The Giants’ Damon Harrison watched five games of film, and couldn’t pinpoint why the Super Bowl champion Eagles were stumbling at the start of their title defense.
Maybe it was a hangover from the city’s first football title in nearly six decades. Maybe it was injuries. Maybe the breaks that landed in their laps last season started to bounce the other way. Whatever the reason, the Eagles suffered three losses, by a total of 11 points, in four games.
“I don’t know. I think they’re just still searching for … it’s tough to put a name to it,” Harrison said prior to Thursday’s 34-13 loss to the Eagles. “I don’t know, they just haven’t looked the same.”
A trip to MetLife Stadium brought the champs back to life.
Following their first two-game losing streak in two seasons, the Eagles emphatically reminded the last-place Giants how massive the gap remains between the two teams, easily cruising to the win.
Through the first five weeks, the Eagles (3-3) had failed to scored 24 points in any game, but they reached that mark by halftime Thursday
as Carson Wentz continued his seamless transition back to form after a devastating knee injury last season.
In his first three games back, Wentz had posted the MVP-type numbers that propelled the Eagles last season — throwing for five touchdowns and one interception, while averaging nearly 305 yards through the air — but the young quarterback had won just one start since returning in Week 3.
Against the Giants, he showed the unlimited potential that comes with selecting a quarterback with the second-overall pick.
Shortly after Kamu Grugier-Hill intercepted Eli Manning on the second play from scrimmage, Wentz scrambled to his right on a third down, and threw across his body to find Alshon Jeffery for a 13-yard touchdown less than two minutes into the game.
Following a Corey Clement touchdown run, Wentz again quieted the crowd again with a 58-yard pass to Nelson Agholor, setting up a 10-yard touchdown pass to Zach Ertz, propelling the Eagles to a 24-6 halftime lead.
Wentz completed 26-of-36 passes, and finished with 278 yards passing and three touchdowns as the Eagles converted 9-of-16 third downs.
“It gives you a lot of confidence,” Agholor said. “We realize that’s the type of team we are. … We’re a team that’s deep. This doesn’t have to be one guy, it’s everybody. Everybody just does their job and that’s what we do. We’ve got a great quarterback that distributes the ball and we have great weapons for him.”
As the night went on, the Eagles’ defense never allowed the possibility of a comeback to enter Giants fans’ minds, hounding Eli Manning with four sacks and a forced fumble.
When it was over, the champs were the NFC East favorites again. Suddenly, a title defense was even back in play.
“All season long we have been close,” Ertz said. “We were just not sustaining it. Hopefully, this win sparks us for the rest of the year.”