Detailed Game Review – MIN 48, PHI 30

Posted: December 19th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 59 Comments »

No Adrian Peterson. No Toby Gerhart. No problem, right? Wrong. Injuries backed the Vikings into a corner and they came out swinging. Matt Cassel thought it was 2008 for some reason and played like he was still with the Patriots. Cassel was such a good story back then. College backup gets drafted and becomes Tom Brady’s backup. Then he gets on the field and lights it up. Since 2008, things have been very up and down for Cassel.

He played well in 2010, leading the Chiefs to a 10-5 record in his 15 starts. Since then, Cassel has come slowly apart. That all changed on Sunday when good Cassel showed up and ripped the Eagles secondary to pieces. He made Greg Jennings look like a star receiver. He completed key passes to guys like Jarius Wright and Chase Ford. Cassel got the ball to Cordarelle Patterson in a variety of ways. Cassel even ran the ball well, including a short TD run.

I did not anticipate this. I did not think it was possible. I don’t know how this version of Cassel made it to 2013, but i can only assume that he’s found a way to poke holes in the space-time continuum.

We can debate all day long over why the Eagles played so poorly, but it doesn’t really matter since we’re all just speculating. The one thing we do know for a fact is that a 3-win team beat the heck out of an 8-win team. That wasn’t a lucky win. The Vikings out-coached and out-played the Eagles. For 3 hours on Sunday, they were the better team.

The Eagles cut the lead to 27-22 late in the 3rd quarter. I had very high hopes at that moment. The Eagles forced the Vikings into 3rd/14. Things were all falling into place for a great comeback. That’s when Cassel hit Ford over the middle for a 37-yard gain. That play set up a TD and the Vikings dominated the rest of the game. Ugh.    

COACHING

Did Chip have the team ready to play? Did they play with heart? Were the Eagles focused? I hate topics like these because they are all open to wildly different interpretations. I didn’t see the Eagles looking lazy or emotionless on Sunday. I simply saw a team that did not execute well. Blame Kelly for that. I don’t think it has anything to do with preparation, but the Eagles sloppiness is on him.

The biggest criticism comes in regard to the KO scheme. I don’t know if Kelly or Dave Fipp came up with the idea, but Kelly at the very least approved it. I get the logic behind the plan. Cordarelle Patterson is the leading KOR in the league. He will return kicks from all the way in the back of the end zone. Either the ball goes through the back of the end zone or he’s bringing it out. So the Eagles decided to kick it short.

The plan actually worked early on. 2 of the first 3 possessions after KOs began at the 25. That was effective. Then MIN adjusted and the Eagles didn’t. Possessions began at the 34 and 46 yard lines.

Kelly went for it on 4th/1 from the PHI 24-yd line in the 3rd quarter. Was this dumb? I don’t think so. The Eagles trailed 24-9. The defense was struggling. Kelly felt confident the Eagles could get the 1st down. They didn’t even need a full yard. Shady might actually have gotten the 1st down, but the refs marked him short. Kelly challenged the spot, but there was no visual evidence so the call stood. I don’t blame him for the challenge. It was worth the chance, although unlikely to work.

OFFENSE

The Eagles offense wasn’t as crisp as usual. They couldn’t get into the end zone in the 1st half. There were sloppy throws and dropped passes. It seemed to me that the Eagles spread attack wasn’t working. When they did the 4 vertical type plays, guys weren’t getting open. Then the Eagles adjusted and ran some crossing routes and creative looks. Suddenly guys were open. There were a ton of RAC yards in this game.

The lack of a running game was a bad decision. I understand Kelly’s logic. The Vikings have a porous pass defense. The Eagles constantly trailed, and usually not just by a couple of points. Kelly wanted to get the game close and then run the ball. The Eagles never got close and Shady finished with just 8 carries. The other RBs didn’t get any carries.

While I get Kelly’s argument, I still think you get Shady a few more carries. Give him a chance to create a big play. MIN kept a lot of guys in the box to make it tough, but you need your best weapon to get touches and you need to quit having the QB drop back. Shady did get involved in the pass game and he finished with 106 total yards so it isn’t like he was totally shut down.

The stats from this game are very deceiving. The Eagles scored 30 points and gained 475 yards, but this wasn’t an overly impressive showing. The Eagles desperately needed a TD in the 1st half, to keep the game close. Didn’t happen. They did get a pair of TDs in the 3rd quarter, but only after falling behind 27-9. The offense then disappeared for a couple of key possessions in the 4th quarter.

Plays

* 4th/1. 12 personnel. Ertz and Cooper are bunched to the left. Celek is to the right. DJax is outside right. Fake to Shady up the middle. Hand the ball to Coop, headed to the right. He then hands it to DJax, coming all the way back to the left. Play results in an 18-yard TD. But it is wiped out by illegal block by Foles. He dove at the ankle of a pursuing defender. Legit call. Good rule. Horrible moment.

* 1st/10. Had Cooper and DeSean go deep on the left side. Cooper went inside to draw coverage there. DeSean was wide open down the left side. Foles held the ball too long and threw it deep, where a CB had dropped. The CB made the pick. DeSean didn’t fight for the ball, which upset some people. Cooper chased the CB down and tackled him. Chris Polk was part of a fake on the play and he sat in the left flat with no one within 15 yds of him. I have no idea why Foles didn’t throw to DeSean early or check down to Polk.

MISC

* Delay of game penalty late in the game. Came after DeSean’s long catch/run. Just odd to see the Eagles offense draw that penalty. Symbolic of the overall game.

* 7 of 14 on 3rd downs.

* Only 2 for 5 in the RZ

Players

QB 

FOLES - Up and down game. 30-48-428. 3 TDs, 1 INT. 103.5 rating. Numbers look great, but Nick made some critical mistakes in the game and that really hurt since this was a shootout. The offense couldn’t afford those mistakes since the Vikings didn’t make them. Failed to see some open guys. Had DeSean coming open for a long TD. Had Avant coming open on corner route late in the half. Missed Ertz for a potential TD.

The 2 huge mistakes came on the same drive in the 1st half. Nick had Cooper running down the left sideline. He was behind the CB. All Nick had to do was get the ball to him. Riley left plenty of room for the ball to be thrown. Unfortunately, Nick threw it too wide and Riley wasn’t able to get both feet down inbounds. If that pass is one yard more to the inside, TD. Instead, incompletion.

The Eagles pushed past that mistake and marched down the field. They ran the double reverse to DJax and he scored, but the TD was wiped out by an illegal block by Nick. The game should have been 10-10. Instead, it was 10-6 and that’s as close as the Eagles got for the rest of the game.

Nick took a couple of costly sacks. Those proved to be drive-killers. The problem is that on both plays, he had time to throw the ball away and leave the team with a makeable 3rd or 4th down situation.

There was an INT that killed a promising drive in the 3rd Qtr. Nick had DeSean open early. He had Polk open late. Instead, he forced the ball to DeSean late and it was picked off. Terrible decision. I don’t know why he held the ball so long.

There were plenty of good throws and decisions in the game. That’s how you throw for 428 yards and score 30 points. The problem is that the mistakes were huge and they came in a game when the Eagles didn’t have much margin for error.

-Misc Plays-

* Deep ball to Avant. Covered. OPI
* Ran right for 9 yds on zone read.
* Scrambled for 21 yards on 3rd/11. Ugly slide at the end.
* Scrambled for 6 yards right after that. Saw open space and took off.
* Showed his toughness on pass in the early 2nd Qtr. Stood tall in the pocket and took a big hit from a blitzing LB. Got the ball to DeSean for a 1st down.
* Great touch throw to DeSean from out of the backfield.
* Off target with deep ball for Cooper. Riley was halfway between the sideline and the numbers. Ball came down by the sideline.
* Good job on quick hitter to Smith. Faked hand-off, then fired accurate pass to Smith. He was able to get the 1st down.
* Scrambled for 5 yds on 2nd/6. Stretched for the 1st, but couldn’t quite get there.
* Kept the ball on 3rd/1 zone read play. Great job by Allen, though. Stuffed it.
* Got some pressure late in the half and managed to move around and then throw the ball away rather than taking the sack.
* Took an absolutely terrible sack to open the 2nd half. Had no one open. Had plenty of time to throw the ball away and come back with 3rd/4. Instead lost 12 yards on a sack.
* Next play he had Avant open on a corner route for a 1st down. Made a terrible throw. Punt.
* Made a creative throw to Avant on 3rd down in the late 3rd. Nick moved to his left and saw Avant coming free over the middle heading the other way. Nick opened up and threw on the move. Avant caught it and moved the chains.
* Made a terrific throw to DeSean along the right sideline for a gain of 15.
* Made a terrific throw to DeSean for a 30-yd TD in the late 3rd. Pump-faked to the right and then put the ball over DeSean’s shoulder where only he could get to it. Good touch, accuracy.
* Moved up in the pocket in the late 3rd. Kept his eyes focused downfield. Hit Ertz on a crossing route for 17 yds.
* Sold the screen to Celek well.
* Loved the TD to Ertz. Zach was covered. Nick put the ball where he had a chance to make a play, which Zach did.
* Made a poor decision on the 2-pt conversion. Coop was open, but failed to see/anticipate the wide corner playing the ball over the middle. Should have been picked off (although meaningless).
* Tried to hit Ertz down the left sideline, but the coverage was too tight.
* Poor awareness on 3rd down play in the early 4th. Drifted left and made it easier for Allen to sack him.
* Some confusion on a route with DeSean in the early 4th. Nick threw deep. DeSean cut the route off.
* Good throw on final TD of the game. Moved to his right and then threw an accurate spiral with some zip on it to Avant.

RB

SHADY - Quiet day on the ground. 8-38. Did catch 5 passes for 68 yards. Looked pretty good out in space.
Took a toss play and went left for 16 yards. Had good blocking on that. Took a screen pass for a gain of 24 down the right side. Excellent burst on that. Failed to read a delayed blitz by LB. Went to other side and the LB came free up the middle, then got a big hit on Foles. Had a chance to score a TD on a catch and run if he got one more block from DJax, but the DB got free and made the tackle. Gained 24 yds on the play. Did a great job on screen late in the half. Caught the pass and started upfield. Had 2 defenders to get by and used his burst to keep them from getting a good shot on him. Then worked down the sideline. Got everything he could and went out of bounds. Made a questionable decision on 3rd/1 run in the mid-3rd. Had a bit of space in front of him, but decided to go wide. Pursuit got there and kept him short. Wasn’t a sure thing that he’d have gotten the 1st by going straight, but looked like he had a good chance if he went low/dove. Had a 12-yd run in the late 3rd. There was confusion between him and Foles in the backfield, but Shady got the ball and took off. Play was supposed to go right, but Shady made a great read and quick cut to the left. Then got upfield for 12. Took a screen on the right side for 14 yds in the late 4th.

B BROWN - #3 RB on Sunday. Limited snaps. Did have a good blitz pickup of LB on DeSean’s long gain late in the game.

POLK - Meet your new #2 RB. Played more snaps than Brown. Got into the game on the 2nd series. Ran pass routes both times. Had a pass come to him on 2nd/11. Dropped it. Would have made 3rd down a lot easier. Can’t make those mistakes and keep the #2 spot. Ran a couple of downfield routes where he was a decoy.

TE

CELEK - Didn’t play as much since the Eagles were in pass mode. 1-25 as a receiver. Excellent block of Allen on toss play to the outside on the 2nd series. Sealed the edge so Shady could get outside. Excellent seal block of Griffen on 3rd Qtr run. Enabled Shady to get wide. Used a throw-back screen to Celek for a big play in the late 3rd. Foles went right, planted and threw back to Celek on the left. Brent then got upfield for 25 yards. Got good blocking and finished the run by knocking the heck out of Harrison Smith. Loved that play.

ERTZ - 6-57-1 on the day. Dropped pass on early 3rd/10. Wasn’t likely to get the 1st down anyway. Failed to get a good backside block on Allen, allowing him to crash inside and stuff Shady. Caught a short pass on pivot route in the early 2nd. Went inside, got hit by LB and then pivoted back to the outside. Caught pass for 9 yds over the middle in the mid-3rd. Good block of Allen on Shady run to that side in the late 3rd. Made a great TD catch in the late 3rd. Lined up in the slot and got outside the DB. Nick put the ball out front and Zach was able to extend for it with one arm. Brought the ball into his body and got a knee down in bounds. Great catch. Good downfield blocks on DeSean’s catch and run late in the game. Had a couple of grabs late in the game.

CASEY - Limited snaps.

WR

D JACKSON - Great game 10-195-1. Made a crucial 3rd down catch to extend early FG drive. Lined up in the backfield on final drive of the half and caught a short pass. Was then able to get out of bounds and kill the clock. Lined up in the backfield in the early 3rd Qtr. Got open and caught a short pass. Used his speed to run away from a S and get 16 yds. Made a really impressive catch along the right sideline in the late 3rd. Got 15 yds on that. Did get both feet down. Hauled in a 30-yd TD in the late 3rd. Lined up in the slot and got by his CB. Didn’t get great separation, but had enough that Nick could get the ball to him safely. DeSean showed good concentration as he tracked the ball over his shoulder, made the grab, and got his feet down. Highlight play came in the mid-4th Qtr. Lined up in the right slot. Came across the field on a drag route. Caught short pass and used his speed to get wide, then turn upfield. Put on the brakes and let a defender run by him. Then took off down the field. Got 51 yds, most after the catch.

* There was a sideline shouting match between DeSean and WRs coach Bob Bicknell. Seems that Bicknell didn’t think DeSean did enough to break up the pass thrown his way that was picked off. Also didn’t hustle in pursuit on the play. DeSean was emotional throughout the game. Got angry when Harrison Smith bumped into him in the end zone on the double-reverse TD that was wiped out. Jawed with Vikings after a couple of punt returns. The sideline spat wasn’t a huge deal, though. Drama for the TV cameras more than anything.

AVANT - Called for OPI on the 2nd series. Did grab a handful of jersey. Caught TD pass late in the game. Smooth hands grab. Finished with 3 grabs for 40 yds.

COOPER - Quieter day than I anticipated. 4-29. Had chance for long TD in the 1st Qtr, but Foles made a poor throw. Caught pass on crossing route late in the half. Got the ball again on the next play when he made a diving catch for 10 yds. Caught pass on crossing route in the early 3rd Qtr and got 13 yards. Showed good burst on the play as he was able to turn up the field for the 1st down. Hit DB and knocked him backward on the tackle attempt. Made a good grab for 2-point conversion late in the game.

D JOHNSON - Had a pass come his way in the 3rd Qtr. Got open upfield. Foles was looking the other direction. Finally got back to DJ’s side and threw the ball. Damaris had started to drift upfield the ball was a bit beyond him and he tripped while trying to make a play on the ball. Not sure he’d have made the grab or not.

SMITH - Caught pass in the early 2nd. Quick hitch. Caught the ball 5 yds upfield. Then made the CB miss and added 9 RAC yds. I’d like to see him get more touches.

OL

* Most of the game, the pass protection was quite good. Foles generally had plenty of time to throw the ball. 2 of his sacks were coverage sacks where he could have thrown the ball away. On the other two, Nick moved toward the guy who sacked him. Poor awareness.

PETERS - Up and down game. Gave up a sack to Allen on 3rd/4. Initially blocked him, but Nick had to hold the ball and that let Allen get by Peters. Good pass pro late in the half. Allen lined up wide and came inside. Peters blocked him, then saw DL looping out wide. Peters passed off Allen and got the other guy. Kept the pocket clean. Good downblock of DT on Shady run to the left side in the late 3rd. Got some movement and helped give him room. Allen “beat” him for a sack in the early 4th, but Foles had a hand in it. He drifted to that side and made it easier for Allen. Peters got driven back to Foles on another 4th Qtr pass play and that forced an errant throw.

MATHIS - Key block of DB on run play to open the 2nd series. Took him out of the play and gave Shady clear running room to the left. Did an excellent job of blocking Allen on a stunt late in the half. Excellent block of Griffen on 3rd Qtr pass. Griffen tried to use a spin move to beat Evan, but Mathis kept his balance and read the move. Easily stuffed him. Didn’t get a good block on the MLB on 4th/1 and that was part of the reason Shady got stuffed. Good job on the Celek screen. Got his hands on 2 DL at the LOS and pushed them with the flow of the fake. Then got out and blocked a DB downfield. Did a great job in pass pro.

KELCE - Excellent block of Greenway on toss play to the left side. That turned the run from a 4-yd gain to a long run. Good downfield block of LB on screen that Shady took for 24 yds. Great downfield block of Harrison Smith on screen late in the half. Wasn’t able to cleanly get under the NT on 4th/1 and that guy stuffed the play. Tough block to make. Tried to make a diving block on Celek’s screen, but only blocked the ground. Did a good job of that.

HERREMANS - Maybe his best game of the year. Kept Kevin Williams under control on his own for much of the game. Pass pro has been an issue for Todd this year. It wasn’t on Sunday. Was able to get a hand on the MLB and slow him just enough for Shady to get by the guy on screen pass late in the half. Pulled outside and had an excellent block of Greenway on 3rd Qtr run. Got a nudge block of Allen on Celek’s screen to keep Jared from chasing the ball on that play. Got outside on a screen pass and floored a DB in the late 4th.

JOHNSON - Pretty good game. Showing his growth as a pass blocker. Will fire out at DEs on some plays. Will go back on others. Had sloppy block of Griffen in the early 3rd. Fired at him, but wasn’t able to get his hands cleanly on him. That led to a hit on Foles. Got beat by Robison for a sack late in the game. Robison used a hard inside move. Foles moved up in the pocket and made it easy for Robison to get to him. Johnson never gave up on the block, but Robison’s angle and Foles path just lined up. Robison got pressure on some other plays when Johnson didn’t get hands cleanly on him, but Johnson generally kept him under control.

BARBRE - DNP

TOBIN - DNP

VANDERVELDE - DNP

KELLY - DNP

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DEFENSE

Bad day. Gave up 455 yards and 48 points. Ugh.

Oddly, I felt better after watching the tape. It really was sloppy mistakes that hurt the team. Some of them can be fixed by the coaches. Others were just poor execution by the players. How often do you see Trent Cole whiff on a guy in the backfield? The Vikings ran 73 plays, including 35 runs. DeMeco Ryans had 4 solo tackles. How is that possible? And so on.

Missed tackles were the huge problem. The Vikings might have gotten 150 extra yards due to missed tackles. That’s insane. And it wasn’t just one player. Cole, Cary Williams, Mychal Kendricks, Nate Allen, Colt Anderson, Kurt Coleman, Brandon Boykin and Bradley Fletcher all had at least one critical missed tackle. I might be forgetting others. The mind can only remember so much before it shuts down due to a sadness overload.

The Eagles aren’t going to suddenly turn into the 2002 Bucs, a group that tackled as well as any team ever. But I think Sunday was a bit of an anomaly. That was the defense at its worst in terms of tackling.

Situational defense was horrible. MIN was 8 for 13 on 3rd downs. They were 5 for 6 in the Red Zone. The Eagles couldn’t get them off the field or hold them to just FGs.

The biggest concern for me is the RZ defense. That was awful. Asiata ran for 3 TDs. A couple of them were easy. Cassel ran for an easy TD. That’s just unacceptable. A lot of this was scheme / alignment. The Vikings found some holes and exploited them.

PLAYS

* 2nd/GL. Cassel ran QB draw for easy TD. Ryans went to cover Asiata at the snap, leaving the middle open. No DL was in the A-gap and Cassel ran 6 yds untouched for a TD.

* 3rd/14. Eagles went to man coverage. Kendricks had TE Chase Ford over the middle. MK got pushed by Ford (legally) and that let Ford get free to the inside. MK has got to be stronger / more physical with those plays. He did recover well and was in position to knock the ball away. MK got greedy and went for the pick. He didn’t get it. MK didn’t have a chance to make the tackle. Colt Anderson came in and dove, missing. Ford got all the way down to the 5-yd line. He got 26 RAC yds on the play. Ugh. Backbreaker.

PLAYERS

DL

COX - Did a good job vs the run, but didn’t offer enough as a pass rusher. Drove the LT backward into RB on 3rd/1, but no one was able to make the tackle. Drove the LG into the backfield to disrupt a run, but couldn’t get to the RB. Blew up a 2nd Qtr run by driving the LG into the backfield. Got off the block and made the tackle. Played a 3rd Qtr run perfectly. Engaged the LT, waited for the RB, shed the block and made the stop. Was in on 8 tackles.

LOGAN - Bill Davis though this was Logan’s best game. He did play well. Looped to the outside on 2nd Qtr pass play and got a big hit on Cassel. Put him down hard, but after the ball was out. Did a great job on the next snap, a run play. Engaged the C, shed him and got the RB. Got by the LG and pressured Cassel on 2nd Qtr pass play. Got light hit on Cassel in the late 2nd. Got by OL and got his hands on RB on 1st/GL run, but wasn’t able to get control of him. Asiata backed into the end zone for the TD. Impressive effort by both guys. Played 3rd Qtr shovel pass well. Got off the block of the LG and got hold of the RB. Held the play to 2 yds. Got sealed inside on 1st/GL run in the early 4th and Asiata had a big running lane up the middle.

THORNTON - Another good game vs the run. Too quiet as a pass rusher. Lined up over C and drove him backward to stuff run play on opening series. Disrupted run in the late 1st by pushing the RT into the backfield. Had a spectacular TFL in the mid-3rd. Pushed back the C and blew up the pulling OG, then grabbed the RB and slammed him to the ground. Loss of 4 yds. In on 3 tackles.

CURRY - Beat the C and got held on 2nd Qtr pass play where Cassel had to scramble. No call and Cassel ran for the 1st down. Blew up a 3rd/long draw play by splitting the RG and C. No gain on the play. I was hoping for more impact since the Vikings threw so much.

GEATHERS - Quiet game.

SQUARE - Quiet game.

OLB

COLE - Offered little impact as a pass rusher. Did have 7 tackles and 3 TFLs so clearly it wasn’t a bad showing. Just didn’t bring pressure on a consistent basis. Unblocked off the edge on the opening drive and got a good hit on Cassel. Went hard to the inside and got a TFL on early run play. Worked to the inside and tackled Asiata on a run up the middle. Had a chance to get a huge TFL on Patterson late in the half. Just whiffed on him and then Patterson ran for 12 yds. Almost a 20 yard swing. Got a TFL in the early 3rd when he shed the LT (good hands to fight off block) and got to the RB in the backfield. Got a TFL late in the game when he was unblocked.

BARWIN - Had 4 solo tackles and was credited with a sack. Looped to the inside on early 3rd down and forced Cassel to scramble. Short of the sticks. Got some pressure off the edge in the late 2nd and forced Cassel to scramble for a couple of yds up the middle. TE tried to block him late in the half on a run play. Barwin shoved the guy down and stuffed the RB. Let Asiata get the edge on a 4th Qtr run. Proved costly when a penalty was added onto the play. Seemed to have a solid day in coverage.

GRAHAM - Tackled Asiata on a cutback run. Another guy I expected more from. Played 20 snaps. Got little to no pressure.

ILB

KENDRICKS - So frustrating. Had 8 tackles, a sack, an INT and 2 TFLs. Looked great at times. But also missed a couple of key tackles and was beaten by a #3 TE for a big catch/run on a crucial 3rd down. Can be maddening. Slipped the block of the RG and stuffed an inside run early in the game. Moved through traffic and got to RB on run play in the late 1st. Minimal gain on that. Overran run play in the late 1st and Asiata was able to cutback for a short gain. Missed a tackle of Asiata in the early 2nd on quick pass out wide. Hustled outside, but let him cutback to the middle and get the 1st. MK has to do a better job than that. Just missed TFL in the early 3rd. Got to RB’s feet, but couldn’t wrap up. Got a solid hit on Cassel on 3rd Qtr pass play. Forced Cassel to be off-target with the throw. Picked off a pass in the late 3rd. Terrible read and throw by Cassel. MK almost dropped it, but managed to hold on for the pick. Opened the 4th Qtr with a sack of Cassel. Used a hard inside move to get by the RB and right on top of the QB. Got a TFL in the early 3rd when he worked his way outside and took out the RB. Got a TFL late in the game. Fired into the backfield and tripped up the RB.

RYANS - Way too quiet. Only 4 solo tackles on the day. Wasn’t around the ball nearly enough. Huge hit on WR on crossing route in the late 1st. Clean, but brutal. Ryans put his shoulder right in him. Player took a while to get up, but did walk off. Got a sack in the mid-3rd. Both he and MK blitzed. The RB took Kendricks, allowing Ryans to come free and make the play. Amazingly, Cassel still almost got away.

MATTHEWS - DNP

KNOTT - DNP

GOODE - DNP

S

ALLEN - Up and down game. Missed a couple of tackles. Had a couple of pass plays where he didn’t seem to be in great position. Tackled receiver after catch on the opening play. Quick tackle. Came off the edge to help stuff an inside run later on the drive. Blitzed off the edge early on, but got tripped up by the RB before he could get to Cassel. Had a hand in the long TD to Jennings. Looked like Nate got too far right and then took a poor pursuit angle. Wasn’t able to get to Jennings to prevent the TD. Less than ideal job in zone on the 3rd series. Did fine initially, but lost track of Jennings where Nate was supposed to be the underneath guy. Greg got 22 yds on the play. Came up and tackled Asiata on run inside the 10. Missed tackle of Patterson on 3rd down run play late in the half. Let Patterson get the 1st down. Missed tackle of Jennings on big play in the early 4th. That allowed the final 10 RAC yds. Was in on 4 tackles for the day.

CHUNG - Not so good. Jumped a route early in the game and left the TE wide open for a solid gain. Hustled back to make the tackle. Gave up a long TD to Jennings in the 1st Qtr. Played off and made the mistake of looking at Cassel for just a moment. Let Jennings run by him and never caught up. Blitzed off the edge in the early 4th Qtr and helped cause an incompletion. Called for unnecessary roughness in the mid-4th. Questionable call. Made contact with the guy inbounds. Put him on the ground after that, but both players were out of control so it wasn’t like a premeditated action where Chung clearly went too far. Credited with 5 solo stops. One of the few Eagles who seemed to tackle well.

WOLFF - DNP

COLEMAN - Made solid tackle of Asiata on run in the late 1st. Looked like Kurt was the player to blame when Asiata lined up out wide and no one covered him. Kurt was headed out wide, but didn’t get there in time. Asiata got 9 yds on 3rd/7. Took a poor angle on pass to the flat late in the half and let the guy get extra RAC yds.

ANDERSON - Rough showing. Missed key tackle of Ford that turned intermediate game into a big play. Missed tackle of Patterson on quick screen that gave up extra yds.

CB

FLETCHER - Good coverage on downfield pass in the mid-2nd. Ball was thrown away. Called for PI on 3rd/GL play late in the half. Questionable call. Wright beat him for a gain of 42 down the right sideline in the early 3rd. Fletcher had tight coverage and just missed the ball by inches. Great throw and catch by MIN. MIN ran quick screen to his side and Fletcher failed to stop Jennings from getting a 1st down. Did force him out of bounds just past the sticks. Slow to read/break on comeback pass in the late 3rd. Gave up 16 yds. Gave up catch and run of 11 yds on 3rd/10 late in the game. Eagles were desperate for a stop. Just slow to get to the ball. Called for PI late in the game. Good call. Set up 1st/GL. Finished with 6 solo stops.

WILLIAMS - Made solid tackle of Jennings after 7-yd catch on the opening drive. Missed tackle of Jennings and gave up 15 extra RAC yds on the 2nd series. Broke up a TD pass to open the 2nd Qtr. Made a good read, broke on the ball and then got a hand on it. Cary’s best play of the game. Had good coverage of a WR on another pass into the end zone. Pass was off target. Bit on pump-fake/double move in the early 4th and gave up 31 yds to Jennings. Drew a roughness penalty in the 4th Qtr after he and a WR were going at it during/after a play. Gave up a TD to Patterson on the next snap. Got pulled after that since Davis thought he was too emotional. Not a banner day.

BOYKIN - Sloppy game. Almost overran Patterson on early pass play. Did manage to get him down by the feet. Jumped a quick screen to Patterson and forced Cassel to throw the ball away. Made a dreadful tackle attempt on Patterson on run play late in the half. Patterson made a hard cut to the inside and Boykin never even got his arms up. Grazed him with his shoulder. Very odd looking. Missed tackle of Jennings on 3rd/9 in the early 3rd and almost gave up the 1st down. Got lucky that Jennings slipped. Left the game with a concussion.

CARMICHAEL - Made good tackle of WR on crossing route in the mid-3rd.

=============================================================

ST’s

JONES - Didn’t have a strong game. Only averaged 41.3 per punt. Only had 1 inside the 20. Had a 38-yard punt in the 3rd Qtr, which was worse since he kicked from the 14-yd line. MIN got the ball at midfield.

HENERY - 2 for 2 on FGs. Hit from 35 and 51. Had some awful squib kicks.

KOR – The Vikings don’t cover KOs well. Boykin returned one for 36 yds, Smith had one go 47 yds. Unfortunately, most were touchbacks.

PR – DeSean returned one punt…for 1 yd. Actually had a decent return wiped out because Kelly decided to make the Vikings re-kick and they covered that one better. Logical decision by Kelly, but bad results. That kind of day.

- MISC -

* Boykin had excellent coverage on the first punt. Forced fair catch at the 9 yd line.

* Brad Smith and James Casey each had a couple of STs tackles.

GAMEBOOK

_


  • Aran

    If the Vikings were able to put up the numbers they did largely due to the confusing looks they gave us (primarily from their receivers), what the hell are we in for from Forte, Bennett, Bennett, Marshall, and Jeffery?

    • anon

      Yeah i remember that too — but Kelly was confident he could consistently kick touchbacks.

      • Stephen Stempo

        Henery has been a bit disappointing this year. Not God awful but league average i’d say and definitely upgradable.

    • BlindChow

      Sounds like missed tackles were the problem. I heard the Vikings greased down their players before kickoff, the slimy bastards.

      • Aran

        I can’t remember which local pundit said it (saw it in Twitter feed a couple days ago I think), but he cited the Vikings giving our secondary different looks than expected :P

        • BlindChow

          I think they ran way more pass plays than we anticipated because Peterson was out. The Eagles were supposedly caught off guard by a gameplan they hadn’t seen before.

          The good thing about the Bears is they probably won’t change things up too much before playing us, so hopefully there’ll be less confusion.

          • RobNE

            we were caught off guard when the Vikings, missing Peterson and even his backup, passed more than expected? shame on us if that is true. I think more probable is we had a bad game, got down and Chip wouldn’t run in the comeback even with a lot of time left and/or the Vikings stacked the box and “forced” Chip to pass too much. Either way, we passed too much. Chip I think maybe over thought this one.

          • BlindChow

            Hey, but we stopped the hell out of Matt Asiata.

          • shah8

            That is a key element of package plays. If you’re not good at *all* of the plays in that package, defenses will slope the plays to their advantage, and you *lose* flexibility rather than gain it.

          • RobNE

            true but I don’t know if most of the plays were package or not. I agree that if so, Kelly needs to call runs without the pass option part of the package. Either way this was Kelly’s fault.

          • fran35

            You are right here. We all know our secondary will be getting arse pounded by Alshon and Brandon all day. They may actually sprinkle in some nice screen passes to Forte that kill our blitz attempts. No surprises coming.

        • TommyLawlor

          Bill Davis said that at his PC.

    • Ark87

      Frankly we were terrible, but we really had no film on what we got from the Vikings, No film on Cassel playing like that. This D doesn’t have the Talent to ad lib. We should put up a better showing this Sunday, even against a much better offense (mind you that is a ridiculously low bar at 48 points, but the preparation should match the game a bit better).

  • bill

    I trust Tommy’s in-depth review, but man – it certainly didn’t look like the O-line had a good game when I watched it. Seemed like the middle of the line kept getting pushed back (even though they stayed in front of their man), while the tackles struggled. From my view, Nick didn’t have a clean pocket for a lot of throws, even if there weren’t free guys hitting him. The sack by Allen that Tommy blames on Foles seemed to me that the whole line was struggling and getting pushed back as a unit; Foles couldn’t step up, so he tried to slide past Peters, who was getting pushed deep and then got beat. Maybe not a perfect read by Foles, but not anywhere close to an easy decision of where to go to buy some time on the play. Also, SK showed a play on all-22 where a free blitzer came up the middle and Foles made a play while getting decked. I seem to remember a few of those as well. Tough for me to swallow that that was a “good” game for the oline . “Adequate” or “not bad” seemed more appropriate.

    • D-von

      Kelly didn’t do the line any favors by calling so few running plays too.

      • anon

        I agree with that i think run blocking does help the line a lot — especially when you’re going against dominant pas rushers like allen all game. I think he gets nervous when he’s behind and presses to much with the passing game, i think that was an issue earlier in the season (chiefs, chargers, etc.)

    • shah8

      I think Tommy might have it slightly wrong with Herremans, in the sense that you don’t *expect* a strong pass rush from Kevin Williams most of the time. Dude’s there to stop the rush, so you should be asking whether Herremans was moving Williams out of his spot or otherwise contributing to the run game.

    • TommyLawlor

      When watching the game live, I felt the pressure by MIN was good. I felt differently when checking the tape.

      Go see what Sheil and other All-22 guys said. They may disagree with me.

      • bill

        You’re probably right. Just noting that in real time, it really felt different. No oline is perfect (or at least, that only happens rarely), so picking out one or two plays where rushers got to the QB is not a valid objection to the statement in question. I’m just left wondering whether my real time observation of collapsing pockets was accurate or not, but I’ll put more faith in your detailed review than my real-time observations.

  • D-von

    I can’t blame nick for that deep incomplete pass to cooper down the sideline. Granted a better throw would have netted a TD but cooper still could have caught it inbounds before falling out of bounds. If memory serves me correctly, cooper had a half a foot on the line. A better tight rope act would have made for a great play.

    • Nah__Roots

      lol

    • shah8

      I believe the CB was shoving him out of bounds, but I don’t remember for sure.

      • Stephen Stempo

        his foot could have landed in bounds he just would have face planted. Not blaming cooper he’s focused on the ball and probably lost his relation to the sideline.

  • sprawl

    Anyone else see a lot of holding by the Vikings OL throughout the game or am I just being a homer?

    I’m working up the fortitude to re-watch the game but my impression was that they were getting away with a lot in the middle of the field that slowed our pass rush down.

    • TommyLawlor

      Some, but not enough to complain about it as a key problem.

  • ICDogg
  • shah8

    A broad comment about the offense: We seem way too dependent on big plays. We haven’t typically been running very many plays to get our TDs and even our drive failures tend to have very few plays run, with no or one refresh of downs. It seems like if we can’t hit a big play, and then go for end zone plays, we can’t systematically drive when we need to.

    • Andy124

      This I can agree with. Sounds an awful lot like years past. But where with Reid it was a matter of trying to force the big play even though every D was selling out to stop it, I think this year it’s more a matter of that’s what the D is giving us, for fear of Shady.

      • BlindChow

        The Vikings gameplan seemed like the final evolution of Chip Kelly into Andy Reid: no runs, all slow-developing pass plays.

        I’m really fearful of Kelly not running the ball against Chicaco if they stick 7 or 8 guys in the box. Especially after everyone saying we should be able to pick up a lot of yards on the ground against them. The last couple years we tend to disappoint when there’s something we “should” be able to do…

        • Andy124

          The positive twist: Arizona had an apparent weakness against TEs. We focused on the the TEs that game.

          Minn. had an apparent weakness against the pass. We REALLY went after that.

          Chicago’s apparent weakness is the running game. Hopefully we continue to do the obvious, but with more balance.

          • anon

            I think that’s really what’s going on.

        • anon

          nah lots of the plays were good RAC plays, there’s a reason why CK didn’t run the ball, i think that was a game plan specific to the circumstances.

    • BlindChow

      The interesting thing is when Foles was in the game in the preseason, it seems like most of his drives consisted of shorter, time-consuming drives. One of the knocks on him was how few big plays we had with him in the game. It would be nice to mix some of those drives back into the gameplan.

    • TommyLawlor

      Kelly loves explosive plays. They were key to the offense at Oregon as well.

      I have mixed feelings on relying on them, but Kelly has the success to back his opinion up.

      • shah8

        Right up until he runs into units like Stanford’s D.

      • Ark87

        I think part of it is that is what defenses are “giving” us. I think D’s are figuring they can contest McCoy and the short stuff with one stone by loading up in the proximity of the LoS. Chip takes what he sees, but I do think the Defenses generally have the right idea.

      • Mac

        Chip seems to be close to the Brian Billick “toxic differential” thing. Big plays (stop big plays), get turnovers (don’t turnover). If you can actually get your team to perform these things on the field, you’re going to win football games.

    • fran35

      I agree with you on this one. And going three and out in 45 seconds really puts a strain on an inferior defense.

    • RobNE

      yes the big problem with this team is that they are on pace to have the highest number of explosive plays in history. The RB and WR are on pace to set franchise records. There are so many explosive plays that it seems we can’t score slowly. Terrible, horrible, no good, very bad problem to have.

    • Neil

      Thing is he isn’t calling high variance downfield passes constantly like Reid did. His philosophy is to execute simple, reliable plays like runs so well that they turn into big gains. If the defense overcommits to the safe plays, that’s when he goes deep.

      If the offense stalls, it has less to do with relying on big plays and more to do with just not executing.

  • fran35

    Is anyone else starting to look at Mychal Kendricks as a disappointment? I mean, how many years are we going to say “he flashes brilliance and possesses the athletic ability to be special”. At some point, it’s been two years and we need to realize that he is an extremely undersized linebacker who has not performed up to his promise or justified his high draft position. The flashes of brilliance aren’t becoming more frequent-he has not improved significantly.

    • Ark87

      2nd year 2nd round pick. I’ll give him until the end of his 3rd season or until someone can take his job. I’m not overly concerned. we have other much bigger concerns/needs for now, we can afford to be patient.

      I’m not overly concerned about his rate of progress, you never know when things will just click for him. What I like about his problems is he’s often looking to “kill it”, and is playing out of control. That is so much better than being timid and trying to go the other way (see Nate’s struggles). As a spectator I’m content to wait and see.

      • fran35

        “What I like about his problems is he’s often looking to “kill it”, and is playing out of control”
        Dare we compare his problems to the “Shark in the water”? A little better in the instinct department than Ernie Sims, but not as big.

        • Ark87

          MK handles blockers a bit better than Land Shark, better instincts and smarter. If MK doesn’t grow, his career could take a similar path, though. tons of physical talent, just needs to put it together.

    • Sean Stott

      MK’s issue is missed tackles, and that’s because, as you said, he’s undersized. You’d expect him to be making more impact plays, being in a 2gap system where he should be able to come in unblocked more often. His interviews always make me think that he thinks he’s better than he really is. Needs to be more humble. That attempted pick that he missed was a prime example.

    • anon

      My biggest issue with Vick is also i thin a trap for Foles and a product of the CK offense. I think we fall in love with the big play, especially when we are behind. Vick would overlook the checkdown for the big play and I thought it was Foles’ biggest improvement over Vick, but i think Foles is becoming guilty of it too.

      That said, i think CK’s system is predicated on using fundamental football to create big plays. What i love about CK is that on every play everyone has a role. Once a player gets the ball everyone else is blocking downfield, creating that culture is how we break big plays mostly through RAC.

  • SteveH

    Tommy, thoughts on the Eagles using Boykin on that KR? I was really pissed during the game, seems foolish to risk our best corner when we have brad smith, who might be a better returner anyhow.

  • Mike Roman

    See, I did think there was a lack of intensity. It was almost as though they couldn’t get up for the game. All men have that problem from time to time (badabump bump). Seriously though, the dome sounded quiet and the atmosphere was lacking to say the least. I expect the team to come out pumped this week and take care of business.

  • Andy124

    When Davis was hired there was a lot of consternation. Tommy did a good job of highlighting some games where he did a really good job game planning to hold some offenses in check. That he was capable of calling a good game. He pointed out that there were some stinkers too, so we couldn’t really expect to out-scheme the other team all day every day. (Going off memory here, so forgive me if I’m off a little bit).

    We know the defense was bad. I’m wondering how much of it is Billy just having a bad day at the office as well.

    • D-von

      Davis is part to blame for the defensive struggles that happened against the vikings, but there were a few back-breaking plays i can think of that happened because of poor execution. 1) The deep TD pass to jennings (first TD) of the game that happened because of the poor play chung. 2) The 3-14 converion by Ford because of Kendrick’s and Anderson’s bad execution. These two plays changed the dynamic of the game for the defense

      • Andy124

        Yeah, didn’t mean to imply in any way, shape or form that the players played well. Just trying to find a little optimism, looking for another “just a bad day” type contributing factor.

  • Tom W

    I really don’t get the lazy argument that kelly’s playcalling last week is somehow an indication he is over relying on the big play or going all pass no run like Reid always did.

    Did we forget the first 13 weeks of the season … we have the best rushing offense and running back.

    On big plays, the great majority of our big plays are long runs by shady or vick OR intermediate to short passes in space or screens that the player had a ton of yards after catch. yes there is a couple djax and cooper deep balls but really not alot. Its more like Oregon’s offense — short quick plays in space and big RAC. Fat Andy now that is a different story — he sent djaz and maclin on deep routes every play …. I don’t see Chip doing that at all.

    And on the lack of running plays — why am I the only one who keeps pointing out that Foles kept the damn ball numerous times and ran it or kept it and passed it or took a sack. Other weeks, where there isn’t 8 man fronts, foles handed those off to Shady. So right there that is like 7-12 touches shady could have had but Foles made the other read. THAT ISN”T on Kelly if he keeps it … hell I dont want him handing it off into 8 man fronts … sorry that is not the way you win a game. And that is where CHip is the opposite of Reid … Reid threw into nickel and dime all game ..and refused to run … chip takes what the defense is doing and calls plays to take advantage of that ….. and teaches his qb to make the same reads … 8 man fronts against a horrible pass defense … you best be throwing and loosen them up …. and I think his gameplan was stout … but Folesy left about 200 yds on the field and atleast 2 tds. But to say Chip is turning into Reid really offfends me and I completely disagree with it more. Shady already had more rushes as of last week than he ever did w Reid. Running is the core of our offense. They aren’t similar at all … reid thought he could outsmart and call the perfect play …. chip adapts and gives his players choices on play to do what the defense isn’t covering. Vikes just happened to really overplay the inside run and we were down 2-3 scores in second half.

    • Andy124

      Actually, pretty sure the Eagles throw deep far more than any other team. As in, according to the blow link, Vick and Foles are 1 and 2 in percentage of deep passes.

      http://wp.advancednflstats.com/playerstats.php?pos=QB

      • Tom W

        Misses the point. Doesn’t change my argument. And if you look at Shah’s and your statements — you both mentioned BIG PLAYS and NOT deep balls. Kelly’s offense and playcalling and philosophy is in stark contract to Fat Andy.

        First there is a big difference between a deep ball (complete or incomplete) and a big play… runs, screens, crossing routes, hitch routes that get broken still are all considered big plays and we have a shit ton of them. We are on pace to have as many big plays as the greatest show on turf and 2007 pats … top 5 offenses of all time .. what the hell are we crying about??

        Kelly is taking what the defense is giving us like both of us agree on —-nothing like FAT ANDY. 8-man fronts — he is gonna take his shots. double desean .. screen, tes, and run it or riley deep. and if they are connecting on deep balls — ever …. in man coverage … whats the big freaking deal …we are also leading the league in rushing and have the top rback ….

        One game doesn’t make a season or make Kelly anything whatsover like Andy Reid. Its a lazy and moronic observation for anyone. Reid didn’t run the ball — eagles were notorious low at handing the rb the ball every year … Kelly does. Reid threw it more than anyone — that isn’t Kelly. Andy threw in nickel and dime — Kelly damn sure doesnt do that. If teams are going to sellout on the run — damn sure we gonna throw — thats how we racked up our winning streak for the most part minus the lions games. Reid was pass first all the time every game … Kelly is certainly not and bases alot of his gameplan and play calling on what the defense is doing — hence the read option plays, play action, read option pass plays, etc. giving his player options

        • Andy124

          Then let me rephrase. I worry that we’re throwing the deep ball a bit too often.

          If you read my posts, you see I specifically differentiate what we’re seeing from what we saw with Reid.

          You seem to be very adamant that Kelly not be equated with Reid, but no one is trying to make that case that I’ve noticed. The closest may be Chow expressing a concern that is only natural for an Eagles fan, but I don’t see him trying to make a strong case for it.

  • Joe Minx

    This DGR may set a record for highest number of “ughs” from you Tommy. It was warranted though.

    BTW, any chance we could get you to say “oof” or “ack” or some such other thing just to vary it up a bit in the future?

    • Rambler

      I personally am more partial to “fuh” and “d’oh”.

      • SteveH

        Pffft is a classic in my mind.

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