PHILADELPHIA—So much for the most complete test since New Orleans.
The Eagles on Sunday battered a helpless New York Giants squad that appeared to be traumatized by back-to-back losses coming in, sending their NFC East rivals to a thoroughly humiliating 40-17 defeat in front of 69,144 fans at Lincoln Financial Field.
Taking control from the opening kickoff, which was returned 35 yards to the Eagles' 40-yard line by Ellis Hobbs, the Eagles didn't let up until backup quarterback Michael Vick was sent in to mop up with under two minutes remaining.
The numbers -- 391 yards of total offense, including 180 on the ground, five touchdowns, 8.0 yards per play -- were as shocking as they were definitive. They also helped catapult the Eagles (5-2) past the Giants (5-3) and into a first-place tie with the Cowboys in the division.
''You can look at all the stats you want, but that's not the story of the game,'' Giants coach Tom Coughlin countered. ''The story of the game is the fundamentals. It's tackling. When you have 21 rushes for 175 yards, I mean, we didn't tackle well. Our secondary didn't tackle well.''
Three times the Eagles scored on plays of 40-plus yards. Even more incredibly, two of them were runs, including a 41-yard rumble up the middle by fullback Leonard Weaver after the Eagles lined up with two tight ends on their third play from scrimmage.
The formation was as rare as the call, considering the down (second), distance needed for a first down (7 yards) and field position. Over the last half-dozen years, the Eagles have been many things. A power running team hasn't been one of them.
''I thought did a heck of a job,'' coach Andy Reid said. ''On [the Giants] defensive line, they have two groups there that are pretty good, so you have to bring your 'A' game. I was proud of the way they handled it.''
Weaver's burst was just the beginning. Rookie running back LeSean McCoy's 66-yard TD romp in the fourth quarter was the end.
In between, the Eagles also scored on precision passes from quarterback Donovan McNabb (17-for-23, 240 yards, no interceptions) to tight end Brent Celek and wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin and on field goals of 30 and 35 yards by David Akers.
They did all this while limiting Giants quarterback Eli Manning to 222 yards on 20-for-39 passing. They sacked him twice and intercepted him twice.
''I feel it was definitely our most complete effort,'' cornerback Sheldon Brown said. ''That is a good football team over there, and today we just executed a little better.''
Make that a lot better, beginning with the first defensive series, when cornerback Asante Samuel intercepted a Manning pass at the Giants' 47 and nearly took it to the house until being shoved out of bounds by Travis Beckum at the 10.
Beckum's tackle only delayed the inevitable. Two plays later, after a holding call on Jason Peters backed the Eagles up to the 17, McNabb fired a dart between three defenders and into the waiting arms of Celek in the end zone.
Barely four minutes in, the Eagles had a 13-0 lead and never were made to so much as think about paying for allowing the extra point to be blocked.
This was because after the Giants drove 89 yards for a touchdown to get within nine points of the lead with 1:54 remaining in the first half, the Eagles were able to go to intermission with a 30-7 advantage.
First, Hobbs came through with another long kickoff return to the Eagles' 46. Then McNabb promptly hit a wide-open Jackson for a 54-yard touchdown pass.
''The guys did a heck of a job protecting it first,'' offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said. ''And then DeSean got himself on a half-safety and did a heck of a job with the route. And then Donovan's important. He's got to do certain things with his eyes.''
But it wasn't until safety Quintin Demps intercepted Manning on the ensuing series that the game really began to snowball out of control.
The Eagles were in the end zone two plays later when McNabb and Maclin connected on a 23-yard pass.
''I've still got a lot of work to do,'' Maclin said. ''I'm happy, but I'm not satisfied. I've just got to continue to get better.''