The Eagles got the win we expected on Sunday, but let’s take a closer look at the win.
Behind now full-time quarterback, Michael Vick, the Eagles offense showed a lot of flash this week. Vick connected on some big plays on some great throws. However, there was a pretty big lull between DeSean Jackson’s touchdown reception in the first quarter and Jeremy Maclin’s touchdown right before halftime.
To me, this can be attributed to two things. First, the Eagles failed to run the ball as well as they did against the Lions. LeSean McCoy had 11 rushes on the day for 54 yards. He had a few nice runs, but it didn’t seem like the line had the same kind of push they did last week in Detroit. When they don’t find success running the ball, they tend to quickly move away from it. We’ve always begged the team to run the ball more, and I don’t know if we’ll ever be satisfied with the frequency of the Eagles running attack. However, I’d like to see that number be higher than 21 rushes.
Second, Vick did not show a lot of efficiency in hitting short passes during this time. You love to see the long touchdown passes, but he needs to get better in hitting the short passes that keep drives alive. This should get better as time goes on and he develops more chemistry with his receivers, and it definitely needs to get better if he wants to beat teams more talented then the Jaguars.
As expected, the offensive line didn’t play a superior game. Vick was sacked three times on the day and saw a lot of pressure. They tried to run some sets with extra blockers and it did help. For example, right before the half they ran a play in which everyone stayed in to block and DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin were the only two players to go out for passes. Vick had a lot of time to sit back and throw the ball, and the play resulted in a 16 yard touchdown to Maclin.
Anytime your defense gives up just three points on the day, you’re going to win football games. Especially with the high-powered offense the Eagles have. The return of Stewart Bradley was huge, as you can see the improvement defensively from last week when he didn’t play. We also saw some unexpected players step up which is always nice to see.
Darryl Tapp and Trevor Laws are the two guys that come to mind most here. Tapp hasn’t impressed anyone since he arrived in Philadelphia, but had an impact in his first game of the year. He recorded a sack and had another tackle for a loss, recording three tackles on the day.
Laws has yet to be the guy the Eagles expected him to be, but showed a ray of light yesterday. He also recorded a sack, had a tackle for a loss, and recorded six tackles. He also deflected two balls at the line.
Trent Cole continues to be an absolute monster and his counterpart, Brandon Graham, continues to have solid games that don’t translate to the stat sheet.
The only thing that I can think of that bothered me about the defense was Asante Samuel’s tackling, but that doesn’t come as a surprise. There’s two instances in the game that I can think of where he completely whiffed. This is pretty much expected though, but he was able to redeem himself with an interception.
Sav Rocca continues to be an unsung hero with his solid punting and we saw the game opened on a great note by a 46 yard Ellis Hobbs kickoff return. It was a bit confusing to see the Eagles switching up punt returners so frequently, but Jorrick Calvin did a pretty good job on the day.
I still see some room for improvement with return coverage, as we saw Mike Thomas break off a 41 yard return. However, I’m pretty happy with things overall.
The Eagles are on a very high note right now as they sit on top of the NFC East, and will face a very emotional game this week as Donovan McNabb makes his return to Philadelphia. More to come on that headline later in the week.
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