Sorry for the delay. The Greyhound bus I took back from Oakland broke down in Des Moines. A busted crank shaft. Anyway, here’s a delayed day-after look at some of the more pertinent aspects of the Eagles’ ugly 13-9 loss to the Raiders:
THE SIX SACKS
Donovan McNabb was sacked 6 times by the Raiders, which was as many as the Eagles had allowed in their first four games. It also was the most times No. 5 has been decked since the 12-sack nightmare against the Giants in 2007.
The First: 12:45 left in the first quarter. Eagles 0, Raiders 0. Third-and-7 at the Philadelphia 31. Eagles line up in a 3-WR, 1-TE, 1-RB set. Raiders overload the right side, leaving the Eagles with two blockers -- TE Brent Celek and RT Winston Justice -- to block three rushers. Celek gets beat by DE Trevor Scott and LB Thomas Howard comes through the gap between Celek and Justice. Scott sacks Donovan McNabb for an 11-yard loss and the Eagles are forced to punt.
The Second: 8:15 left in the first quarter. Eagles 0, Raiders 0. Third-and-11 at the Philadelphia 41. Eagles line up in 3-WR, 1-TE, 1-RB set. Scott is lined up at LE and Greg Ellis is lined up at LT. They run a stunt with Scott coming inside behind Ellis. Eagles RG Max Jean-Gilles is slow to react and doesn’t slide over in time to pick up Scott, who sacks McNabb for an 8-yard loss. Eagles are forced to punt.
The Third: 4:30 left in the second quarter. Raiders 10, Eagles 3. Third-and-10 at the Oakland 27. Eagles line up in 4-WR, 1-RB, 0-TE set. Raiders brought five rushers, including safety Tyvon Branch. Seymour was one-on-one against LT King Dunlap, who replaced injured Jason Peters. He drove Dunlap backward all the way to McNabb, dropping the quarterback for an 8-yard loss. Eagles are forced to punt.
The Fourth: Twenty-seven seconds left in the second quarter. Raiders 10, Eagles 3. First-and-15 at the Oakland 20. Michael Vick lines up as a WR and goes in motion left-to-right across the formation. LG Nick Cole, who should’ve been called for a false start, kicks out early, creating a gap between himself and C Jamaal Jackson, which Seymour uses as a highway to McNabb. He sacks him for a 5-yard loss. McNabb spikes the ball to stop the clock and the Eagles settle for a field goal.
The Fifth: 8:19 left in the third quarter. Raiders 10, Eagles 6. Second-and-2 at the Philadelphia 48. Eagles line up in 1-WR, 2-RB, 2-TE set with DeSean Jackson, the only wideout, split right and both TEs lined up on the left side. Alex Smith chipped RE Jay Richardson to the inside, where C Jamaal Jackson should have picked him up. But Jackson, LG Nick Cole and LT Winston Justice all ended up blocking the same man, DT Gerard Warren. Richardson sacked McNabb for a 13-yard loss.
The Sixth: 9:41 left in the fourth quarter. Raiders 13, Eagles 6. Third-and-7 at the Philadelphia 26. Eagles in 3-WR, 1-RB, 1-TE set. Raiders line up in 3-man front, with Matt Shaughnessy at LE. Shaughnessy rushes to the inside, where he is picked up by RT Max Jean-Gilles. LBs Trevor Scott, Thomas Howard and Kirk Morrison then all blitz behind him, leaving the Eagles with just two blockers – TE Brent Celek and RT Winston Justice – to try to take care of 3 rushers. Justice didn’t succeed in blocking any of them. He was late picking up Howard, who, along with Morrison, sacked McNabb for 8-yard loss.
Rookie running back LeSean McCoy didn’t have a very good game. He rotated on a series-by-series basis with Brian Westbrook in the first half, but in the second half, Westbrook got the bulk of the snaps.
McCoy rushed for just 13 yards on 5 carries and didn’t have any receptions, dropping one of the two passes thrown in his direction. He fumbled for the second time this season in the first quarter when Raiders DE Richard Seymour knocked the ball out of his grasp on a play at the Philadelphia 11. Fortunately for the Eagles, Jamaal Jackson recovered the loose ball.
McCoy also failed to pick up a blitz by Raiders LB Thomas Howard on a third-and-2 play at the Oakland 27 with 4½ minutes left in the first quarter. McNabb had Alex Smith open, but was hit by Howard as he threw the ball, forcing an errant throw. The Eagles had to settle for an Akers field goal.
If you blinked, you missed him. Mr. Wildcat was on the field for just two plays the whole game. He lined up at WR in a two-RB set (Westbrook and FB Leonard Weaver) on the Eagles’ fifth offensive play and took a handoff from McNabb. But nobody bothered to block Raiders middle linebacker Kirk Morrison, who came in untouched and tackled Vick for a 4-yard loss. Failing to block guys was a problem the Eagles’ offensive line had all day.
Vick’s only other appearance came in the final seconds of the first half. On first-and-10 at the Oakland 15 with 35 seconds left in the half and the Eagles out of timeouts, Andy Reid sent Vick into the game late. Not realizing he was out of timeouts, McNabb tried to call one. The Eagles were penalized five yards for delay of game. Vick stayed on the field for the next play, lining up at wide receiver and going in motion. It’s possible McNabb was going to throw the ball to him, but we’ll never know since 5 was sacked on the play.
ZACH MILLER'S 86-YARD TD
Raiders coach Tom Cable apparently didn’t get Andy Reid’s memo about not throwing the ball on first down when Jeremiah Trotter is on the field.
With Trotter at middle linebacker late in the first quarter, the Raiders ran a play-action fake to Justin Fargas. Trotter bit on the fake. Even in his prime, he never was a great change-of-direction guy. Now, at 32, well, Miller was five yards past him by the time he was able to spin around and give chase.
That said, this still should’ve been no worse than a 30-yard completion. Cornerback Asante Samuel, whose tackling deficiencies are quickly canceling out his nose for interceptions, had a clear shot at Miller shortly after he caught the ball. He ended up not only whiffing on Miller, but then cutting the legs out from under Trotter, who was about to catch Miller from behind.
Quintin Mikell had a shot at him near midfield, but wide receiver Louis Murphy took him out before he could get to the tight end. Cornerback Ellis Hobbs should’ve stopped Miller at the 10-yard line. But he comes from the same Patriot School of Tackling as Samuel. Murphy, who stayed on his feet after laying out Mikell, was able to get downfield and easily seal Hobbs off, who didn’t really seem to want to get in Miller’s way.
Samuel also contributed to another Raiders score in the second quarter when he was baited into an inexcusable unnecessary roughness penalty by Murphy that set up the first of Sebastian Janikowski’s two field goals.
AWFUL CLOCK MANAGEMENT AT END OF FIRST HALF
Trailing 10-3, the Eagles had an excellent scoring opportunity late in the first half after Quintin Mikell’s interception and 16-yard return gave them the ball at the Oakland 40 with 1:53 left in the first half.
Even with no timeouts left after inexplicably wasting their final one on the previous possession, they had more than enough time to engineer a scoring drive. But they were only able to run six plays, including a spike to stop the clock with 11 seconds left before settling for a 43-yard Akers field goal.
They had the ball at the Oakland 23 with 1:27 left after a 3-yard completion to fullback Leonard Weaver, but didn’t get the next play off until there was 1:05 left. Then it took another 20 seconds to get the play after that off. Two plays in 53 seconds when you’re supposed to be in your hurry-up offense.
A 4-yard sideline completion to DeSean Jackson gave the Eagles a first down at the Oakland 15 and stopped the clock. It was then that Reid curiously decided to dust off Michael Vick for just the second time in the game. But it took so long to get the right personnel on the field and the play called that there were only 3 seconds left on the play clock as the Eagles lined up. McNabb, realizing he wouldn’t be able to get the play off on time, tried to call timeout, forgetting, of course, that he didn’t have any of those babies left.
After being penalized for delay of game, the Eagles then ran the same play they had planned to run before the penalty, with Vick in motion as a wide receiver. But it blew up before it ever got off the ground when Seymour ran by Cole and sacked McNabb for a 5-yard loss. The Eagles ended up having to settle for an Akers field goal.
BY THE NUMBERS
* The Eagles converted just 2 of 16 third-down opportunities against the Raiders. It was their most pathetic third-down performance since October 28, 2001, when they converted just 1 of 11 third-down tries in a 20-10 loss to the same Raiders. For what it’s worth, the Eagles went on to win 8 of their next 10 that year, capture their first NFC East title and make the first of 5 trips to the NFC Championship Game.
* The Eagles were 0-for-8 Sunday on third-and-10 or more. Five games into the season, they have yet to convert a third down of 10 yards or more. They are 0-for-15. In fact, they have converted just 27.4 percent of their third-down situations of more than three yards (14-for-51).
* Rookie running back LeSean McCoy already has fumbled twice in his first five games. Brian Westbrook has fumbled just 7 times in the last 5-plus seasons.
* Westbrook had 141 rushing and receiving yards in Sunday’s loss. That’s the most he’s had since Week 14 of last season when he had 203 yards from scrimmage in a 20-14 win over the Giants. Westbrook had 39 touches in that game, though. He had just 15 against the Raiders.