All of the talk from Monday night’s game will be on the record setting performance by Michael Vick, and rightfully so. Vick played at a level that few quarterbacks in the NFL- today or in the history of the game- are capable of playing, even on their best day.
But for the 22 minutes that the Eagles offense was not breaking records,, the defense was on the field, and played a heck of a game as well.
This game was over before the end of the first quarter, so it is important to start there when analyzing the defense. The Eagles defense held the Redskins to only 21 first quarter yards, and forced the Redskins to punt after 3 plays every time. The Redskins managed to hold the ball for a mere 5 minutes total in the first quarter. They also did not allow the Redskins to convert any of there 10 third down plays.
The Redskins offense, needless to say, is not a quick strike unit. They score by grinding you down, pounding the ball, and counting on Donovan McNabb to make plays in the passing game. They are an offense ment to chew up the clock. That makes the Eagles shutting them down early even more impressive. In the first meeting, the Eagles let them jump out early, and it changed the whole tone of the game.
Just because the Eagles offense was scoring didn’t mean the Redskins offense couldn’t. Michael Vick was not lining up at linebacker. The Eagles defensive players stepped up and dominated the Redskins just as much as the offense did in the early part of the game.
During the game, NFL Analyst Deion Sanders said that the Redskins weapons were so harmless, McNabb would be allowed to walk through an airport with them. The Eagles defensive proved him right.
Going into the contest, the Redskins planned to attack rookie safety Kurt Coleman, and Dmitri Patterson. While they managed to beat Patterson once on a deep throw, Coleman and Patterson ultimately got the last laugh, as they both ended up with interceptions and Patterson with a score.
The Eagles had Daniel Synder seeing if the ink was dry on that contract with McNabb, as they made him look hopeless out their. McNabb famously said after the Redskins victory, “Everyone makes mistakes, and they made theirs.” Well, McNabb made his mistakes early and often, stalling the Redskins offense as the Eagles put the game away.
McNabb turned the ball over 3 times and fumbled it once. They also brought him down 2 times. If you take away the one blown play to tight end Fred Davis, McNabb had only 220 yards passing on 31 attempts. Reports are already coming out of Washington that Mike Shanahan was not completely on board with the extension. McNabb was not able to do anything to prove him wrong.
Yes the Redskins ended up with 28 points. But half of those were in the second half when the game plan was scaled back, and most of the starters were on the bench. The other half came with the team up 35-0.
While the numbers might not seem like it on paper, the Eagles defense showed up last night, and shut down the Redskins offense when it mattered most.
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