Friday, May 29, 2015

Keeping Donovan safe

With Donovan McNabb likely to be hampered by a bruised chest Sunday night, keeping pressure off him and avoiding the big hits have to be bigger priorities than usual for the Eagles.

Keeping Donovan safe

With Donovan McNabb likely to be hampered by a bruised chest Sunday night, keeping pressure off him and avoiding the big hits have to be bigger priorities than usual for the Eagles.

To that end comes this stat from the Bears' loss to Tampa Bay: Brian Griese attempted 67 passes and was not sacked once.

It was the first time the Bears have had no sacks in a game since a 17-13 loss to New England on Nov. 26, 2006.

"It does have to be [more accountable]," Bears coach Lovie Smith said of the defensive line in his day-after news conference, according to the Chicago Tribune. "Everything starts up front. … We haven't gone many games without a sack around here. I'll just say that."

However, the Bears did force four turnovers and did have a 10-point lead late in the game before the wheels came off.

HESTER WATCH

Given the Eagles' problems in return coverage, a big story line this week ordinarily would be facing Devin Hester. However, Hester missed the Tampa game with a rib injury and his status for Sunday night is unknown.

The Bears' replacements handled things pretty well against Tampa: Danieal Manning returned four kickoffs for 108 yards, including a 46-yarder, and Nathan Vasher had three punt returns for 25 yards.

A week after Felix Jones put up big numbers in the return game for Dallas against the Eagles, the Steelers had three kickoff returns and averaged 24 yards per return. The longest return was 26 yards. Punt returns were not much of a factor because of the outstanding day that Sav Rocca had for the Birds.

ANOTHER LOOK AT THE DEFENSE

In reviewing the play-by-play from Sunday's game against Pittsburgh, two consecutive series late in the first half really summed up just how good a defensive performance the Eagles had, and both these drives could have been better without defensive penalties.

Pittsburgh got the ball with 9:23 left in the second quarter on their own 33, following another Eagles special teams penalty.

1st down-and-10: Roethlisberger sacked for -2 by J. Parker

2-12: W. Parker runs right tackle for 8

3-4: Defensive delay of game, 5-yard penalty. No play.

1-10: Roethlisberger sacked for 0 by Bunkley

2-10: Roethlisberger complete to Washington for 7

3-3: Roethlisberger sacked for 6 by J. Parker. Fumbles, recovered by Bunkley

The Eagles take over and drive for a David Akers field goal. After the kickoff, Pittsburgh gets the ball back with 2:36 left in the half at their own 24

1-10: Roethlisberger sacked for -6 by J. Parker, Patterson

2-16: Roethlisberger sacked for -4 by Cole. Facemask penalty on Cole

1-10: False start penalty on Pittsburgh. No play

1-15: Roethlisberger pass intended for Washington intercepted by Samuel

That would be eight plays, two turnovers, five sacks. Amazing.

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Eagletarian is your home for comprehensive coverage of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Les Bowen Daily News Staff Writer
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