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.