PHILADELPHIA – Eli Manning got his introduction to the NFL in Philadelphia, finishing his first game flat on the ground after a crushing hit.
He has won two Super Bowls since that rough debut in 2004, but no team has beat him up more than the Eagles over the years. Manning’s 13 losses to Philadelphia are his most against any opponent.
On Monday night, Manning gets another shot at the Eagles (2-3) when the NFC East-leading New York Giants (3-2) come to Lincoln Financial Field.
“Should be a great atmosphere and a great challenge for us,” Manning said. “It’ll be loud, they’ll be fired up, they’re going to be rocking.”
Manning came off the bench in relief of Kurt Warner in a lopsided loss to the Eagles in Week 1 of his rookie season. His first snap was a handoff that Tiki Barber took 72 yards for touchdown. He was sacked by Jerome McDougle and fumbled on his last snap.
“I kind of spun back,” Manning recalled this week. “I went horizontal. Wasn’t good.”
He got up and has never missed a game since becoming the starter in the middle of that season.
Manning is off to an excellent start this year in his second season under offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo. He has 10 touchdown passes and only two interceptions and is coming off one of his best games. Manning completed 75.9 percent of his passes for 441 yards and three TDs in a 30-27 comeback win against San Francisco last Sunday night.
“You can see there’s a comfort level in Eli in the whole system,” Eagles coach Chip Kelly said. “He’s getting the ball out of his hand quickly. He can recognize how people are defending their team. He’s rapidly going through his progressions and putting them in a really good situation offensively.”
Here’s some things to know about the Giants-Eagles game:
SAM’S SLOW STARTS: Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford has completed 56 percent of his passes with two TDs, three interceptions and a 65.6 QB rating in the first half of games. His completion rate is 70 in the second half and he has six TDs, three interceptions and a 102.0 QB rating. He’ll face the coach who drafted him in St. Louis. Steve Spagnuolo is now the Giants defensive coordinator.
ELI’S TARGETS: Odell Beckham Jr. and Rueben Randle are nursing hamstring injuries. If Manning’s top two guys are slowed, he’ll turn to Dwayne Harris, tight end Larry Donnell and running back Shane Vereen. The trio combined for 20 catches and two TDs last week, including the game-winning reception by Donnell.
REPLACING PRINCE: Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara is out because of a torn left pectoral muscle. Jayron Hosley will start in his place. He filled in when Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was injured earlier this season. “When he’s been out there, he’s done well,” coach Tom Coughlin said.
GROUND GAME: DeMarco Murray is coming off his best game with the Eagles, rushing for 83 yards on 20 carries in a win over the Saints. Ryan Mathews had 73 yards on eight carries in that game. He’s averaging 5.0 yards per attempt to 2.7 for Murray, the reigning NFL rushing champion. Should Mathews be the featured back? “Whatever they decide,” Murray said. “I can only control what I can control. I can’t control the plays being called or who’s in on different situations. I think he’s running it great. Obviously, he’s a tough running back, tough to defend, tough guy to bring down.”
X-PLAYS: The Eagles have allowed 18 pass plays of 20 yards or more, including five against Drew Brees and the Saints. Only eight teams have given up more. Still, it’s improvement for Philadelphia after allowing the most last season. Manning has 15 pass plays of at least 20 yards in the first five games. “It’s something that we have to continue to emphasize and do,” Kelly said about preventing the big plays.
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