For those intrepid souls who wish to read more about the Dallas game.
Look in the next post down for some Andy Reid discussion.
* * * * *
It was the worst of times (losing to Dallas). It was the best of times (seeing Nick Foles play).
Highly frustrating game. In the third quarter, the Eagles led 14-10. They drove down into the Dallas red zone. On third down, quarterback Nick Foles got some pressure and moved to his right. He hit Damaris Johnson with a pass and the team was down at the 1-yard line, first-and-goal. Score a touchdown there and the lead is suddenly 21-10. Not only that, the Eagles would have big time momentum.
Unfortunately, King Dunlap was called for hands to the face and the Eagles had to settle for a field goal. They led 17-10 when Dallas started the next drive. On third down, the Eagles got into the backfield and Fletcher Cox was there to sack Tony Romo and get the ball back for Foles and the offense. Romo managed to escape Cox and then ducked under a second sack attempt, this by Jason Babin. Romo eventually hit wide receiver Miles Austin for a big gain to convert the third down. A couple of plays later, Romo hit Dez Bryant for a highly questionable touchdown. That also came on third down and Romo was under some pressure on that pass.
What should have been a 21-10 game in the Eagles favor became 17-17. And then Dallas made that 31-17 in a hurry. You must take advantage of situations. The Eagles were so close to making key plays and seizing control of the game. But they didn’t. Dallas did.
This Eagles team just seems to be addicted to losing. Or maybe they bet on the other team each week. Or they hate my soul. There is no way a team can make this many mistakes by accident…is there?
No major issues with the gameplans. Running Shady more would have been nice, but Andy said the flu was still bugging him. Shady did come out of the game after several runs. That would indicate he was tired.
My biggest beef came at the end of the 1st half. We had a rookie QB in the game. We were deep in our own end, with :28 left. Dallas had 2 timeouts. You run the ball 3 times and go into the locker room. Marty had us running from the shotgun to start on 1st down. That got nothing. Went play fake on 2nd down, but Havili stupidly went out of bounds. That meant Dallas could stop the clock after 3 down. Ran the ball. Dallas stuffed it and forced us to punt. They got some pressure on McBriar. Romo took a knee once they had the ball. Dumb set of plays. With a rookie QB, you don’t force your hand. Be smart. Was Havili going to catch that pass and run 85 yards for a TD? Not likely. Why risk something for limited reward?
Reid opted to onside kick late in the game. I liked that. It gives you an extra chance to get the ball back. It failed on us, but I still thought that was the wise move.
* Scored on the opening drive for the first time all year.
* 1 of 10 on 3rd downs. Terrible.
* 2 for 3 in the Red Zone. Pretty good.
* The final play of the game was a quick pass to DeSean where he then flipped the ball to Shady. Missed him. Oops. Turned into the Keystone Cops and actually got me laughing after that.
VICK – Played part of the 1st half. 6-9-70. 1 TD, no turnovers. Looked pretty good. Dallas was more aggressive with blitzing while Vick was in the game. Led the team on a TD drive to open the game, the first time that has happened all season. Got hurt in the 2nd. Took a weird hit while running and had his head go into the turf. Was hit by a blitzer on the next play. The LB tried to hold up Vick to keep him from hitting the ground, but Mike’s head did bounce. One of those plays is the one that gave him the concussion. Did a good job once again with hard counts. Drew Dallas offside a few times. We mixed in a few designed runs.
1st drive – TD
2nd drive – badly hurt by Maclin drop
3rd drive – chance for huge play was ruined when Kelly failed to pick up a blitzer.
FOLES - First ever NFL action. Good showing. 22-32-219. 1 TD, 1 INT. He didn’t come in mid-drive. Had the benefit of getting warmed up while the defense was on the field. Took over in the mid-2nd Qtr. Foles only had a couple of minutes to get ready. He was thrown into the game quickly and without a week of practice. You would not have known this from watching him in the huddle or at the line of scrimmage. He looked like a natural leader on the field. He read the defense and made pre-snap adjustments. The situation wasn’t too big for him. He was calm and cool. He stayed focused.
Highlight – 44-yd TD to Mac. Slid to his right to buy time. Kept his eyes downfield. Saw Mac, re-set his feet, and fired the pass. Ball had a lot of arc, almost too much. Also threw the ball behind where it should have been. Was catchable, but should have been better.
Lowlight – Made a bonehead error that didn’t cost him. Dropped back and felt pressure. Knew he had a RB to his right. Went to lob him the ball. OLB had started upfield, then peeled off at the last second to cover the RB. Pass was picked off. Got wiped out by defensive penalty. Still, Nick has to be more careful. LB started to rush and Nick assumed that’s what he did. Can’t assume anything against tricky defenses these days.
Bad luck – Threw slant to Djax. Ball was a foot or so behind him. DeSean tried to catch it, but couldn’t get control of the ball. Hung in the air until Brandon Carr picked it off. Pick-6. Game over.
Good luck – Got flushed from the pocket and threw across his body into the middle of the field. Lob ball. Somehow got through a few defenders and Mac caught it. 1st down.
* Anticipated routes well. Had passes to Avant and Mac that were waiting for them as they came out of their breaks. Unfortunately, Avant pulled up lame and Mac got tripped up. Both passes were incomplete and looked bad, but you want the QB anticipating routes.
* Foles looked like an NFL QB. Was able to buy time with his feet. Solid arm. Threw from different platforms. Able to go sidearm. Off his back foot. Striding into the pass. While moving to his right. Could throw in traffic or out in the open.
* Technically sound. Solid mechanics. Should throw off his front foot more. Made good reads. Showed good vision. Got the ball out quickly when he could. Accurate. He was off target on a few passes, but those appeared to be more about timing issues and failure to be on the same page. Fakes were okay but can be better.
* Led the offense to 16 points.
* No wasted timeouts.
* Sacked twice, both times in the final 3:30.
SHADY - Only finished 16-82 as a runner. Battled the flu last week and Reid said after the game that did affect Shady. Was 7-62 in the 2nd half. Long run was 23 yards. Caught 4 passes for 20 yds. There were chances for a couple of big plays. There was a screen pass in the 1st half where Shady had room on the right side, but Mathis failed to block a DB long enough. The play gained some yards, but could have been a nice gainer. There was a short pass to the right side that was the perfect call against a Dallas blitz. Shady had no defender within 10 yds. Unfortunately Kelly failed to slow a blitzing LB and Vick threw the ball too far. With an extra half second, Vick hits him for a play that gets 20 yards, possibly goes for a long TD. There was one Safety between Shady and the endzone. Had one good run called back due to holding penalty.
B BROWN – Not enough touches. 3 carries for 1 yd. Missed an early pass block. Didn’t read the play well. Was looking inside the LT and the rusher came wide. Picked up a blitzer on Foles long TD pass to Maclin. That block gave Nick the time to move out wide and get the pass off.
HAVILI - Didn’t get too many chances as a lead blocker. Ran for short TD late in the game. Caught 1 pass for 3 yards. That came late in the half. Stanley stupidly went out of bounds, which stopped the clock. Didn’t end up costing the Eagles, but you hate to see players making mistakes like that in obvious situations.
CELEK - 3-31 as a receiver. Caught pass on opening play and gained 17 yards. Good design. Lined up in backfield on right side and then went left, staying behind the formation. Wide open in flat for short catch. Used a good stiff arm to get by one defender and up the field. Was asked to block a lot. Sometimes chipped before releasing. Other times just stayed in totally.
HARBOR - Played less than I expected, only 17 plays. 3-25 as a receiver. Did okay as a blocker.
MACLIN - Up and down game. Dropped a pass on the 2nd drive. Ball was up in the air. Mac got his hands on it. DB hit him in the legs and at the moment of contact, Mac dropped it. He landed hard on the ground when he came down, but again…that was after already dropping the ball. Left the game for a while. Had a bad case of alligator arms on a later pass. That would would have gotten minimal yards so the results wasn’t critical, but Mac took a big hit anyway. Why not try to catch the ball?
Good friend Jimmy Bama put up a post on that. Someone on Twitter let Mac know about the post. He responded to Jimmy with…”LOL”.
Mac did finish the game as the leading receiver, 8-93-1. He and Foles did seem to have some chemistry. That was interesting. Mac made a tough catch on the right side when Foles put a ball off target. Mac had to reach out in front awkwardly, but got the ball and a 1st down. Later caught a bizarre lob pass in the middle of the field. Foles was on the run and just lobbed the ball to Mac in the middle of a few defenders. They weren’t able to close to the ball and make the play. Ugly, but good result. Mac’s highlight was a 44-yd TD where the Cowboys forgot to cover him. Ran down the seam and went to the endzone. Waited for the ball and then made the catch right at the GL. Took a hit, but held on.
Dallas tried to jam and be physical with Mac. He did a good job of fighting through contact. There were at least 2 plays where he drew flags. Run blocking still needs work.
D JACKSON – 5-62 for the game. Highlight was a 31-yard pass from Vick. Caught the ball on the left side and then worked his way up and across the field. Ended up on the far sideline. Almost had the ball knocked away from him mid-run, but regained control. That set up the first TD. Was 2-40 on the opening drive, 2-22 the rest of the game. Not sure exactly what happened. Foles did throw him a slant that was behind him. DJax reached back, but wasn’t able to get control of the ball. It hung in the air and was picked off.
AVANT - Got hurt in the 2nd Qtr while making a cut on a short route. Foles threw him the ball, but Jason wasn’t able to even get a hand up. Caught 1 pass for -1 yard.
COOPER - Became a bigger part of the gameplan. Caught a fade pass for TD on the opening drive. Did a fantastic job of going up in the air and getting his hands on the ball. Got control as he came down. Replayed checked and upheld the TD call. Caught a pass on a drag route and almost turned that into a big play, but it was nullified by a penalty on King Dunlap. Caught a WR screen late in the game and got 22 yards on that. Would like to see him get more of those passes. Drew a couple of penalties from DBs that were being too physical. Run blocking was up and down. He has some highlight blocks, but needs to be more consistent. Can’t always get up a head of steam and knock some guy down. Stalk blocking can be just as effective and is a critical part of big plays.
D JOHNSON – 1-32 as a receiver. Put a wicked move on a DB late in the game and the guy ended up on the ground. Damaris plucked the pass and then turned upfield. He got down inside the 5. Needed to score or go out of bounds. Tried to score, but got tripped up and tackled inbounds. That kept us from scoring before the 2-min warning and forced us to onside kick. Had a critical play in the 3rd Qtr where he caught a 3rd down pass and set up 1st/goal only to have it wiped out by a Dunlap penalty.
DUNLAP - Awful game. Holding call wiped out nice run by Shady. 2 hands to the face penalties wiped out pass completions, one which had set up 1st/GL. Struggled in pass pro, no matter vs who (Ware, Spencer, Butler, stunting DTs). Got no push on run plays. We tried to run wide, but defenders actually pushed King back which spilled the run play deeper and wider, giving the pursuit guys time to rally to the ball. Failed to block on the 2nd level on several plays. He would get out there and run, but not touch a soul. Didn’t exactly sell-out to make the tackle on Carr on the pick-6. Had a very costly mistake after his H2F penalty that wiped out 1st/GL. Left the field and was on the sideline yelling. Only problem…we were kicking a FG and he’s part of the FG protection team. Had to burn a timeout because of that. After cutting the lead to 31-23 late in the game, we had to onside kick since we only had 2 timeouts left. With the extra one, could have done a normal kickoff. If we stop Dallas then, they punt from the 30 and don’t pin us inside the 10-yd line with a punt.
MATHIS – Had the best game of any OL and was only up and down. To be fair, he was limping around. Noticed it in the 2nd half, but don’t know when it happened. Did a good job of sustaining blocks on some draws and screens right at the LOS. Failed to get a good block on DB on screen out in space and that guy stopped Shady short of the sticks. Up and down night in pass pro.
REYNOLDS - We have found something that Reynolds does well…the fold block. This is when Mathis downblocks on the NT/DT and Reynolds does a short pull and goes through the hole where Mathis was. Reynolds hits the ILB and gives Shady room to run. Did this vs NO and Dalls and Shady had some good gains running behind it. Works to either side. Doesn’t have to go left. Up and down game overall. Had a good block on Havili’s TD run. Got some push on run plays. Struggled with Ratliff on some plays.
D BELL – Awful game. Worse than Dunlap? Eye of the beholder. Would you rather be shot or stabbed? Had a sequence where Ware beat him off the edge cleanly on one play and then Bell had to hold him when Ware used a hard inside move on the next. Gave up a sack to Victor Butler late in the game. Beaten by all 3 pass rushers on a regular basis. Struggled as a run blocker. Had the false start penalty late in the game that backed us up from the 11 to the 6-yd line and set up Dallas defensive TD. Was going early on the snap count quite a bit, but didn’t get called before that.
KELLY - Bad game. Reasonably bad, though. Struggled vs Ratliff. Made good initial contact, but then Jay was able to get into his body and shed the block. Not used to guys with that combination of quickness and power. Did have some good run blocks. Had a few good pass blocks. Missed Ernie Sims blitz up the middle on 3rd down where Shady was wide open in the flat. If Dennis makes that block, Vick and Shady might have hooked up for a huge play. Dennis struggled with stunts throughout the game. Must work on that.
* Dallas was 5 of 13 on 3rd downs.
* 1-2 in the RZ.
* Tackling was awful early on, especially on Felix Jones TD catch. The tackling remained erratic in the 1st half, but was good in the 2nd half.
* Run D was bad early on. Dallas had 51 yards on that drive, 50 for the rest of the game. In the 2nd half, Dallas was just 11-21 on the ground. Good adjustments.
* One thing we did a few times was go to a 5-man DL. Put 3 DTs in…all on interior guys. Had DEs out wide. 2 LBs. 5-2 look. Dallas ran and threw against it, but with little success.
* 3rd straight game with a QB completing 70 percent of his passes. 3rd straight game with a QB having a rating of 120 or higher. Insane.
COLE - Didn’t make any big plays, but was disruptive. Got pressure on a handful of plays. Had 2 tackles. Did miss a chance to blow up a run when he fired off the ball and went hard down the LOS. Dallas ran draw to the outside.
BABIN - Had one huge chance in the game. Romo got free from Cox on a 3rd down in the mid-3rd Qtr. Jason was there to clean up the play, but Romo ducked and Jason missed him. Dallas scored a few plays later to tie the game at 17. Ugh. Babin didn’t make any plays. He did get some pressure.
LANDRI - Derek got more penetration than he has in recent games. Had one draw play where he almost got to the RB at the same time Romo did, but was a step away and that turned into a decent gain. Batted down a pass. Had a couple of tackles. Did a good job vs the run in the 2nd half.
JENKINS - Played mostly DT, but did get a few snaps at LDE. Had a sack in the game. Did get some pressure up the middle.
TAPP - Very little pass rush. Had 2 tackles vs the run.
GRAHAM - Somewhat quiet game. Was unblocked on a pass play. Flew off the edge and forced Romo to move up. He was then sacked by Kendricks. Should have been a sack for Graham, but Romo is elusive in the pocket. Hustled downfield in pursuit on Felix Jones TD play, but wasn’t able to get hold of him. Very good effort.
COX - Good game. Had a sack of Romo. Batted a pass. Helped to collapse the pocket a few times. My favorite moment came on a stunt. Babin came in and Cox looped wide. The pressure up the middle forced Romo to go wide. Cox chased him down and got a good hit on Tony just after he threw the ball away. Showed very good speed on that. Does need to work on dealing with double teams in the run game.
THORNTON - Up and down game. Seemed to really get going in the 2nd half. Struggled with run defense in the 1st half.
PATT - Played a few snaps. Had a hands to the face penalty Got into the backfield on a pass play, but Romo was able to get the ball out before Patt could hit him. Patt is getting better. Just looks rusty.
KENDRICKS - Up and down showing. Struggled against the run early on. Wasn’t always in the right gap. Struggled to get off blocks on some plays. Much better in the 2nd half. Had a pretty good game in coverage. Spent a lot of time on Witten. Jason had 8 catches, but for just 47 yds. On one of them, Kendricks flew up and tackled him for a loss. Mychal had his first NFL sack when coming free up the middle. Had good coverage on RBs and even WRs when not on Witten. Had 7 solo tackles on the day. I know some people are down on Kendricks because he’d been quiet prior to Sunday. Very talented young player. He’s just figuring things out. Still owes us an INT. Or 2.
There was one big mistake for Kendricks in the game. Covered a WR on 3rd down play. Stayed tight initially, then tripped. Got up and saw that Romo was about to scramble. Kendricks came up to get him. Then Tony threw the ball over him to the receiver for a big gain. I don’t mind the slip. That stuff happens. Can’t leave open receivers to chase QBs on the run. Only do that when you know 100 percent for sure the QB is past the LOS. Let the QB run, but don’t give up the big pass play.
RYANS - Started slow, which surprised me. I expect some young guys to be that way, but not DeMeco. Picked up the pace and was a big factor in us controlling the Dallas run game after the first drive. Led the team with 8 total tackles (7 solo). Had a pair of TFLs. DeMeco’s specialty is dealing with underneath receivers on 3rd/short. Teams love to run a drag route. DeMeco, being a smart veteran, hits the receiver (since it is less than 5 yds upfield) and keeps the guy close to the LOS. Did this and then tackled the guy on a 3rd down play. Forced a punt. Later tackled a receiver who caught short pass on crossing route on 3rd down. Forced a punt. Subtle, but key plays.
JORDAN - Sloppy run defense early. Was jumping in the wrong gaps. Seemed to be following the FB instead of staying in the assigned gap. Cleaned up his game and played better. Finished with 4 total tackles. Did okay in coverage as well.
MATTHEWS - Played in some short yardage sets. No highlights or lowlights.
ALLEN - Back after missing some time. Was in on 4 tackles. Didn’t make any big plays. Covered Witten at times. Didn’t offer much help vs the run game. Got a lot of flak for Jones TD catch. Nate did his job there by flying up and forcing Jones back to the inside. It would be good for him to make the tackle, but Nate at least did the right thing in terms of contain and also went all out on the effort.
COLEMAN - Had 6 solo tackles and a TFL. Active game, but didn’t make any stand out plays. Was involved in a deep ball to Bryant. DRC bought a fake and let Dez get by him. Kurt was the deep Safety on that play. He was slow in getting over to Bryant. I’ve watched the play a few times. Really looks like Kurt just lacks the speed for that scenario. Might have waited half a second too long to break wide, but didn’t go up after a fake. Took the proper angle. Speed looked to be the key issue.
NNAMDI - Odd game. Played CB and some LB. There were a couple of plays where Nnamdi lined up in the A-gap and blitzed. Didn’t get pressure either time, but the plays were successful. Had a solid game at CB. Held his own vs Miles Austin. Only had 1 pass thrown his way and Nnamdi broke that up. Had one terrible moment in the game. Was in perfect position to tackle Jones on his TD catch. Nnamdi didn’t do it. Poor technique, poor effort. Drives you nuts when a guy his size turns into a finesse player in that situation. Some ask why the coaches would use him to blitz if he’s such a crappy tackler. Nnamdi is inconsistent, not bad. He can be physical at times. Just ask Chris Cooley about that.
DRC - Another frustrating performance. After 6 games, DRC had Pro Bowl potential. The last 3 weeks, he’s been all over the place. That coincides with Bowles becoming the DC. I wonder if that move somehow hurt DRC’s preparation/performance. Bad moment was when he bit on a fake and gave up 49-yd bomb to Dez Bryant. Can’t bite on a fake when you’re playing man coverage like that. Had an awful tackle attempt early in the game. Looked like he was trying to rub up against the RB instead of hitting him. Didn’t even bother trying to wrap up. It was a glancing blow, if that. Had good coverage on Bryant in the mid-3rd. Unfortunately DRC got jobbed by the refs. 30-yd pass into the endzone. They called PI on the play. Ref ruled that Dez caught the ball. I don’t blame him for that. Looked like a catch. Replay showed the ball moved, but the official left it as a catch. TD. Terrible. As for the PI, DRC had his hand on Dez, but didn’t restrict him or push him. That’s legal. If you want to call holding, I disagree, but could live with that. PI? No way. DRC did show some toughness on one run play that came at him. Dove and took out pulling OL. If he put that kind of effort in his tackling, he could be a special CB.
BOYKIN - Slot guy. Played 23 snaps. Solid in coverage, but didn’t have much action come his way.
MARSH - When Nnamdi moved inside, Curtis took over at CB on the outside. Was only in for 4 plays. Looked fine. I’d love to get him on the field more so we can find out if he can play or not.
MCBRIAR - Averaged 50.6 yards per punt on 7 kicks, but had a pair of touchbacks and didn’t have any downed inside the 20.
HENERY - 1 of 1 on FG. Did miss an extra point. Can’t do that again until 2015. Had 3 touchbacks.
PR – Damaris Johnson had 1 PR for 4 yds. DeSean went back to field the punt at the end of the game, but the ball went out of bounds.
KOR – Boykin was 4-94 with a long of 26.
* We gave up a 78-yd PR for TD that broke the game open. I watched the play several times. Colt Anderson was blocked in the back and then the guy tripped him up. Brandon Hughes, the other gunner, was blocked from behind as well. The first 2 Eagles down the field and neither draws a flag? Casey Matthews was caught off guard by Harris’ speed. McBriar made a poor attempt to tackle him on the sideline. I don’t know what was the deal with Jamar Chaney. He looked slow and didn’t come close to getting Harris. Bad luck and bad play hurt us.
* Colt Anderson knocked a ball loose on a KOR, but Dallas fell on it. That’s 2 games in a row with a FF on a KOR. We’ve scored 3 points out of the 2 fumbles.
* There was a kickoff late in the game and Dallas squibbed it. We learned that Stanley Havili cannot field a KO with his facemask. Luckily, he fell on the ball.