PIT 16, PHI 14

Posted: October 7th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 66 Comments »

Frustrating loss.

Right now there is a rush to play the blame game.  A lot of people say the loss is all on Michael Vick.  He didn’t play well in the 1st half and had a pair of fumbles, one of which came at the 1-yard line.  Some people assume that if we score there, we win the game.  Faulty logic.  That play was in the 1st half.  You have no way to know how the game would have played out after that.  Teams play based on situations.  If the Steelers were down more late, would have been more aggressive.

I am not defending Vick by saying this.  Some fans can’t somehow understand that, which boggles my mind.  You can still put a lot of the blame on Vick for the loss.  I’m not trying to defend him.  Trust me, I was furious at all 4 fumbles (1 was overturned and 1 we recovered).  Vick’s ball security is a major issue and it is driving the coaches crazy.

The defense did a great job for parts of the game and held the Steelers to just 16 points.  Unfortunately, they could not protect the lead.  They also did not make plays.  No sacks.  No takeaways.  Only a couple of TFLs.  The run defense also was too porous.  Rashard Mendenhall proved a major difference maker for PIT.  His speed really helped them.  This was a good defensive effort, but that final drive was huge.  Needed to make one play and just couldn’t do it.

STs actually turned out to be the least of our worries.  There was one long KOR, but there was good coverage on that, the guy just got out of the tackle attempt.  That was nothing like last week.  David Wilson was untouched for 40 yards on his returns.

There are some things to be happy about.

* Shady McCoy was clutch in the 2nd half.  Didn’t post great numbers, but made big plays.

* No INTs for Vick.  If only we could get him to hold onto the damn ball…

* No deep balls for Mike Wallace.  His speed made me nervous.

* Red Zone play actually worked in our favor.  2 for 3 by our offense, 1 for 4 by PIT.

* OL did some good things in the 2nd half.  Had issues in the 1st.

* * * * *

We are still 3-2 and in first place in the division.  The team did show heart in coming back from down 10-0 to take a 14-13 lead.  That can be a big thing if we can eliminate the turnovers.  Gotta play cleaner games.

_


  • http://twitter.com/corry_k Corry Henry

    After 5 games, I have no idea what this team is. I mean besides a frustrating mess to watch every Sunday.

    • TommyLawlor

      Team is still a mystery;.

  • iskar36

    Saying we “gotta play cleaner games” every week is getting redundant. At some point, someone needs to be held accountable rather than just assuming it will get better. Vick has been a turnover machine and regardless of if it was in the first half or the second half, it obviously made a HUUUUGE difference in this game. As you said, it may have not been the DIRECT cause of us losing the game, but saying that is basically “coach speak”. Very rarely will any play be the direct cause for a loss, but those two turnovers were certainly the biggest plays you can point to which led to this team losing against the Steelers.

    • Arby1

      Agreed. Even when Vick is holding the ball with 2 hands, he can fumble. I just don’t trust the guy anymore and I don’t know how the coaches do. And if he’s not trusted to scramble anymore, he becomes a bigger target. Frustrating.

      • bdbd20

        That’s just it. It’s not on Vick. It’s on AR and MM. Stop calling QB draws. Call a pass or two if you want. Use McCoy and Brown. Unfortunately, it’s becoming very apparent that this is Vick’s last hurrah and Foles will be leading this team next year.

        • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

          Maybe that sounds great to you right now, but the Vick QB draw has been a great play for this offense in recent years, especially when they need a TD.

          • bdbd20

            That’s just it. Just because it’s worked the last few years doesn’t make it a good play. Maybe it’s the loss of Peters or Kelce, but there’s just too much risk right now. Gotta get points when we’re down there. No big plays means very little margin for error.

          • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

            It’s a good play.

          • Julz

            It’s absolutely a good play, it’s shown up as being successful for us on plenty of occasions, I think that fumble was the one I was most ok with (as ok as you can be about a fumble) because the call was good and the ball just got punched loose.

            Don’t think a play like has much to with Peters or Kelce. Especially when it’s running to the right side of the line.

          • A_T_G

            And for me, that’s the fumble I am least okay with. I like the call, but it was a play where Vick knows he is going to be contacted. He needs two hands on the ball, covered up.

            I still like the call. If the coaches are afraid to call that play, Vick has very little upside.

          • Dave_King

            Uh… Vick did have two hands.

          • BobSmith77

            Yeah actually I didn’t mind that play call in that situation because I did think if it were executed properly it had a great shot to catch the Steelers off-balance & put 7 on the board.

    • TommyLawlor

      It is redundant. I hope they stop making mistakes so I can quit writing it.

  • Steag209

    What’s wrong with Andy’s offense? Is it playcalling? Vick? or has the rest of the league finally figured out how to stop Big Red?

  • eagles2zc

    Teams don’t seem to fear Vick anymore. They are inviting him to beat their blitzes, treating him like a rookie. We can all talk about how the playcalling is the cause of Vick’s woes, but isn’t Vick’s shortcomings hampering the ability of Marty to call certain plays?

    • TommyLawlor

      Agree that teams don’t fear Vick. He did play really well last week. Was good in the 2nd half, but sloppy 1st half killed us.

  • T_S_O_P

    We can play the blame game; where were your underpants man. Burn them! Now!

    • A_T_G

      Maybe take them off first. Maybe. Depends on how down you are after this loss.

  • Julescat

    this is a bad team. with a little less luck they would be 0 – 5!!! See ya Andy.

    • TommyLawlor

      Or 4-1.

      • Julescat

        the point is – when is this team going to dominate a game? the vaunted defensive line can’t manage one sack???? these guys play like Obama debated the other night.

        • http://twitter.com/Dasdip Osiris

          So… a team is either dominant or bad. Got it.

          Being first place in the NFC East is worthless, I guess, if a team is not dominant.

          • Julescat

            I would like to see this team do something besides barely hang on each game. Every summer we’re sold a bill of goods on how great and stocked the eagles roster is and lately the performance has been underwhelming. If Reid and Castillo can’t motivate these guys then get new coaches.

  • ACViking

    T-Law:

    Thank you for hosting our comments, rants, and sighs.

    And thanks — now that the game’s over — for trying to keep it all in perspective.

    By the way . . . it wasn’t all Vick. The Steelers’ 3rd-down offense was very good.

  • Baloophi

    The biggest source of frustration for me is that this team doesn’t have any consistency… other than inconsistency.

    And not just game-to-game, but half-to-half and even drive-to-drive. We’ve watched them march down the field at least twice when it matters, and stop important 3rd downs on defense, so we know they have the talent to perform well… on occasion.

    I’m happy to tip my cap when an opposing defense or opposing offense plays well, but far too often it seems like we’re shooting ourselves in the foot, and can’t get anything going at the same time… very similar to last year, actually.

    • TommyLawlor

      Trying to figure this team out is highly confusing. I kept thinking it would start to be more obvious as the season moved along. Not so. Still a big mystery.

      • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

        Parity is as high as ever in this league. Unless a team is exceptionally good or exceptionally bad, you’re not going to be able to “figure them out” at this point in the season and they are going to appear to be “all over the place” from week to week.

        • phillychuck

          Good point–I think we’re seeing a significant change in the bad teams, especially.

      • iskar36

        Is it a mystery, or is it just hard to admit we are a highly inconsistent offense who turns the ball over at an alarmingly high rate? I mean until we stop doing that, that is what we are and we have seemingly consistently done that for awhile now.

  • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

    I am frustrated but not devastated by this game, since I wasn’t expecting a win in the first place. The Steelers had a lot going for them and they barely pulled it out against an Eagles team that didn’t play a clean game. There are lots of positives and negatives from this game. Here were some of the obvious ones to me:

    +
    >contained a very good Steelers offense
    >didn’t give up big plays
    >defense kept them in the game again
    >continued to respond well to adversity, had some clutch drives and plays>pretty good protection for Vick most of the day

    -
    >turnovers
    >didn’t generate big plays on offense (no PI on that bomb to Jackson?)
    >didn’t enough get key stops / big negative plays on defense, esp 3rd down
    >there was no answer for Big Ben’s ability to step up in the pocket
    >not enough pressure up the middle, in particular
    >Kendricks struggled
    >kick coverage again

  • aub32

    I for one do not believe games can be lost in the 1st quarter. I wish Vick had held onto the ball, but the fact remains He put the team in the lead with a little over 6 minutes in the 4th. The Steelers had an early 3rd and 12. This has nothing to do with Vick. It seems to me that our rushers can’t hit home, and the young guys, Boykin and Kendricks, get lost if left in zone coverage for extended periods of time.

    • Doctor Claw

      That too. I was frustrated by the return of “3rd and Forever, no chance to stop ‘em”. Ugh.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000462635892 Thorin McGee

    Tommy, the bottom line is the offense didn’t score enough points, they were there in the first half, and Vick dropped the ball.

    The defense played good in this game, but we know Ben’s going to make some plays, and we’re not going to be able to stop those late-game grinding drives. Especially not when all they need is a FG to win. That more aggressive game you’re saying the Steelers might have played is exactly the game we wanted them to be playing.

  • ICDogg

    Anyone else want to put DJax back on punt returns?

  • ACViking

    Re: D-Jax on punt returns

    ICDogg asked the question.

    Does anyone think it would make a difference?

    On both kick and punt returns, DJon and Boykin don’t seem to have room or lanes.

    So, again, would it matter?

    • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

      Maybe. There’s a fear factor with Jackson that gives pause to opposing coverage teams.

      • http://twitter.com/Dasdip Osiris

        There’s also the fear factor that Jackson will go down for the season due to being put back there in on high injury risk special teams play. There’s also the risk that he’ll play like he did last year and constantly run backwards (or run backwards and fumble) on special teams.

        I’d rather see him keep doing his thing on offense.

        • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

          That’s all true. But my point was that you can’t just assume Jackson will see the same coverage or the same lanes as Johnson.

        • iskar36

          Kick returns are high risk. Punt returners are not nearly as high of a risk of injury.

    • ICDogg

      Sometimes it would help to have that spark, I think.

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

    In previous weeks I was for putting Foles in because I thought he’d be a better fit for the offense. Now I just think they need to bench Vick, even if it’s merely to send a message and not a real change.

    It’s not just Vick’s fault. There are plenty of other factors involved: playcalling, offensive line, ST, etc. But this is the team they have. Whether it’s his fault or not, the offense is simply not getting it done. As Jimmy K. pointed out on Twitter, they have a real chance to be dead last in points scored after this weekend. If the Chiefs weren’t such a mess, they’d be leading in giveaways as well. So what do you do?

    Clearly cutting the punter isn’t going to get it done. You can’t fire MM and expect results, because I can’t see AR calling significantly different plays. It has to be Vick. Maybe you play Foles, maybe Edwards. They’ll almost certainly struggle and lose. I just don’t know what else they can do.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Buchanan/1557343118 Scott Buchanan

    No way this team is championship material with #7 at QB

    • http://twitter.com/Dasdip Osiris

      It’s any consolation, Eli Manning has had similar stretches of being a “turnover machine.” I get the feeling that Giants fans have made the same statement. Heck, Coughlin was on the hot seat last year.

      I am worried about the fumbles (as well as Vick’s ability to grip the ball), but I’m encouraged by a lot of things that I’ve seen this team do this season — even today.

      The team lost what looked like it was a most-win game for the Steelers in Pittsburgh to a Steelers team coming off a bye week. The Steelers were desperate, and this game went down to the wire.

      Would I rather see the Eagles as 4-1 and a 3rd seed in the up to date playoff standings? Of course. But at 3-2, they still lead the division, have played one hell of a schedule, and would still be a 4th seed with a home playoff game if the season ended today.

      Vick’s play in the second half was good enough to win most games. The team just has to put together that game plan and execution for 4 quarters.

      • Doctor Claw

        About Eli: He threw 25 INTs in the 2010 season. As bad as Vick can be, he’s never done that to my knowledge. Just to add.

        I agree with the post though. I wasn’t optimistic that the Eagles had a chance, and were not for the fumbles, maybe they would have more of one to win.

  • SebastianAubrey

    Things could be worse. We could be Packer fans or even Saints. This team could be 0-5 instead of 3-2. This team is inconsistent but lucky so is the rest of the nfl. I don’t want this team to play their best football right now just stay on top of NFC east. If they do that this team will get rolling come November. Plus steelers had a bye and let’s not dismiss the importance of having 2 weeks to prepare. Thank nfl for giving us 2 back-to-back opponents w/ byes.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Buchanan/1557343118 Scott Buchanan

      We have a pretty good D or we would be Packers/Saints type

    • http://twitter.com/daniel_suraci Daniel

      3 back to back opponents with byes, isn’t it?

  • SteveH

    Ugh, teams continue to blitz us very successfully. I don’t know if its the OL, or Vick not setting protections correctly, or what the issue is but we have guys running free at the QB all game long. Just awful stuff.

    This game was like a huge protected kick in the balls. To suck like we did in the first half, then have that insane 17 play drive to take the lead, just to watch the D give it back again… This season has been really tough viewing.

    Also, wheres the pass rush??? We started out the season strong but this is the second crappy OL we’ve been against where we were not getting nearly the kind of pressure we should have.

  • The_Reddgie

    Tommy, maybe you can expand on this.

    “OL did some good things in the 2nd half. Had issues in the 1st.”

    Why is it they play so much better in the 2nd half then the first? If it is half-time adjustments, why don’t they try starting a game with the blocking schemes that are working well in the 2nd? Why didn’t we see more power I this game? Is it me, or do they run to the left far more than the right? Especially when they seemingly have more success to the right? Why were there so many instances of PITT DL running free at Vick and yet Eagles OL were standing around looking for someone to block?

    They need to do a better job of putting this OL in a position to succeed. Like, right away.

  • Mark823

    Well the last drive by the offense was positive, it’s just too bad the defense couldn’t stop the Steelers on the next drive. Also those wasted timeouts were huge, I didn’t mind the challenge at the time but as someone posted on this board it wasn’t likely to be overturned. If those timeouts weren’t wasted atleast you give the offense a chance to win the game in the final seconds.

  • http://twitter.com/daniel_suraci Daniel

    I think Andy Reid showed great improvement in this game in clock management. He waited until the 4th quarter to waste his timeouts instead of the 3rd!

    • P_P_K

      That’s because he didn’t use any in the first half and thought he still had three left!

  • http://twitter.com/ashleyleask Ashley Leask

    Twice in the first half the Steelers sent a late rusher between Watkins and Heremans who came unblocked while Watkins stood in space looking somewhere else

  • Doctor Claw

    Tom, I’m just glad I read this.

    This game was frustrating just because it was so winnable. I’m not even going to waste time drawing up an excuse for Vick’s fumbling. It’s hard to trust that.

    Though I really wish that AR and MM would have not gone back to 3 passes-and-out right after they scored a TD with the help of the running game. Otherwise, the playcalling (except for a few isolated playfakes — why do the Eagles playfakes suck so much) was OK. Vick was actually pretty good in the second half, once the TEs started getting involved.

    But man, it would have been nice to have 7 there instead of a goose egg turnover.

  • Steven Dileo

    1. Andy Reid is a badass. Going for 4th-1 at your own 30 yard line, with more than 9 minutes left in the game, and a 6 point deficit? He is the man who knocks.

    2. Vick was mediocre. He wasn’t “great” but wasn’t awful either. Other than the goal line fumble, I thought he had a good game. I don’t understand the criticism.

    3. Decision to take a shot on 4th-10 was pure cockiness.

  • Zachary Kaplan

    I know you all probably think I’m some dumb negative idiot, and that’s fine, but I think rather than trying to find the “bright side” and make statements like “we’re still 3-2 and in first place in the division” – we have to look at this team for what it is.

    A very stout defense, that isn’t making a lot of plays. Zero sacks in the last two weeks, 1 takeaway. A defense that also seems to either lose focus or get tired in the 4th quarter.

    Baltimore game – Offense scores take the lead, defense immediately gives up a drive allowing Baltimore to re-take the lead. Sure the end result was another chance and the defense this time held, but they had 2 chances to hold them off in the 4th quarter and we’re 1 for 2 when the team needed them most.

    Giants game – Offense scores to go up by 6 – defense immediately gives up a TD drive. Again offense comes back and bails them out, and in the 2nd chance they ulitmately “held up”, but that was by the skin of their teeth. 1 for 2.

    Steelers game – Eagles offense again takes the lead, and the defense does what? Allows a 6 minute drive and gives away the game. 0-1

    So in 3 of the close games, 2 the Eagles won, 1 the Eagles lost, the Defense hasn’t played great in the clutch.

    This is by no means a defense bashing post. Because without the defense, we’d be 0-5. They are the only reason we are in these games. I fully understand that. I understand we’re -7 in turnover differential which kills defenses. But at the end of the day, they have had chances to hold leads, and have struggled to do that.

    On Offense, it’s just a mess. Our QB still has the awareness of a high school senior. He’s exciting, but I’d gladly take a boring QB if I didn’t have to worry about a Turnover or him getting knocked out every play. Our Running backs have had a couple turnovers as well. And DeSean Jackson did his best to join the action today on offense….Really is there anyone – anyone trusts wth the ball in their hands? I feel like I want Eagles offensive players to just fall to the ground as soon as contact nears.

    And special teams, special teams might be the biggest joke on our team. Coverage has been bad on kickoffs (and had another long one day). Returns are non-existant. We lose field position in every game, turnovers are a big part, but even without them – because of the awful play of this unit we would still lose it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/brian.borkowski.71 Brian Borkowski

      I’m not trying to look on the bright side so much as I’m not sure what else to do. It is what it is, but I’m just trying to figure out what it is. What is it? Most of us are just trying to assess things objectively and not lose hope in the process.

      • Zachary Kaplan

        Im not sure how we don’t know what this team is?

        2010 – 10-7
        2011 – 8-8
        2012 – 3-2

        21-17 in a 2.5 year strech. Win 55% of our games. I’m pretty sure we’re just medicore. It’s what we’ve been since 2004, and it doesn’t change without making changes, which ultimately the Eagles haven’t. Our QB is just like our old QB (except he turns the ball over too much). Poor pocket awareness, medicore accuracy, and bad decision making. Teams without QB’s who have the above skills – just don’t win in the NFL anymore.

  • dislikedisqus

    As nice as a win would have been – and I was at the game, so believe me, nice isn’t half of it, this was never a game I expected to win. I was shocked we had a lead with 3 mins to go. Pitt coming off a bye at home – that is not a favorable setup. They are a good team perenially with SB cred that PHI doesn’t have. Every team is going to lose a game they had a chance to win and this ours.

  • rls255

    I agree that scoring
    even 3 points instead of fumbling in the first half doesn’t necessarily mean we
    win the game. Although, one thing this team does need to figure out is how to score more
    points overall. We have certainly fallen short on several scoring opportunities and you
    can’t keep doing that against quality, or even mediocre, opponents and get away with it.

    I trend to the glass is half full side with this team, primarily
    because it’s still early in the season and we are still on top of the division.
    As others have pointed out, we were playing a desperate Steelers team that
    couldn’t afford to lose and had an extra week to rest up and prepare (which is
    even more frustrating considering how many mistakes the Steelers made in the
    first quarter and we still couldn’t capitalize on their sloppy play). I don’t’
    think you make a QB change right now. As maddening as Vick’s turnover problems
    have been, again – it’s still early and we’re still leading the division. Once you make a QB change there really is no going back. To me thats a desperation move and its not desperation time.
    I
    really think today came down to the Steeler players making plays when it
    counted and our guys not winning the matchup with the guy in front of them. Are
    there some play calls or scheme related things I didn’t agree with – sure, but
    I think in general the game was there to be had and we just came up short
    today.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=548999324 Matt Hoover

    Patiently awaits the

    Helmet 2 Helmet Show to recap

  • BobSmith77

    Don’t think this team is as big a mystery as people assert.

    - Defense (as long as they don’t get any injuries to a few key players including Ryans or DRC) is solid and has given the Eagles a solid chance to win every game this year including the Cards’ game

    - Offensive line is pedestrian in several capacities (athletically, situational awareness, power) and it is really limiting/hurting the offense. Screen and stretch running plays which have generally been a staple of this offense just don’t work with this current group of OL very well.

    Those also happen to be two types of plays where there best offensive player (McCoy) is so dangerous. Might be the worst line they have had since ’97 or ’98 and hard to see any single one playing much better individually than they are now.

    - Vick simply isn’t an elite QB because of the turnovers. You can go back to the Minnesota game (I would argue that Sunday night game in Chicago at Soldiers Field) where his decencies vs. pressure were really exposed.

    Since that Chicago game in ’10, Vick has been a TO machine. He has had 26 INTs in those 24 games (including the GB playoff game) and 24 fumbles (8 lost) if my count is correct. So basically 34-35 turnovers in 24 games and nearly ~1.5 turnover a game. Eagles giveaway ratio over that period are an astonishing hideous -28 including today’s game.

    That’s really tough to overcome. Big reason the Eagles are just 13-11 in Vick’s starts since then.

    As for Vick’s apology and promise to take care of the ball, this quote comes to mind “fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.”

    • BobSmith77

      Basically, as long as Vick as the QB of this team they are going to turnover the ball over at a pretty healthy clip. If he can get back to the ~1 turnover/game rate instead of 1.5, I like the Eagles chances to win 10 (maybe 11) games and take the NFC East because of their improved defense. If not, they are likely headed to 8 or 9 wins and home again in Jan. for the 2nd consecutive year.

    • ceteris_paribus1776

      Exactly why I’ve said this team isn’t a true contender. I think some people desperately keep thinking the Vick we got early in ’10 is still there waiting to be set free again, when in fact we will only see that guy here and there if we are lucky. Otherwise, he’s going to make it a dog fight for a W every week (no insensitivity intended!)

  • JoeC2K

    What concerned me most was the lack of QB pressure. Did BR get hit once?? Yes, he has good pocket presence but doesn’t JC need to call up more blitzes?

  • GermanEagle

    Tommy
    do you agree that the Eagles should be more blitzing? The frustrating fact that our D-Line cannot get it done (we’re on pace for 22 Sacks for the whole season) leads me to believe that Castillo’s playcalling is at fault here.
    Especially when opposing QB’s have maximal protection and 3 step dropbacks all the time…!