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Winners and losers from 'Thursday Night Football' in Week 6

Sportsnaut logo Sportsnaut 10/12/2018 Vincent Frank, Sportsnaut

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The New York Giants were outclassed in a big way Thursday night against the division-rival Philadelphia Eagles. From the very early stages of the game, Giants fans in New Jersey knew this was going to be a long night. It included an Eli Manning interception early in the first quarter and culminated in a 34-13 loss for the Giants.

BOX SCORE: EAGLES 34, GIANTS 13

Despite team-wide struggles, rookie running back Saquon Barkley put up one heck of a performance for the Giants. Meanwhile, Odell Beckham’s antics and lack of production didn’t show him in the best of lights.

For the Eagles, it seemed everything was clicking. Carson Wentz found a tremendous rhythm with Nelson Agholor and Alshon Jeffery while Philadelphia’s pass rush battered Manning all evening.

These are among the biggest winners and losers from the Eagles’ "Thursday Night Football" win over the hapless Giants.

Winner: Saquon Barkley, running back, New York Giants

a football player running on a baseball field: Oct 11, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) runs against the Philadelphia Eagles in the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. © Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports Oct 11, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) runs against the Philadelphia Eagles in the second quarter at MetLife Stadium.

Barkley was a one-man show for his Giants in the first half. He awed onlookers with this beautiful nine-yard run that seemed to be vintage Walter Payton. Later in the first half, Barkley broke pretty much two-dozen tackles en route to a 55-yard catch-and-run. When all was said and done, Barkley had gained 149 total yards on 13 touches in the first two quarters.

He didn’t slow down in the second half, providing the Giants with their only touchdown of the game in the form of a 50-yard run. All said, Barkley tallied 229 yards on 22 touches in the blowout loss. Now, through six games, the generational talent is on pace for 2,163 total yards as a rookie. Whew.

Loser: Giants offensive line

a group of football players on the field: Oct 11, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) is sacked by Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Nigel Bradham (53) and defensive end Chris Long (56) during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. © Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Oct 11, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) is sacked by Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Nigel Bradham (53) and defensive end Chris Long (56) during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium.

Eli Manning isn’t out of the woods quite yet. We’ll have a whole heck of a lot more on the struggling Giants’ signal caller here in a bit. But it’s not like Manning’s offensive line did him any favors early on Thursday. Having dropped back to pass 25 times in the first half, the two-time Super Bowl champ was hit a total of nine times during that span.

It didn’t get much better as the game progressed. Derek Barnett, Michael Bennett and Chris Long all hit Manning multiple times All said, he was hit 13 times and sacked four times in the loss. And while the Giants might have been smart to move on from Ereck Flowers, the remaining members of this line have proven to be disastrous. It’s just not a good look.

Winner: Michael Bennett, defensive end, Philadelphia Eagles

a group of football players on the field: Oct 11, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Michael Bennett (77) hits New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) on the goal line forcing a fumble in the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. The Giants recovered the ball. © Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports Oct 11, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Michael Bennett (77) hits New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) on the goal line forcing a fumble in the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. The Giants recovered the ball.

Bennett entered Thursday’s game having put up just one sack in his first five games as a member of the Eagles. In no way does that stat tell the entire story. The three-time Pro Bowler also racked up eight quarterback hits in those five games. It was just a matter of time before these hits turned into sacks.

It didn’t take a full quarter for that to happen against the Giants. About eight minutes into this initial stanza, Bennett sacked Eli Manning — forcing a fumble in the process. While it was recovered by the Giants, this set the tone for what would be a dominating pass-rush performance from the defending champs.

Loser: Pat Shurmur, head coach, New York Giants

a man standing in front of a football field: Oct 11, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur leaves the field after a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. © Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Oct 11, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur leaves the field after a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium.

Let’s ignore the second half for a second. New York found itself down 24-6 through two quarters. Out of simple necessity, the team was forced to have Manning toss the rock a ton in the second half. But before that, the same issues we saw with play-calling in the first five games was once again brought to the forefront.

Given how dominant Saquon Barkley was in the initial half, there’s absolutely no reason he should have seen just nine rush attempts compared to Manning dropping back to pass 25 times. After all, the Giants averaged 11.5 yards per play when Barkley touched the ball compared to 3.5 yards when he didn’t. At some point, Shurmur has to be blamed for not getting his star rookie more involved.

Winner: Carson Wentz, quarterback, Philadelphia Eagles

a person wearing a costume: Oct 11, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11) warms up for a game against the Giants pre game at MetLife Stadium. © Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports Oct 11, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11) warms up for a game against the Giants pre game at MetLife Stadium.

It’s not like Wentz was struggling heading into Thursday’s matchup with the Giants. He had accounted for five touchdowns and just one interception in his first three starts of the season. Instead, the MVP-caliber player we saw prior to him suffering a torn ACL late last season had not yet shown himself.

That changed against what was a less-than-inspired Giants defense in Jersey. Wentz completed 26-of-36 passes for 278 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions in the blowout win. It might have come against a bad team, but it’s certainly a nice first step and helped Philadelphia avoid a three-game losing streak.

Loser: Odell Beckham Jr., wide receiver, New York Giants

a baseball player holding a bat: Oct 11, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) reacts late during the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. © Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Oct 11, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) reacts late during the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium.

Things have gone downhill fast for OBJ and the Giants since he signed an extension late this past summer. Outside of his struggles on the field, the boisterous receiver made noise by calling his team out publicly leading up to Thursday’s game. Then, as the first half concluded with his Giants down 18 points, OBJ took an early trip to the locker room. He didn’t return with his team in the third quarter, either.

On the field, he put up just six catches for 44 yards in the blowout home loss to Philadelphia. Yuck.

Winner: Alshon Jeffery, wide receiver, Philadelphia Eagles 

a group of baseball players playing a football game: Oct 11, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (17) scores a third quarter touchdown run against New York Giants linebacker B.J. Goodson (93) at MetLife Stadium. © Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports Oct 11, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (17) scores a third quarter touchdown run against New York Giants linebacker B.J. Goodson (93) at MetLife Stadium.

It sure looks like Jeffery is completely healthy after missing the first three games of the season and showing himself to be inconsistent in the two games since returning from injury. Taking on what was a disastrous Giants secondary, Jeffery caught 8-of-12 targets for 74 yards, including two touchdowns.

It’s this type of performance Philadelphia was banking on when it signed the former Chicago Bears star to a lucrative extension late last season. At 6-foot-3 and 218 pounds, he has the size to dominate. We saw that first-hand on Thursday, and it bodes well for the Eagles’ offense moving forward this season.

Loser: Eli Apple, cornerback, New York Giants

a baseball player holding a bat © Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Having played well to start the season, Apple was back up to his old tricks on Thursday night. Nelson Agholor absolutely dominated Apple throughout the game, including a 58-yard catch on third-and-3 in the second quarter. It led directly to the Eagles’ third touchdown of the half. And the route was on.

It’s sad to see someone of Apple’s talent level continuing to struggle with consistency. He’ll look great one week, only to look like he doesn’t even belong on an NFL roster the following week. It’s in this that the Giants might finally realize they can’t rely on the former first-round pick.

Winner: Nelson Agholor, wide receiver, Philadelphia Eagles

a man running on a baseball field: Oct 11, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Nelson Agholor (13) runs with the ball against the New York Giants during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. © Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Oct 11, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Nelson Agholor (13) runs with the ball against the New York Giants during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium.

This former first-round pick had put up a solid first five games of the season, catching 67 percent of the 34 balls thrown in his direction during that span. It sure beats the two-plus seasons to start his career that saw the USC product catch just 52 percent of the passes thrown his way. It’s all about progression, and we’re seeing it first-hand right now.

Thursday’s game was no different. Agholor made mincemeat of Eli Apple throughout the game — catching three passes for 91 yards on five targets. With the way Jeffery is performing opposite him, Wentz might have that elite-level wide receiver tandem to toss the rock to moving forward this season.

Loser: Eli Manning, quarterback, New York Giants

a close up of Eli Manning in a baseball game: Oct 11, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) looks on from the sidelines late during the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. © Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Oct 11, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) looks on from the sidelines late during the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium.

Talk of Manning’s struggles impacting how his teammates felt about him made headlines ahead of Thursday’s game against the defending champs. Like clockwork, he made sure that said drama would continue well into the season. Manning threw an interception on the Giants’ very first drive and proceeded to struggle throughout the remainder of the game.

The final stats will tell us a story of a quarterback who completed 24-of-43 passes for 281 yards with zero touchdowns and one interception. On passes not intended for Barkley, Manning completed just 15-of-31 passes for well less than 200 yards. Manning is simply a shell of his former self. There’s no other way to go about it. One now has to wonder whether his career will come to an ugly end following the 2018 season.

Related Slideshow: Best of the 2018-19 NFL Season (provided by photo services)


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