To give you an idea of just how bad the Eagles’ pass defense is, consider that New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning had not thrown a touchdown pass at all in three of his last five games. Consider also that Manning, now a nine-year veteran, had never thrown for five touchdown passes in a single game before this Sunday. But that Eagles pass defense, which has allowed 25 touchdowns and one interception since former secondary coach Todd Bowles took over for Juan Castillo on October 16, continued on an epic backslide.
Manning finished the day with five touchdown passes and 208 yards in just 13 completions on 25 attempts, setting a career mark in a 42-7 thrashing of the Eagles, whose entire coaching staff should probably be content to clean out its collective desks at the end of this one.
“You can’t go into that early on,” Bowles said on Thursday, when asked whether there was a noticeable difference in play following the switch from the much-maligned Castillo. ” I don’t know if it would have been noticeable to begin with. We were playing pretty good at that time and to make tweaks and changes in one week or two weeks or even three would be kind of difficult. But we have to coach the game; we have to play the game. Not much is going to change regardless. We just have to play better as a defense.”
This season, that’s not happened no matter who’s been in charge, and Manning took advantage right from the start. He hit rookie Rueben Randle (who had one touchdown catch all season) for two touchdowns in the first quarter, embarrassing veteran cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha on the second. Then, to finish out the first quarter, he hit fellow rookie David Wilson on a 15-yard score with 1:29 left.
There was a 24-yard pass to Victor Cruz with 10 seconds left in the first half to set the score at 35-7, and the final insult was a 1-yard pass to fullback Henry Hynoski in the fourth quarter. Hynoski’s “rhino” dance was one of the more entertaining moments of the day, at least for Giants fans.
For Eagles fans, the end of the season could not have come soon enough. There are many questions about the future of the team, but one thing’s for sure: when an entire franchise throws it in the tank like this, major changes need to be made. If there was any doubt about this in the Eagles’ case, consider them removed.
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