But the truth is those collapses required some pretty abysmal offensive football by the Eagles as well. Turnovers. Penalties. Three-and-outs when a few extra minutes of possession would have kept their defense off the field. Receivers falling short of the first-down markers.
The Eagles had been outscored, 74-27, in the final quarters of their first nine games. The 74 was terrible. The 27 was every bit as bad.
So when that foreboding "4" appeared next to "QTR" on the scoreboard at MetLife Stadium on Sunday night, everyone knew what was coming. Literally like clockwork, it did. After three truly superb quarters, the Eagles suddenly couldn't stop Giants quarterback Eli Manning. Suddenly, young safeties found themselves matched against No. 1 receivers, and Asomugha forgot to cover Victor Cruz in the end zone.
The Giants' three longest gains of the game came in the fourth quarter. Manning threw for 151 of his 264 yards in the fourth quarter. The Eagles' tenuous, 10-3 lead disappeared when Cruz caught a game-tying touchdown catch. Everyone knew what was coming next.
It never did. Maybe it was Vince Young, playing in place of the injured Vick. Maybe it was the continued use of McCoy, who had 23 carries even though the run game wasn't popping the way it usually does. Maybe it was just the way these things even out over the course of a season.
Young led the Eagles on an astonishing and uncharacteristic drive to win the game. They went 80 yards in 18 plays, consuming nearly nine minutes. There were no electrifying long gains, just a solid, methodical march to the end zone. The longest gain, on a third and 10, was an 18-yard pass to Riley Cooper - the second of six third-down conversions on the drive.
Young hardly claimed the starting job as his own, throwing three interceptions. But he did succeed in the fourth quarter, where Vick has failed all season.
The win accomplished two things. It kept the Eagles' slim postseason hopes flickering, however dimly in the darkness. And it served to deepen the mystery about this enigmatic football team.
As heartening as it was to see the defense play with passion and ferocity, you had to wonder where those qualities had been before. If the Eagles can be this good, then why are they so bad at times?
Three weeks ago, when the temperature began rising under Andy Reid's chair, the Eagles rallied around their coach. In a prime-time game against the Dallas Cowboys, they played their best game of the season. That decisive victory seemed to have the Eagles back on track while raising serious questions about the ability of the 'Boys to contend in the NFC East.
So what happened next? The Eagles crashed and burned in two must-win home games against Chicago and Arizona (a team with the word "lowly" welded to it). A potentially salvageable season was lost all over again.
Win those games and this gut-check win against the Giants would have the Eagles in control of their playoff destiny. Instead, they can celebrate winning another battle while wondering how the war got away from them.
There were some concrete reasons for the defensive improvement. With Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie injured, Joselio Hanson was playing the slot cornerback role for which he is better suited. It took a month to move Jamar Chaney to middle linebacker and half a season to get Akeem Jordan out there, but the linebackers finally seem capable of defending against the run.
Undoing those early mistakes counts as too little, too late for this team, but, well, at least we're not looking at Casey Matthews and Jarrad Page any more.
The Eagles face perhaps their sternest test next Sunday. The New England Patriots come to the Linc, where the Eagles have been shockingly beatable. After that, the schedule eases up just a bit. The playoffs remain a long shot, but a strong finish is still possible.
Of course, those were the kinds of things you were thinking after that big win against the Cowboys. The Eagles came crashing back to sub-mediocrity after that.
There is nothing good about being 4-6, which is what the Eagles are. Losing teams have the occasional good day in the NFL. So this one didn't prove much, except that the Eagles are as impossible to figure out as ever.
Contact Phil Sheridan at 215-854-2844, email@example.com, or @Sheridanscribe on Twitter. Read his blog, "Philabuster," at http://go.philly.com/philabuster. Read his columns at www.philly.com/philsheridan