The Philadelphia Eagles dominated the Carolina Panthers by winning at all three phases of the game. The offense, defense and special teams all converged into one “team” to put a beating on the opponent.
This was the type of game that was fun to watch. Besides the Giants, the rest of the games this season have been close enough to where you’re never really comfortable throughout the game.
It was nice to enjoy that while we could because a much tougher game comes this week.
On to the things I liked about the game…
1. Mark Sanchez. In his first start since 2012, he played a pretty good game in throwing for 332 yards, two TDs and most importantly, no turnovers.
It was like night and day seeing how Sanchez operated in the pocket as compared to Foles. He moves quicker, navigates the pocket better and stops to re-set his feet when he passes. He made good decisions with the ball for the most part (sans the near INT on the sideline).
He also made some really nice throws. The pass to Brent Celek down to the goal line was a thing of beauty. It was an impressive debut start for the much-maligned QB, but the key will be to see him play that way consistently.
2. Jordan Matthews had the best game of his young career. He posted seven catches for 138 yards and two TDs. He will be a starter next year and possibly even be the No. 1 depending on what happens with Maclin.
3. Brent Celek. It was good to see him getting involved in the passing game again. Before Monday night where he posted a 5/116 stat line, he had just 14 catches for 90 yards in the previous eight games combined.
4. Connor Barwin. After his 3.5 sack performance, he now is tied for second in the NFL with 10.5 sacks on the season. The man just has a motor that will not stop!
5. The defense. As a unit, this group had nine sacks, five takeaways and scored on a pick-six. That’s 14 total impact plays! The best part is that 10 different players contributed to that either by getting a sack, an INT or recovering a fumble.
Great team effort by the defense!
6. The Special Teams. This unit just continues to surprise and excite me. With Sproles returning punts, it makes me feel that there’s a chance for a great return every time. Chip Kelly really did an excellent job in overhauling this unit, they’re making quite an impact.
There was a lot to like about the game, but those were the standouts to me. There were also some things I didn’t like about the game. I hate to be nit-picky, but there were some things I wished would have been better…
1. Don’t let up on defense. They allowed two garbage time big plays for TDs after calling off the dogs and allowed the score to appear closer than the game ever was. I hate that…complete the domination for a full 60 minutes.
2. The run game. The Panthers were 26th in the NFL in rush defense yet the offense couldn’t get it going on the ground. As a team, they ran 23 times for a total of 37 yards. That’s horrendous and must improve…quickly.
3. LeSean McCoy. He goes hand-in-hand with the running game overall, but he in particular seems to be lacking something this year. Not sure what the deal is with him just one year after winning the NFL rushing title.
Is it the offensive line? Are defenses keying on the run more to force the QB to beat them? Is he lacking confidence? Is he bothered by the emergence of Sproles? It could be any or all of that, but ultimately we aren’t seeing the same “Shady” this year so far.
4. Where is Zach Ertz? This was supposed to be his breakout season and he’s been hardly involved at all. I’m starting to wonder if he’s falling out of favor with the coaches. Two catches for 21 yards in the last two games combined…get this man more involved.
5. The confusion on offense. There were a few times where Sanchez and his receiver were clearly not on the same page and players not lining up in proper position. That can be expected when starting a new QB, but it’s something that should be ironed out.
6. Time of possession. I don’t care what Chip Kelly says about it, it IS important…especially when the stakes rise in games as the season goes along. In a game they completely dominated, they still only had the ball for 21:55.
If they let Aaron Rodgers have the ball for 38 minutes, we will be on the opposite end of Monday Night’s score.
7. The officials not being in a position to officiate. Did you catch that last night? The offense had to slow down because the slow-ass officials couldn’t get themselves into a “position to officiate” before the snap.
Move your ass!