Eagles CB Ronald Darby had a bad first half on Monday night against the New York Giants. Giants WR Darius Slayton beat Darby on two touchdowns in the first half. Also, Giants QB Eli Manning threw for 179 yards in that first half, and New York led 17-3 at halftime.
However, in the second half, the Eagles’ defense stiffened, and Manning would throw for only 24 yards the rest of the way as Philadelphia defeated the Giants 23-17 in overtime.
Darby was singled out by many for Slayton’s two touchdowns, and according to Eagles defensive coordinator, Jim Schwartz, Darby getting the blame comes with the territory of being a cornerback in the NFL.
“I think one of the big things you see with corners and when you guys talk about consistency, or we talk about consistency, the corners live in a world that if they make a mistake, it’s there for everybody to see,” Schwartz said on Wednesday. “Kickers are the same way. Quarterbacks are the same way. Quarterback throws an interception or fumbles the ball; it’s there for everybody else to see. He made an error on that play. Defensive tackle makes an error on the play, and maybe the run goes for five yards instead of for zero. Or maybe a quarterback buys time in the pocket and completes a first-down, and maybe you think that the coverage wasn’t very good. But the corners live with that kind of scrutiny, and it takes a special kind of guy to be able to do that. And Darby didn’t start off that game well.”
Schwartz explained what went wrong on Slayton’s first touchdown against Darby.
“But I will say this, that first touchdown is 100 percent on me,” Schwartz said. “It’s not on him. We had a third-and-13, I’m trying to keep him out of field goal range there. It looks like it’s going to be a low-scoring game, we have some weather situations coming in, and maybe points are going to be at a premium. I don’t want to let them get five yards or seven yards to get into field goal range. Generally, I don’t really care too much about field goals.
“But if we’re in zone defense there and we have more guys at that thing, they make a 10 yard gain and kick a field goal, and all of a sudden we lose by three, you’re sitting there saying, ‘Man, we should have been more aggressive to try to get them out of field goal range in that situation.’ But that’s where we were. We blitzed, we played man, the field was slippery, and he’s coming for the interception. [Giants QB] Eli [Manning] made a really good throw throwing to the backside hip there because Darby is driving to the break point of that route and Eli saw him, threw the back hip, he was able to make the catch, and then spin out of that tackle, and we paid for the touchdown. But I don’t view that at all on Darby. I view that 100 percent on me.”
Slayton finished the first half with five catches for 154 yards and two touchdowns, but he was shutout in the second half. Schwartz believes that Darby’s play in the second half was one of the reasons the Eagles were able to defeat the Giants on Monday night.
“He(Darby) went out and made some big plays for us in the second half, and we needed it,” Schwartz said. “We lost J-Mill [CB Jalen Mills] in that game and lost [CB] Rasul [Douglas] on a play later. I don’t know that we could have won it if Darby didn’t bounce back in that second half.”
Darby has struggled the past two weeks, but just like all corners in the NFL, he has to put those two games behind him and keep marching forward.