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Cover 3: Takeaways from Giants vs. Eagles


Three Giants writers give their take on the team following Sunday's loss:

On Sunday, the Giants broke their streak of eight consecutive games without scoring 20 points, and they did so in the fourth quarter alone against the Eagles. But the 24-point rally in the final 13 minutes wasn't enough as Big Blue fell, 27-24, to Philadelphia on a last-second field goal.

In this week's Cover 3, our writers talk about what the Giants can take away on offense from Week 3:


From my perspective, the main thing they can take away is that it is possible for this offense to operate efficiently by getting the ball out quickly and spreading it around to different receivers. It will be interesting to see if it will be as effective against different defenses -- the Eagles were playing extremely soft single-high safety and mostly Cover 3 defenses that left the slant available most of the game -- but it is certainly a good step in the right direction.

I especially liked the way they got the ball to Brandon Marshall quickly and gave him the opportunity to make the defender miss. That was a specialty of his when he played for teams like the Bears and Dolphins earlier in his career.


It might seem futile to talk about yards after catch with a 0-3 team, but you have to start somewhere. Remember when everyone was talking about the weapons Eli Manning has after the arrivals of Brandon Marshall and Evan Engram? It wasn't too long ago. At times in the fourth quarter, they showed who they want to be and could be. The problem was the other three quarters.

With that said, Sterling Shepard showed something we hadn't seen from him yet as a professional: yards after catch. He made plenty of crucial plays as a rookie, but they were more in the variety of gritty grabs on third and sometimes fourth down. But his longest play coming into Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field was 32 yards. That changed with a 77-yard touchdown in which he blew past defenders, something he hadn't done since his Oklahoma days. That was a missing element in his game as a rookie, and Shepard talked about it quite a few times this offseason. On Sunday, it came to fruition.


Overall, the Giants' rushing numbers don't jump off the page, whether it be against the Eagles or on the season, but easily overlooked is the effectiveness of the run game in the fourth quarter against Philadelphia. New York tallied more than half of its rushing yards (25) in the final 15 minutes of the game, highlighted by an Orleans Darkwa 20-yard run that set up Eli Manning's second touchdown pass to Odell Beckham. Darkwa's presence and production helped to open things up in the passing game. His 11-yard reception ignited the drive that ended with Beckham's first touchdown and he was featured on Big Blue's next two scoring drives before leaving the game with a back injury. Thanks to some semblance of a run game and the team leaning on one specific back, the Giants only faced two third downs among the 21 plays they ran in the fourth quarter. Whether it's a sign of what's to come remains to be seen, but it certainly serves as a sample size to see how the offense operates with certain personnel.

Thanks to the combination of the run game, Eli Manning getting rid of the ball very quickly and the receivers running shorter routes to rely on space in the open field, the Giants had more success moving the ball through the air. Every defense is going to pose a different look, so the Giants clearly reacted to the Eagles' game plan. But the pace of the offense in the fourth quarter and leaning on one specific back seemed to provide some facets to build upon.

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