Editor’s Note: Steve Fini breaks down five players who made the difference in the Eagles temporary season-saving win at MetLife Stadium on Sunday night.
Brandon Jacobs (RB/Giants) – Remember when he was good? Well, he isn’t anymore. The 270-pound running back can’t hit a hole fast enough to run people over. He’s slow footed and falls into the pile. With Ahmad Bradshaw out of the lineup, the Eagles took advantage of the one-dimensional Jacobs, completely eliminating the New York rushing attack. While the Giants lead the NFC East, Eli Manning will have to carry the entire offense if they intend to stay there if Bradshaw doesn’t get come back from injury.
Vince Young (QB/Eagles) – Let’s face it, this was a pretty sloppy game. Young made several mistakes, including three interceptions and other missed throws. Fortunately, the Eagles’ defense bailed him out (haven’t been able to say that often this season). To Young’s credit, he led an epic 18 play, 80-yard touchdown drive that spanned nearly nine minutes. The Eagles were 6 for 6 on third downs on the drive.
Nnamdi Asomugha (CB/Eagles) – I don’t know if Victor Cruz has Asomugha’s number or if he’s still confused by the defensive scheme, but he still looks lost at crucial times. I’ve spent a lot of time defending Asomugha’s poor play by blaming Juan Castillo. But when Cruz is beating you in man coverage there’s a problem. I think this will prove to be a good long term signing, but Asomugha seems to struggling as he adjusts to the pressures of playing high stakes football.
DeDean Jackson (WR/Eagles) – Jackson was at his best and worst on Sunday night, but he ultimately reminded everyone just how important he is to the Eagles’ success. He set up the offense with great field position when he nearly ran back a low, line drive punt off the foot of Steve Weatherford. As is the case with all great athletes, if you make a mistake with Jackson he’s going to make you pay.
He also showed he can still get open against any coverage. He should have had an easy touchdown in the first half, but Vince Young underthrew Jackson which led to a Prince Amukamara interception. He later got open for a 50-yard reception, but then proceeded to give his critics more fodder when he selfishly and stupidly flipped the ball to Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell. Jackson is understandably upset with his contract, but in a must-win game, he once again proved he lacks maturity and could have cost his team what was eventually an astonishing win.
Riley Cooper (WR/Eagles) – Welcome to the NFL, Riley Cooper. Despite early struggles, Cooper broke out on Sunday night. Coming into the game much was made about the rapport between Vince Young and Cooper and, as it turns out, for good reason. Cooper started slow, but finished the game with 5 catches for 75 yards and a touchdown. Despite falling on a fade in the end zone which led to another red zone turnover, Young didn’t lose faith in Cooper. He continually went to the Florida product in the most critical of spots. While Jeremy Maclin is expected to make a quick recovery, maybe Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg will find ways to work Cooper, who had been a total non-factor before Sunday night, into the gameplan.