First off, I’d like to say it’s great to be back. An NFL Sunday just has a different feel than any other sport, and it was good to see the Birds get off on the right foot this week. With that said, the good news first:
It’s no secret that the Eagles’ offense, and essentially their entire season, will go only as far as 7 will take them. He was by no means perfect in this game, as he was just 14-32 passing the football and didn’t reach 200 yards, which he reached regularly last season.
Vick also got sacked 3 times, and 2 of them were almost entirely on him as he just didn’t see the rush coming from the blind side when he was supposed to get rid of the ball quickly. But, almost every one of his 11 rushes were both important and breathtaking (without the 3 kneel downs at the end of the game, he had rushed 8 times for 100 yards).
The Rams came out blitzing heavily in the first quarter and seemed to be hitting Vick a little too often for my liking. But, to his credit, Vick recognized that these blitzes opened up huge running lanes and he began to take advantage at the end of the first quarter by gashing the Rams for huge chunks of yardage. Once he showed this willingness to run, the Rams changed their game plan completely on defense, and this allowed everything in the offense to come together nicely.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, he came up big when it mattered. On third downs, he was 7-8 for 70 yards and a TD, with 6 of those completions going for first down (he also ran for 19 yards on a 3rd and 10 play). The Eagles were very efficient on third downs on Sunday, and 7 was a big reason why.
I know, I know. They gave up 3 sacks and I just said that Vick took a few more hits than I’d like to see him take. But, I’m putting them in the “Studs” category because given the circumstance, they played very well overall.
This was their first game action ever together, with four new starters since last year, and two journeymen starting at the guard positions. It was an extremely loud environment in the Edward Jones Dome, and they handled it very well. What I liked the best was that they seemed to really get in a groove as the game wore on, and they absolutely dominated the Rams’ D-Line in the 4th quarter, which let the Birds put the game out of reach.
I was very impressed with Herremans at RT, as he looked like a natural over there and didn’t miss a beat. You didn’t hear Chris Long’s name very often, and that’s usually a sign that the blocker in front of him played well. Kelce and Vick did seem to have trouble communicating early in the game with the two delay of game penalties and three timeouts they had to use in the first half, but a lot of that blame can also fall on Reid.
This is something to note, but I see them working it out very quickly, and they didn’t seem to have much trouble with it after they made adjustments at halftime.
His two sacks are the flashy stat, but he also played very well against the run on Sunday. I love the edge that he brings to the position, as you can tell he just wants to beat the hell out of the guy across the line from him.
Overall, I loved how the entire D-Line played, as there seemed to be pressure on Bradford on almost every play, as evidenced by the five sacks he absorbed (along with knocking him out of the game).
Through three quarters, he was just pedestrian, as he had 11 carries for 27 yards heading into the 4th. But, he makes this list because he closed out the win for the birds with his 95 rushing yards in the fourth quarter…ON ONLY FOUR CARRIES!
The best thing about McCoy is that you can bottle him up all game, but his big play ability is always there and can change a game in an instant. The same can be said about a lot of the Eagles’ weapons on offense, and those abilities mean they’re absolutely never out of a game, no matter the score.
McCoy definitely didn’t have the best game of his career on Sunday, but his role in closing out the Rams cannot be overlooked. He provides the Birds with the ability to close out opponents when they have a lead, which is something they have sorely lacked in recent seasons, including Brian Westbrook’s golden years.
McCoy has the chance to be as good as Westbrook was in his prime, if not better, and this writer believes he takes that leap this year. By the way, he just turned 23.
I bet you’re pretty surprised to see him here. And yes, I am too. Overall, he actually played fairly well, in the sense that he was only targeted twice by Bradford/Feeley, which is the exact reason the Eagles paid him all that money. But, it cannot be overlooked that in those two targets, he gave up a combined 72 yards.
He had a 41-yard pass-interference penalty, and gave up a 31-yard completion in the 4th quarter. Whether or not you agreed with the PI call, it was called and set up a 3rd quarter field goal. Again, he didn’t play like a “dud” for the entire game, and I understand there will be a learning curve with this new defense, but I felt like those two plays needed to be pointed out to show he wasn’t flawless.
Just kneel on the damn ball, kid.
I know this is tough considering the circumstance. But, the fact of the matter is, he played the same number of snaps as DeSean Jackson and only produced 1 catch for 20 yards on 3 targets from Vick. Simply, this isn’t the type of production we’ve come to expect from Maclin.
If they had eased him in and played him only 15-20 snaps, I’d understand. But, since he played a full game, I feel like I had to point out that he just didn’t make an impact on the game like he usually does. I do understand Vick wasn’t overly sharp on Sunday, but his being targeted only 3 times, compared to 12 targets for Jackson, shows he wasn’t getting open consistently.
Jeremy will be just fine over the course of the season, but Sunday’s effort wasn’t one of his finest. On the positive side, I did notice him doing a good job of blocking downfield when either Vick or McCoy were running. It’s nice to know that we never have to question his effort no matter how the game is going for him, and blocking is something he’s always done pretty well in my opinion.