Paul Domowitch's Eagles-Falcons Second Take
Some day-after observations after looking at the tape from the Eagles’ 34-7 win over the Falcons:
* LeSean McCoy ran the ball 6 times Sunday. Just one of those 6 carries gained more than 2 yards (4). The other 5: 0, -3, 1, 2, -2. In his previous five games, the rookie had averaged 4.94 yards per carry.
* The Eagles have had 57 offensive scoring drives this season. Thirty-one have resulted in touchdowns, 26 in field goals. Just 26 of those 57 drives have been 7 plays or more, 16 of which have resulted in field goals and just 10 in touchdowns. They’ve had 15 touchdown drives of 4 plays or less, including 8 of 1 or 2 plays.
* Donovan McNabb completed just 2 of 7 passes in the red zone against the Falcons, including a 4-yard TD pass to Leonard Weaver. For the season, McNabb has completed just 15 of 37 passes in the red zone. On the plus side, none of his 6 interceptions this season have been in the red zone.
* McNabb’s regular-season numbers since his benching in Baltimore last November: an 11-4 record, .622 completion percentage, 7.43 yards per attempt, 25 touchdowns, 7 interceptions.
* The 12-game breakdown on percentage of receptions for first downs: Jeremy Maclin (29 of 46, 63.0 percent), Jason Avant (22 of 35, 62.8), DeSean Jackson (26 of 44, 59.0), Brent Celek (29of 56, 51.8) and Reggie Brown (2 of 5, 40.0).
* Falcons ended up with 22 first downs and 295 total yards Sunday, but 7 of those first downs and 99 of those total yards came on their last drive after Eagles defensive coordinator Sean McDermott had taken out many of his regulars.
* For just the third time this season, Trent Cole didn’t have a sack. But he still had a very good game. The Eagles right end was perpetually disrupting the Falcons’ max-protection for quarterback Chris Redman and forcing hurried throws.
* I understand Donovan McNabb’s desire to stay healthy, but now that his fractured rib is pretty much healed, he needs to be more willing to run when the opportunity presents itself. On the Eagles’ first possession Sunday, he had an opportunity to pick up a first down on a second-and-6 inside the Atlanta 20 after scrambling out of the pocket. There was no one close to him. He could have picked up the first down and gotten out of bounds untouched. Instead, he elected to make a tough throw to tight end Brent Celek in the end zone, who was covered by Falcons linebacker Mike Peterson. A little later, with the Eagles pinned against their own goal line, he took off up the middle for a 16-yard gain. McNabb has just 11 rushing attempts in the last 6 games, and most of those have been either kneel-downs or quarterback sneaks.
* Tight end Tony Gonzalez had 8 catches for 72 yards against the Eagles. But those numbers are deceiving. He had just 2 catches for 13 yards in the first half when the game still was close. Three of his 8 receptions came on the Falcons’ meaningless fourth-quarter scoring drive after Sean McDermott had pulled several of his starters.
*Victor Abiamiri was the Eagles’ starting left end for the first 5 games, then missed three games with a knee injury. Since coming back, his playing time has been limited. Juqua Parker has started the last six games at left end and has taken most of the snaps there. When he’s needed a blow, Sean McDermott has replaced him with Jason Babin rather than Abiamiri. Abiamiri’s only snaps have been coming as a nickel tackle.
Did you notice?
* Jeremy Maclin injured his foot when he was tackled by punter Michael Koenen after a 20-yard return in the first quarter. Maclin missed the first two plays of the Eagles’ first possession, then returned to the game.
* The nice trap block by tight end Alex Smith on Leonard Weaver’s 17-yard run in the second quarter.
* Jason Peters’ game-ending injury, which may be a concussion or may be a stinger or may be a shoulder injury or may be malaria, occurred when he tried to cut-block Falcons right end John Abraham on a third-and-6 play early in the second quarter
* The poor throw by McNabb to Jeremy Maclin on the play in which Peters got hurt.
* Maclin zoomed by middle linebacker Curtis Lofton like he was standing still on his 56-yard catch-and-run in the second quarter.
* The costly hands-to-the-face penalty on Eagles right guard Max Jean-Gilles that negated a 15-yard McNabb-to-Jason Avant touchdown pass. Jean-Gilles wasn’t even discreet about it. He took Falcons defensive tackle Vance Walker’s helmet off.
* Darren Howard was credited with the Eagles’ first sack of Chris Redman, but it was the outside rush of linebacker Will Witherspoon that forced Redman up in the pocket and into Howard’s waiting arms. Trent Cole had dropped off into coverage on the play.
* The impressive cutback move by Leonard Weaver on his 12-yard run early in the third quarter.
* How far away from his body LeSean McCoy was holding the ball on a third-quarter screen pass. He was lucky he didn’t fumble.
The goal-line stand
* Second-and-goal at Philadelphia 1. Running back Jason Snelling takes a direct snap from center. Defensive tackles Brodrick Bunkley and Antonio Dixon both get backfield penetration and blow up the play. Snelling is tackled for no gain.
* Third-and-goal at Philadelphia 1. Snelling takes a handoff from Chris Redman, but Dixon again led a backfield charge along with Darren Howard that stopped the running back for a 1-yard loss.
* Fourth-and-goal at Philadelphia 2. Falcons line up in an `I’ formation with Snelling behind fullback Ogie Mughelli. Middle linebacker Jeremiah Trotter blew threw the `A’ gap and took out Mughelli. Dixon also got penetration once again. Linebacker Will Witherspoon tripped up Snelling at the 3, and safety Quinton Mikell finished the job at the 1.
Some highlights from Andy Reid's news conference today:
On DeSean Jackson: "He's doing well as far as his headaches. We'll meet with the doctors."
On Jason Peters: "He's being evaluated. Right now, he has a shoulder contusion. He has a stinger, or a dinger, I'm not sure what category that goes in. He's doing well. He wanted to go back in the game."
On Brian Westbrook: "Brian Westbrook is feeling well. He hasn't had any headaches and he'll be tested in the next couple of days. There is a chance he'll be out there practicing."
On the number of Eagles fans in Atlanta: "The fan support was awesome. It amazes me that when we go on the road how much support we get. A good road win. Any road win is a good win in the National Football League."
On Joselio Hanson: "He's back. He'll be with us Wednesday. We'll have to make a move to get him active. I want to see what kind of shape he is in. He's a hard worker, but we'll have to see. He's missed a month."
On the Eagles offense: "Offensively, I thought we executed well for the most part. A few spurts there where we didn't play as well. Good to get Michael [Vick] in there. He handled himself with a lot of poise. He had a chance to talk to his teammates after the game and he thanked them for his support."
On Jeremy Maclin, who has plantar fasciitis : "Yeah it is [on-going]. It's a minor thing. It bothered him on the turf yesterday. He's fine. By the time I'm done being a head coach, I'll be qualified enough to be a doctor."
Also, the Eagles announced that cornerback Ellis Hobbs underwent a successful anterior cervical decompression and fusion for a herniated disk. The procedure was performed at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital by Dr. Alexander R. Vaccaro. Hobbs is expected to make a full recovery. He was placed on injured reserve on Nov. 11.