Nick Foles led the Philadelphia Eagles to their third win of the season in beating the Bucs at home, 31-20. There were plenty of positives to take from the game yesterday, but there were still some nagging negatives.
Let’s get right to it…
Things that made me say WTG! (the positives) –
Of course we have to start with Nick Foles. For the most part, he played an outstanding game against a top-rated defense. Coming into the game, the Bucs defense had only allowed five touchdowns in four games on the year, which included games against the Saints and Pats.
They also kept quarterbacks like Drew Brees and Tom Brady in check for the most part. Nick Foles came to town and proceeded to light them up for 296 yards, three passing TDs and one rushing TD.
In other words, the Eagles scored almost as many touchdowns in one game as the Bucs had allowed all season.
On their first possession, Foles led the offense on what seemed to be their most efficient drive of the season since the first half of Week 1. He crisply led the team 85 yards down the field and capped it off with a four-yard dash into the end zone and a 7-0 lead.
For a brief period after that, he had a little trouble in recognizing the blitzes that were coming. That had me concerned initially, but he and the offense adjusted nicely throughout the game.
Foles played well enough to make it so Chip Kelly has to seriously think about who his QB will be going forward.
Riley Cooper finally came to life to provide a receiving threat opposite DeSean Jackson. Cooper came up big with four receptions for 120 yards and a 47-yard TD catch going against MRSA-infected CB Jonathan Banks all day.
LeSean McCoy didn’t have a spectacular day, but he was solid and “Shady-like” in averaging 4.6 yards per carry on 25 touches. His running was an integral part to the offense’s success. He also made a heads-up play late in the game by not allowing himself to get pushed out of bounds on a run down the sideline.
Of course, he wouldn’t have had that success without help from the offensive line, who turned in a good performance in the run-game. The pass protection was a little shaky, but they were solid on the ground.
DeSean Jackson was soaking up the sun on Revis Island and reeled in six catches for 64 yards and two big touchdowns.
Bradley Fletcher had another good game with good coverage and was credited with three passes defensed, two of which happened on back-to-back plays on their first defensive series. He also recorded the game’s only interception.
DeMeco Ryans was all over the field against the Bucs. He had a team-high 12 tackles and while he didn’t make any impact plays, he was a solid force on defense.
Fletcher Cox had a nice game and though he didn’t get a sack, he was pressuring Glennon for a good part of the game. He was our most affective pass-rusher.
Opposite Cox, Cedric Thornton was a monster in the run-game defense. He was the leading force that helped keep the Muscle Hamster in his cage.
Bennie Logan and Connor Barwin accounted for both Eagles sacks on the day and both came on third-down plays. If you’re going to get a sack, no better down to do it on!
Colt Anderson made a good special teams play when he downed a third quarter punt at the one yard line.
I’m going to point out Chip Kelly here too for his in-game adjustments. After the Eagles’ first drive, the Bucs defense seemed to make an adjustment that stopped the offense in their tracks for a couple of drives.
Chip countered with some effective screen passes to slow down the pass rush of the Bucs. It was refreshing to actually see an adjustment after being so used to Andy Reid’s “stay the course” mentality most of the time.
Things that made me say WTF! (the negatives) –
Someone needs to tell Damaris Johnson to stop running kickoffs out of the end zone. He fails to even make it to the 20 yard-line most of the time.
Every week this defense gets killed by crossing routes over the middle. Who the hell is Timothy Wright and why could he catch seven passes for 91 effective yards? It drives me bonkers!
It also drives me insane when there is a particular receiver that kills the Eagles. Yesterday it was Vincent Jackson, who like Larry Fitzgerald, just seems to murder the Eagles whenever he plays them.
Jackson was the only premier receiving target after Mike Williams was ruled out of the game. The defense’s game plan should have focused on taking Jackson away as an option for a rookie QB who you know will be looking for his best target most of the day.
The Eagles were facing a rookie quarterback making his second career start. At times, the defense made Mike Glennon look like a polished veteran out there. Anymore these days the defense can never make a rookie look like a rookie.
Glennon found Jackson and Wright all day and had too easy of a time for a rookie because the defense could not get consistent pressure on him.
Bryce Brown continues to try and bounce all of his runs outside. This is something he really needs to work on because he will never be successful unless he learns how to be effective on the inside.
He also allowed himself to be pushed out of bounds on a late fourth-quarter drive where the offense was trying to take time off the clock. In fact, that came right after McCoy ran the same play and made sure he stayed in bounds.
That’s experience vs. inexperience right there.
Besides the Eagles’ pass defense, fortunately there weren’t many other highly concerning WTF! moments. They had one turnover on a fumble by Shady and were only penalized three times. They have been improving in these areas recently, which is a good sign if the team wants to continue winning.
If the defense can figure out how to defend crossing patterns and get more pressure on the QB, this Eagles team could turn into a solid competitor to make the playoffs. If not, offenses that are much better than Tampa’s will continue to shred us and force us to win shootouts.