What We Saw

Posted: January 12, 2009

Each week, Daily News football writer Paul Domowitch will tell you the things he will be keeping his eyes on during that week's game: Here is how things panned out yesterday:

1. Defending Giants' ground game: Since getting gashed for 219 rushing yards by the Giants in Week 10, the Eagles' defense has stuffed the run better than anybody in the league. Yesterday, Brandon Jacobs gained 92 yards on 19 carries (4.8 yards-per-carry average) but was stopped on a critical fourth-and-2 in the fourth quarter. Derrick Ward was held to 46 yards on 12 carries.

2. The factor back: Brian Westbrook, who has battled knee and ankle injuries much of the season, had 203 rushing and receiving yards and both of the Eagles' TDs in their Week 14 win over the Giants. In the next four games, he averaged just 3.0 yards per carry. Yesterday, he was held to 36 yards on 18 carries although he did run for two key first downs that kept drives alive and led to a field goal and a touchdown.

3. Takeaways: The Eagles have won five of their last six games and have 13 takeaways in those six games. None of those 13, though, came in their Week 14 win over the Giants, who - going into yesterday - had turned the ball over just 13 times this season. Yesterday, the Eagles had two interceptions - one by Asante Samuel that led to a touchdown, and the other by Quintin Mikell that stopped a drive late in the fourth quarter. The Birds also recovered a fumble with 1:04 left to cement their victory.

4. Who's the Boss? Giants tight end Kevin Boss had six TD catches going into yesterday's game. In Week 10 against the Eagles, he had six receptions for 69 yards and one TD. In the Week 14 rematch, he had just one catch for 5 yards. Yesterday, the Eagles' defense held him to three catches for 52 yards and no touchdowns.

5. TDs or FGs: Neither the Eagles nor the Giants have been very adept in the red zone. The Giants entered yesterday's game ranked 20th in the league in red-zone offense, the Eagles 22nd. Yesterday, the Eagles were 2-for-5 (40 percent), while the Giants went 0-for-3 and failed to score an offensive or defensive touchdown. As for field goals, the Eagles' David Akers made all three of his attempts to extend his NFL record to 18 straight in the postseason. The Giants' John Carney missed two of five.

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