Tough Loss

Posted: September 19th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 52 Comments »

The Eagles started slow. That got me worried. Vick was playing sloppy late in the 1st half and I wasn’t feeling real confident. Then Vick threw an INT just after halftime (more on that in the DGR). The Falcons went up 21-10. I was real curious to see how the Eagles would respond.

Like a playoff team.

We scored the next 21 points and went up 31-21. On the final TD drive Vick was pulled into Todd Herremans by a defender (accident). Vick suffered a concussion on the play and left the game. Vick’s injury seemed to inspire the Falcons and they basically outplayed us from that point on. They had a pair of long TD drives and shut us out. ATL 35, PHI 31.

There are some things to be happy about. There are also some legit concerns. We’ll start there. Atlanta basically won the game because they went 5 for 5 in the Red Zone. Matt Ryan threw 4 TD passes and Turner ran for 1. I think we all had flashbacks to last year. Terrible Red Zone defense.

TE Tony Gonzalez killed us. He was 7-83 with 2 TDs. He ate up Jamar Chaney and Jarrad Page. We must figure out a better way to cover TEs. I’ll check out the plays and see what went wrong. We have to give Matt Ryan and Tony credit on a couple. Gonzo is a friggin’ Hall of Fame player for a reason.

The run defense let us down in the 4th quarter. They had been lights out in the 2nd and 3rd quarters, but came up small when we needed them most. Gotta see what happened on those plays. Missed assignments, missed tackles were huge. Jamar Chaney had a clear run at Turner on the final TD, but failed to make the tackle.

Red Zone offense was a problem for us. 3 for 5 isn’t bad, but one of the drives resulted in no points because of a bizarre turnover. Can’t have plays like that. You must score. Getting a FG on that drive would have made a huge difference in the game. We had dropped passes by DeSean, Celek, and Maclin in the Red Zone. Those players are too good to make mistakes like that.

Let’s talk Maclin for a minute because he played a great game up until the end. He dropped an easy pass over the middle on 4th/4. Critical error. Killed us. I don’t want that to wipe out how well he played the rest of the game. Mac was 13-171 with a couple of TDs. And he played through a vicious head shot from CB Dunta Robinson. Very encouraging to see him play so well, but can’t have drops like that. Good players must make clutch plays.

Mike Kafka saw his first NFL action and played well. There’s a decent chance he’ll be starting for us next week vs the Giants. Kafka was poised. He read the defense and got the ball out accurately and quickly. That was great to see. Looked like a good backup QB.

The offense posted 447 yards and 31 points. Great results, but again…it was the mistakes that killed us. Gotta clean those up.

The defense looked dominant at times. Atlanta had 98 yards in the 1st half. Matt Ryan took a beating. Turner had no room to run. Life was good. Things fell apart in the 4th quarter. We had some injuries on the D-line that didn’t help matters. Part of the Washburn system is rotating guys so that they stay constantly fresh. Tapp was out. Juqua Parker hurt his ankle. Phillip Hunt didn’t play a lot.

There were times in the game when we looked dominant. Problem is that we were sloppy and the Falcons were clutch. That’s what won them the game. They made the timely plays. I do think losing Vick affected the whole team. It seemed to take some of the wind out of our sails. Kafka’s performance down the stretch should build confidence in him. We’ll need that if he starts next week.

The Eagles have shown signs of greatness, but the team must be more consistent and must learn to play a complete game. There is enough talent (even at LB) to be a top flight team. We had Atlanta on the ropes until the Vick injury. We lost him and made critical mistakes and still almost won the game. Tough loss, but I’m still very optimistic about this team.


  • http://twitter.com/akuatuta nathalie a

    mistakes happened way before vick’s getting injured. i wouldn’t be as adamant as you, as to how his absence affected the whole team. i’m just not sure. but it is of relatively small importance. i hope vick’s ok, juqua as well, etc.

    • Anonymous

      Mistakes started right away. Vick made a few himself.

      My point is that the team seemed to take on a negative vibe when Vick left. That’s the time when a team needs to toughen up and make plays. We didn’t until that last drive with Kafka.

      • Anonymous

        Some of that has to go to the playcalling. Kafka’s first drive was, run by shady, screen to Shady, 83 bubble screens to Maclin. I’m guessing they were trying ease Kafka in, but damn, let the kid try to make a play while there’s still time on the clock.

      • Anonymous

        Is that the down side to having such a dynamic leader, or just one of those things that can’t really be explained?

  • Anonymous

    Two names that weren’t called much if at all tonight

    1. Roddy White- Did he even play?

    2. Casey Matthews

    Casey seemed to be a big problem in the run game. Both Fokou and Chaney seemed to be filling properly but Casey kept getting caught up in the garbage or over pursuing. My favorite quote of the night was from one of my teammates who just happens to be a stud MLB.

    Dear Casey,

    Please read your guards. No seriously it’s not that hard.

    Sincerely,
    Every other LB on the planet.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GWMNZ32U6YPGGA7N4JNWH4OSJE Mac

      Roddy didn’t do much, except catch a TD. (on one of those short field drives)

  • Anonymous

    Time to start thinking about playing DRC as a linebacker. None of our linebackers are able to stop the run anyway so it’s not like we’d be losing anything.

  • Anonymous

    Tommy,
    Do you think that Dion Lewis’ conviction that he can bring kickoffs out of the endzone past the 20 yard line has anything to do with going against our coverage teams in practice?

    • Anonymous

      Kid’s just itching to make a play.

  • http://twitter.com/dmmannino David Mannino

    Tommy – How do we plan to cover these big tight-ends? We’ll be facing several over the course of the season (and the safety does not seem to match up well)

    • Anonymous

      Need to study the plays and see what went wrong. There was tight coverage a couple of times, but Tony just beat us. We can try a variety of things. First issue is diagnosing what the exact problem was…player / execution / scheme?

  • Anonymous

    Man I hate losing like that. If we even go 4-5 in redzone D we win that game, maybe it wasn’t McDermott who as the problem.

    So frustrating to see our defence absolutely dominate at times but then get shredded when it counts.

    Be a very different game if Vick had kept hold of the ball and the Falcons didn’t get so many short fields.

    Damnit Eagles.

  • Anonymous

    Why must we use the Wide-9 on every snap? What sense does it make on 1st down vs. a pwer running team?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Niklas-Dyrby-Johansen/762048417 Niklas Dyrby Johansen

    I am blaming this loss on the defense as much as on the offense.

    Yes, the offense made costly mistakes but still put 31 points on the board.

    Yes, the defense was hurt by terrible field position but didn’t exactly make any big stops either.

    Also, I absolutely hated the playcalling when Kafka came into the game. I understand that you want to protect your backup QB from making mistakes, but when he showed he was able to make plays on the long bomb to Maclin, you have to give Kafka a chance to win the game instead of calling two straight bubble screens! If we were going to win the game on that drive, Kafka would have had to make some plays. Why not give him the chance to make them? An interception would have had the same end result anyway.

    And Maclin, how could you drop that pass? I am often baffled by the amount of catches in the NFL, where the receivers catches the ball with his body. Catching the ball with your hands is one of the first things you learn as a football player, yet so few players seem to actually do it.

    • Anonymous

      I still feel like we lost the game on that first drive with Kafka. If we get 2 first downs, that keeps the D off the field long enough to get some oxygen. They looked tired on the last two drives. Maybe that’s just projecting, but it really did seem like they had lost a step.

      That’s always been my frustration with Andy Reid (and I am one of his supporters) and also with McNabb. Sure you don’t turn the ball over a lot, but several 3 and outs in a row is basically the same as a pick.

  • Anonymous

    If we played the Falcons again, even in Atlanta, wouldn’t you pick us to win the game? I would. We played with two DEs, DRC went out + Asante missed some time.

    I hope we start Kafka next week vs. New York and only play Vick until he’s 100% (we absolutely need him healthy in December, not September). New York will be coming off a short week and have issues of their own.

    Why can’t THIS team go 4-2 before the bye?

  • Anonymous

    Is it just me or does Kurt Coleman seem to be a pretty limited athlete.

    It’s honestly weird that I’m not really too upset by this loss. I guess it’s because I’m really expecting the first 8 games to be a work in progress. This team has so many new pieces this year that it’s going to take time to gel. If it was a bunch of veterans who’ve been playing together for several years I’d be much more concerned by the mistakes.

    • Anonymous

      Coleman, like Matthews, is a limited athlete. Good wrap-up tackler who’s normally in the right spot. Ideally, Coleman is your #3S because he can play both spots and is smart/unselfish. You do NOT want him starting 16 games because he won’t make any plays and will likely wear down.

  • Anonymous

    Is it just me or does Kurt Coleman seem to be a pretty limited athlete.

    It’s honestly weird that I’m not really too upset by this loss. I guess it’s because I’m really expecting the first 8 games to be a work in progress. This team has so many new pieces this year that it’s going to take time to gel. If it was a bunch of veterans who’ve been playing together for several years I’d be much more concerned by the mistakes.

  • Anonymous

    Tommy,
    Any chance Nate Allen gives an upgrade when he’s 100% healthy? Hoping Page just had an off night and not sure what to think about Coleman. Coleman’s game is to read the offense and from instinct/film study be in position to make play. Hasn’t be in good position and when he is the receiver is still making catches.

  • Anonymous

    There were times in the game when we looked dominant. Problem is that we were sloppy and the Falcons were clutch. That’s what won them the game. They made the timely plays. I do think losing Vick affected the whole team. It seemed to take some of the wind out of our sails. Kafka’s performance down the stretch should build confidence in him. We’ll need that if he starts next week.

    • http://twitter.com/EWeaver34 Eric Weaver

      I had the same flashbacks concerning that Dallas game. I instantly remembered the day after on ESPN radio how Colin Cowherd said, “wow, if the rest of the NFL is watching, I wouldn’t want to face either of those two teams.” ehh… not so much. Probably could have the same response from last night.

  • Anonymous

    Jeff McLane
    In case you missed the tweet last night, I spotted Juqua Parker walking in an air cast after the game. Could be worse than “ankle sprain.”

    No Tapp or Parker next week? Ugh. This rotation doesn’t work unless we have bodies. Hunt MUST play.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_EKCCDQX5CI4J3V6ZDUCOR3PC6I M

      I don’t understand why they can’t rotate Babin and Hunt on the LDE. Does Washburn hate Hunt or something? Did Hunt spit in his cheerios at training camp?

      I personally think that a Hunt/Babin rotation would be perfect. Throw Graham in there as well once he’s able to play.

  • Anonymous

    All said and done….with this D – you just cant blow a 10 point lead…as the fat guy says – it starts with me…it deffy starts with him…after Vick went out he should have got the guys rally around…and stop trying those freakin gadget plays…on another note why on earth you wouldn’t pay Desean and get his contract out of the way….sorry for ranting…but just cant get over this loss

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GWMNZ32U6YPGGA7N4JNWH4OSJE Mac

      Blown call by Andy not throwing the flag. And for gadget plays… We have Ronnie Brown “Mr. Wildcat” hisself… where was that play call?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_EKCCDQX5CI4J3V6ZDUCOR3PC6I M

    - Why did Washburn not play Phillip Hunt more often? Not only would he be able to keep Babin fresh, but he would have been well-suited to the fast dome turf. I don’t understand it; he was a monster in preseason and now they don’t even want to give him a few rotational snaps?

    - Sure, Gonzalez is a first-ballot Hall of Famer, but he is also old and slow. Last year, the Eagles shut him down with less talent on the defense. Why was it easy to do last year but impossible to do this year?

    - If a single player is tearing up your defense, why can’t you make adjustments? Double coverage? Why not, say, move Asomugha on to Gonzalez and put DRC on the outside? I don’t get it. They clearly had the ability to double-cover an interior player because Asomugha and Samuel were usually 1-on-1 on the outside. And is putting Asomugha on him and DRC on the outside the worst idea?

    • Anonymous

      I was thinking the same thing about putting NA on Gonzalez.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_EKCCDQX5CI4J3V6ZDUCOR3PC6I M

        And this type of thing is directly on Juan Castillo. A good defensive coordinator assesses the problem mid-game, and then makes adjustments to solve the problem. A good defensive coordinator would have tried something like that, knowing he has three good cornerbacks on the roster: try to rotate Asomugha, who is clearly physical enough to cover TEs, to Gonzalez, and try your luck with DRC (who is no slouch) on, say, Julio Jones.

        Instead, he just sits back and lets a decrepit old Tony Gonzalez abuse his mediocre linebackers and safeties.

        • http://twitter.com/EWeaver34 Eric Weaver

          Except for a large portion of the game he didn’t have all three corners. Asante was MIA for awhile.

          • Anonymous

            DRC had a high ankle sprain. Asante missed a quarter. Did anyone feel comfortable with Hanson or Hughes covering Jones or White out-wide? If you did, then sure put Nnamdi on Gonzalez. If you didn’t, then we did the right thing.

            If all 3 CBs are playing, you’ll be seeing Nnamdi on Witten vs. Dallas. I trust DRC on Bryant with Samuel on Austin.

          • Anonymous

            Nnamdi said after the game that the plan was to have him cover Tony but because of DRC’s injury they didn’t, Samuel hurting his finger of course didn’t help

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_LHFJFXII7VH2DWYBBXFKWQVZS4 ike

    By the 4th quarter, Trent Cole looked like the Trent Cole of weeks 13-16 in years past. He had no gas left in the tank.

    Washburn’s refusal to use Hunt (except for 3 plays) ultimately sapped the pass rush.

    One of the benefits a team gets by throwing the ball much more than running is that the D-line gets gassed . . . unless there’s lots and lots of rotation.

    No reason Hunt shouldn’t have been out there — especially the way T-Cole plays. Cole doesn’t just run up field or use spin moves. He spends most of the night tossing around 320 pound LTs. That’s gotta take a lot out of you.

    A similar point should be made about Kafka. As commenter Nicholas Derby Johansen said, the ultra conservative play calling, until desperation time, was lousy.

    Reid’s big on the “Next Guy Up” theory.

    If these guys are good enough to be on the Eagles, then let ‘em play.

    Last point regarding Safety Jarrad Page.

    There’s a reason KC let him go. I think we saw it last night.

    Anyone else see the Broncos play the past two weeks. I have. And Dawkins is still better than anyone the Eagles have back there. By far. Bad decision that still haunts.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steven-DiLeo/100000156792866 Steven DiLeo

    I really don’t know how NFL coverage systems work, but no one was playing man coverage against the TE. On that critical 3rd down play late in the fourth quarter, Jamar Chaney covered Tony well for the first 5 yards and then let Jarred Page cover him. I guess Jamar had to stay back and watch for any runs or screens. Ryan was able to find Tony for an easy 7 yard gain and Page was late in coverage since he was 3 yards away.

    I don’t understand why we don’t play press coverage on the WRs or TEs. We give them a cushion, and they eat us up on 6-7 yard completions.

    • Anonymous

      100% on pressing the TE. You give up more big plays when you press, but you should give up less short stuff. If you’re rushing 4, I think we should press more. It’s all very disappointing.

      I’m ready for Keenan Clayton to start being the guy who covers TE in nickle packages. He’s a converted S, he should be able to hang with TEs.

  • Anonymous

    Did anyone notice the Falcons at least 2-3 times by my count had Turner isolated and running on Asante’s side? Also the Eagles went to the well too many times with the same plays…the fumble in the red zone for instance?

    • http://twitter.com/EWeaver34 Eric Weaver

      Yes, Collinsworth mentioned it several times during the broadcast.

  • http://twitter.com/aceandson Ace

    McCoy looks like he’s trying to reverse field or cut back on just about every carry. Is it possible he’s having a hard time reading the block in the new scheme?

  • Anonymous

    Regarding KOR
    Is it possible that D. Lewis is being encouraged to take these yards-deep kickoffs out of the endzone? Perhaps statistically the distribution of returns over time benefits the eager returner. For every 2-3x Lewis gets pinned inside the 20, I see a 30+ return. The iggles rarely seem to thrive by playing safe (see Kafka drive last night). And Lewis’ return skill is, just like every rook this year, a pseudo-unknown, so why not expect B April to encourage the guy to take a few out? In the end, the reward seems to outweigh the risk. Or is Lewis just too itchy? Thoughts?

    • Anonymous

      I would agree with that. If Andy was pissed about it, he surely would’ve put someone else back there.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1017964496 Jon Blank

    After sleeping on it, I have decided Juan still mostly blows. He’s in over his head. When his hiring was announced I felt the same way I felt when Andy announced Greg Lewis was the new returner. The Greg Lewis move cost us a game, hopefully the Castillo move doesn’t cost us a promising season.

    • Anonymous

      Well put. I have secretly had questions about Juan Castillo from the beginning, but remained silent because I did not want to be a hater. But the comparison to the Greg Lewis decision is very applicable. Andy really may have screwed himself with the selection of Juan as DC. Juan appears overmatched and lost on the sideline.

  • Jason Hines

    Tommy,

    I had a question about Vick’s fumble in the RZ. Whose fault was it? I personally get upset when I see all the fanciness down near the goal line, so I think it was a bad playcall at the down and distance. But also it seemed like it’s bad play design to not block the defender closest to the QB when you’re doing a complicated handoff. Did someone miss a block (I assume it would have to be Kelce or DeVan)? Or is that really the design?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Anders-Jensen/748307140 Anders Jensen

      For me, it seems that either the center or the OG should hit the DT to slow him down, but he was to fast and just made a great play. Had the hand-off worked Shady would have had a TD for sure.

      • Anonymous

        Again Marty and fat Reid decided they would get cute and do the fake toss and then hand it over to Mccoy (similar to what they did previously when it worked) – problem is Vicks back is completely turned…if he doesnt attempt the fake toss Mccoy gets it and worst case he gets tacked at line of scrimmage

    • http://twitter.com/EWeaver34 Eric Weaver

      Collinsworth mentioned this in the broadcast. Peters was supposed to pull to the center of the line and block anyone coming from the right side of the formation – possibly an OLB.

      The point of the play, which is to cause the defense to think the play is going right (whoever was out there with Shady, maybe Brown), didn’t work. Jerry basically attacked up field and never really read the play and he got lucky.

    • Anonymous

      That was the design. Devan pulled right on an “influence” block. This is supposed to make the DT think that the play is the toss sweep to the outside that we are faking. This should in theory cause him to widen out and start to pursue the sweep. However I don’t know that we influence block enough for this to be all that confusing and since we had already run the play earlier the DT recognized it and flew upfield before the trap blocker got to him.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GWMNZ32U6YPGGA7N4JNWH4OSJE Mac

    Here’s an idea for rectifying this garbage. How about instead of slapping a fine on this chump, make him write this sentence: I will learn proper tackling technique, which means wrapping up with my arms not leading with my helmet. Have this fool write the sentence 50,000 times in Godell’s office. The caveat? He is only allowed to write during game time. He can still practice with his team, but while they have “recess” he is sitting in the principal’s office writing sentences… PERFECT!

    • Anonymous

      Is there any latitude for suspensions for repeat offenders?

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Anders-Jensen/748307140 Anders Jensen

        Roy Williams got suspended for doing the horsecollar tackle 3 weeks in a row

  • Anonymous

    Hay guyz,
    How about DeSean catching that guy from behind after the fumble? They scored anyway, but that was pretty awesome.

  • Anonymous

    It’s easy to blame Juan here, but I’m leaning more toward the fact that it’s the LBs and Safeties talent than Juan. I don’t see enough playmakers. I’m not saying you need 1st or 2nd rd picks to be good bc you have your guys like Ernie Sims, but I just don’t think you build around 6th & 7th rd draft picks. A big reason a guy falls that low is talent/athleticism. So you see “nice” players, but you don’t see playmakers.

    Right now between our LBs and Safeties 4 of 5 are 7th rd picks & one is a 4th rd rookie. I’m not saying there’s no hope, but it’s just worrisome to me. We get close to these guys & pull for them, so we want to see the best in them, but part of me wonders if Tommy would be so optimistic if these guys were the starters for one of our division rivals. That’s not a shot at Tommy, since I have an immense amount of respect for his knowledge, but I get on board when I’m listening to him talk about these guys, but I feel like we’re more hopeful these guys will show something, more than we’re going off anything they’ve shown at this level (outside of Chaney playing really well last yr for a couple of games).

    I’m hoping Nate Allen gets healthy and maybe Jarrett can challenge by the end of the season, but I’d really love to see some big plays consistently made from the LBs & Safeties soon.