PHILADELPHIA, PA (CBS) — It's a little hard to fathom. Despite the Eagles' pitiful 1-3 start, despite the NFL supposedly catching up to Chip Kelly, despite the Eagles inability to run the ball, despite an indecisive quarterback that held the ball too long and suffered from a bad case of bug eyes, despite Kelly supposedly losing the locker room and despite dropped passes galore, the Eagles are in first place in the NFC East.
And yes, it's hard to believe, because the New York Giants were somehow worse than the Eagles Monday night, in a "Black Out" 27-7 Eagles' victory that should have been blacked out by a large curtail for the unaesthetic mess it was.
Despite the ugly way the Eagles have arrived here, they are 3-3, and own the tiebreaker over the mistake-prone Giants, who are also 3-3.
Neither team particularly distinguished themselves as anything special. The teams combined for seven turnovers, with quarterbacks Eli Manning and Sam Bradford alone combining to throw five interceptions. The only saving grace in an otherwise forgettable game was the Eagles' defense, which forced Manning into two intentional grounding calls—a rarity in today's NFL.
Then there was Bradford. There were times when it seemed as if he didn't know who was he was throwing to. With 4:55 left in the third quarter, on a first-and-10 at the Eagles' 43, Bradford stepped back and heaved a bomb—to no one. Well, no one except for the Giants' Brandon Meriweather, who had no one contest Bradford's second interception. Bradford later threw his third pick, another red-zone interception—his third in two weeks. He's thrown four end zone picks this season.
Bradford was awful, finishing 24 of 38 for 280 yards, including a touchdown—and three interceptions.
The Eagles' defense held things together by putting pressure on Manning and causing him to misfire all over the place. Manning was sacked four times, and after the Giants' opening drive, an eight-play, 80-yard drive that resulted in a Manning-to-Odell Beckham Jr. 13-yard TD toss, New York was able to do very little when the game was still competitive.
After the Giants' 10 first downs in the opening quarter, the Eagles held them to 8 first downs the rest of the way. After Manning went 11 of 13 in the first quarter, he was a pathetic 10 of 24 the last three quarters, and two interceptions, including Nolan Carroll's 17-yard pick-six that gave the Eagles the lead for good.
DeMarco Murray played a pivotal role, rushing for his first 100-yard game as an Eagle, slashing through the disinterested Giants' defense for 109 yards on 22 carries, including a 12-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
It all amounted to an Eagles' victory—and first place in the NFC East, despite a team that just weeks ago seemed like Atlas, holding the world on its shoulders and unable to do anything right. In this case, the Eagles did more right than the wayward Giants, which wasn't exactly a Herculean task.
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