Detailed Game Review – PHI 31, STL 13

Posted: September 12th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Tags: | 49 Comments »

Oh Clarice, have I ever told you the story of …  The Silence of the Rams?

Nice win, but a sloppy game. The Eagles came out on top and healthy, but have plenty of issues to work on. All in all, that’s about what you want. It would be great if the team had been lights out and dominated, but that’s just not realistic with all the changes that were made and the limited offseason practice time.

The good news is that there’s no shortage of talent, even in weak spots. The Eagles are one of the best teams in the league on the field, not just on paper. Vick, Shady, and DeSean all had great moments on Sunday. The O-line was better than expected. The defense struggled at times, but was lethal at others. Only once all last year did the Eagles limit a team to one TD or less (JAX game). They’ve already matched that total. The DL came up with 5 sacks and pounded the crap out of Sam Bradford, until he left the game and old friend AJ Feeley came in for his beating.

I came away from the game feeling very encouraged. The problems we saw are largely fixable. I think the blitz pickup will improve as Vick/the skill players/the OL work together. There were some communication breakdowns on defense, but Juan Castillo and the players can work on those now that they have a full game tape to study. That makes a huge difference.

Penalties were an issue, but even then I had mixed feelings. It wasn’t a bunch of false starts and offside penalties. Trent was flagged for hitting the QB low. Asante was flagged for illegal contact. Nnamdi was flagged for PI. These calls were all about execution/aggressiveness rather than sloppy play. We need to cut down for sure. Penalties were a major problem all year in 2010 (2nd in the league). We’re not good enough to overcome them against good teams. We must show progress in this area.


The offensive plan was built around protection. Celek stayed in to block a lot. So did Shady. We attacked the Rams secondary with intermediate routes and had good success. This was actually somewhat of a vanilla attack. We didn’t mix in anything too crazy. We ran one Wildcat play and that was as tricky as it got. I think Andy and Marty were holding back for next week. They felt confident enough to beat the Rams with base plays.

We mixed in plenty of runs. All 3 tailbacks had a 1st quarter carry. When is the last time that happened? Overall, I was fine with what we did.

The defensive plan was basic, as it will be most weeks. We mixed in some blitzing. I only saw one zone blitz all game long. There wasn’t a bunch of stemming (pre-snap movement). We lined up and then attacked. Worked well.

The biggest issue from the coaching side of things was time management. We burned all 3 timeouts in the 1st half even before the final 2 minutes. There was confusion on several plays about who was supposed to be in and who was supposed to be where. That side of things was very sloppy. Most of the skill players are returning from last year so I’m not sure why we had the issues.

This was the first game for Vick to be making pre-snap adjustments to the blocking. It is possible that some of the time issues had to deal with him reading the defense and then calling out to the OL/blockers what was going to happen on certain plays. No matter what, this issue needs to improve quickly.

* I was happy to see us kick a FG with :09 left in the 1st half. We could have tried to run a play, but the chances of success vs something going wrong dictated that we just take the points and move on.

* I wasn’t keen on Reid leaving in the starters late in the game. We got the ball with 6:04 left at our 36. Why not put in Kafka and Dion Lewis? Heck, I’d settle for leaving Vick in, but just having him feed the ball to Ronnie Brown. Instead we left the starters in and had 3 called pass plays on the drive. 18 point lead = 3 possessions. Just run the ball and work the clock. Why expose Vick to extra hits? I don’t get that. The Rams were without their Bradford, Jackson, and Amendola. They weren’t exactly in comeback mode.

* Reid challenged one completion along the sideline where Brandon Gibson might have bobbled the ball. Couldn’t see clearly. Probably worth the risk at that point. Came late in the game when we had a good lead. I didn’t think there was enough evidence to overturn (nor did the refs).


* The offense scored 24 points. There was a RZ turnover that cost us 3 points. There was a dropped pass earlier on that drive that cost us a likely TD. Should have had 27 or 31 offensive points. Settling for 24 wasn’t too bad.

* Ran for 237 yards (#1 in NFL). I didn’t see that coming.

* Went 2-4 in RZ and 2 of 2 in Goal-to-Go situations.

* We were great on 3rd downs, converting 8 of 12.

* Gave up 3 sacks and had 1 turnover.

* Won the TOP battle.

* Had terrible field position. Best starting spot was our 37. 7 drives started at our 20 or inside of that.

* The timing on our stretch plays was bad. OL/RB/QB have to mesh.


* 3rd/1 – Opening drive. Shotgun set, 1 RB. Direct snap to Shady, who was on the left side. He took off around the right side. DeVan and Kelce pulled. Jason got nice cut block of LB. Celek sealed the DE and gave Shady an alley to run in. Shady made a good cut and got 6 yds on the play.

* 3rd/18 – Still opening drive. We used a bunch set on each side. Celek and Avant were supposed to chip rushers. Celek did. Avant did as well, but should have seen a blitzing DB on his side and picked that guy up. Instead, the rusher came free. Vick thought he had it blocked well and was sacked. He actually fought his way through the initial hit, but was taken down. OL was solid on the play. Assignment error.

* We ran a shotgun draw in the RZ. Shady lined up as slot and Vick handed the ball to Ronnie for short gain.

* 3rd/Goal – We lined up in shotgun. Slot right, Celek left. Ran a middle screen to Shady. OL did a great job of letting Rams get upfield, but also keeping control of them. Vick got ball to Shady quickly and all McCoy had to do was sprint 10 yds to the endzone. DeVan had great block. Put DT on the ground. Todd stayed on Long the whole play and did a very good job.

* 2nd/GL – 3WR, TE, RB set. Vick under C. Partial play fake caused Vick to turn his back. 4 DL rushed. Safeties came off both edges. Celek focused on a LB who was acting as if he’d blitz. Mikell went right by Celek and was untouched. He hit Vick, knocked the ball loose, and they recovered. Mikell didn’t show blitz prior to snap so I don’t fault Vick or Celek for not reading him on the play.

* 2nd/GL – Off I-left, with both WRs to right. Rams had Mikell cover DeSean and left other CB on the backside of the formation. Play-action pass w/ Djax running drag route. He got a step on Q and Vick was able to hit him for the score. Tough pass from Vick. Had to throw across his body with a defender in his face. Pass was accurate and had touch, but wasn’t a lob. Great throw.

* 2nd/2 from Rams 49. Ace formation, shotgun. The run action slanted to the right. Peters collapsed the DT. Celek made a real good block of the DE. The LBs followed the run action and over pursued, leaving the field wide open. Shady got the ball and just took off straight up the field. The FS was caught off guard and Shady ran by him for the TD.

VICK — Pretty good game. 14-32-187. 2 TDs. 10-98 running. Vick started real slow, but as he got comfortable in the pocket, he started to look like the guy we know. Amazing how protection can help a QB’s confidence. Threw some absolute strikes in the game. Best pass may have been a 3rd down throw to Celek late in the half. Accurate and lots of zip.

Sloppy throw on opening drive. Didn’t get his feet set and the ball was low to DeSean and incomplete. Forced the ball to DeSean on the big gainer on the 2nd drive, but I don’t necessarily see that as a bad thing. Gave his guy a chance to make a play. Forced the ball to Avant in the endzone in heavy traffic. That was dumb. Pass almost picked after it bounced off someone. Made questionable decision late in the half. STL blitzed, but we blocked it. Vick didn’t have much room to run. Should have just thrown the ball away. Instead he sprinted toward the LOS and dove for a yard or so. Those hits add up. Avoid them when you can. Vick was late on a throw on the final drive of the half. Avant was running a deep cross and wide open. Vick got the pass off, but Avant wasn’t able to get both feet in. If Mike gets that ball out 1/2 second earlier we get about 20 yds. Made poor decision on busted screen pass and threw ball to Shady, who was in the midst of multiple defenders.

As expected, Vick was a magician when he ran. So elusive, so explosive. Had one slide and it was ugly.

MCCOY — Terrific game. Didn’t have major success early on, going 11-27. Piled up 95 yards on final 4 carries to finish 15-122, with 1 TD. Caught 2 passes for 15 yds, including a TD. Made something out of nothing on opening drive when we tried stretch run to left. It was bottled up so Shady ran back to the right side. Turned that into a short gain. Caught screen late in the half. Had defender all over him and should have lost 5 yds on the play. Shook the guy off and then got upfield for gain of 8. Shady was as elusive as I’ve ever seen him. Showed good speed on the plays when he did get into space. His long TD run in the 4th Qtr was a thing of beauty. No hesitation. Just killed the FS.

Shady had a very good game in terms of pass protection. There were a couple of plays where there was confusion between him and other blockers, but that will get worked out. Shady took on blitzers when needed. He chipped sometimes. He helped out with pass rusher son some plays. He was tough and aggressive.

BROWN — Okay game. 4 carries, 7 yds. Had a sloppy block in pass pro on 2nd drive. Didn’t let his guy get to Vick, but the defender was able to hit Vick’s arm as he threw and the pass fell incomplete. Ronnie just needed to be more aggressive on the block. We tried a Wildcat play with Ronnie at QB. At least 3 Rams got big hits on him. Ronnie was hurtin’ for certain as he went to the sideline. Got a carry on a series in the early 4th. Ran in the I and went left for 8. Good blocking, power running by Ronnie.

D. LEWIS — Got 2 carries, one in the 1st Qtr and another in the 4th. Gained 10 yds. Didn’t look overwhelmed at all. Followed his blocks and fought for yards. Made a real nice catch late in the game, but unfortunately it was for -3 yds.

SCHMITT — Quiet game. Mostly ran from shotgun. Had a big hit on CB Ron Bartell on 4th Qtr run. Owen popped him hard and Bartell had to leave the game. Has some kind of neck injury. Schmitt did have 2 passes thrown his way. Both times Vick was under duress and unable to be the ball out accurately. They also weren’t gimme throws.

DJAX — Very good game. 6-102-1. Made a huge catch to jump start the offense. Came on the 2nd drive. Vick underthrew deep ball. DeSean was between 2 DBs, but somehow got his hands cleanly on the ball and held on despite the contact. That got us 41 yds. Huge drop in the mid-2nd Qtr. Djax came free down the left sideline. 2 DBs were trailing him. Vick had time and made a pretty good throw. DeSean extended for the ball, but couldn’t make the grab. Wasn’t a gimme, but he should have caught it. Ball was overthrown by less than a foot. Caught a pass on crossing route in the 3rd Qtr and turned that into a gain of 26. I was very happy to see him catch a Red Zone TD pass. That’s the one big hole in DeSean’s game. Almost had another TD before the half. Vick threw the ball where only DJax could get it and DeSean made a valiant effort. Very encouraging game.

MACLIN — Returned to the lineup and to his hometown. Sorta quiet day. Only caught 1 pass. That came on a crossing route in the mid-2nd. Got us 20 yards on 3rd down and moved the chains. Had a pass come his way in the RZ, but he CB was all over him and Mac couldn’t make a good play on it. Did draw the flag.

COOPER — No passes went his way. I can’t confirm he was on the field as a WR.

AVANT — Good game. Really worked the middle of the field. Caught 3 passes for 40 yards. Just missed on a couple of other plays. Made tough grab on 3rd/1. Started in the backfield and then motioned out wide. Vick hit him with a quick throw and 2 Rams hit him less than 1/2 a second later. Refs gave us a solid spot.

SMITH — Didn’t play much. Looked okay on the one play where I know he was on the field.

CELEK — Tough game. Asked to block a lot. Had 3 passes come his way. Only caught 1. Caught a pass for gain of 14 on 3rd/10 play. That came late in the half and set up a FG. Had terrific down block on Shady run in early 4th. DE started inside and Brent drove him in. Helped to bottle up LB as well and gave Shady big cutback lane. Celek had a good game in terms of pass protection. Seems like his blocking has improved.

HARBOR — Limited playing time. Had a good block on TE trap we like to run. Went from right to left and walled off defender and let Lewis get upfield for a gain of 6. No passes came his way.

* There were a couple of plays in the early 2nd Qtr when the Rams had blitzers coming free. They were well designed. Hard to say where the breakdown was without knowing the specifics of each play. They were attacking our left side, as if to force Vick to his right.

* On the next drive the Rams brought 7 and we picked it up. That left the field wide open and Vick ran for 19. He had a clean pocket, but saw all that open real estate and took off.

* Slot CB blitzed in early 4th and got a sack. There was confusion between Todd and Shady. Todd was blocking DL initially. He saw the blitz coming and went to get blitzer. Rams sent 2 guys from same side. Shady didn’t see Todd so he took on the inside guy. As Shady engaged the defender, Todd joined in. We had 2 guys blocking same blitzer. Other DB was free and got the sack. That’s the kind of communication breakdown that can be fixed in the classroom, but the players have to get on the same page.

PETERS — Good game. DE James Hall was largely a non-factor. Peters had a terrible play on opening drive. Let DE jump to the inside and get upfield. He then tackled Shady for a loss. Jason was called for holding on the play as well. Too bad. Mathis and Kelce had good blocks. Play had a chance for nice gain. Got beaten by inside move late in the 1st half, but Vick got the ball out cleanly. Had real good run block to open 3rd Qtr. Moved Hall off the ball and gave Shady plenty of space. Peters generally moved Hall off the ball in the run game. Jason had a good day in pass pro and on run blocks.

MATHIS — LG. Solid game. Had good block on cutback run by Lewis. Helped give him running lane. Didn’t have good block on run play to his side and that caused Shady to cutback. Still able to get a couple of yards. Very good block on Ronnie Brown run in 4th. Doubled DT initially, then peeled off and got Laurinaitis. Threw him to the ground. Literally, threw him to the ground. Solid game in pass pro.

KELCE — Good game. Moved well laterally on his reach blocks. Pulled on several run plays and was effective. Wasn’t getting pushed around, but to be fair…Rams don’t have monster DTs. Made a good block in early 3rd. Had to reach for DT and then was able to turn him so Shady had room up the middle. Picked up stunting DE on 3rd Qtr pass play and that gave Vick enough time to take off and run for 18 yds. Billick blamed Jason for some offensive delays early on, but I think those were on Vick and/or the coaches. All the shotgun snaps seemed on the money.

DeVAN — Gave up some pressure on early pass play. NT drove him back, tossed Kyle aside and hurried Vick. Drew penalty for being upfield on pass play. Not used to mobile QB. Beaten by DT up the middle on pass play and that pressure forced Vick to scramble. Called for holding in early 3rd. Grabbed the arm of a blitzing LB. Kyle is pretty much what I thought. He’s a grinder that will hold his own most of the time, but will get beat here and there.

HERREMANS — Good game. Generally did well in pass pro. Got beaten by hard inside move late in the half and that forced a hurried throw. Long used an inside move to get by Todd in the early 3rd and flush Vick out. Todd looked comfortable at RT. He moved his feet. He was able to re-set on plays where he gave some ground. DE Chris Long had a sack, but it had nothing to do with him beating Todd. A blitzing DB caused problems for Vick and then Long was free on the inside to finish the play.

Kyle DeVan is the weakest link up front simply because he’s just not that talented. I was encouraged. The Rams got little pressure when they rushed 3 or 4. They did have success with the blitz, but now that the guys have gone live against those situations, teaching them how to handle the blitzes should be easier.



* Limited the Rams to one TD and that was their opening play.

* How was the run defense? Final stats show 26-154. Let’s take away the Jackson run (47) and the Bradford loss (-15). The rest of the game was 24 carries for 122 yards. That’s not good. Can’t have the other team averaging 5 yards a carry. The reason I pulled the Jackson run out was that it was a simple blown assignment. The Bradford play was a fluke. The other 24 runs give you a more accurate representation of how we did. Not good enough.

* Rams were only 2 of 12 on 3rd downs. They were 2 of 3 on 4th downs.

* We had a Red Zone stop. That was a huge weak spot last year. Good to see some improvement.

* We sacked Rams QBs 5 times. Numbers aside, there were multiple plays where you could see the discomfort in the faces of Bradford and Feeley. They didn’t just go down. They got pounded. I’m struggling to remember a time last year when we beat up an opposing QB. Anyone remember such a game? Maybe Garrard in the JAX win. Did we knock any QBs out?


* 1st/10 – Rams first play. Basic set, play. Brian Billick called it a counter play, but it looked like a basic run where Jackson just cut back and burned our back seven, who had gotten out of position. The 2 culprits were LB Moise Fokou and S Kurt Coleman. They needed to play outside-in. Instead they both got pinned inside and left an interstate to the endzone.

* Rams ran a simple pass play on 2nd drive. We didn’t hit Bradford, but it was beautiful to watch the pocket shrink. Tapp/Parker drove OTs back. Dixon, Laws drove the G/C/G back. Sam was essentially in a phone booth when he got the pass off. We just didn’t see that last year.

* 2nd/7 from our 29. Tapp flew off the right side and into the backfield. Bradford was going to hand the ball to the RB, but tripped on the foot of one of his blockers. He used the ball to keep himself off the ground. As he was about to get going again, Tapp knocked the ball loose. Juqua Parker stormed in from LDE, scooped it up, and headed for the endzone. Fokou ran up beside him and Parker used a stiff arm to keep Fokou away. Funny moment.

* We blew up a 2nd Qtr run. Easier to talk here than individually. Dixon shoved the LG backward. Laws got upfield and grabbed the RB as he tried to go by. Fokou shot up the field and wrapped up the RB. He and Laws should split the TFL, with an assist to Dixon.

* 3rd/GL. We rushed LBs and all the DL. STL blocked it well, but the pressure or perception of pressure forced Bradford to throw the ball early and off target.

COLE — Good game. Had 3 tackles, 1 sack. Rams tried to block him with TE on their opening pass. Trent drove the guy back into Bradford. Sam got pass off and gained 3 yds on the play. Drove LT back and hit Sam as he threw in the late 2nd Qtr. Called for roughing the passer on 3rd Qtr play. Was on the ground and hit the QB low. Legit call. Dislike the rule if you want, but it was the right call. Got his first sack of the year in the 3rd Qtr. Just blew by the LT, grabbed Sam and put him down. Helped that Jenkins had inside pressure.

PARKER — Only scored 1 TD in the game. No wonder we had him take a pay cut. Solid game overall. It’s funny, watching live I didn’t think Juqua did that much. Tape proved me wrong. Drove the RT back on 2nd Qtr pass and forced Bradford to dump the ball off quickly. Drove RT back into Sam’s face on pass play in late 2nd Qtr and helped to force errant throw. Got pressure on next play as well and Sam had to rush throw. Pass was short of the sticks, led to punt. Lost his helmet while stuffing run play on 1st / GL. Didn’t seem to care. Wrapped up Cadillac and put him down. Got some pressure on 4th Qtr pass and it looked like Bradford’s hand hit Parker’s arm and that is what caused Sam’s injury. No sack for Juqua, but regular pressure. And a TD.

PATTERSON — Good game. I think Mike enjoyed the new system. Had 2 tackles (no sacks), but he was in the backfield and being disruptive on multiple plays. He’ll make some plays. Hustled in pursuit and tackled RB after gain of 11. Looped around the DE to get upfield and rush Bradford into a poor throw on 3rd down. Penalty on DB kept drive alive. Helped to blow up run play by flowing down the line and getting to the RB. Cole and Jenkins got penetration and the RB was boxed in. No gain on the play.

JENKINS — Good game. Only credited with 2 tackles. One was TFL, the other was a sack. Beat the RG to the inside and got RB for a TFL in the late 1st Qtr. On the next play, used a hard slap and swim move to get by the C and hit Bradford just after releasing the ball. Good closing speed. Got a bit shot on Bradford out in space on trick play in the early 3rd. Sam completed the pass, but paid the price. Got upfield very quickly in mid-3rd. That pressure helped Cole sack Bradford. Beat the LG in the mid-4th and sacked Feeley, just before Babin got there. Cullen is the best disruptive interior presence we’ve had since Corey Simon in 2000-02. Fun to watch.

BABIN — Good game overall. Had 2 sacks and played well. Made a critical mistake early on. Called for hands to the face on 3rd down. Eliminated a stop and extended a drive for STL. Good call, too. Drove RT backward on run play, but RB got up the field anyway. STL tried a sucker play and left Babin unblocked. He flew in and hit Bradford just as Sam got ride of the ball. First sack came to open the 2nd Qtr. TV guys talked about TE missing the block. Nope. RT lost track of the snap count. He stayed frozen when the ball was snapped and Jason flew by him to crush Bradford. On replay you could see Sam at the last minute bracing for impact. That’s the not so glamorous side of playing QB. Tackled RB as he tried to go up the middle. Jason got off his block and grabbed the guy. Really flies around in pursuit. He’s the first guy to hit Amendola on the play where Danny messed up his elbow. Babin will start some fights and probably draw a flag or two. Other teams won’t be so fond of his jumping onto players or piles late. Got a 2nd sack in the 4th Qtr. Played RDE. Got by LT. Pressure up middle boxed in QB and Jason was able to grab him from behind, make the tackle.

D TAPP — Good game. Very active. 3 tackles, sack, FF. Disrupted a screen pass by sticking right with the RB. Bradford had to throw the ball away. Got a free run at the QB when LB blitzed and LT took him. Darryl got in a big hit on Sam. Helped to stuff Williams on 3rd Qtr run. Stood up the TE, shed him, and grabbed the RB. Only gave up a couple of yds. Got a sack in the early 3rd when he beat the TE and closed quickly on Bradford. That may have been the play where Tapp hurt his pec muscle.

DIXON — Backup RDT. Flashed at times. Drove back blockers on numerous plays. Drove C back on early run and that disrupted the play. Limited it to minimal gain. Made good tackle of RB in the early 3rd. Flowed down the LOS and got to the RB. Play went for 3. Needs to work on shedding blockers when he drives them back. Moving them back throws off the timing, but Dixon needs to start making plays and that means getting off the blocks.

LAWS — Backup LDT. Stuffed a 1st Qtr run. Got upfield, fought off block, and grabbed RB as he tried to go by. That’s his only tackle. Got penetration on a few plays. Drove blockers backward a few times. I was a bit disappointed with his pass rushing.

CHANEY — Pretty good game. Read a draw play quickly and tackled the RB right at the LOS. No gain. Slow getting out wide on pass play to Williams. Wasn’t able to make the tackle and Williams got upfield for the 1st down. The next play was another pass to the RB. This time Chaney flew up and broke up the pass. Looked speedy on that one. Had tight coverage on a play where Bradford was hoping to get the ball out there. Had tight coverage of TE on complex play to open the 2nd half. Gave up 2-yard completion. Made solid stop of RB on run up the middle in the early 3rd. Forced Cadillac out of bounds after 3 yd catch on 4th/3. Got there quick, but not quick enough. Made solid tackle of Cadillac on 4th Qtr run. Play was to other side. Jamar flowed to ball and helped put him down. Tied for the team lead with 6 solo tackles.

MATTHEWS — Up and down game. Some plays he looked good. Read the play quickly and got into proper position. Other times he was slow to read the play or got stuck on a block. Credited with 4 solo tackles. He was around the ball more than that. I think that’s important in a MLB. If someone misses the tackle, you want the MLB there to help finish the play off. Casey showed promise. Needs to get to the ball more next week. Must cut down on the mistakes.

Chased down Williams on outside run for his first NFL tackle. Rams got 10 yds on the play. Came up with a good stop on Rams 2nd drive. Casey came upfield, shed block of the LG and tackled the RB for only a gain of 2. Penetration by Dixon helped the play. Flew upfield on draw play where Jenkins got his TFL. Casey got in on the play. Looked quick, decisive. STL ran a run to his area late in the 1st Qtr. Casey read it and got to the spot, but couldn’t get off the block. RB got 11 on the play. Got in on tackle of RB late in 1st Qtr. Laws had RB and Casey got in on pile. Tackled FB on dive play, but only after the guy ran for 12 yds. Hustled outside on run play and forced Williams out of bounds after just 2 yds. Got out of position on 3rd Qtr run up the middle that went for 9. Looked like he went around the block. Got in on tackle of RB started by Tapp in the 3rd Qtr. Read a screen pass perfectly and flew over to blow it up. Got shoved in back by OL and that let the RB get going up the field for small gain. Missed tackle of Salas on WR screen. Should have been easy tackle.

FOKOU — Good game, but started real slow. Fokou was major weak spot vs early runs. We all know that he’s a guy that can get overly excited and that’s exactly what happened. He was the main culprit on Jackson’s long TD run. Got out of position early on and that hurt us. Settled down and played really well at times. Had 5 solo tackles, TFL, PD.

Got cut on early outside run play and that allowed Cadillac to get free to the edge. Has to keep his feet and funnel that back to the middle. Made an outstanding tackle of Amendola on short crossing route. Got there just after the ball and Danny had no chance for RAC yards. Only gave up 2 yds on the play. Got pinned inside on another run up the middle and Cadillac got 15 on the play. Got over to the left side and made solid tackle of RB and held him to 3 yds. Made real good play vs pass in the early 3rd. Read crossing pass immediately and flew up to hit WR as ball got there. Incomplete. Smart read, quick burst. Made a good open field tackle of Williams after short catch and run. Made a quick, strong tackle of Cadillac after short catch in flat in the early 4th Qtr.

K CLAYTON — Played some in the GL defense.

JORDAN — Got hurt in the game. Must have been on STs.

ROLLE — Solid debut. Played in the Nickel. Had one awesome play. Rams tried to run vs our Nickel just inside 10 min. mark of 3rd Qtr. Rolle ran up and hit their C. Knocked the dude on his butt. Brian then grabbed the RB and put him on the ground. That forced long FG attempt, which was no good. Rolle might be undersized, but doesn’t play like it. Almost made a great play on 4th/1. Got RB down for just 1 yd. Had a chance to get him down in the backfield, but couldn’t make the play. Failed to make a play on inside run late in the game. To be fair, Rolle was blocked by 2 different OL.

COLEMAN — Disappointing game. I’m a big Kurt Coleman fan, but he started slow. Struggled with getting off blocks early on. STL had a couple of good runs where Coleman should have been up quickly in support, but some WR was blocking him. Can’t have that. Made good tackle of Amendola after catching pass on trick play in the early 3rd. Took out the FB on an outside run play, but didn’t do it well enough to slow down the RB. Kurt has to get the FB out wide to box in the RB. Good effort. Tackled Kendricks after a gain of 18 on TE screen. Finished with 4 tackles, but didn’t play with the kind of attacking, confident style that we’re used to.

J PAGE — Very good game. Tackled well. Had a solid day in coverage. Came up to quickly tackle Cadillac on run play on 2nd drive. Good tackle. Helped stuff FB after he’d gotten loose for 12 yds. Forced RB out of bounds on pass play where he got by Chaney. Best play was when he flew up and made sure, physical tackle of WR on 3rd down. Kept the receiver from getting the extra yard he needed to move the chains. Page wrapped up and drove him to the ground. Looked comfortable playing in the box when he needed to. Got in on tackle of RB right by the LOS in the early 3rd. Almost made a great play while covering TE in the flat on 2nd/GL. Read the route and jumped it. Got his hands on the pass, but could not secure it. Page was good Red Zone defender in a couple of preseason games. Great to see him getting the job done in a real game as well. Tied for the team lead with 6 solo stops and broke up the one pass.

ALLEN — Didn’t see him on defense.

C ANDERSON — Only on STs.

ASOMUGHA — Didn’t have a strong debut. He and Coleman had some confusion about who was covering the TE on a certain play. Looked like Nnamdi might have been at fault. That catch was good for 19 yds. There was a play in the 2nd Qtr where we blitzed. Rolle and Nnamdi both went for player in the flat and left WR over the middle wide open. Guy dropped the pass, but once again there was a missed assignment or poor communication. Hard to say who at fault on this one. Blitzed on 3rd down in the early 3rd, but Sam got the pass away. Had a deep ball thrown his way in the late 3rd. Gibson went deep on trick play. Nnamdi was in decent position, but had a hand on Gibson and drew the flag for PI. Since that was in the endzone, gave them the ball at the 1. Got beaten by Gibson for gain of 31 down the sideline in the mid-4th. Andy challenged the play, but it was upheld.

SAMUEL — Good game. Covered well and had a solid day as a tackler. Gave up 3 yd completion early on. Tackled Amendola right after he caught it. Broke up a 3rd down pass to TE Kendricks…by hitting him as the ball got there. Asante Lott? Ronnie Samuel? What the heck? Bradford fired a short pass to his side in the late 1st. Ball was off target due to pressure by Babin. Better throw might have been picked by Sammie. Had tight coverage on 3rd down pass to TE. Ball was incomplete. Asante had a chance to tackle FB on inside run where he got loose. Asante “made a business decision” and was more spectator than participant on that play. Called for illegal contact in early 2nd Qtr. Actually looked like Asante missed the receiver. Made solid tackle of Mike Sims-Walker (6’2, 215) after giving up short completion in the early 3rd Qtr. Broke up 3rd/3 short pass to Gibson in the early 4th. Asante went low and helped to tackle Cadillac on a run play coming right at him. Rambo Samuel? Almost picked off deflected pass in the mid-4th. Looked like easy catch, but Sammie couldn’t get hold of it.

RODGERS-CROMARTIE — Gave up a 2nd Qtr completion to Amendola on 3rd/10. DRC was in the slot. You could see he’s not 100% comfortable in there. Amendola used quickness to get open and gain 18 on the play. Lost Amendola in coverage on trick play in the early 3rd. We gave up 16 yds on the play. Had tight coverage of Amendola on 3rd down in 3rd Qtr. Pass was incomplete, but penalty on DL moved chains. Had okay coverage of Amendola on 3rd/GL pass that was off target.


CHAS HENRY — Rough day. Averaged just 36.3 per punt. Must have been those trick winds in the dome. Long punt was 39. The good news is that the punts were so short they weren’t returned. Must improve.

ALEX HENERY — 1 of 1 on FGs. KOs were okay.

PR — 1 fair catch, 1 downed.

KOR — Dion Lewis was desperate to make something happened. So he returned a deep KO and only got us to the 12. Ugh. To make matters worse, did the same thing later on and only got us to the 13. Needless to say, Dion didn’t bring out any other KOs.


* Up-man on punts is Kurt Coleman. Gunners are Anderson and Hughes.

* Colt Anderson was terrific in punt coverage. Part of that is due to the short punts.

* Schmitt got held on Rams KOR to open 2nd half. Billick said “I don’t see a hold”. Ugh. Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder saw the guys hand holding Schmitt’s arm to his body.


Detailed Game Review – PIT 24, PHI 14

Posted: August 20th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Tags: | 42 Comments »

The Eagles lost to the Steelers in an ugly game. Things looked good when DT Cullen Jenkins sacked Big Ben on 3rd/20 on the opening drive, but there was a facemask penalty. The Steelers went down and scored and that was that. The 3rd down defense by the starters was awful. It wasn’t a schematic problem. It wasn’t Juan Castillo being in over his head. Guys made mental and physical mistakes. Extremely sloppy play.

The offense was plagued by turnovers. Vick threw 3 INTs. Vince Young threw one. There was a fumble. We didn’t score a point for 55 minutes and the Punter only had one kick. Blocking was pretty good. Vick just had an off night. Mike Kafka and the 3rd stringers really came alive in the 4th and we scored 2 TDs in the final 5 minutes. Not a big deal in terms of the final score (meaningless), but it was great to see them play well and take advantage of the opportunity.

No major injuries means the night was really a major success.


VICK —Last week was efficient and explosive. This week was the opposite. Opening 3rd down bugged me. Way too casual. Calm is good, but that looked like too much. Pass over the middle was deflected. If not, might have been picked. Best throw was a strike to Cooper for 16 yards on the 2nd series. Quick read, great throw. Very next play Vick stupidly forced the ball to Cooper on downfield route and it was picked off by S. Forced the ball (under pressure) to Celek and it was almost a pick-six for Troy. Decided to make up for that and on the next play forced the ball toward Chad Hall and the 37 Steelers covering him. INT. Got heavily pressured to open the next drive. Dumped ball to Shady and that turned into a good gain. Things started to look up. Hit Chad Hall for gain of 11 with good throw late in the half. Comeback time!!! Ran for a couple of yards. Got out of bounds to stop the clock. We’re almost at midfield. Then depression set in. Failed to see a CB blitz. Riley was wide open on the play, but Vick held the ball and took a sack. On the next snap he was pressured big time by blitzing DB. Vick ran for his life in the pocket. He then looked up to throw. Passed on a wide open Riley Cooper and instead forced the ball to Celek and his Steeler friends. INT. Vick got a big hit on Troy, who was running the pick back. Vick was under a lot of pressure on the play, but he seemed to look Riley’s way before throwing to Celek. And no one was within 10 yards of Cooper. Thus ends a half of football that Vick would like to forget. I don’t know if he was affected by the GQ nonsense or just played lousy. Let’s hope he got it out of his system.

YOUNG — Started 2 of 2 in the 3rd Qtr. Threw the ball well. Made smart decision on next play not to force the ball and threw it away. Ran QB sneak on 4th/inches. Got a yard. Threw deep for Hall in the late 3rd, but he was covered and the pass was incomplete. Looked like Harbor was open down the seam on that play. Stepped up in pocket and found JLH on 3rd down. That moved the chains. Made a terrible decision and throw in the late 3rd. Forced the ball to Hall and it was picked off by underneath LB. I saw some progress as a passer, but that INT was troublesome. Vince is too experienced to make that throw, especially when he’s not under heavy pressure.

KAFKA — Great game. Entered with 6:44 on the clock and no points on the board. Left with zeros on the clock and 14 points on the board. Do we no call him Joe Kafka or Mike Montana? Joking aside, it was a good performance. Mike got the ball out quickly and made good throws. I thought he showed real good zip on a pass to Harper on the right side. He made another good throw to Harper on the right side. Threw a pretty good downfield pass to JLH. JL couldn’t find it. Wasn’t a rocket, but had good touch and hit him in stride. Next play Mike scrambled up the middle for 17. Showed agility as he avoided contact and then speed once he was in the open field. Next play was a screen. Mike let the rusher come at him and didn’t flinch. That turned into a big gain. Mike showed good pocket presence. He stepped up when pressured. He worked the middle of the field and the sidelines. Very good showing. 14-19-160, with 2 TDs. Ran for 24 yards.

32 SCHMITT — Good seal block of LB on early Shady run.

39 HAVILI — Poor lead block on 3rd/1. Hesitated. Too high. Didn’t deliver the blow. Doesn’t look like natural lead blocker. Got the ball on 4th/1. Tried to jump. DB got him about 6 inches off the ground. Gravity 1, Havili 0.

25 MCCOY — Good game. Ran well. Showed good vision and burst. 4 carries for 25 yards. Got 12 yds on his only catch of the game and looked good there. Had effective cut block on initial 3rd down. Didn’t floor Woodley, but slowed him enough to give Vick clean pocket and time to throw. Had a poor block of blitzer late in the half that led to INT. There’s a reason for the poor block. Harrison was on the edge of the LOS and Shady stepped toward him, then realized he needed to peel off and get the blitzer. Still a bad block, but it was because he was confused by the alignment/blitz. Mental error, not a lack of effort or blocking ability.

36 BROWN — 6 carries for 25 yds. Best run was a cutback to the right side for 14 yds. Good vision, burst on the play. Made a really good cut block of DE and put him on the ground. Excellent block of LB on 3rd down pass play. Another solid showing by Ronnie.

27 D. LEWIS — #3 RB. Good showing. First touch was a run to the left side for 14 yds. Good burst. Got stood up on 2nd carry and DB ripped the ball away from him. Highlight play was a screen pass that went for 40 yards. Got DB off balance with juke move. Then used another move on 2nd DB and went by him. Raced down the sideline. Defender tried to tackle him from behind, but Lewis ran through it. Impressive strength, balance. Did step on sideline. That was the only thing keeping him out of the endzone. Take away the fumble and he had a great night. Looked okay in pass protection, but I need to re-check that to be sure.

10 DeSEAN — Went deep for him on opening play. Well covered and the pass was incomplete. Caught 9 yd pass on next play. Lost a yard on a WR screen. Ugly play. Still fast. Good to see him on the field.

14 R. COOPER — Had 3 passes come his way. Made a catch for gain of 16. Next one was picked. Final pass was high. Riley couldn’t make the grab. Wasn’t a drop, but looked catchable.

81 AVANT — Had pass come his way on initial 3rd down. Ball was deflected. Jason had good block on early run play. His knee started bugging him so didn’t play a ton. No need to.

16 C HALL — Typical Chad Hall game. Caught 3 passes for 20 yards. A couple were over the middle. One moved the chains on 3rd down. The other was inches short. I wish Chad would quit moving backward after a catch. Go forward. You aren’t going to break a big play. Get what you can and move the chains. 2 of the INTs came on passes thrown his way. Chad was covered on both.

17 JL HIGGINS — Came alive as a receiver. 7-54. Caught short pass from VY to open 3rd Qtr. Added couple of RAC yds and got 10 on the play. Caught pass on crossing route on 3rd down and made sure to get upfield for the 1st. Caught a quick pass from Kafka and turned that into a gain of 6. Next play was a catch along the sideline for 10. Next play was a deep ball. JL couldn’t locate it and the ball bounced off his facemask. Kafka got him the ball a couple of times on the final drives. JL looked good. Worked the middle and was effective outside.

11 MOSS — Caught WR screen and turned that into gain of 7. Nice play. Only throw to come his way.

89 JONES — Great game. Caught 3-36 with 2 TDs. Both scores showed great effort and some RAC ability. Had to head for corner pylon and then reach the ball over. Neither play was dumb or risky. Gerald has been impressive. I’d love to see him get some snaps with the starters on Thursday to see how he does against good competition.

83 R HARPER — Another good game. 3-37. Didn’t do anything great, but got open and caught the ball well.

87 CELEK — Sloppy block of Woodley at LOS led to Shady getting stuffed for no gain. Good chip block of LB as he released into pass route. Stayed in to help pass protect a couple of times. Had a couple of passes thrown his way. One was picked off. The other, almost.

82 B HARBOR — Pulled left and got wham block on Harrison (almost typed Jason Gildon). That block helped spring Shady for nice gain. Good block on Brown run in the mid-3rd. He’s not getting passes thrown his way, but Clay is getting open. I’m still impressed with what I’m seeing from him.

88 D LEE — Inconsistent blocker. Will have one bad block where he looks very sloppy. Next time will get on LB and drive him off the ball. Had a very good block on Lewis run late in the game.

85 C INGRAM — Saw him playing late in a GL situation. Didn’t stand out as a blocker.

65 K DUNLAP — Starting RT. Rode Timmons wide on early pass play. Much better about not giving ground. Short choppy steps with no kick slide. Pulled right on run and got partial block on Woodley. Kept him from Shady, but King should have been able to really control him or get in a big shot. Good down block of Timmons on outside run play. Moved him inside. Stuck with it. Solid block on initial 3rd down. Got moved back by DE, but kept control of the rusher and maintained the block to the whistle. Bad play to open 3rd drive. Reached for Woodley on run play and got off balance. Woodley put him to the ground. Sloppy. Solid pass block later on the drive. Really has gotten better about not retreating too much. Blocked LB well for a second, then lost contact and the guy started to go by him. King had ridden the guy very wide/deep by that point and it had no effect on play. Overall, I’d give King a B. He kept the right side clean, but preseason is a lot about style points. King is better, but still sloppy. Glad to see the progress. That’s important. Also, I don’t think PIT attacked him the way they would in the regular season. Got help on a couple of pass plays, but largely was on his own.

67 J JACKSON — C. Pulled right and got block of DE. Helped give Shady running lane. JamJax isn’t agile, but moved okay. Good block of Timmons on run play. Kept him from getting upfield to Shady. Solid game overall.

63 D WATKINS — Starting RG. Let LB almost get loose to the inside on pass play. Managed to sustain block and not let LB get free. Helped JamJax block DE on run play to the right side. Good effort by Watkins, but block should have been better. Very good block to open the 3rd drive. Got into the DE at the LOS and then drove him 12 or so yards upfield. Great effort. Showing progress. Didn’t look as lost as last week. Had some good blocks in the 2nd Qtr. Gets better the more he plays.

Peters – Not too much to say. Looks solid. Really using his hands well. Had one bad block of Harrison that led to pressure on Vick. Then had communication breakdown with Todd. Tried to pass slanting LB off, but Todd was looking elsewhere.
Todd H. – Looks good.

69 E MATHIS — #2 RT. Good effort as run blocker. Doesn’t get much push at OT. Came close to holding on Brown’s cutback run. Showed good footwork on some pass plays. I didn’t get to see him really take on a LB on 3rd/long. Was hoping to get a feel for just how good he would be at pass pro vs an edge rusher. I do think he showed enough that I’d be comfortable with him going out to RT if there was an in-game injury.

73 J VANDERVELDE — #2 RG. Short. Really sticks out on the field…by not sticking out. Better run blocker than pass protector. Seems to freeze his feet and reach at times. Excellent effort all the time. Flew downfield on Dion’s screen pass, but couldn’t find anyone to block. Had some good run blocks for Lewis. I’m not sure he’s ready for the NFL this year, but could be ideal for the Practice Squad.

62 KELCE — #2 C. Got driven straight back toward VY in early 3rd. Actually looked to have a solid block on 4th/inches QB sneak. Didn’t go low as I expected. Got under the defender, but worked to move him off the ball. Let NT get by him in pass pro, but was able to recover and stick with the guy. Good reach block on Lewis’ first run. Jason got to the DL and was able to wall him off, giving Dion a running lane. Good cutblock out in space on LB freed up Lewis for big gain on screen. Got driven backward on next snap and Lewis had nowhere to run. Terrific athlete with great motor, but does get physically overwhelmed at times.

66 D REYNOLDS — #2 LG. Got good push on QB sneak. Had some good run blocks. Pass pro is sloppy. I don’t think he’s got the footwork for the NFL, at least not a passing team. Some running team ought to give him a look, if/when we cut him.

68 A HOWARD — #2 LT. Austin had a Motel 6 game – the light went on. Thank goodness. Very sloppy last week. Obviously he got an earful from the coaches and this week he played much better. He is far from a good OT, but he looked like a competent backup. I started to worry the other day if he would make the team. I liked his footwork vs PIT. Wasn’t heavy-footed and reaching. Moved well laterally. Showed good awareness on stunts, blitzes. Good block in early 3rd. Rode one defender inside, then peeled off to get player looping wide. Did that on another drive as well. Got off the ball well on run plays. Still needs to get a lot better, but he’s headed in the right direction.

77 M MCGLYNN — #3 LG. What the heck? Mike is behind Dallas Reynolds? Didn’t have a good game last week and the coaches must be giving Mike a hint. I don’t think he did anything vs PIT that is going to make them change their minds. I didn’t chart any standout plays from him.

72 SPENCER JOHNSON — #3 LT. New player. UDFA rookie. Did okay on the late drives, but failed to impress. Sleek build, but didn’t show great feet or athleticism.



* We blitzed on 3rd/4 in early 2nd. PIT threw quick swing pass to RB and it turned into big gain. Similar thing happened last week. This isn’t a physical issue. Someone is blowing their assignment.

* Steelers converted 3rd/24. Reminded me of 4th/26. Rookie LB (Matthews instead of Barnett) didn’t drop far enough. DB over the top was too soft (Hanson). Ugh.

58 COLE — Solid game. Chased down run play from behind. Got some pressure off the edge. Used inside move to flush QB. Got TFL on run play.
Drove the LT back to Big Ben with great bull rush. Awesome to watch. Should have gotten holding call on play. Went through the LT and blocking back to get big shot on Leftwich. Fun to watch. Got best of LT and split a TFL with Jenkins. Ready for Freddie.

68 HARGROVE — Good game. Got pressure with early bull rush. Great motor. Got pancaked on run play where he was caught standing up. RG stonewalled him on 3rd/8 pass where Ben had time to move up and find WR for 1st. No pressure up middle. Used explosive burst to get into backfield on run play. got a shot on Ben when Babin had him wrapped up low. Nothing dirty, but a tough, physical hit. Used quick inside move to get by RG and go sack Leftwich.

97 JENKINS — Got an impressive sack to stop opening drive, but was also called for getting Big Ben’s facemask. Automatic 1st down. That’s when things fell apart. Used a good bull rush to get the sack. Got doubled on 3rd/8 where Ben had all day to find WR. Got nowhere. Got penetration on run play and drew holding call. Came close to knocking ball away from Ben on pass play, but it was ruled an incomplete pass. Used good swim move to get upfield and share TFL with Trent.

93 BABIN — Really wound up. Ran all over the place and had some after the whistle contact with several Steelers. Didn’t bite on PA fake and got shot on Ben early. Should have been late hit penalty. Sacked Big Ben when he was unblocked off the edge. It was a sucker play where Babin didn’t bite on the run fake. Made major mistake on 3rd/10 in early 2nd. For some reason he stunted to the inside. That let Ben roll right and have plenty of time and no pressure. Ben was able to find Ward for a TD. Can’t give up half the field like that. Dumb. Used hard inside move in mid-2nd to beat OT and draw holding call. Flew outside to get hit on WR after quick screen. Love the hustle.

55 D TAPP — Played #2 RDE. Also saw time at LDT in the Nickel. Jumped offside and that led to long run by PIT. Bull rushed LT and that flushed Leftwich, but he had room to run. Used good spin move late in the half to get into backfield, but Leftwich had just released the pass. Not as impressive as last week.

52 TEO — Played both DE spots. Left with hamstring injury in 2nd half. Played a snap at DT late in the half. Got doubled on that play. Beat LT and got some pressure in early 3rd. Hustled to chase RB from behind and got in on tackle. Did that on the next snap as well and helped to stuff RB for no gain. Got good pressure on 3rd Qtr pass. Used good leverage to get around blocker and get a hand on QB. Chased down another RB from behind and got in on tackle. Doesn’t show a great burst, but excellent effort player. Has potential as a bull rusher.

73 LANDRI — Not nearly as good as last week when facing starters. Got moved off the ball on 3rd/1. PIT didn’t run to his side, but that wasn’t good. Still showed some quickness off the ball, but wasn’t getting push when he tried to bull rush. Didn’t get penetration with any regularity. Did get some push on pass play late in the half. Facing backups in the 2nd half was a different story. Drew a holding call in the early 3rd. Drove back RG in 3rd Qtr to disrupt run play. Exploded off the ball in the mid-3rd and ran by the blocking back to get big shot on QB as he released the pass.

64 M FAVORITE — Good motor. Worked hard to get off blocks and to the ball. Batted down pass on 4th/2. Showed good awareness to see the ball and get a hand on it. Showed bad awareness when he tried to huddle up for 5th down right after that. Blew up run play by getting under the LG and driving him backward. Got TFL on the play. Got TFL in early 4th when Rolle got penetration and blew up run. Didn’t stand out as pass rusher, but had another solid showing. Interesting project.

76 P HUNT — Played RDE in mid-2nd. Later shifted to LDE. Wasn’t coming free off the edge like last week. OTs were able to steer him wide. Excellent effort by Hunt. He works hard to get off blocks and to the QB. Got in on TFL in the early 4th. Looked like fringe player / PS candidate in this game. The next couple of weeks will be huge for his future.

72 C THORNTON — Another player who had the light go on. Better than last week. Hustled outside on early run and got in on the tackle. Grabbed RB on inside run as he went by him. Good awareness. Showed Ced was playing under control. Got penetration on mid-2nd run and blew up the play. Led to TFL. Got penetration on another run play and threw off the timing. Drove his blocker into backfield and blew up run play. Led to group TFL. Jumped offside in the 3rd Qtr. Got moved off the ball by double team on run play. Didn’t give up, though. Battled the blockers to the whistle. I thought he showed big time growth from last week. Really interested to see what he does in the 4th PS game when he’ll play a lot.

65 C WILSON — Very good showing…BUT…Wilson is a veteran player. He’s going to thrive against 3rd string OTs. Can’t get too excited about what he does. Had one great play. Flew off the edge and absolutely planted Dennis Dixon. Big time hit. Fun to watch. Wilson is putting some good tape out there for a team looking for a 5th or 6th DE.

94 NOONAN — Welcome back, Charlie. Made TFL on screen pass in 4th. Impressive when you consider that all the other players were taunting him with “Noo-nan!” and “Miss it”.

51 CHANEY — Ducked around block on 2nd play and left area for RB to hit. Needed to take on blocker. Fought off block to get in on stop of RB for minimal gain. Only LB on field in Dime looks. Stupidly went after Big Ben after he’d scrambled out wide. That left RB open for dump pass and gain of almost 15. Made good tackle of RB after Allen missed tackle. Got TFL in late 2nd. DTs did their job and Jamar jumped in to get RB for loss.

50 MATTHEWS — Side-stepped block on 2nd play and got out of position. No-no. Made a good read on screen pass on opening drive. Helped make the tackle, but should have got the RB down by himself. Got off balance before diving and getting the guy’s feet. Jumped around a blocker on inside run, but did help to stuff play for short gain. Did take on blocker on inside run and was driven away from play. Got free after a couple of seconds, but not nearly fast enough. Mis-read early screen. Got back in play quickly and helped to make stop. Made sloppy tackle attempt on RB on 2nd/1. Other guys got him a yard away. Casey read the play correctly and dove for the guy, but wasn’t able to cleanly get his legs. Got blind-sided by Hines Ward and missed tackle of RB on pass play. Very close to block in the back. Awkward on offside (Tapp) play where PIT ran. Casey got in the right gap. RB cutback. OL hit Casey from behind and put him on ground. Looked bad live, but different when you studied play. Got blocked out of run play by Pouncey. Got a RB right at LOS in early 2nd Qtr when Jenkins and Cole were able to control their blockers. Casey got upfield and grabbed the RB for no gain. Stuffed an inside run play that came right at him for just 1 yard. Didn’t make a clean tackle, but hit the guy in the leg hard enough to put him down. Got 1/2 a TFL in the mid-2nd when Thornton got penetration and disrupted a run play. Used his hands to slide around blocker and get into backfield for group TFL.

Casey didn’t have a good game. The key thing for me is that he did get better as the game wore on. Young players need to show progress. Every snap is a learning experience.

53 FOKOU — Good game. 5 total tackles. Broke up a downfield pass to TE on opening drive. No skill. Just happened to be in right place at right time, trailing in coverage. Made real good play on screen. Read it quickly, changed direction, and chased it down fast. Only gave up a couple of yards. Got physical pop on Mendenhall after chasing him down on run play. Almost stuffed FB on 3rd/1, but couldn’t wrap him up cleanly. Only got him with hands.

57 K CLAYTON — Going against the Steelers offense was a good test for Clayton. He’s getting more physical, but still isn’t a good run defender. Read TE screen in early 3rd and made the stop for no gain. Smart, quick. Showed some aggressiveness on run play that came at him, but still turned his shoulder to the play. Must square up and take on blockers. Took on a TE and FB on a play where he was lined up outside. Fought around them. We’re seeing progress, but Clayton still needs to be more physical. Made good tackle of RB in space on pass play. Showed his agility as he moved around players to get in position to make the play. Late in the 3rd Qtr got into a shoving match with OL. Keenan then put up his dukes, like he’s Ali or something. Only lasted for a second, but was weird and hilarious.

56 JORDAN — Backup MLB. Came upfield and had open path to RB for easy tackle. Looked awkward and missed the tackle. I don’t really know how that happened. Was out in space and had a free shot at RB on screen pass. Akeem looked hesitant and didn’t make the tackle until the RB had started to pass him. Made a good stop vs run when he had to shed blocker and then tackle the RB. Much better. Did a good job of shedding blocks.

59 B ROLLE — Made tackle vs draw in early 3rd. Got blocked, fell, got up and then made the stop. Good hustle. Flew out wide and popped a WR on a WR screen. Got excellent depth on his pass drop in the early 4th Qtr. We blitzed DBs and it was important for Brian to get back and act as a Safety. CB made the tackle, but Brian was in the right position, deeper than the CB. Impressive for rookie. Attacked upfield and blew up run play. Didn’t make stop, but play was a TFL. Started really aggressively taking on FB in the 4th. Affected the RB.

42 COLEMAN — Solid job of hitting/tackling early on. Had chance for early INT, but was focused on making the hit and not the ball. Fell incomplete. Slammed WR down after catch over middle. Got shot on Ben when he ran bizarre QB sneak up the middle for 9 yds. Got badly burned by cutback run to open 2nd drive. We had PIT pinned deep. Kurt flew up in run support, but pinched down too far and let RB get by him for gain of 9 yds. Should have been 1 or 2. Came up quickly in run support, but got sealed inside by WR and RB was able to get a few yards. Got in on TFL in mid-2nd. Flew up in run support and helped get RB down.

29 ALLEN — Came out very aggressive vs run. Then got burned on PA pass to TE for big gain. Had tight coverage on WR on 3rd down, but Ben got him the ball for the 1st. Nate did tackle quickly. Blitzed on first TD throw. Stopped and jumped. Ben was able to wait and throw over him for the score. Probably should have kept coming on the blitz. Fired in vs the run late in the 1st Qtr and should have made a nice play, but missed the tackle. Gave up 6 yds instead of 2. Got burned by Ward for TD pass. Allen had solid initial coverage, but Ward changed direction behind him and Nate was half a step slow in pivoting. That’s all Ward needed to get open. Rough night for Nate. He was always half a step slow or off. This was the most he’s played since the injury.

26 J JARRETT — Got a hit on TE after short catch in the early 3rd. Blitzed in the late 3rd and got RB down for TFL on draw play. Jarrett timed the blitz well and made a good play. Really locks in on ball on run plays. Needs to show better awareness of blockers that aren’t in front of him (like WRs). Got sealed by blindside block on a run and RB got out wide. Got a good shot on RB in tight quarters. Love that part of his game. Doesn’t need guys lined up out in the open in order to pop them.

25 J PAGE — Made good tackle of TE out in space after catch. Missed tackle of RB at the LOS. Dove for him, but couldn’t get a foot. Got RB out of bounds after he got loose on cutback run for 10 yds. Made good tackle of WR after catch on 3rd down. Got RB down for short gain in the early 4th. Good tackle of RB on 1st/GL. Came up quickly. Had tight coverage of TE on 3rd/GL and forced overthrow. He’s now played well in the Red Zone in consecutive weeks.

24 ASOMUGHA — Made good tackle of RB on opening drive. Played in the slot and outside. Didn’t have a lot happen around him. Finished with 2 tackles.

22 SAMMIE — Had a pass come his way on opening drive. Broke on the ball, but it fell incomplete. Classic Asante. Bites on route, receiver goes by him for easy TD. Lined up as deep S on one play when PIT started with stacked WRs to one side and then sent one guy in motion. Asante got near a RB on the play, but had the good sense not to touch him. Had tight coverage on WR on 3rd down pass that came his direction. Ball fell incomplete. Made a reasonably good open field tackle of WR after quick throw. Another sign the Mayans are right.

23 RODGERS-CROMARTIE — Blitzed off edge on draw play and got held. Drew the flag. Blitzed off the edge on TD throw. Got picked up by RB. Needs work as a blitzer. Generally had a good night in coverage. Got beaten on 3rd/7 late in the half. WR ran drag route. DRC trailed, but failed to make the tackle after the ball go there. That led to 1st down.

21 HANSON — Played when starters did some Dime looks. Gave up TD late in the half. Played off coverage in the slot. Read the play well and broke on the ball, but was 1/2 second late and the WR already had the ball for the score. Was playing off on 3rd/24 pass play and was half step slow in getting to the receiver. Much better pressing than playing off.

35 LINDLEY — Called for PI in early 3rd. Good call. Got sloppy when trying to play the ball. Gave up about a 15-yd completion on an outside throw. Needs to work on his jams. Wasn’t able to re-direct a WR who took an inside route and the guy had a pretty easy release. Ball didn’t come his way, though. Blitzed off the edge to open the 4th. Got some pressure and forced quick throw. Made good open field tackle of WR on crossing pattern on late 3rd down to get the ball back to the offense.

31 C MARSH — Had okay coverage on 3rd Qtr pass play that came his way. WR got him off balance and went upfield. Marsh recovered well and stayed close. Ball was overthrown and incomplete. Gotta show you can recover like that when you’re caught leaning the wrong way. Made a good tackle of WR when 3rd down pass came his way. We blitzed so the throw was early. Marsh kept WR short of the chains. Tackle could have been better, but was effective. Got run over by WR on pass route in 4th. Marsh is thinking a lot right now. Doesn’t show a good feel for understanding routes. That comes with experience. Failed to read WR screen and gave up TD pass. Luckily it was called back by penalty. Got caught going to the inside on that play.

27 HUGHES — Played in the slot and outside. Best when pressing. Ran right with slot receiver on pass play in the late 3rd. Blitzed off the edge vs spread set, but turned out to be draw play. Chased and kinda got in on stop. Took bad angle when he came up in run support and let the RB get to the outside for good gain. Had tight coverage of WR on crossing route.


* Asante got free to the inside and blocked a FG.

Henery —Hard to kick PATs or FGs when Vick is being an INT machine.

Henry — Hard to punt when Vick is being an INT machine. Had one punt. 53 yards.

KOR — Moss ran back 2nd half KO. Caught it deep. Ran hard and got out to the 23. Return of 31. I liked the speed and aggression he showed on the play. Ran back KO to open 4th Qtr. Got 28 yds. Looked good again.