How ‘bout dem Cowboys?? Studs and duds is back!! After a two-month-long hiatus (mostly due to poor play by the Eagles pissing this writer off so bad that it was impossible to even write about it), let’s take a look at the best and worst performers from the Eagles thrashing of the ‘Boys on Sunday night.
Let’s start with the most obvious. Shady was unbelievable Sunday night, pure and simple. 30 carries, 185 yards, two touchdowns. Against the league’s best run defense through Week 7. This guy is getting better and better each week, and is the first running back to score at least one touchdown in each of his team’s first seven games of a season since Emmitt Smith in 1999.
The accolades have finally started to flow in on a nation-wide level that he has deserved since the end of his rookie season. This guy is so quick, so smart, and so fast that no one can stop him. Ask Jay Ratliff or Sean Lee. Ask Keith Brooking or DeMarcus Ware. McCoy is without question among the elite backs in this league, and it’s a pure joy to watch him week after week. He’s on his way to his first Pro Bowl berth, and if he keeps this up, will be in the thick of the MVP race if the Birds continue their turn-around.
(For those of you wondering, my list of RBs, in no particular order, is AP, Shady, Forte, Foster, and CJ if he wants to play.)
Vick didn’t have his best statistical game if you look at passing or rushing yards. But, he had his best all-around football game of the season, and possibly his best since last year’s historic Redskins game. He completed 75% of his passes for 279 yards, and also added 50 yards on the ground.
He had complete command of the game from start to finish, and made pinpoint passes the entire night. I can think of only two bad passes of his 28 (intended for DeSean in the first and Schmitt in the third). Almost every other pass was exactly where it had to be.
Also, I must note his great use of audibles and protection changes at the line throughout the game. His audible to a WR screen led to Maclin’s touchdown in the first, and another one led to McCoy’s second touchdown in the fourth. If this is Mike Vick finally putting it all together mentally, the league better watch out.
The Entire O-Line
Absolutely the best game by an Eagles offensive line since the days of Thomas and Runyan. They were absolutely mauling the ‘Boys’ d-line all night, and were a huge reason for Shady’s big night and Vick’s high completion percentage. They were great in run blocking, great in pass protection, and just played an all-around phenomenal game.
The unit was definitely led by the return of Jason Peters, who, since he came back from his knee injury last year, has been one of the best tackles in the NFL. His block on Maclin’s touchdown was beautiful to watch. Marty also had him pulling a lot on handoffs, and he was responsible for sealing weak side blockers countless times to provide a huge hole for McCoy.
Also, the insertion of Watkins into the lineup against the Bills has paid off huge dividends. He was pretty good against the Bills, but has been a monster since then.
I know, I know, Ware had four sacks. Well, first off, the dude is a flat out stud. He’s going to get his every single game. But second, the more I watch, the more I’m impressed with Herremans’ work on him all night. He was left one-on-one a lot more than most tackles are (according to my memory of watching other Cowboys games. I admittedly have no stats to back this up.), and he did a very good job.
If this unit continues to play like this, which I believe they can, then Shady and Vick should pick apart any defense outside of the ’85 Bears.
P.S. One more thing to keep in mind: this was the first time that Herremans, Watkins, Kelce, Mathis, and Peters have ever played together. Just sayin’.
The Entire D-Line
They absolutely harassed and annoyed Tony Romo all night. He was battered, bruised, and hit constantly. And it showed that the pressure got to him, because even when he had time, he was nervous and rushed with his reads and throws. Granted, this writer doesn’t think too highly of Romo to begin with, and attributes a lot of that to his lack of overall QB skills, but let’s not worry about that right now.
The return of Trent Cole really solidified the d-line rotation, as he just makes everyone on the line that much better. He’s phenomenal. Babin continues to be a pass-rushing beast on the other side, and notched another two sacks on Sunday night. We, just like many others, have previously discussed his shortcomings against the run, and you can’t just ignore them. But, he was signed to get to the QB, and he’s been tremendous at that all year.
Jenkins and Patterson continue to play well, with Laws, Hunt, Parker, and Tapp providing solid depth for the Birds. This has been their strongest unit all season, and it looks like that will continue.
Finally, needed to mention Celek’s fantastic game. His best game in a long time. Also, the o-line playing so well allowed Celek to run more routes, which just opens up another weapon for 7 and this offense. He can be a very dangerous weapon in the red zone, and if he has resurfaced in the passing game, maybe the Eagles’ much-coveted red zone target has been wearing the #87 jersey all along.
Because I need at least one dud, I guess I’ll pick Coleman for the lone fact that he got beat on the 70-yard touchdown pass from Romo to Robinson. I actually thought he played pretty well for the second straight week. Admittedly, though, he and Nate Allen really didn’t have to do too much with the d-line harassing Romo all night and the corners playing their best game of the year.