Game Review – PHI 20, Dallas 7

Posted: December 28th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 18 Comments »

Okay, so I know it’s late.  This is still 2011?  Sorry for the delay in posting the Game Review. Did a bit of traveling over Christmas and also had some car trouble. That affected my ability to sit down and re-watch the game and take notes. I did re-watch it, but not in the lengthy way I normally do.  Better late than never, right?

Saturday’s win over Dallas felt weird. We weren’t playing for the postseason anymore. But that was still Dallas. You always want to beat the Cowboys. Then we knocked Tony Romo out of the game. Dallas pulled Felix Jones. Suddenly the game had a really odd vibe. Once we got up 14-0, it felt like we had a 100-0 lead. Beating Dallas is always a good thing. I don’t care who is on the field or what the circumstances are.

We lost the shutout late in the game and that did hurt. I’ve been desperate for a shutout for more than a decade. Coming so close is painful. Atlanta scored very late in a 2009 game and I’m still going to therapy for that. A human being can only endure so much emotional pain. Right?

The Eagles didn’t play a perfect game, but I thought it was funny just how much better we looked than Dallas. Not having Romo was huge, but that team still had Witten, Bryant, Ware, Spencer, Ratliff, Lee, etc. Dallas isn’t a bunch of scrubs. For those who question how much Dallas wanted to win, go back and re-watch parts of the game. Jason Witten was furious a few times when things didn’t go right. DeMarcus Ware was playing his butt off. Jimmy logged the snap count over at Blogging the bEast. Dallas sat Romo and Jones due to injury concerns, but everyone else played. This wasn’t a case of them laying down.

There isn’t a lot to say about coaching. I thought both gameplans were solid. Nothing really jumped out to me. Andy didn’t have any huge decisions. I was happy he let Henery kick the long FG.

OFFENSE

* 5 of 13 on 3rd downs

* 2 of 3 in the Red Zone

VICK — 18-32-279. 2 TDs, no INTs. Love games with no INTs. Makes winning so much easier. Vick played pretty well. I got frustrated with him a few times. There were some plays when I thought he should have just thrown the ball away, but he kept trying to make something big happen. My favorite throw of the game came when he hit DJax on a post-corner for a nice gain. Nothing dramatic, but a good timing pass. Had a Houdini play on opening drive. Spencer looped inside and came free. Got Vick by the facemask, but Mike never went down. He spun free and threw a downfield pass to Riley Cooper. You can argue that the play was aggressive, dumb, or both, but it did work out.

SCHMITT — We didn’t seem to run from the I-formation as much this week. I thought we should have done more of that based on the success we had last week and the fact Dallas would be onto our cutback running after the first meeting.

MCCOY — 13-35. No TDs. One ankle injury. Not his best game. Dallas did a good job on the cutback runs. Shady learned from Miami and didn’t keep making the same mistakes. Pass blocking was up and down.

BROWN — Another game with some touches. 8-33. Ran hard and had some success since the D was so used to dealing with Shady.

DJAX — Good game. 5-90 as a receiver. Had 2 carries for 27 yards. Those actually came on back-to-back plays. Nice touch running him right and then left on the next play. The D wasn’t expecting that. DeSean looked like the guy we’ve wanted all year. He got open and made solid catches.

MACLIN — 5-72 with a TD. Good game. The TD was impressive. Made the catch along the back line. Cradled the ball as he made sure his feet were in. Showed great body control on the play. Took a big hit after catching a pass over the middle. Went down and Spencer dove on him. Mac left the game, but returned quickly.

COOPER — Made circus catch on opening drive. Vick had to scramble and Riley went downfield. Jumped up over DB to snatch the ball. Came down really hard and was slow to get up. Finished the game 1-28.

AVANT — Had 2 catches for 35 yards. The first catch came in the Red Zone. Avant caught a short pass and then ran for the pylon. He extended for the TD. One problem. He let go of the ball before breaking the plane. Ruled TD initially, but replay showed it to be a touchback. Great effort, but can’t make that mistake, Jason. Late in the half he caught a short pass and then put a wicked move on a DB. Avant cut back to the middle of the field and sped down to the 6-yard line. Got 27 yds on the play. Best RAC move I’ve ever seen by Jason. Good block on Celek’s long screen pass.

HALL — Caught one pass, but lost 3 yds.

CELEK — Caught 2 passes for 52 yards and TD. The TD was a simple route up the middle for a 13-yd catch. Brent was wide open and made an easy grab. Got 39 yds on TE screen. Broke a couple of tackles and looked very good on that play. Struggled with blocking when he was up against Ware. DeMarcus was apparently not in the Christmas spirit.

HARBOR — Caught a short pass for 9 yds. Blocking was up and down. Did a good job on the move. Had outstanding blocks on DeSean’s 2 runs. Struggled vs Ware. Clay did his best, but Ware was a man on a mission.    

PETERS — Good game.

MATHIS — Good game.

KELCE — Up and down. There were some times when he got pushed around by Ratliff. The good news is that Jason never gave up on plays and stuck with Ratliff even when initially beaten. Ratliff finished with 1 tackle and 1 pass deflection. No sacks, TFLs, or QB hits.

WATKINS — Solid game. Got driven back in pass pro a time or two, but did stick with the blocks.

HERREMANS — Good game. Had a great block on Celek’s screen. Todd blocked for him the whole way downfield. Good athleticism, great effort.

______________________________________________

DEFENSE

* Allowed 238 yards, just 3.6 yds per play.

* Dallas just 6 of 17 on 3rd downs

* 1 for 2 in the Red Zone

* Romo threw 2 passes and got knocked from the game. Backup Stephen McGee then got hit 10 times officially. He took quite a pounding. There were a couple of plays where he was slow to get up. Tough guy.

* Dallas didn’t have any plays of 20 or more yards. They only had 3 that covered 15 or more yds.

COLE — Good game. Played the run well and finished with 5 solo tackles. Got his 10th sack of the year when he cleanly beat Free. Got held a time or two, but no calls. Had a TFL when he blew up the Cowboys attempt at running Flip 90. RB had no chance.

BABIN — Sorta quiet game. Got pressure, but could not seal the deal. Credited with a pair of QB hits. His one impact play came on the opening drive when Jason looped inside and steamrolled Romo. That’s when Tony hit his hand on Babin’s helmet and left the game.

PATTERSON — Good game. Was in on 4 tackles and had a TFL. Helped create a sack for JP. Typical Patt game. Lots of dirty work and hustle. The more I watch this guy, the more I respect the hell out of him. Man’s man.

JENKINS — Good game. 2 tackles. One came when lined up at LDE on 3rd/2. Got the best of the RT and stuffed the runner for no gain. Disruptive interior presence.

PARKER — Didn’t play a ton, but got a sack and had a good shot on McGee on another play.

D TAPP — Had an impressive TFL. Stormed into the backfield and got RB for a loss.

LANDRI — Had a sack when he burned the LG with a good spin move. Tried to get a TFL on 3rd/short, but decided to let Trent make the play and pad his stats. Once again proved that greatness is contagious. Derek was on the field for all 3 sacks and several TFLs. Good things happen when he’s out there.

HUNT — Another strong outing. Had 1 QB hit. Drew a key holding call that stopped a good drive. Got pressure on a few plays. Also seems to be playing the run well. Is showing a good feel for when to fly upfield and when to look for the RB.

CHANEY — Didn’t make me scream out his name in anger even once. Actually had a couple of nice tackles. Finished with 3 solo stops. Was far from perfect, but at least showed some progress.

JORDAN — Had 3 tackles and blew up a run play that was close to being a TFL.

ROLLE — Good game. Stat sheet only shows 2 tackles / 1 TFL, but that hardly tells the story. Active game. Around the ball a lot. Almost had a pick-six in the early 4th Qtr. Jumped pass to Witten in the flat, but just couldn’t quite hang on. Had a wide open field ahead of him. Covered Witten well on a few plays. Very handsy. Always grabbing/shoving Jason and I’m sure that was really getting on his nerves. Brian was in the backfield when Trent got his TFL.

MATTHEWS — Got to play a lot and had a pretty good game. We were in the Nickel so that meant a lot of snaps for Casey. Finished the game with 6 tackles. Did a solid job in coverage. Tackling still needs to be cleaned up. Witten got Casey off balance a couple of times and got an extra couple of yards on those plays. Casey still got him down, just needs to do a cleaner job. Stuffed a RB after short catch and almost had TFL on that play. Playing faster and with a lot more confidence.

K CLAYTON — On the field a fair amount due to all the Nickel. Had 3 tackles, 1 TFL. He’s getting into a comfort zone. Clayton has great closing speed. Dallas threw short pass to RB and Clayton was several yards upfield. He flew into the backfield and got the RB for a loss of 2. That’s not something any other Eagles LB could do. That was DB speed. Did a good job in coverage. Spent some time with Witten and handled that matchup well. Finding his niche.

COLEMAN — Quiet game. Had 1 tackle. Got hurt and left the game.

ALLEN — Good showing. Had 3 tackles. Covered well. Flew upfield on a pair of short passes and helped to break them up with good hits. Broke up a downfield pass. Jumped the route, but couldn’t make the pick. Had tight coverage on Austin a couple of times downfield. Got knocked back by Sammy Morris on one run play, but generally hit/tackled well. Physical game.

JARRETT — Took over for Kurt. Credited with 2 solo tackles. Didn’t really stand out good or bad.

ASOMUGHA — Good game. Led the team with 8 tackles. Covered well outside and also got some snaps in the middle against Witten. Beaten on slant by Bryant on play in the 4th Qtr.

RODGERS-CROMARTIE — Got the start at LCB and played well. Looked much more natural in coverage out there than when playing the slot. Tackling was okay. Had a couple of stops.

HANSON — Solid game. Broke up one pass and it was in the end zone. Got beaten a time or two when he lined up on Miles Austin in the slot. Tough matchup for our guy MmmBop.

HUGHES — Solid showing. Gave up a slant to Bryant on 3rd down pass. Couldn’t make the initial tackle, but grabbed his towel and got back on him and helped make the stop.

SPECIAL TEAMS

CHAS HENRY — Averaged 42.7 yds per punt on 6 kicks. Didn’t have any downed inside the 20.

ALEX HENERY — Best game in the NFL? 2 of 2. Nailed FGs from 43 and 51. Distance wasn’t an issue at all with the 51-yd’er. Had another 5 or so yds of distance. Had some deep kickoffs, but a couple that were short.

PR — Chad Hall had his best PR game of the year. Busted one for 16 yds. Had room on another, but was tripped up by the 41-yd line. Hate that.

KOR — n/a

MISC —

* Tom Nelson had a tackle and showed up on a couple of plays.

* KO coverage was an issue. Dallas had returns of 51, 34 yards. Not good.

GAMEBOOK

* * * * *

My PE.com column covers the game and some more general stuff as well.

* * * * *

I’ll be putting up another, more timely post later today.  


  • http://twitter.com/theguyotc the guy

    I can’t claim to have watched the game very closely, but I was also annoyed that they lost the shutout. If they can’t make the playoffs, shutting out the Cowboys would have been a nice consolation prize.

    I’m not sure exactly what the Eagles did to piss off the football gods this past year, but I’m hoping that blocked punt that killed the shutout is the last of the punishment. Of course, watching all those deeply flawed NFC teams in the playoffs, knowing there’s a very good chance the Eagles could have beat them all, probably qualifies as torture under the Geneva conventions of football.

    Oh well. Three more days and this cursed sports year is over.

  • http://twitter.com/Jason_A_Hines Jason A Hines

    We’ve been talking about the value of these last 3 wins, and some have said they’re not as value b/c of the competition. While the level of competition can be debated, what I think can’t be is that the players can take confidence and the belief that they can win. That will be especially important as it is getting more likely that this group will largely be back intact next year. Or do people feel like those types of things don’t carry over?

    • Anonymous

      I think the players should have a lot of confidence.

      People love to say “these aren’t good teams”. Yes and no. Matt Moore is the 11th rated passer in the NFL right now. Brandon Marshall and Reggie Bush have elite talent. Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress are gifted WRs. LT and Shonn Greene are a good RB duo. The Jets have Ferguson, Moore, and Mangold up front. Those are good OL. Dallas has plenty of individual talent.

      When we shut down the Skins back in October, that was a game where the opponent had little talent. That was a win you could pick at. I think people should see that the Eagles have played good football in the last 3 weeks and faced some talented players. The teams didn’t have great records. No one disputes that. 2 of the opponents could be playoff teams and the third has been one of the hottest teams in the 2nd half of the season. This isn’t chopped liver.

      • Anonymous

        even after we beat the jets, they STILL had a better record than us. That’s gotta say something.

  • tag1555

    * I believe Matthews was the guy who missed his block on the blocked punt.
    * Marsh had a 15 yard unsportsmanlike penalty early in the 3rd. Iffy call, but its the third straight game he’s had a cringe-inducing play on special teams.

    • Anonymous

      has he been in on ST all year or is it just more playing time since anderson went out?

      • Anonymous

        Marsh was inactive for most of the year.

    • Anonymous

      Matthews did screw up on the punt. I didn’t cover that. Cut the game off at the 2:00 mark. Couldn’t stand to re-watch the death of the shutout.

  • Anonymous

    My observations on the game:

    VICK — still tries too hard to make big plays, forced a couple balls and took unnecessary hits, starting to wonder about his IQ.

    MCCOY — right now he’s overrated, he’s got great elusiveness, but not the feel for the N-S run, too many stuffs. He hasn’t improved his pass blocking all year and doesn’t look natural as a receiver. Teams are catching on to the cutbacks, has to learn to hit the hole decisively instead of bouncing around trying to make big plays (that seems to be a disease).

    BROWN — Wasted season, he should have been the power option, but MM is retarded.

    DJAX —Best game in the last two years, I don’t care about him outrunning people, that stuff doesn’t work against good defenses. This game, broke off the deep routes, even ran some crisp routes, caught the ball with his hands over the middle and didn’t look scared. If he did this every game I’d pay him $10M a year. Top receivers earn their money in the zone 10-20 yards from the LOS, not on fly routes.

    MACLIN — Imagine if he had a real offseason to add strength, he’s the total package, just needs to bulk up to handle the punishment. Ran some nice routes.

    COOPER — Has shown great athleticism on some deep throws, now he has to learn how to run routes and make routine catches big men should make, using his body. However, people forget how raw he was coming out of college as a two sport athlete.

    AVANT — Another mistake. He’s flatlined and isn’t as reliable as he should be. He is what he is, but all he’s gonna be. 2 dropped TDs last year, big time fumble and this play this year – when you’re slow, you have to be reliable.

    HALL — Looks better as a PR than DeSean, isn’t afraid to just turn upfield and get 10 yards, won’t break a big one, but won’t run sideways either.

    CELEK — His blocking is adequate this year, rather than below average, but he looks like he’s added an extra step, he had turned a number of screens into big gainers.

    HARBOR — Why is MM isolating Ware on Harbor and Celek, LTs struggle to block him, TEs have a chance? Only makes sense on a 3 step drop and Vick has to get rid of the ball.

    MATHIS — Resign him, then he should tithe 10% to Mudd.

    KELCE — Gamer, but needs an offseason in the weight room. Gonna be devestating once he adds 5 lbs of muscle and learns how to anchor, Mudd will make him watch film of Saturday until his eyes bleed.

    WATKINS — Still looks awkward pass blocking, hit and miss, but has improved. Can collapse the DL on run blocks when he gets low.

    HERREMANS — Maybe we should move him to TE? He actually has looked more comfortable blocking in space than on the line the last few years, is the ankle still troubling him?

    ______________________________________________

    DEFENSE

    * Romo wouldn’t have fared much better, he doesn’t like pressure and the Eagles were bringing it, I only saw one play where McGee left yards on the field, when Robinson beat DRC down the left sideline, but DRC has such great recovery speed it would have had to have been a perfect pass.

    COLE — Still bringing it, Washburn’s rotation is going to extend his career two years by limiting his snaps to 700 rather than 900 a season.

    BABIN — You’re spoiled, 3 sacks a game is not a norm.

    PATTERSON — Looking like the Patterson of 2006, I think he’s lost at least 10 lbs this season, doesn’t have that gut anymore and is looking quicker and playing better as the season progresses, getting a lot of penetration and chasing down runs along the LOS like he did in his younger days.

    JENKINS — Another player who benefits from the Washburn rotation, unrealistic to expect him to rack up sacks like earlier in the year, but still making plays.

    PARKER — Rest has helped him, he can still bring it for short stretches

    LANDRI — A god among men. Two nams to consider this offseason who might benefit like Landri from this system:
    Jason Jones, lost in the new Tenn defense, might come cheap
    Kyle Williams, not a NT, like Patterson, misplaced in a two gap, could dominate in this defense

    HUNT — He looks legitimate, 3 straight good game, and did it against the best RT in the NFC. Write him in the rotation next year. Seems to be gaining confidence game by game.

    CHANEY — He’ll be a great backup next year, if he only had a brain, he just seems to hesitate instead of exploding to the ball carrier, reminds of Bunkley, lacks the recognition to play up to his athleticism

    JORDAN — Starting to look like a solid 2 down SLB, if he learns not to bite on play action, he might just keep the job next year.

    ROLLE — When he learns what he’s doing, he’s gonna be dangerous, like I said in preseason, Sims with a brain, just needs more expeience.

    MATTHEWS — Casey blitzed a lot and moved around in Oregon, so we stick him at MLB. Now he’s in the nickel, blitzing a lot and moving around, and looking much better. May be one of those guys who’s better off starting as a role player and gradually moving into a starting role.

    K CLAYTON — Talent was never the issue, but he’s actually tackling people, which is the key to his future. The speed and cover skills were never in doubt.

    ALLEN — He’s playing better, which is good, because he can cover big WRs man on man, and that alllows you to stay in more base formations. Though NE showed he can’t cover the quick smurfs, Juan has to learn to avoid bad matchups.

    JARRETT — Starting to look like a reach, which is what I thought in April, though there wasn’t that much on the board at that point, unless they wanted to go LB and take a marginal safety later. Where are the vaunted instincts and great tackling?

    ASOMUGHA — First game where he showed the potential to be special, not just 8 tackles, but a lot were legitimate (i.e. not DB drag down tackles) form tackles, using his size (he was a college safety). Maybe the light is going on and he’s understanding what Woodson actually does on GB.

    RODGERS-CROMARTIE — Tackling was okay is a great improvement, no one expects him to be Flowers or Clements, just don’t imitate Asante or Deion.

    HANSON — He’s solid, but gets beat more this year, not sure you can trust him one more season with his limited size and athleticism, he has no step to lose.

    HUGHES — Not sure what his role is other than 4th CB, seems stiff in the hips for man or slot, and we aren’t a pure zone coverage team. This is his 3rd season, still waiting for him to step up and play to his speed.

    • Anonymous

      chad hall is the new reno mahe.
      and i’m surprisingly ok with that.

  • Anonymous

    This is the game summary I expected, at a minimum, after the: SF game; Buffalo game; Cardinals game.

    Aaargh!!! So frustrating.

    On the other hand, could this team go toe to toe in the playoffs, and expect to come out on top, against: New Orleans or the Packers? Not likely.
    ________________

    I got the impression from AR’s presser that he acknowledged this team’s young players have some growing to do and in a year or so, the Eagles will be right back at the top.

    Maybe I misunderstood.

    But it seems to me we’ve been hearing that for 3 years. Also, the best defensive players on this team — Cole, Babin, Jenkins, Nnamdi — will be well past their prime by then (most likely).

    And on offense, D-Jax could well be gone. McCoy, though young, will be hitting the tail end of his prime as a RB. Vick likely will be gone and can’t play a full year anyway. Celek and Herremanns will be pushing the Banner-line (30+) — although, for OLs, I really don’t think age matters until about 34 of so.

    POINT: I seems to me, and welcome correction, that Reid’s been “retooling” for several years — really since 2006.

    And while the team’s generally made the playoffs, that may — as this year more than any proved — be a function of how dreadfully awful the NFC East really is.

    Just seems like the Birds are in quicksand. The Saints and Packers — and, don’t look now, but Detroit and Carolina — are progressing.

    Not sure what the remedy is. Just wanted to kick that around and see what the collective wisdom is.
    __________________

    Maybe B-Graham will be very good in the W-9. Hope so. But JPP sure looks like he has a chance to be the next Julius Peppers, i.e., most dominant DE in the NFC. Ouch.

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

    Tommy I know you having some fun with your Landri comments, but it actually seems to be a trend that Landri is on the field when we make big plays on defense. How much can one contribute that to Landri and how much can just be called luck?

    • Anonymous

      I don’t care what you call it. Good things happen when he’s out there. Priority re-signing in my mind.

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

        In order of importance for me:
        1a: Mathis
        1b: Landri

        But its funny that 2 guys nobody heard of or thought anything of might be the 2 best signings this year (I think atleast Mathis is a better signing then Babin)

  • http://twitter.com/harsha0811 harsha

    Tommy,

    I have another school of thought — I think the biggest killer of the season was the turn-overs. Look at Packs & Patriots, they rank at the bottom in D. But not many turn-overs. They keep winning and their D isn’t looked at with a magnifying lens. The point is if we had kept the turn-overs to a minimum (esp in red Z), I think we would have made the play-offs.

    Assuming Andy is back, I think this takeaways stat. may be at the top of his mind and one of the factors used to convince himself and management. Hence eventually bringing back Juan as the D. Of-course, the late season success on D may be a factor too.

    What do you think?

    P.S: Yes, I didn’t forget the 5 blown 4th qtr leads which works against our D/Juan.

    • Anonymous

      5 blown 4th Q leads . . .

      They should work against MM, too. (I know Tommy said he’ll be back, regardless.)

      Maclin drops a gimme pass against ATL. Game over.

      Maclin fumbles against SF. Game over. (Not even counting the ridiculous gimmick play for Ronnie Brown MM called at the goal line early in the game, or Henery’s two gut-wrenching missed chippies.)

      Avant’s circus fumble against the Bills. Game over.

      Vick’s INT to kill the Cardinals game.
      ________________

      I expect some would say that MM didn’t fumble or drop the ball or throw the INT or make the moronic decision to try to throw throw the ball at the SF two yard line.

      But what’s MM’s responsibility for ensuring the offensive players execute — including protect the ball? He’s the OC.

      MM’s failures in the 4th Q are, in that context (it seems to me), no different than dumping those 4th Q collapses on JC.

      At least JC had the excuse of “I’m learning.”

      What’s MM’s excuse.
      _________________

      Bottom line: This 7-8 record is truly a team effort from Reid to MM to JC to the WR coach to the LB coach to the OL coach (early season struggles) to the RB coach to the DB coaches.

      Not saying JC should return. But there’s more to this season’s disappointment than just Juan Castillo. And dumping him won’t solve the 2nd-half issues on offense.

    • Anonymous

      Turnovers were the single biggest reason we lost early on. No question about that. You must be able to win some shootouts. Turnovers killed us and hurt the D in those games.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joe-Malone/1235880117 Joe Malone

    BROWN — Another game with some touches. 8-33. Ran hard and had some success since the D was so used to dealing with Shady.<<< THIS. Having Shady not only helps us out when he is on the field but off the field as well. A change of pace back (Ronnie or anyone else for that matter) could be huge for this team…if we knew how to effectively use them.