Great win, good game.
The Eagles winning on the road against last year’s division champs is a great thing. FedEx Field was a raucous place. Skins fans were celebrating RG3′s return to the field. They were on Cloud Nine. There were going to beat the lowly Eagles and put College Kelly in his place. Life was going to be good, as the Skins offense marched up and down the field for score after score. No way the Eagles patchwork defense could handle the Skins juggernaut offense.
But a funny thing happened on the way to that outcome.
The Eagles happened.
Kelly’s up-tempo attack moved at a blistering pace. The Eagles defense made big plays. Dave Fipp’s STs unit was even better than the offense or defense. Oh yeah…and that Shady McCoy guy did his thing.
Next thing you know it is the 3rd quarter and the Eagles lead 33-7. Wowzers. I did not see that coming. I thought people were sleeping on the Eagles, but I figured it would be shootout the Eagles could win with a couple of extra big plays. Instead the Eagles built a huge lead and then had to hang on as RG3 awoke from his slumber and led Washington to 14 points in the 4th quarter. The blowout win became more about survival than celebration for Eagles Nation, but that didn’t matter much. Beating the rival Skins was fun. Doing it at their place and on MNF made the win all the sweeter.
The win was great, but the performance was flawed. Coach Chip Kelly and his staff have plenty of things to fix. The offense left too many points on the field. The defense couldn’t put the hammer down on the Skins. There were some mental mistakes and too many penalties. This happens every year in the opener. Problems arise and the coaches must solve them. NFL teams don’t play a full game with their starters until the regular season so that’s when you discover what issues must be addressed.
As a fan, it feels great to be 1-0. The Eagles had the same record last year, but won a very ugly game over a bad Browns team. This year the Eagles played pretty well and beat a good Skins team. The win also gets the team off to a good start in the division. The Eagles have already matched 2012′s win total in division games.
I’ll admit to having a moment of panic. Vick’s pass that was ruled a fumble and returned for a TD brought up nightmares. There were so many Red Zone turnovers in 2011 and 2012 that I’ll forever be scarred. All I could think was “Chip Kelly, meet Mike Vick and the Eagles Red Zone offense.” Luckily neither Kelly nor the team went into panic mode with me. They marched right back down the field and kicked a FG. They scored TDs on 2 other Red Zone possessions and that helped them to win the game. I don’t know if that win exorcised the demons of 2012 or if it just got them under control for now.
Chip had a pretty good debut, but he’s got a few things to work on. I loved the decision to go for it on 4th/1 on opening drive. No hesitation. He trusted his instincts and what he’d done in his past.
I don’t know how Kelly was with replay challenges at Oregon, but he’s off to a bad start in that category. He made a poor decisions to challenge the Ertz non-catch. I don’t know if he was going off someone else’s advice or that was strictly his decision. Can only challenge if you feel there is compelling evidence that the call will be overturned.
Kelly has to figure out what to do in the 2nd half of games. Should he slow the attack down? Should he stay pedal to the metal? He also needed to play the backup RBs more. My guess is that he didn’t fully trust Brown/Polk due to fumbling issues and Kelly saw the Skins game as critical. Just a hunch, though.
There was a point in the 2nd half when he should have called a timeout instead of letting the offense take a delay of game penalty.
I thought the overall strategies were excellent.
The Eagles knew the Skins had a vulnerable secondary. So they went with 3 WRs for much of the game. That kept the Skins in their Nickel D a lot. But Kelly put a twist on that. Old friend Andy Reid would have seen a vulnerable secondary and thrown the ball over and over. Kelly knew the DBs struggled to cover and tackle so he ran on them. Vick only threw 25 passes. The Skins had the 30th ranked pass defense last year. In this game they had a rookie and a backup as the starting Safeties. The #3 CB was a rookie. And Kelly ran on this bunch. Beautiful.
Bill Davis did a fantastic job with the defense in the 1st half and part of the 3rd quarter. He blitzed a lot and gave lots of different looks to the Skins. That worked well. He was more vanilla in the 4th quarter and the results weren’t good.
* 4th/1. Opening drive. Kecle sealed backside DT. Todd, Lane doubled the playside DT. Mathis pulled to the right and he and Celek got the DE, LB on that side. Shady took the ball and went hard up the field. No hesitation. Got the 1st down easily.
* The no-huddle can backfire at times. Shady had a tough, winding run through traffic to get the Eagles inside the 10. He then ran a lazy (or tired) route on the next play. That’s when Vick had the pass deflected and ruled an INT. If Shady gets more upfield, the pass would have been more obvious as a forward pass. I don’t know that Vick could have gotten the ball over Kerrigan so it might have just been thrown away.
* 1st/10. Right after Morris fumble. Eagles got TD pass to DeSean. Stole a play from the Saints. Play-action pass with good protection and a couple of receivers downfield. Cooper runs a deep cross to occupy one DB. DeSean goes behind him and is able to run by the CB. There is no S help since he moved up on Cooper. Celek and Ertz blocked at the LOS.
* 2nd/7. The Eagles gave the look of a bubble screen to the left. LBs bit on that. Celek got upfield and behind them. Vick fired a bullet pass to him for the TD. DBs were in the area, but Vick had the arm strength and accuracy to make that throw.
* 1st/10. Late in the half. Eagles ran a totally new formation. Had Peters split out wide left and Johnson wide right. Only 3 OL, Vick and Shady in the box. Skins had 2 DL and 3 LBs in there. 3 blockers took out 3 defenders. Kerrigan charged at Vick. Only Fletcher was left to stop Shady. LeSean got upfield for 11 yds. Had tons of room.
* 1st/GL. Read option. Defense went for Shady. Vick kept the ball and ran straight up the field for the TD.
* Eagles used lots of formations early on.
* They used an unbalanced line several times during the game. Jason Peters would slide over beside Lane Johnson. Other times Johnson would line up to the inside of Peters on the left side.
* The Skins ran some blitzes that caught players off guard. Shady went out on a pass route and watched a LB run by him into the backfield. Looked pretty obvious to me, but I don’t know what was called. Kelly said after the game that noise led to some communication problems.
VICK – Good game, but has some things to work on. Went 15-25-203. Threw 2 TDs. Didn’t have a pick or true fumble. Was blamed for the non-pass/fumble, but that was a bogus call. I wasn’t thrilled with Mike throwing that ball since Kerrigan was there in the line of sight, but this wasn’t quite like some of the turnovers from years past. I thought Mike did a good job of running the no-huddle attack. His decision-making was pretty good. He generally got the ball out quickly. Vick didn’t throw any deep balls.
Loved his early pass to Brent Celek. Hit him up the seam with a quick laser. Celek was 9 yds upfield and then added 18 RAC yds. Simple, safe play for good gain. Perfect throw. Missed Brent on corner route down by the Red Zone. Brent was wide open vs ILB and Vick had a clean pocket. Just threw a sloppy pass that was a yard too wide. Vick made me nervous on the opening drive when he scrambled to his right and then tried to get the ball to Celek inside the 5. The ball was deflected and went into the endzone. It came closest to DJax back there, but we have seen Red Zone INTs from Vick the last couple of years so I was nervous. Missed Jason Avant with a pass that would have put them inside the 5. Like Celek, he was wide open. I think Vick threw the ball too sidearm and that caused it to go wide by a yard or so. A more over the top delivery may have helped with the accuracy. Wasn’t under pressure. Missed Ertz on the next play. That pass was too high, but Ertz at least had a chance with it. Terrific execution and throw on the TD to DeSean. Ran for 1st down on 3rd/9. Got down, but since he went down head first, still took a good shot from Deangelo Hall. Made one bonehead play in the 3rd Qtr. Ran out of bounds with the ball for a loss rather than throwing it away. Best throw of the night may have been the TD to Celek. Brent was in traffic, although not tightly covered. Vick did have to deal with some pressure, but was still able to make a strong, accurate throw. I don’t know that Foles or Barkley pulls that pass off. Vick showed good accuracy on his quick throws to DeSean. That allowed DJax to get RAC yds. Vick added a huge run late in the game. He took off to the left and got up the field for 36 yards. That flipped the field and gave the offense a bit of momentum. Finished 9-54-1 as a runner.
The biggest concern coming out of this game is wear and tear. Vick took a few shots as a pocket passer. He took some hits while running. He also went upfield to block for McCoy on some runs. He won’t be able to stay on the field if he tries to keep that up. We all love his tough guy approach, but I’d prefer he protect himself a bit more. Sounds like Kelly will talk to him about blocking for McCoy. No reason to do that unless it is a huge moment in a tight game.
SHADY – Why waste words on this bum? Can’t even run for 185 yards. Ugh.
Actually I will limit what I say for the simple reason that words don’t do him justice. You literally must see some of his cuts and moves to truly appreciate them. Shady played for Andy Reid for 4 years. He had 30 carries once (vs DAL in 2011). Shady had 31 carries in his first game with Kelly. That’s kinda crazy. 184 yards was the second highest total in his career.
The thing I loved about his running is that he didn’t try to turn everything into a big play. There were some short yardage situations when Shady went straight ahead. He was willing to settle for the 2 and 3-yard gains when they were needed. That wasn’t the case when he was younger. When Shady did decide to make guys miss, he had some spectacular moments. His TD run was a thing of beauty. Shady is the only guy who ever made Rambo look helpless (though Bacarri, not John J.).
B BROWN – Under-used and the coaches know it. Was 9-25 on the ground. Numbers weren’t great, but had some bad luck. There was a 5-yard loss, 1-yd loss and carry for 0. Eagles kept trying to get him wide on the outside zone and it wasn’t working well. Did better when running N-S. Had an impressive run where the used his strength to push the pile and punish defenders. Did a good job of protecting the ball. No fumbles or anything close.
Made a poor cut block attempt late in the 1st Qtr. Tried to take out Orakpo, but whiffed. Wasn’t due to lack of effort. Threw himself at the target. Just went too low and an athletic guy like Orakpo jumped over him, then hit Vick. Coaches will work with him on that. Must be able to protect the QB if you’re going to be on the field.
POLK – Didn’t play on offense.
CELEK – Good game. 2-56-1. How many TEs average 28 yds per catch? If he was a bit faster, might have had a huge play early in the game. Vick hit him with a pop pass going up the seam and Brent had no one in front of him. Got chased down by CB Josh Wilson. Still got 28 yds on the play (19 RAC yds). No drops. Blocking was solid. Generally good in the run game. Didn’t have any “wow” blocks. Called for holding late in the 3rd Qtr on a pass play. Made matters worse by griping to the officials and getting an additional penalty.
ERTZ – Welcome to the NFL. 1-11 as a receiver. Had a crucial drop. Came on 3rd/10 play. Ertz blocked initially, then released into a pass route. Got open and Vick hit him with a good throw. You can argue there was Pass Int on the play, but Ertz needs to make that catch. Just couldn’t hold onto it as he went to the ground. First NFL catch came late in the 1st Qtr. Ran short route up the left seam and was wide open. Vick put the ball low, but Ertz went down and made the grab, then rolled for the 1st down. Blocking needs work. Good effort, but must use better technique. Didn’t play a ton since the Eagles were in 3 WRs so much.
CASEY – Only played a couple of snaps on offense. Strictly a matchup situation. Kelly wanted to face WAS’s Nickel D.
IGWENAGU – DNP
D JACKSON – Terrific game. This is the DeSean we’ve wanted to see for a couple of years. Wasn’t just a threat. Actually produced in this game, going 7-104-1. Caught screen on 3rd play of the game. Love that. Gone are the days of DJax going deep over and over. Get him the ball and let him make plays. Got the ball 4 yds behind the LOS and still got 16 yds on the play. Even better. Jackson had a chance to run out of bounds early, but initially went inside and then cut out wide to get out of bounds. I have no problem with DJax avoiding hits by getting out, but in the past he was too quick to do that. Here he got a good gain and then played it safe. That’s smart football. Opened the 2nd drive by making a short catch and then using his great acceleration to explode up the field for a gain of 26. Caught a pass on crossing route in the mid-2nd and got upfield for the 1st down. Then went out of bounds. Got tackled late by Deangelo Hall and that drew a flag. DeSean jumped up and shoved Hall. He wasn’t penalized for that, but probably should have been. Has to be smart. If the Skins are dumb enough to give you 15 yds, take ‘em. Don’t give them right back.
Mixed results with his blocking. Had some good blocks, but needs to more consistently get in there and occupy his defender.
AVANT – Quiet game. 2-13. Called for OPI. Jason was blocking for short pass and play got delayed. Not his fault. Terrific downfield cut block on Shady’s TD run. Made an impressive catch on pass that was low in the 4th Qtr. Got control of the ball and then headed upfield. Defender hit him from behind and knocked the ball loose.
COOPER – 2-14 as a receiver. Both were short catches on the left side. Vick tried to hit him with a deep ball, but a DB was able to break it up. Cooper got open in a scramble situation and could have delivered a big play, but Vick didn’t see him and a DB came over quickly. Had some very good blocks. Still had a couple of plays where he wasn’t able to sustain and keep his guy under control.
D JOHNSON – Played very little on offense.
MAEHL – Played very little on offense.
* Many people asked about why Todd would tapp Kelce prior to snaps. It appears the Eagles are using an interesting system. Most times the C will look between his legs and see the QB raise his foot when he’s ready for the snap. Todd looks back at Vick. He gets some signal, then taps Kelce to alert him Vick is ready for the snap. That allows Kelce to keep his eyes on the defense.
PETERS – Good game, but wasn’t dominant. Brian Orakpo made Jason work. JP didn’t give up a sack and generally won his battle, but you could see he was a bit rusty. When he did cleanly get his hands on Orakpo, it was over. Still has an incredible combination of strength and agility. Uses his hands really well. Pulled to the inside on play and hit London Fletcher from the side, knocking him to the ground. Missed block of Orakpo on Shady run. If Peters makes that, Shady has a ton of room to run. Orakpo fired hard to the inside and caught him off guard. Good block on Shady’s TD run. Sealed the DE to the outside and sustained the block.
BARBRE – Played LT for 2 snaps in the 2nd Qtr when Peters went out. Didn’t do anything of note.
MATHIS – Mostly a good game. Got away with a hold of Bowen on the pass/fumble play. Didn’t affect the play, but the refs for some reason didn’t throw a flag. Helped Kelce double team a DT and drive him 5 yds off the ball to give Bryce Brown a huge area to run through. Had a good reach block of the NT on run up the middle. Gave Shady good lane, but DB came down quickly and limited the play. Called for holding in the 2nd Qtr. Questionable call. Tried to block Orakpo. Brian spun to get away and Mathis grabbed his jersey for half a second and then let go. Vick had already run by at that point. Pulled to his left and had a good block of Rambo that let Shady get up the sidelines for 5 yds. Good job on Shady’s TD run. Mathis and Kelce did a good job of getting movement when they doubled on DL.
KELCE – Up and down game. Struggled with Barry Cofield, but had some terrific moments aside from that. Had a great block on run play to the right. Jason pulled out wide. He hit London Fletcher at the 45 and sustained the block until he put Fletcher on the ground at the 31. Un-friggin-believable. Go to 7:20 of the 1st Qtr to see that. Got over-powered by NT in pass pro. Held on the play, but still got beat. Pulled to his left on a run play late in the 1st half and put Fletcher on the ground again. Didn’t move him downfield, but still made an impressive block. Missed block of Cofield on run play and Barry knocked the crap out of Shady for a loss. Called for holding on run play late in the game. Crucial play. Took the Eagles out of FG range. He and Mathis were very effective when double-teaming DL. Kelce consistently fired off the ball and was a catalyst on run plays. His burst helped get the play flowing, whether left or right. Shady could then read the blocks and decide whether to run or cut back. I think Kelly is going to love Kelce.
HERREMANS – Up and down game. Did a pretty good job of blocking DL on run plays. Missed LB on play where Vick kept the ball and ran to that side. Play had potential if Todd got the backer. Barry Cofield drove Todd into the backfield on 3rd/9 with good power rush. Forced Vick to run. Failed to block Kerrigan on pass play. DL over Todd slanted hard inside and Kelce got him. Todd didn’t get Kerrigan at all. Big sack. Todd got driven backward by Cofield on power rush in the mid-2nd Qtr, then held him but didn’t get called for it. On the next play a blitzing LB flew by Todd and into the backfield. I don’t know how Todd didn’t see him.
JOHNSON – Solid game. Beaten by Kerrigan on pass play. Didn’t give up, though, and was able to keep him occupied as Vick slipped to the outside. Got confused and failed to block Kerrigan on pass play. Blitzing LB is the one who got the sack, but Kerrigan blew up the play. Johnson has to know to take the guy going to the inside. Lined up on the left side on Shady’s TD run. Had an outstanding block of DT Bowen. Gave Shady a big lane. Generally controlled Kerrigan when he faced him on pass play. Lane also did a good job as a run blocker. You would think a rookie playing in an up-tempo attack and being moved around might struggle, but that wasn’t the case. Still adjusting to pro football and has his moments, but is physically ready.
TOBIN – DNP
VANDERVELDE – DNP
KELLY – DNP
Terrific 1st half by the defense. The 3rd quarter was acceptable, but not good. Things got ugly in the 4th quarter. The Skins gained 175 yards and scored 14 points. They had another drive that ended in Eagles territory.
We have to focus on RG3 for part of this. He was rusty in the 1st half and really struggled. He got better as the game went along. He got some help from the Eagles. The coaches began using some backups in the 2nd half, due to injury and fatigue. The Skins took advantage of that.
I wish Bill Davis had run a conventional Nickel look in the 2nd half (4-2-5). He kept using the 3-3-5 look and blitzing off it. With the score 33-7, I wanted to see Graham at LDE and Cole at RDE with Cox and Thornton inside. I’m not sure if Graham and Cole were ever on the field together. The Skins RT struggled all game long. I really wanted to see Graham light him up, but the coaches mostly kept BG on the other side.
I did like the aggressive blitzing approach that Davis took for the first 3 quarters. He turned Cole, Kendricks and Ryans loose and let them attack. The DBs got to blitz. Allen, Chung, Williams and Boykin all were turned loose as blitzers. The Eagles only finished with 3 sacks, but they got regular pressure. RG3 didn’t have a clean pocket for much of the game. He took some big hits and got up sl0w a couple of times.
The pass rush disappeared for parts of the 4th quarter. This is where it would have been so nice to have Vinny Curry in the game. His burst off the ball would have given fits to the Skins OGs. He also could have eaten up snaps at DE and OLB. The Eagles offense failed to sustain drives in the 4th and that kept the defense on the field. The Skins were going no-huddle and that wore the D down.
I don’t think Davis went to a prevent defense in the 4th. He still did mix in some blitzes. I do think he ran some softer coverages, giving up short completions. You can tell that the Eagles need better backup CBs. Boykin is good in the slot, but less effective outside. Poyer should be learning right now, not playing.
I love the fact that there weren’t any bad blown assignments. No Skins receiver was just running wide open. The defense played with a lot of energy and aggression. They flew to the football and gang-tackled most of the time. The defense came up with 3 takeaways and a safety. I don’t think the defense is as good as they looked early on and I don’t think they’re as bad as they looked late. I think this unit can be good enough to help the Eagles win some games.
* RG3 started off 13 of 25. He then went 17 of 24. He really did wake up.
* WAS was 2 of 10 on 3rd downs.
* They were 2 of 3 in the Red Zone.
* Skins only ran 18 times for 74 yards.
* They only had 2 plays longer than 20 yards and both came on the final drive.
* Opening 3rd down. Cole at RDE in 3-3-5 look. Barwin, Kendricks and Ryans were the LBs. Barwin rushed the RG. 4 rushed overall. Ryans covered the RB. MK took the TE in the flat. Boykin got the INT while covering down the field.
* Skins first good play came when they lined guys up to the outside and drew Kendricks, Allen out there and then ran to the other side. Got 15 yds.
* The Skins had a bunch set to their right. Kendricks, Allen and Boykin had some confusion about getting lined up. They were bumping into each other just before the ball was snapped. The pass was incomplete, but Kendricks and Boykin talked after the play, as they tried to figure out who should have been where. Didn’t look like the petty sniping we saw last year, but rather guys talking to each other.
* There was a play in the early 4th where Boykin, Nate and Bradley Fletcher failed to get WR Josh Morgan down. Should have limited him to 10 yds, but he fought upfield for 19. Sloppy tackling.
COX - Quiet for the first 3 Qtrs of the game. Wasn’t much of a factor against the run. Came alive in the 4th Qtr as a pass rusher. Got loose up the middle and got a big shot on RG3 in the early 4th. Beat the RT and got a sack late in the game. Used quick burst and a good rip move to get the sack. Drove the RT back to RG3 and flushed him on the final drive. Cox then chased him out of bounds, giving up just a short gain. Great speed, hustle from the big fella.
SOPOAGA - Solid game. Played better than what we saw in the preseason. Still not the NT that some probably hoped for. Won his share of battles when single-blocked. Didn’t face many double-teams, but did get moved back a yard or two when he faced them. RG tried to block him in the 3rd and Sopes pushed him back a yard. That drew holding call on the RG. Chased RG3 out in space after Geathers flushed him in the 3rd Qtr. Forced an incompletion.
THORNTON - Good game. Got good push from DT late in the 1st half when rushing the passer. Shed block of RG and tackled Morris on inside run. Had chance to get Helu for a loss on 3rd/1, but couldn’t get hold of him cleanly. Did get a TFL when he chased down RB from the backside in the 3rd Qtr. Drove the C right back to RG3 on the play where Ryans got his sack. Great explosion, power from Ced on that play. Batted a pass in the mid-4th. Effective inside rusher. Tough run defender. Finished with 3 tackles, TFL, PD. One play he’d like to have back is the TD run by Morris. Ced hustled down the LOS and left a huge cutback lane. If Ced was more under control there, might have made the tackle.
CURRY - DNP.
GEATHERS - Backup LDE. Showed some flashes. Drove the RT back to RG3 and then dove for the QB. Didn’t get him, but showed good power. On the next play, drove the RG back to RG3. Had a couple of more plays where he showed good power. Needs to be able to finish plays.
LOGAN - Played both DE and NT. Drew a holding call on the C late in the 3rd Qtr. Overall had kind of a quiet game. Was on the field plenty, but didn’t stand out.
SQUARE - Solid showing. Mostly played NT. The Skins didn’t run right at him so Square was able to be effective. Used his hands well to fight off blockers. Got some pressure on pass plays. Moved well laterally on runs. I was pleasantly surprised by Square’s performance.
COLE - Good game. On his first snap of the season, Cole flew down the LOS and hit RB Alfred Morris, knocking the ball out. The Eagles recovered. Got a gift safety on the 3rd series of the game. RG3 made a poor toss and Morris couldn’t catch it. This was in the end zone. Morris covered the ball and Cole dove on him for the easy 2 points. Got TFL on the next play when run came his way. Got by blocker and wrapped up Morris for short loss. Drew holding call on TE Paulsen on run to his side. Trent just shoved Paulsen out of the way so he could get to the RB and Paulsen grabbed his arm and wouldn’t let go. Got a good hit on RG3 on deep ball in the mid-2nd Qtr. On the next snap, Cole blew up a run. Got by a pair of blockers and hit the RB in the backfield. Runner managed to get back to the LOS. Cole got hits on RG3 on several plays. Some were in the backfield, others up the field and one out in space. Trent was in the right spot and took his shots when he could. Credited with 4 tackles, TFL and a FF.
BARWIN - Set the edge on run play to open the 2nd series. RB was forced to stay deep and bounce the run out further to the outside. Pursuit helped get a TFL. Made good open field tackle on WR screen on early 2nd Qtr play. Most impressive moment came on 3rd/long play. Eagles rushed just 3. Barwin beat the RT and RG3 took off the other way. Barwin chased him down and only gave up a couple of yards on the play. Great hustle, impressive speed. Beat block of TE to get some pressure in the early 3rd. Jumped offside in the early 4th and that led to sloppy play where Skins got 19 yds. Had a chance for a sack in the mid-4th. Split blockers and got into the backfield, but RG3 used his voodoo moves to escape from Barwin. Got pressure off the edge on the next play, which was 4th/15. That kept RG3 from getting zip on the ball and allowed Williams to knock it down. Showed his versatility. Covered. Rushed. Played the run. Sometimes rushed off the edge. Other times came inside and tried to shoot gaps.
GRAHAM - Played some DE late in the half. Used power moves a couple of times. Beat LT Trent Williams with a speed move and got pressure on RG3 on one play. Played some OLB in the 2nd half. Blew up a run play. Drove the TE back, then drove the LT back. RB had nowhere to go and pursuit got him for a TFL, but Graham made the play. Had a chance to rush the passer a lot in the 4th Qtr and wasn’t getting pressure. LT did a good job on him. I was disappointed that Brandon got a chance to rush the passer in a known passing situation and didn’t get more pressure.
KENDRICKS - Good game. All over the place. Made things happen. Recovered fumble on opening play. Cole knocked it loose and it came right to Mychal. Helped get TFL on next series. Barwin did a good job of setting the edge. That gave MK a good angle to the runner and he flew over to help knock the guy out of bounds. Did a great job on the play of staying square to the LOS. Did a good job on a screen pas in the mid-1st Qtr. Read the play, moved through traffic and made a good wrap-up tackle. Exploded up the middle on a blitz at the end of the half and literally slammed RG3 to the ground. Clean, but hard hit. Shed block of FB and tackled Morris on 3rd Qtr run. Got a big hit on RG3 late in the 3rd Qtr and forced an errant pass. Credited with 10 total tackles, TFL, FR and a couple of QB hits.
RYANS - Wasn’t as flashy as Kendricks, but re-watch the game and you’ll be impressed. Blitzed in the 3rd Qtr and drove the LG back close to RG3. Good power for an ILB. Did that on some run plays as well. Gave me Trotter flashbacks. Ryans isn’t 260, but he runs into blockers at full speed and will knock the crap out of them. Ran over the LG on a pass play just after that. So much fun to watch. Got a sack in the mid-3rd. Came on a Green Dog. That is when the RB stays in to block. Ryans was supposed to cover him. When the RB stays in, the LB has a green light to blitz (known as a dog in older football circles). Active tackler in the run game. None were standout plays. Had a big hit on CB Bradley Fletcher that gave him an apparent concussion. Did a good job with making on-field adjustments to the defense.
MATTHEWS - Played some defense in the 2nd half.
KNOTT - Played some on defense. Came over and hit receiver after catch over the middle. Should have made a wrap-up tackle. Showed good hustle on a run play. Got out wide and helped gang-tackle a RB.
GOODE - Didn’t see him on defense.
ALLEN - More of the same. Didn’t make any mistakes, but also failed to stand out. Was in on 6 total tackles. Blitzed in the early 3rd, but RG3 got rid of the ball before anyone could get near him. Threw pick to Williams on that play. Came up in run support to help Thornton with TFL in the 3rd Qtr. Made tackle of TE after catch over the middle. Slung him to the ground. Solid tackle. There were a couple of plays where he was too passive in trying to help make tackles, but overall he was effectively aggressive.
CHUNG - Mixed bag. Good vs the run. Was in on 7 total tackles. Blitzed up the middle and helped pressure RG3 into an errant throw. Came flying up in run support and made a strong tackle of Morris. Made a clean tackle of Moss in the early 4th Qtr. Awful job at the end of the game. Eagles were in Cover 3. Chung needed to stay deeper than the deepest. Let WR get behind him. Compounded that by mis-timing his jump and letting the ball over his head. TD for the Skins. Should have been incompletion or a pick. Chung can’t make coverage mistakes like that.
WOLFF - Played very little on defense.
COLEMAN - Didn’t see him on defense.
FLETCHER - Had 4 solo stops. Made a strong, physical tackle of Garcon after catch in the early 3rd. Had tight coverage of Robinson on 4th Qtr pass and kept it from being completed. More effective when pressing than playing off, but we knew that already. Got knocked out of the game late by a hit from Ryans. Could have used him on that final drive.
WILLIAMS - Good game. Had tight downfield coverage on deep ball to Garcon. Incompletion. Got a sack in the 2nd Qtr. WR lined up tight to the formation. Cary fired off the edge and hit RG3 from the backside. He jumped on his back. Physical takedown. Some CBs can blitz, but don’t know how to finish. Cary did a good job of getting RG3 down. Made a beautiful diving INT in the early 3rd. Great hands on the play. Made a great play on 4th/15. Saw RG3 put the ball over the middle to Robinson. Cary flew over and knocked it away without any contact. Great read and break on the ball.
HUGHES - DNP
BOYKIN - Good game. Came up with his first NFL INT on the opening 3rd down play. Was in the slot. Stayed underneath the receiver since he had S help over the top. RG3 forced the ball into coverage and Boykin made the pick. Blitzed on 3rd down in early 2nd Qtr. Started outside, but looped hard to the inside and came free up the middle. RG3 got rid of the ball just before BB got there. Tackled Helu on 3rd down run play. Gave up a couple of yds, but made a good stop. Broke up pass to Moss over the middle in the mid-4th. Great body control to get in front of the WR and knock the ball away, but without contact. Got to blitz on a few plays. Funny to see Boykin going against OTs.
POYER - Played on defense in the 2nd half. Gave up a TD to Hankerson. Played off and was simply slow to close to the receiver after he made the catch. Easily ran into the endzone. Had good coverage of Moss in the 4th on 3rd/2 play along the sideline, but missed the ball by inches and Moss made the grab. Made good tackle of Garcon late in the game after a short catch. Closed to the ball quickly on that play. Got better as the game went along, but looked like a rookie.
I’m pretty sure Dave Fipp is the greatest coach ever. He makes Bear Bryant and Vince Lombardi look like hacks. Amazing what a difference a year makes. The Eagles STs are actually…good.
JONES - Good game. First punt was fair caught at the 4-yd line. Another punt was fielded inside the 10. Put a punt out of bounds at the 6-yd line. Had another punt fair caught at the 11-yd line. 4 of his 6 punts were downed inside the 20. Had a long of 61.
HENERY - Nailed a 48-yd FG. Actually kicked it twice. Kelly decided to challenge a play just as Henery was making the kick. I wondered if that would affect Henery, but he came back after the challenge was denied and that kick was even straighter than the first. Plenty of distance. 3 of his 6 KOs were touchbacks. The other 3 had good depth and were well-covered.
- MISC -
KOR – Damaris returned one from deep in the endzone and got 27 yds on that. He was desperate to take a chance. Other KOs he showed good discipline and stayed in the endzone. DeSean returned the free kick after the safety and got 10 yds on that.
PR – There was one fair catch and a couple of punts that went out of b0unds.
* Anderson, Casey combined for good stop on punt return in the early 2nd Qtr.
* Chris Polk made a great tackle in KO coverage. That pinned the Skins at the 9-yd line.
* Najee Goode and Brandon Boykin combined for a good tackle in KO coverage late in the half.
* Brandon Boykin had a good night as a gunner on punts.
* Brandon Graham flew downfield to make a good tackle in punt coverage.
* Jordan Poyer made a good stop in punt coverage.
* The onside kick at the end of the game was nerve-wracking. Jason Avant had the ball come right to him, but he couldn’t make a clean grab. He did get control of the ball as others got to him. Jake Knott flew over and jumped on Avant, to shield him from Skins players. Not pretty, but effective.