The Eagles picked up their second straight win and continue to be in the NFC playoff hunt. With five games remaining, the Birds are sitting in a Wild Card position and will need to continue to win games if they want to make the playoffs. Three out of the last four NFC teams they play are playoff contenders, so it’s not going to be easy. However, if they can battle late in games like they have the last two weeks, they have a chance. Sunday’s game with the Redskins was pretty ugly but resulted in victory. Let’s take a look at some of the positives and negatives we saw yesterday.
Winning a close game – For the second straight week the Eagles were able to win a game in the fourth quarter. Sure it’s nice to blow teams out of the water and not have to worry about losing towards the end of the game but these close games show character. They show the team can step up under pressure and do what they need to do.
Asante Samuel – We’ll ignore his tackling for the time being and focus on his turnovers yesterday. He always seems to have a knack for finding the ball and was able to do so on two occasions yesterday. Timely turnovers are always very nice to have and it was good to see Asante step up. Some of the other things he does on the field can really bother you but the turnovers make up for it.
Jeremy Maclin – Maclin had five receptions and was the second most targeted receiver on Sunday. He had a real clutch catch in yesterday’s game when the team needed to make a play. This kid is really going to have to take his game to a higher level if DeSean Jackson is going to miss serious time. I liked the way he played on Sunday and want to see him continue being more productive.
LeSean McCoy – Shady is now the Eagles number one threat on the ground with Brian Westbrook out. He played well last week against the Bears and played well against the Redskins this week as well. Not only did he average 4.5 yards per carry on the ground, but he caught a few nice balls out of the backfield. I don’t know if he’ll ever be the kind of receiver BWest was out of the backfield but it’s something I’d like to see him really improve upon.
Onside kick – Why? Dumb. This wasn’t no pickle juice game. You’re facing a team whose two biggest offensive playmakers aren’t playing. Kick it to them, play good defense, and force them to punt. Does Andy look like a hero if they recover the kick and score right away? Maybe, but they didn’t. So now he looks like an idiot. I totally disagree with that call.
Red zone defense – The Eagles defense tends to usually be bend but don’t break. They allow teams to march down the field on them then seem to really tighten up when teams enter the red zone and force them to field goals. This was not so much the case on Sunday. I don’t think giving up three touchdowns to a team with three wins and two of their top players injured is a good sign. This defense scares me and they’re really going to have to play at a higher level if they want to make the playoffs.
Injuries – They just keep piling up. You can’t really get mad at the players for this but it is very frustrating when a team cannot stay healthy, especially when they are in the thick of the playoff hunt. DeSean Jackson is the Eagles biggest asset on offense right now. It will be interesting to see how they do without him. They didn’t look half bad without him in Sunday’s game but I don’t know how they’ll fare without him an entire game. It will also be interesting to see if Brent Celek plays. His hand injury appears to be more serious than we first thought. Broderick Bunkley would also be a huge loss so I’m interested to see how serious his injury is.
Play calling – You’re pissing a lot of people off Andy. The run/pass was pretty balanced but the plays themselves were not all that great. This redzone nonsense is so frustrating. Why can’t we pound Leonard Weaver? Why do we have to play action to the tight end on second down every time? I think some players stepped up and made plays on that last touchdown series despite some bad play calling. My hat goes off to the players for their efforts there.
I’m going to stop there with the negatives and just be happy with the win. What positives and negatives did you see on Sunday?