Thursday, August 28, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Eagles-Saints observations

Observations from the Eagles-Saints game:

Eagles-Saints observations

Observations from the Eagles-Saints game:

FOURTH QUARTER

-- Reggie Bush runs 19 yards for a touchdown with 9:36 left. Saints, 41-20. Fans exit. Eagles will move to 1-1.

THIRD QUARTER

-- Mistakes, mistakes, mistakes. The Eagles have had plenty of them this game. You're not going to win many games if you fumble kickoff returns. Ellis Hobbs put the football on the carpet on the opening kick of the second half and New Orleans recovered on the Eagles' 22. Three plays later and New Orleans scored when Drew Brees hit Heath Evans on the flat and the fullback took care of the rest making a nifty, side-stepping dive just inside the pylon. Eagles coach Andy Reid waited just before the extra point to toss his red hankie right on the back of the ref. Reid got one challenge right last week. He didn't fare so well this time around. Saints, 24-13.

-- Kolb made a rookie mistake on the Eagles' next possession when he tried to go to DeSean Jackson on a quick out. Kolb didn't see Saints linebacker Scott Shanle and he stepped in front for the pick. New Orleans wasted no time again and scored when RB Mike Bell soared into the end zone for a 7-yard TD. This. Game. Is. Close. To. Ova. Saints, 31-13.

-- More penalties from the Eagles, another bad throw from Kolb. He flung one behind Brian Westbrook. Some boos.

-- What a throw from Drew Brees to Devery Henderson on third and long. Sheldon Brown was covering, but there was almost nothing he could do to stop that completion from happening. The play went 38 yards and gave the Saints first and ten on the Eagles 40. The Saints settled for a field goal. Saints, 34-13. This quarter they have 19 plays from the line of scrimmage to the Eagles' 5.

-- Hobbs bounces back and bounces a kick return 63 yards. Kolb then showed some poise hitting the depenable Jason Avant on two big plays. First, he found Avant for a 14-yard catch on third and long. And then he heaved a 3-yard TD pass to No. 81 on fourth down. Kolb rolled to his right, Avant found a hole and scooped up a low throw. The play was reviewed but from this vantage point it was a clean reception. Saints, 34-20.

-- The Eagles nearly regained the momentum when it appeared as if Evans caught and fumbled the ball, but replays conclusively showed that he never had possession. The Eagles did eventually force the Saints to punt and still have life with a quarter remaining.

SECOND QUARTER

-- Just when it looked like Brees' and the Saints would storm to another score via the air, Eagles linebacker Akeem Jordan made an alert play. On 3d-and-2, Brees rolled out and tried to hit tight end David Thomas. But Jordan, playing underneath, tipped the pass, was aware enough to locate the ball and grabbed the interception. Jordan, who had a good game last week, looked lost early in the game, but came back and made a nice play.

-- What an interesting possession from the Eagles. During a long, clock-churning drive, the Eagles ran out of the Wildcat formation on seven of 15 plays. On one play, tackles Winston Justice and Jason Peters lined up wide as DeSean Jackson took a direct snap. As confused as the Saints defense looked -- and maybe the refs -- the wideout ran for only four yards. It gave the Eagles a first down, however. Running back Brian Westbrook also lined up in the Wildcat on several plays and had success, one time running for 16 yards. Kolb had nice throws during the series, one time standing in there on a blitz and hitting Jason Avant for a first down. He almost had a third-and-goal pass intercepted, however, when he tried to go to tight end Brent Celek again.

-- David Akers kicked a 23-yard FG, but was run into by Tracy Porter. That's not an automatic first down and the Eagles took the three points. Eagles 10, Saints 10.

-- Despite all his great attributes, Jackson can make some not-wise decisions. On a long Saints' punt, Jackson fielded a punt that he should have just let roll into the end zone. Instead he tried to make something out of nothing and the Eagles were called for two illegal blocks in the back. So instead of starting on their own 20, the Eagles started a late-in-the-half drive from the 3-yard line. And then on third-and-five, Kolb threw a little behind Jackson -- not terribly -- and the wideout couldn't make the catch over the middle.

-- The Saints just needed two plays to strike back when Brees hit Reggie Bush for 29 yards and then connected with Marques Colston for a 25-yard TD. On the first play, it looked like Saints RT Jon Stinchcomb could have been called for holding Chris Clemons, but there was no flag. In the past, that would have drawn a penalty nine times out of ten. Saints, 17-10.

-- Kolb continues to impress. With just 37 seconds left before the half, Kolb directed the Eagles 65 yards and to a 32-yard David Akers FG. The Eagles had one shot at the end zone with nine seconds left but Kolb threw after Jackson broke on a corner route and the ball sailed out of bounds. Jackson threw his hands up in apparent disgust (Ahh, receivers ...). Kolb received a nice ovation when he left the field. Saints, 17-13.
 

FIRST QUARTER

-- Brees and the Saints' offense did as one would expect the league's No. 1 offense to do: they marched down the field in just eight plays -- needing only one third-down conversion -- and scored an opening-drive touchdown. Brees picked apart the Eagles' defense, using a mismatch with tight end Jeremy Shockey against the Birds' linebackers. The Saints scored when Brees hit a wide open Marques Colston in the corner of the end zone for a 15-yard score. Eagles safety Quintin Mikell let Colston go and Asante Samuel was nowhere to be found. Saints, 7-0.

-- Maybe all those worries about Kolb were unfounded. On the first drive of his first NFL start, the quarterback tossed a beauty of a 40-yard strike to Jackson, who coasted the rest of the way for a 71-yard TD. Kolb and Jackson basically beat the Saints' zone defense with a perfect route and a perfect throw. Right tackle Winston Justice delivered a nice block to give Kolb ample time. I guess Kolb has earned a few more possessions without calls for Jeff Garcia. Saints 7, Eagles 7.

-- Special teams player Dimitri Patterson left the game with a hand injury. His not being around seemed to have caused some confusion for the Eagles on a punt when Joselio Hanson had to run out on the field as the gunner just before the snap. Whether it had something to do with Sav Rocca's not-so-good 34-yard punt is unknown. It couldn't have helped matters. Clemons was whistled for an unsportsman-like penalty on what was supposed to be the original punt. The Eagles have looked sloppy.

-- There was more slop on the Saints' ensuing drive. They drove down to the Eagles 5 and a faced third and 8. The Eagles had only 10 men on the field and there was mass confusion on defense. Somehow New Orleans didn't exploit the mismatch and Brees threw to Colston underneath for just a 3-yard gain. The Saints settled for a 23-yard FG from John Carney. Saints, 10-7.

 

Jeff McLane Inquirer Staff Writer
About this blog
Birds' Eye View is the Inquirer's blog covering all things Philadelphia Eagles and the NFL.

Jeff McLane Inquirer Staff Writer
Zach Berman Inquirer Staff Writer
Latest Videos:
Also on Philly.com:
Stay Connected