Sunday, April 26, 2015

Eagles-Panthers second quarter observations

CHARLOTTE -- Second quarter observations from the Eagles-Panthers game:

Eagles-Panthers second quarter observations

CHARLOTTE -- Second quarter observations from the Eagles-Panthers game:

-- Wow. Did anybody see this coming? Are the Eagles that good or are the Panthers -- and Jake Delhomme -- that bad? Methinks it's a little bit of both.

-- This game turned in the second quarter and the offense really didn't have much to do with the first-half blowout. Trent Cole got things started when he sacked Jake Delhomme and forced a fumble. Cole was lined up as a "Joker" -- a standing end -- in the middle and rushed the quarterback with linebacker Omar Gaither. Gaither was picked up but Cole wasn't and zoomed into Delhomme, punching the ball out of the quarterback's grasp. Victor Abiamiri scooped up the football and ran two yards for the score. Eagles, 10-7.

-- DeSean Jackson got this party started with a 85-yard, high-stepping punt return for a touchdown. It looked like Carolina punter Jason Baker out-kicked his coverage and Jackson just took advantage of all that space. He darted past two defenders, side-stepped Baker and danced the last 30 yards into the end zone. It was the second-longest TD punt return in team history. Via Sikahema has the mark with a 87-yard jaunt from 1992. Eagles, 17-7.

-- Delhomme picked up from where he left off last season when he threw five interceptions against Arizona in the playoffs. He tosses another one to Sheldon Brown, who stepped in front of Steve Smith and returned the pick 37 yards. Guess Brown hopes to get that new contract another way -- by playing his way into one. One play later, Donovan McNabb and Brent Celek hooked up for a 9-yard TD. Jackson, though, was called for an unsportsmanlike penalty when he did a celebratory flop in the end zone. Easy now, DeSean, only one guy can celebrate that way. Eagles, 24-7.

-- A nice debut for Eagles defensive coordinator Sean McDermott, wouldn't you say? The Eagles front seven has constantly been in Delhomme's grill. Akeem Jordan sacks the quarterback on a blitz and the Panthers are forced to punt again.

-- The Eagles offense gets in on the fray and puts together a nice, 10-play 74-yard drive. Brian Westbrook is still Brian Westbrook, thank you very much. The tailback had four carries for 38 yards, plus a four-yard TD reception when McNabb flipped a shovel pass to Westbrook. The romp is on and Panthers fans are filing down the aisles and out of Bank of America Stadium. Eagles, 31-7.

-- Andy Reid had his first challenge of the season when he tossed his red hankie when the refs ruled that Eagles running back LeSean McCoy fumbled. It was fairly clear that McCoy was down. Score one for Big Red, who hasn't been too successful with his challenges in the past. He kept the drive alive and the Eagles scored three plays later on Westbrook's TD.

-- Eagles guard Max Jean-Gilles left with a left knee sprain. His return was probable.

-- Some first half numbers:

McNabb, 8 of 15 for 71 yards and 2 TDs, plus 2 carries for 19 yards
Westbrook, 7 carries for 45 yards, plus two catches for 7 yards
Jackson, 2 punt returns for 106 yards and a TD
Eagles defense, 2 sacks, 2 interceptions and 1 forced fumble for a TD

 

Inquirer Staff Writer
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