PHILADELPHIA – A convincing, 27-0 win over the New York Giants sent a message that the Philadelphia Eagles are still the team to beat in the NFC East.
That kind of talk doesn't matter to coaches and players.
"You are what you are," coach Chip Kelly said Monday. "Look at the standings. We're 5-1. There's noise out there and if you pay attention to it, you are wasting time."
Despite winning four of their first five games, the Eagles were only 2 1/2-point favorites at home against the Giants (3-3). Critics questioned the way Philadelphia was winning and wondered if the team could continue having success.
Nick Foles and the rest of the offense were inconsistent. LeSean McCoy hardly looked like an All-Pro running back who set a franchise-record for yards rushing in 2013. The defense gave up too many big plays and nearly wasted a 27-point lead against St. Louis last week.
If it weren't for the special teams scoring four touchdowns and Cody Parkey's clutch kicking, the Eagles would've started 1-4.
"Praise and blame is all the same," Kelly said. "If you let outside noise affect you, then you're saying you value their opinion more than your own opinion."
So after Dallas (5-1) made a statement with a 30-23 win at Seattle on Sunday afternoon, the Eagles followed with a dominant performance under the prime-time lights against the Giants. They head into a bye week on a positive note following their first shutout in 18 years.
Kelly gave the players time off until next Tuesday. The Eagles play next at Arizona (4-1) on Oct. 26.
"It's a great position to be in," Foles said. "We still have a lot of season left to go and I still have a lot of things to improve on, which excites me. It will be great to have the bye this week to get healthy, get some rest, recoup and get ready to go."
Foles threw two more interceptions against the Giants, bringing his total to seven. He also has three fumbles and his 10 turnovers lead the NFL. Last year, Foles set an NFL record for best TD/interception ratio when he threw 27 TD passes and only two picks.
"If we keep winning, it doesn't matter," Kelly said. "But we still have to do a better job from that standpoint. We were a lot cleaner last year from a turnover standpoint, and he'll be the first to tell you that. You can't continue to do it at that rate and end up on the right side of the ledger. The turnover differential is really big in this league in terms of being an indicator of wins and losses."
Perhaps the most encouraging sign was McCoy's breakout effort. He ran for a season-high 149 yards, his first time over 100 this season. McCoy entered the game averaging just 2.9 yards per carry, but he had plenty of running lanes against New York.
Injuries on the offensive line contributed to McCoy's poor start. The Eagles are missing All-Pro left guard Evan Mathis and center Jason Kelce. Right tackle was suspended the first four games. Since he returned, McCoy has 233 yards rushing in two games.
"It was obvious that there was a lot of room," McCoy said. "Happy to get Lane back in there. I think every player in their second year, it is always the biggest jump that you really recognize and I can see it in Lane. It's the guys up front just totally dominating and they made the right calls and played well. So definitely a lot more running lanes. And definitely myself, I felt I made a lot more better decisions, like just going and hitting it."
The bye should help the Eagles get some key players back. Linebacker Mychal Kendricks hasn't played since injuring his calf in Week 2. Running back Darren Sproles sprained his knee against the Giants, but Kelly doesn't expect him to miss much time. Mathis and Kelce are planning to return on Nov. 10.
NOTES: The Eagles are 12-3, including a playoff loss, since the midpoint of last season. ... The defense has 16 sacks in the past three games, including eight vs. the Giants.
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