|Eagles try to keep Giants from sacking playoff hopes|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 06 December 2007 12:14|
But if the Philadelphia Eagles intend to start their late-season playoff push against New York on Sunday, they have to right all the wrongs from their abysmal outing against the Giants in Week 4.
``I hate to go backward and talk about that game because that was a bad thing that happened there,'' Mornhinweg said Thursday.
The Giants' defensive line dominated in New York's 16-3 win, manhandling Eagles tackle Winston Justice in his first NFL start and sacking Donovan McNabb an NFL record-tying 12 times.
Osi Umenyiora accounted for six of the Giants' sacks. Mathias Kiwanuka had three, Justin Tuck finished with two and veteran Michael Strahan added another.
``The real challenge is when you have one great pass rusher, you can do some things to keep him away from the quarterback,'' Mornhinweg said. ``When you have two, you've got some problems there, but you can still do a couple of things.
``When you've got three, now it becomes a pretty good problem.''
Umenyiora is tied for the lead in sacks in the NFC with 11. Strahan and Tuck each have nine. Kiwanuka is out for the season with a broken leg.
The hard-charging Giants caused fits for McNabb and the Eagles on that September Sunday. But the Eagles were missing five starters in the loss - most importantly McNabb's longtime backside tackle, William Thomas.
Justice was victimized throughout the game, and showed plenty of heart by offering to shoulder the loss alone.
``I played the worst out of the line that game,'' Justice said this week. ``Personally, I think I got away from my technique and that is why I was defeated in that game.''
To a man, the Eagles admit the inability to stop the Giants was a team problem and not Justice's alone. Coach Andy Reid agreed.
``I think Winston came out a better player for it,'' Reid said. ``Every offensive lineman goes through an experience like that. The thing that is important with that group is they all had a little piece of that pie.''
When the 5-7 Eagles take the field Sunday, McNabb will have Thomas protecting his flank.
``Backside tackles are always big for a quarterback,'' McNabb said. ``He (Thomas) has played a major part in, at least, the success I've had here. We've had some great times together.''
The Eagles need to re-create some of that success if they are serious about a push for a postseason spot. They are one of eight teams battling for the last playoff spot in the NFC. A loss would move Philadelphia closer to missing the playoffs for the second time in three years.
The Eagles' offensive line will try to slow a New York defense that leads the league with 44 sacks. And Thomas is looking forward to the challenge of trying to stop Umenyiora.
``You just try to slow him down, get in his way,'' Thomas said. ``He has enough power that he can just bull-rush.''
The offensive line will feel the added pressure of protecting McNabb, who missed the last two weeks because of a sprained right ankle and jammed thumb - all that after coming off a severe knee injury last year.
``They do a lot of great blitz schemes, so we have to be vigilant in protecting our quarterback,'' said Brian Westbrook, who missed the last Giants game because of injury. ``Having (Thomas) back will definitely help us out a lot.
``The running backs, as well as the tight ends, we need to help Donovan, and he needs to get the ball out of his hands quicker as well.''