Domo's Eagles-Ravens Day-After Dissection
The Philadelphia Daily News - Eagletarian
Domo's Eagles-Ravens Day-After Dissection
Paul Domowitch, Daily News NFL Columnist
Breaking down the Eagles’ 24-23 win over the Ravens while wondering how much time Ed Hochuli is spending in the weight room during the officiating lockout:
--In Week 1, the Browns, who don’t usually blitz a lot, blitzed a lot against Michael Vick. The strategy proved to be very effective. Vick had a 49.9 passer rating when the Browns blitzed, completing just 8 of 17 passes for 135 yards, no TDs, one interception and two sacks. On Sunday then, it seemed logical to expect the Ravens, who do blitz a lot, to blitz an awful lot. Curiously, they didn’t. They sent extra rushers after the Eagles quarterback just nine times the entire game. When they did, Vick and the Eagles handled it much better than they did the week before. While both of Vick’s sacks came against blitzes, he completed 5 of 7 passes for 82 yards and had a 110.4 passer rating on the few occasions that the Ravens sent extra rushers. His numbers when the Ravens didn’t blitz: 18-for-25, 289 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs.
--If it seemed like rookie defensive tackle Fletcher Cox was on the field a lot Sunday, it’s because he was. He played 51 of 65 snaps, which was the most by any Eagles defensive lineman. The snap counts for the Eagles’ other three defensive tackles: Derek Landri (37), Cullen Jenkins (32) and Cedric Thornton (22). Trent Cole (48) and Jason Babin (44) took the lion’s share of the snaps at defensive end, followed by Darryl Tapp (23), Phillip Hunt (15) and Brandon Graham (9).
--The Ravens rushed for 111 yards on 21 carries against the Eagles. But 59 of those yards came on two second-quarter carries by Ray Rice. They had just one other carry of more than six yards the whole day. Rice had just 21 yards on nine carries in the second half. One hundred fifty-three of the 210 rushing yards the Eagles have allowed in their first two games have come in the second quarter. They’ve held opponents to 33 yards on 17 carries (1.9 yards per carry) in the second half.
--The Eagles converted 7 of 15 third-down opportunities against the Ravens. Vick was a big reason why. He was 8-for-10 for 101 yards and one TD on third down. His fourth-quarter numbers Sunday: 5-for-8, 87 yards.
--Four of Vick’s six interceptions in the first two games were intended for tight ends Brent Celek and Clay Harbor. The other two were targeted for Jeremy Maclin.
--Of the 39 points the Eagles have given up in their first two games, 26 have come following turnovers. Just two opponent scoring drives have been longer than 48 yards so far.
--Before center Jason Kelce’s third-quarter knee injury Sunday, the Eagles had averaged 3.4 yards per carry and Vick had completed 12 of 15 passes for 167 yards. After his injury, they averaged 2.7 yards per carry and Vick was 11-for-17 for 204 yards. The only statistic that really matters, though, is that the Eagles outscored the Ravens, 17-6, after Kelce got hurt.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
--Despite the fact that the starters on both sides of him went down with injuries, left guard Evan Mathis had a solid performance Sunday. Yes, he got called for two penalties – holding and a false start. But he had key blocks on LeSean McCoy’s and Michael Vick’s touchdown runs. On Vick’s game-winning one-yard scoring run, Mathis and McCoy took out linebacker Jameel McClain, center Dallas Reynolds blocked 345-pound Ma’ake Kemoetu and left tackle Demetress Bell did a nice job on All-Pro Haloti Ngata to open a lane for Vick.
--You saw further proof of Ray Lewis’s eroding skills on Vick’s touchdown run. The 37-year-old linebacker was a step slow getting to the hole, which allowed the Eagles’ quarterback to get into the end zone. A few years ago, he would have been there in plenty of time to thwart Vick.
--Defensive end Jason Babin forgot to play the run on the way to the quarterback on Vonta Leach’s five-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter. Babin rushed straight up the field, leaving a huge running lane for Leach.
--Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha had a tough day against the Ravens. He gave up a 21-yard touchdown pass to Jacoby Jones and twice was flagged for illegal contact. He gave up a second TD pass to Jones, but it was negated by a legit offensive pass interference call on Jones. Asomugha seems to have difficulty adjusting when the ball is in the air. On the TD pass to Jones, when he turned around to find the ball, he veered away from Jones, giving the Ravens wide receiver enough room to make the catch.
--Vick never has shown great pocket awareness. But he did a nice job late in the second quarter of stepping up to avoid linebacker Jameel McClain, and then hitting tight end Brent Celek for a 28-yard completion.
--Andy Reid said Monday that King Dunlap likely will be the starting left tackle again as soon as he recovers from his hamstring injury. I’ll believe it when I see it. Before he got hurt Sunday, Dunlap wasn’t playing all that well. He was flagged for holding and missed the block on cornerback Lardarius Webb that led to McCoy’s second-quarter fumble. Demetress Bell likely will start Sunday, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he starts the 13 games after that.
--How did Jeremy Maclin get so wide open on his 23-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter? Well, cornerback Cary Williams, who was initially covering Maclin, passed him off to safety Ed Reed when Vick started scrambling toward the left sideline. But Reed had already come up to defend against a Vick run, leaving no one to cover Maclin.
--No. 2 tight end Clay Harbor had just one reception against the Ravens, but it was a big one. With the Eagles facing a second-and-14 at the Baltimore 25 on their final possession, Harbor, who was matched up against Ravens safety James Ihedigbo, came across the field and hauled in a 20-yard completion that gave the Eagles a first-and-goal at the five-yard line. A roughing the passer penalty by Arthur Jones on the play moved the ball to the 2. Three plays later, Vick scored the go-ahead touchdown.
--What happened on that incompletion that was initially ruled a fumble on the play before Vick’s touchdown? Well, Vick ran a sprint-out to the left and there was a miscommunication on who was supposed to block whom. Both left tackle Demetress Bell and left guard Evan Mathis blocked linebacker Courtney Upshaw, which left Haloti Ngata unblocked and with a clear path to Vick.