There were numerous things I found maddening about Sunday night’s game against the Dallas Cowboys, but maybe that says what a good team the Eagles have. As many stupid mistakes that occurred, they still found a way to gut it out and get a road win over a divisional opponent. Lesser teams probably collapse in that situation. Still, there is still a lot that can be corrected moving forward if they want to make a deep run. But, let’s look at the game:
What I liked…
-I think it’s safe to say DeSean Jackson has to be mentioned first. He set an NFL record for most yards on four catches. 210 yards on four catches. Think about that for a second. He knocks off Gary Clark for the top spot and joins him and Choo Choo Roberts in the top three. Oh, and he was visibly banged up. No way Orlando Scandrick sniffs him under normal circumstances. You don’t need to give him a brand-new contract right now. But you can move some bonus money in his direction. Not sure what you are waiting for.
-Game ball to Todd Herremans? This was his best game in a while. I think we all dig LeSean McCoy, but we can agree that he isn’t a runner that can plow through and create his own space. He needs someone to give him a little room, and then he can be lethal. Herremans did a brilliant job giving McCoy a bit of breathing space. Oh, and he scored a touchdown.
-We’ve seen a ton of other NFL teams do it, but we really never (rarely at least) see the Eagles do it. They had the ball with 4:22 seconds on the clock in the 4th quarter (thanks to Jorrick Calvin doing his impression of Tanner Boyle from “The Bad News Bears” in the end zone that ran exactly no time off the clock because he doesn’t know the rules). They had the lead. There was no way this team could run out the clock…could they? And it wasn’t just four-yard chunks here and there to barely get first downs. McCoy was gashing the Cowboys on 12-yard clips. Even if the Cowboys buckled down and eventually got a stop, the clock was damaged and their field position would have been poor thanks to the big runs. This is how a champion plays when it counts.
-I like that Vick doesn’t have to be Superman every week for this team to win. Asking him to pull rabbits out of his hat every week and be a super stud just isn’t realistic. The man can only do so much. That said, he still had a decent night. Few plays he’d like to have back, but this is life in the NFL.
-I remarked to my buddy last night about Jason Avant. Whether it was Donovan or Kolb or Vick….anyone else notice that quarterbacks just love to throw him the ball either in the dirt or way too high? And he still comes up with it. Imagine if he was actually fast? He’s be in the elite WR category.
-Think McNabb misses David Akers? I know, I know. I say it every week. But, remember to be thankful for Akers. The guy is a machine. And how about his kickoffs this year? We won’t realize how much he’s truly appreciated until he’s gone. If I had to watch Graham Gano kick every week, I might get back into tennis.
-Jamar Chaney didn’t do a bad job considering the position he was thrust into.
-I saw a lot of people saying on Facebook that the roughing the passer call on Vick was ticky tack and not really a penalty. The heck it wasn’t. If you want to say that it shouldn’t be a penalty, then fine. But under the current rules, it most certainly was. Spencer got his helmet into Vick’s facemask. That’s 15. And Igor Olshansky might want to check his locker for a FedEx envelope this week too. He got a little helmet-to-helmet action going in there too, although he’ll most likely escape punishment.
-I thought the Birds did a pretty good job once again bottling up the run, although I think the Cowboys bailed on it early.
-How about Colt Anderson? Good for him. You usually don’t see kick returners get stopped at the eight-yard line unless something went horribly wrong when they tried to field the ball. Brilliant job tripping up Kevin Ogletree.
-He may not be a physical specimen, but I’m okay with Kurt Coleman.
-I think I really like Jon Kitna as a backup QB. I think if someone pays him starter money at some point, they’ll be disappointed. But as a backup, I’ll take him all day, every day, and twice on Tuesday. The Cowboys continued to lose after Tony Romo went down, but it’s not on Kitna. He’s played well enough for them to win games.
…and not so much…
-I’m a bit torn on the Jackson celebration penalty. Technically, he was not in the end zone and you are allowed to dive into the end zone to score. I know it’s illegal to go to the ground during a celebration unless it’s for prayer (whatever. Adrian Peterson goes to the ground all the time and it ain’t to pray), but what DeSean did was not really a penalty.
That said, what are you thinking? It was such over-the-top jerkish (that is probably not a word) behavior that it just looked like a penalty. Right or wrong, there is absolutely no reason for DeSean to risk it there. Seriously, dude. Are you ever going to learn not to act like this? I’m guessing no. What is the upside of doing that? Okay…now what is the downside? The risk/reward is not worth it.
-I’m not upset because an Eagles QB got pasted on the sidelines and there was no call, as much as I’m upset about the hypocrisy in the NFL. “We want to protect QB’s.” Okay….perfect time to do it right there. Vick was clearly stepping out of bounds to end the play. As to whether or not he was actually out of bounds when Anthony Spencer made contact is open to debate. But, it was extremely close, and if you are erring on the side of protecting quarterbacks, then you throw the flag no questions asked. Trent Cole got 15 yards for helping Peyton Manning fix the part in his hair. Vick got air mailed into the visitors bench. Be consistent. Are you trying to protect quarterbacks? Or are you trying to protect Manning and Brady? Andy Reid doesn’t blow gaskets like that over nothing.
-Vick threw one interception last night. Jeremy Maclin has to catch that other ball. He’s such a nice player, but I wonder about his focus on occasion.
-This defense is a problem. How long can this team go on with the offense shouldering the entire load? As long as they can get some turnovers, they seem to be fine. But, turnovers don’t always come. Some of the tackling and the poor angles taken are troubling. Maybe I’m being rough on them because they have so many rookies and backups in there, but the next guy has to step up.
-I had been a fan of Jorrick Calvin. He came in and did a nice job initially, but he is not the answer at kick returner. I could go back there and take a knee in the end zone and get the team to the 20-yard line. His returns consistently get the team started between the 18- and 25-yard lines. That is way too far to go every time.
-I’m hit or miss with Cris Collinsworth. Last night was a miss. “Oh man, look at that torque on Vick’s elbow.” Ok, we get it. Vick throws hard.
-It was third and a few towards the end of the game and you are sending Michael Vick on a designed run. It was great to see DeMarcus Ware drive him into the turf short of the first down. I’m not sure I get it. Is the first down worth it if your MVP candidate goes to injured reserve? I just don’t get it. Yes, he’s extremely talented. But yes, he’s also mortal. I’m tired of this stupid stuff. You have tons of weapons and a myriad of play calls to try to get a few yards. Why would you risk Vick’s health? Brainless.
-I don’t have a huge problem with Tashard Choice getting Vick’s autograph after the game. But dude….could you at least visit him in the locker room or something? It just looks bad.
-I said before that I like Kitna as a backup. The main reason I don’t like him as a starter? Did you see anything vertical from him last night? You have some major weapons to utilize and they don’t take any shots deep. Did he miss the film review session on Joselio Hanson? Plays are to be had, Jon.
-I’m pretty much done with Ernie Sims. This guy has all the physical ability in the world, but absolutely no football instincts whatsoever. Want a new drinking game? Do a shot every time you see a replay where Sims is frantically trying to change direction because he was woefully out of position on any given play. You’ll be hammered half way into the first quarter. The misdirection play that had Kitna throwing back across the field to Martellus Bennett in the second half really irritated me. Sims just follows the action and assumes that offenses won’t do things to try to fake out the defense.
-While I’m on the subject of linebackers, something needs to be done. Even before Stewart Bradley got hurt last night, he’s had a down year. In fairness to him, he needs a full year to recover from his ACL injury. But what about the rest of the crew? Moises Fokou is just okay. Akeem Jordan is just a guy. I know the Eagles don’t value the position (they haven’t taken a linebacker in the first round since Jerry Robinson in 1979, even though that doesn’t fall completely on the current administration), but at some point, the dearth of talent at this position will kill this defense. Maybe they are simply bad at identifying good players here. After all, they were excited about Ernie Sims. Matt McCoy? Quinton Caver? Chris Gocong?
-I’m seriously going to reach out to Carlos Emmons. I want to know why exactly this team hasn’t been able to cover a tight end since he left. What did he know that hasn’t been shared with anyone on defense since his departure? If I were the Cowboys, I would have just hammered Witten all night. Why not?
-No, I think it’s a great idea to have Owen Schmitt take a shot at blocking DeMarcus Ware. That makes sense.
-King Dunlap did some maddening things, but I can’t get on him too much. As it is, he was a guy that we (most of us) said couldn’t even play earlier in the year. Then he gets thrown in on the opposite side of the line and is expected to handle Ware and Spencer. It’s a bigger transition than one would think.
-I stuck up for him for a while, but something has to be done with Chad Hall. He’s just too little and too slow to have an impact. He’s a poor man’s Julien Edelman. And Edelman is a poor man’s Wes Welker. At some point….he’s just too poor.
-Dear television replay people at all networks, please stop showing the Stewart Bradley injury. I literally cannot watch.
Alright, that’s enough bloviating. The bottom line is that the Eagles went into Big D and came out with a win. There is no room on the scorecard for pictures. They have things that need to be tightened up moving forward, but luckily, just about everyone in the NFL not named the Patriots can say that too. Take the win, enjoy it and get ready for the Giants.