The Eagles lost 27-20 in very Eagle fashion, having driven to the 5-yard line, only to see the drive stall and the game end on an offensive penalty. That’s not as sexy as the Jets losing on MNF on a bad shotgun snap that was kicked to the defense, but it is a solid effort to keep the fans highly entertained and frustrated all at once.
I come away from this game with mixed feelings. Nick Foles was solid, but still made enough bad plays that I can’t be completely comfortable. He was 32-48-345 with a TD, INT, and fumble. He did have to deal with regular pressure and that was a factor. He struggled on 3rd downs and in the Red Zone. All of that said, if Evan Moore just catches the ball on 1st/GL…the game is tied at 27.
Nick is tough, both mentally and physically. He is resilient. That’s not enough at QB, but it is worth a lot. Blaine Gabbert is an athletic QB with terrific physical skills, but he is the opposite of Nick with the intangibles. All the ability in the world does you no good if you can’t sit in the pocket, take a beating, and then get right back into the same spot on the next play without it overwhelming you.
After the game Nick wasn’t offering up excuses and shouldered the blame for the mistakes he made. Love to hear that. He understands what playing QB means and isn’t afraid to put the target on himself. I don’t know if Nick will pan out, but he does and says a lot of the right things. If he can just improve on the field, we might have something.
Shady McCoy returned to action and was good. His rushing numbers weren’t great, but he was excellent as a receiver and also got 1st downs at some key moments. Before the game I wrote that I hoped the coaches would split the load between both backs. My goal was 10 carries for Shady and Bryce Brown. Oops.
Just as Lucy does to Charlie Brown, Marty fooled me with his talk during the week and moved the football at the last minute, which sent me flying into the air like a jackass. All 3 RBs only totaled 18 carries and it was 13-4-1 (Shady-Brice-Dion).
Well Marty, you’ve only got one more game to fool me and then you’re headed out of town. You might win the battle, but I’ll win the war.
The defense played a mixed game. At times, they looked terrific. Other times they were very accommodating to Skins runners and receivers, allowing plenty of room to the visiting players.
There is nothing compelling to say about the D or any one player. Here’s the best I can do:
* Brandon Boykin was credited with a sack on a bizarre play that really featured a backward pass. Cost the Skins 17 yards.
* Colt Anderson stopped the INT-less streak (since DET in Week 6) when he picked off a deflected pass. Colt had some good moments in the game, but also missed a couple of tackles and showed his limitations as a starter. He truly is meant for STs and being a backup.
* Fletcher Cox suffered a concussion and had to leave the game.
* Brandon Graham led the team with 6 solo tackles, but his highlight moment was knocking down a shovel pass. I was hoping for a sack, big hit, or FF.
The key to the game was turnovers. The Skins scored 10 points on takeaways (both led to short fields). The Skins only had one scoring drive all day that was longer than 50 yards. They were efficient on offense, but it helped that they had such good field position. 4 drives started at their own 40 or better. The Eagles had just one such start.
Maybe this was another good outcome in the long run. The Eagles played well enough to be in the game to the end, but lost and remained in the hunt for a Top 5 pick. I think right now they stay at #4.
I do believe the Eagles have improved since the first Skins meeting (Foles first NFL start). The team scored 20 or more points for the 4th time in 5 games. Prior to this stretch, the team had scored 20 or more just 3 times all year. The defense is making fewer errors. There were some guys open today, but the Eagles looked to be playing lots of zone (to keep RG3 from getting loose as a runner). The Eagles have 3 takeaways in the last 2 games. In the previous 8 games, the defense also had 3 takeaways.
I don’t leave this game happy by any stretch, but there were some positive signs and I’m not overly angry. It was disappointing to see the mistakes and crappy finish. I hated the Skins running the ball so well in the 2nd half. I do wonder what would have happened if Moore caught the slant. Does Andy go for 2? If so, does that work/fail? Does the game go to OT? A win would have been bittersweet so like I said earlier, maybe this was the best outcome for the long term.
15 down, 1 to go. 2013 can’t get here fast enough.