted into Eagles touchdowns by Foles on Sunday.
PUTTING A STREAK TOGETHER: The Eagles have a chance to put some wins together. They travel to Tampa Bay to play the winless Bucs next week and then have Dallas and the Giants at home in wrapping up the first half of the season.
GIANTS CONCERNS: The Giants have not had a running game all season and took a step backward on Sunday when David Wilson sustained a neck injury on the final play of the first quarter. If Wilson can't go Thursday against the Bears, the Giants have Brandon Jacobs, rookie Michael Cox and fullback John Conner on the roster. Don't be surprised if they have to make another move, possibly re-signing Da'Rel Scott.
WHERE'S THE DEFENSE: Philadelphia found some defense against the Giants, but with all the drops and mistakes by the Giants, they were lucky. The Giants have given up 182 points in five games. They have given up at least 31 points in each loss, which ties an NFL record set by the Chicago Cardinals in 1954. The pass rush is almost nonexistent and the defense can't get off the field on third down. The Eagles converted on 9 of 19 attempts and 39 of 79 for the season. Vick set up a field goal by scrambling for 34 yards on a third-and-19 in the first quarter.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org