Eagles Second Take: Saints

The Eagles ran a total of nine plays out of the Wildcat formation against the Saints. (Yong Kim / Staff Photographer)

Each Monday, Daily News pro football writer Paul Domowitch will provide his "Second Take" on the Eagles game after watching the tape of the game. Here are his day-after observations ...

* The main reason that Victor Abiamiri is starting at left end instead of Juqua Parker is because Abiamiri is bigger and better able to defend the run on first and second down than Parker. But he didn’t defend the run all that well on Sunday. He failed to protect the backside on Robert Meachum’s 15-yard end-around on the Saints’ first possession, came too far inside on Mike Bell’s 23-yard first-quarter run, and got sealed off by tackle Zach Strief on Bell’s 7-yard third-quarter touchdown run that gave the Saints a 31-13 lead.

* Abiamiri made a nice play on Akeem Jordan’s second-quarter interception. Drew Brees ran a bootleg, but Abiamiri stayed in front of him with his hands up, forcing an inaccurate throw that the athletic Jordan was able to tip with his right hand and then catch.

* Kolb’s three poorest – and costliest -- passes Sunday were: a) missing an open DeSean Jackson on third-and-six from his own 8 with a minute-and-a-half left in the first half, which forced the Eagles to give the ball back to the Saints, who then quickly scored to go ahead 17-10; b) the interception early in the third quarter right after Ellis Hobbs’ fumble that gift-wrapped yet another Saints TD; and c) throwing behind an open Brian Westbrook on a third-and-six play at his own 10 in the third quarte r after the Saints went up 31-13. Westbrook, who was flexed out wide to the left on the play, was matched up against middle linebacker Jon Vilma and beat him on a crossing route. But the ball wasn’t catchable.

* Besides running the Wildcat nine times against the Saints with Jackson (5), Westbrook (3) and Jeremy Maclin (1) taking the direct snap, they also ran three read-option plays with Kolb at quarterback.

* Defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley had a big hand in Trent Cole’s first-quarter sack of Brees. Cole circled around Saints left tackle Jermon Bushrod and sacked Brees from behind. But Bunkley’s pressure up the middle forced Brees to step back into Cole.

* Strongside linebacker Chris Gocong, who had a good game against Carolina in Week 1, didn’t play nearly as well against the Saints. He took a bad angle on a first-quarter blitz that left a gaping hole between he and left end Victor Abiamiri, which Mike Bell ran through for a 23-yard gain. On the same drive, he also was slow to close on Reggie Bush on a pass play, allowing a nine-yard gain.

* Cornerback Sheldon Brown proved once again late in the first quarter why he is one of the best tackling cornerbacks in the NFL. On a third-and-goal play from the Philadelphia 8, Brees threw a quick pass to the left side to wide receiver Marques Colston. Brown, who was the only defender standing between Colston and a touchdown, dragged him down and held him to a three-yard gain, forcing the Saints to settle for a John Carney field goal. The fact that the guy on the other side, Asante Samuel, may be the worst tackling corner in the league, makes you appreciate Brown even more.

* Speaking of Samuel, the only thing more exasperating than his bad tackling is his refusal to get up in a wide receiver’s grill, which frustrated the late Jim Johnson to no end. He prefers to play off rece ivers. But his ultra-soft coverage against Devery Henderson on a third-and-12 play early in the second quarter was ridiculous. Henderson gained 17 yards on the play and picked up the first down before Samuel even touched him.

* Tight end Brent Celek, who had a team-high 8 receptions, had three impressive second-effort plays on the 15-play, second-quarter drive that set up David Akers’ first field goal. He gained five yards and a first down on the first one, picking up four of those yards with cornerback Jabari Greer draped on him. Picked up nine and another first down on the second one, dragging linebacker Scott Shanle for the final four yards. On an 11-yard catch later in the drive, he picked up the final three yards with three tacklers attached to him.

* Kolb also was trying to get the ball to Celek on the third-and-goal pass from the 5 that defensive end Anthony Hargrove batted down and nearly intercepted. Celek was open at the 3 on the play and would’ve needed to only beat middle linebacker Jon Vilma to muscle into th e end zone.

* The 6-4 Colston was Plaxico-like on his 25-yard second-quarter touchdown catch that put the Saints up 17-10. He ran right up the seam with the Eagles’ 5-9 nickel corner Joselio Hanson matching him stride for stride. But Brees put the throw up high so that Colston could use his height advantage over Hanson. Eagles free safety Macho H arris blitzed on the play, but running back Reggie Bush picked him up, giving Brees the time to get the ball to Colston.

* Ellis Hobbs wouldn’t have fumbled the opening second-half kickoff if he hadn’t run into teammate Leonard Weaver. It slowed him up enough to allow the Saints’ Malcolm Jenkins to catch him from behind and knock the ball loose.

* Sheldon Brown not only had excellent coverage on Devery Henderson on Henderson’s 38-yard third-quarter reception, but also had a handful of Henderson’s jersey. Brees let go of the perfectly thrown ball just as Darren Howard and Omar Gaither hit him.


For our earlier post, with coverage of Andy Reid's press conference and Donovan McNabb's comments, click here.