Friday, April 18, 2014
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Second Take: Eagles-Chiefs

Here is Domo's Second Take on the Eagles-Chiefs game after reviewing the videotape: * Defensive coordinator Sean McDermott made it clear very early in Sunday’s game that he wasn’t going to treat Matt Cassel with kid gloves like he did Drew Brees. The Eagles, who seldom blitzed Brees in their 48-22 loss to the Saints, went after Cassel with 7 rushers on the Chiefs’ first two pass plays of the game.

Second Take: Eagles-Chiefs

LeSean McCoy fights for yards during a run in Sunday´s 34-14 win over the Kansas City Chiefs. ( David Maialetti / Staff Photographer )
LeSean McCoy fights for yards during a run in Sunday's 34-14 win over the Kansas City Chiefs. ( David Maialetti / Staff Photographer )

Here is Domo's Second Take on the Eagles-Chiefs game after reviewing the videotape:

* Defensive coordinator Sean McDermott made it clear very early in Sunday’s game that he wasn’t going to treat Matt Cassel with kid gloves like he did Drew Brees. The Eagles, who seldom blitzed Brees in their 48-22 loss to the Saints, went after Cassel with 7 rushers on the Chiefs’ first two pass plays of the game.

* The Eagles, whose loss to the Saints was littered with missed tackles, did a much better job of tackling in Sunday’s win. Strong safety Quintin Mikell set the tone on the first play of the game with a sure tackle on wide receiver Mark Bradley after a 4-yard completion.

* If you just looked at his rushing numbers Sunday – 7 carries for 3 yards in the first half, 38 yards on 19 carries for the game – it’d be easy to conclude that Chiefs running back Larry Johnson doesn’t have much gas left in his tank. But Johnson is a north-south power runner who needs to get to the line of scrimmage with a head of steam, and he seldom was able to do that Sunday as the Eagles continually got penetration into the Chiefs backfield. On a first-and-20 run by Johnson on the Chiefs’ first possession, Eagles d-linemen Brodrick Bunkley and Trent Cole both already were three yards into the backfield when Johnson took the handoff from Matt Cassel. They collaborated to drop Johnson for a one-yard loss.

* Fullback Leonard Weaver played a lot more Sunday than he did in either of the Eagles’ first two games. Weaver was on the field for 29 of the Birds’ 63 offensive plays, often lining him up as a wingback in the Wildcat a nd spread formations as well as in 2-back formations with LeSean McCoy. He only had one touch (1 reception for 9 yards), but blocked well. He had a big block that sprang LeSean McCoy for a 15-yard gain in the fourth quarter on the play before Brent Celek’s 35-yard touchdown catch.

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* McCoy got nice blocks from center Jamaal Jackson and right guard Max Jean-Gilles on his 11-yard cutback run on the Eagles’ first scoring drive.

* Vick took a pretty good lick from Chiefs linebacker Corey Mays on a first-and-goal incompletion at the KC 5-yard line in the first quarter. The Eagles had an extra offensive lineman in the game, but there was a mixup in blocking assignments and Mays came through untouched and popped Vick, who had to hurry his throw to Weaver.

* McCoy brought back memories of Duce Staley with his 5-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Staley seldom went down on20first contact. On his TD run off a direct snap, McCoy was hit at the 3, but spun away from the tackler and made it to the end zone.

* ndy Reid doesn’t let running backs on the field who can’t block. Fortunately for the Eagles, McCoy has quickly proved that he can. His first-quarter block on Mays gave Kevin Kolb enough time to hit DeSean Jackson with a 43-yard completion. He also had a nice block on Chiefs safety Mike Brown on Kolb’s 14-yard completion to tight end Brent Celek in the second quarter.

* Speaking of Celek, it’s not hard to understand why he’s become a popular target for Kolb and Donovan McNabb. He never drops the ball. Early in the second quarter, he caught a short pass from Kolb and was immediately drilled by Mays. He only gained one yard, but he hung on to the ball. L.J. Smith dropped more balls in a quarter than Celek has in his entire NFL career.

* Possibly inspired by Jeremiah Trotter’s workout with the Eagles last week, middle linebacker Omar Gaither had a solid game against the Chiefs. He was in on a team-high 9 tackles, recorded one of the Eagles’ three sacks and also had a hurry. He came right up the middle in the first quarter to nail Larry Johnson for a four-yard loss.

* I know I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again: Sheldon Brown is the best tackling cornerback in the league. He proved that again Sunday. Brought down wide receiver Mark Bradley after a four-yard completion in the first quarter and made another impressive stop on running back Jamaal Charles on a swing pass, holding him to a one-yard gain.

* Kolb’s near-interception in the second quarter appeared to be a miscommunication between he and wide receiver Reggie Brown. Brown cut inside. It looked like Kolb expected him to either cut outside or turn in front of cornerback Brandon Carr, who almost picked off the pass.

* I didn’t have a problem with Reid’s decision to go for it on fourth-and-1 at the Kansas City 44 early in the second quarter. I did have a problem with the play-call, though. He had Kolb roll to the right and try to hit Jackson on a sideline route. Even if the pass hadn’t been batted down at the line of scrimmage by Mike Vrabel, Chiefs cornerback Brandon Flowers had Jackson covered pretty well. Why not go with a direct snap to McCoy on the play?

* For the second straight game, a taller wide receiver took advantage of the Eagles’ small corners. Last week, it was the Saints’ 6-4 Marques Colston catching a touchdown pass over the outstretched arms of 5-9 Joselio Hanson. Sunday, the 6-1 Bradley caught a 13-yard touchdown pass over 5-9 Ellis Hobbs.

* On his 64-yard touchdown catch-and-run in the second quarter, DeSean Jackson lined up in the left slot. The Eagles were in a three-wide receiver set with Jeremy Maclin wide left and Jason Avant wide right. Jackson ran a quick slant, caught the ball and split two Chiefs defenders.

* On Vick’s second-quarter incompletion, he faked a handoff to McCoy and wanted to roll to the left. But Chiefs linebacker Tamba Hali cut him off and forced him to throw from the pocket, which was what most teams tried to do to Vick when he played for the Falcons (see Eagles’ NFC Championship Game win over Vick and the Falcons). He is much better passer outside the pocket than inside of it. He ended up throwing a low pass to Jason Avant.

* Vick made a poor read on a spread-option play in the second quarter. Handed the ball off to Jeremy Maclin, who was stopped for a one-yard loss. If he had kept the ball, he had a lot of room to run up the middle.

* Officially, the Eagles didn’t give up a sack Sunday. Unofficially, they gave up one in the second quarter when Chiefs cornerback Donald Washington sacked Kolb on a third-and-four play at the Eagles 45. But Washington was flagged for a facemask penalty on the play, which wiped out the sack and gave the Eagles a first down. They ended up getting a field goal on the drive.

* Kolb almost got Maclin killed on a pass late in the second quarter. On a third-and-6 at the Kansas City 11, Kolb tried to hit Maclin at the goal line as he was running across the middle. But the pass was thrown behind the rookie, who then got nailed in the back by Chiefs safety Mike Brown.

* Quintin Mikell and Sheldon Brown had missed tackles on Larry Johnson’s 14-yard run late in the third quarter. On the very next play, Bradley gained 22 yards on a reverse. Linebackers Omar Gaither and Ak eem Jordan both got sealed off on the play and couldn’t get outside to stop Bradley. Cornerback Ellis Hobbs also couldn’t get off a block by Chiefs wide receiver Terrance Copper. Not a particularly impressive day for Hobbs, who also gave up that TD pass to Bradley.

* DeSean Jackson’s 9-yard catch for a first down on a third-and-5 play early in the fourth quarter came out of a four-wide receiver set. Maclin, Avant and Brown all lined up on the right side. Jackson was the only receiver on the left side, isolated on cornerback Brandon Carr. He ran a quick slant in front of Carr and made an excellent catch despite good coverage by Carr.
 

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To read our report from Andy Reid's press conference, click here.

To read, the Morning After, click here.

Paul Domowitch Daily News NFL Columnist
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