Man Up: Finding Celek; McCoy shines
Here's the player-by-player breakdown of how the Eagles' offense performed in Sunday's loss to the Bears.
Man Up: Finding Celek; McCoy shines
Here's a player-by-player look at the Eagles' offensive performance in their 31-26 loss to the Bears on Sunday:
Michael Vick- I'll have the full breakdown Wednesday with Mike Check, but there are two things to point out with Vick. One is he's going to have to perfect that throw between the linebacker and the safety in the middle of the field. It seems likely that teams are going to keep their safeties deep, and when Vick has a chance to make big throws in the holes in that coverage, he has to convert. The second is he needs to take care of the ball better than he did Sunday. Vick actually fumbled three times, but the Eagles recovered all three. That being said, he's still finding success when he has time to survey the field in the pocket, and Vick makes a few wow plays each game. Overall, 29-for-44 for 333 yards, two touchdowns and his first INT of the year.
LeSean McCoy- Brian Westbrook would be proud. McCoy is rapidly turning into a complete running back at the age of 22. On the ground, he only had 10 attempts, but averaged 5.3 yards per carry. McCoy had a nice 18-yard run in the second and a tough 8-yard gain in the red zone. As a receiver, he caught eight balls for 67 yards. McCoy took a screen 14 yards inside the 10 in the second and picked up 21 on another screen in the third. He excelled as a blocker also. McCoy had perhaps the best blitz pickup of his career, stopping Brian Urlacher on Vick's 29-yard completion to Riley Cooper. Oh, and the under-the-radar moment: running down and tackling Chris Harris after his interception in the second.
Jerome Harrison- He was on the field for six snaps, and had a carry and a reception. Again, the reason for the limited playing time would seem to be that the Eagles are counting on their running backs as blockers quite a bit. Not sure Harrison has that part down yet.
Eldra Buckley- Raise your hand if you thought he would get a touch before DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin or Brent Celek. That's what I thought. For some reason (and I admit I forgot about this until I re-watched the game), Buckley got a carry on the Eagles' second offensive snap. He didn't get on the field the rest of the game.
Owen Schmitt- He was on the field for 14 snaps, but did not have a catch or do much as a blocker. There was one play in the red zone where Julius Peppers came unblocked and sacked Vick in the second quarter. It's unclear whether Schmitt was supposed to slow Peppers down before going out into his route.
DeSean Jackson- He had a drop inside the 5 in the second quarter and couldn't come up with the catch in the end zone in the fourth. Did he short-arm the ball? Maybe. But in reality, Jackson should try to avoid contact. It may not be a popular opinion, but the Eagles need him on the field, and his game is beating receiers downfield, not catching the ball over the middle in the red zone. Given the physical beating he's taken at times this season, it makes sense that he's a little gun-shy. Jackson finished with two catches for 26 yards and one carry for 3. Prediction: He'll catch a bomb early against the Texans and take part in some kind of funny celebratory moment with Andy Reid on the sidelines - a chest bump, perhaps.
Jeremy Maclin- Nice job by Maclin on the touchdown to fight off contact from the linebacker and still get open. He's been the Eagles' best red-zone receiver. Maclin had a nice leaping 10-yard grab in the red zone and a nice 24-yard catch and run. Overall, four catches for 47 yards. One negative: Maclin did a poor job as a blocker on the wide receiver screen to Jackson in the first.
Jason Avant- He's quietly having a very productive year as the Eagles' slot receiver. Avant made a couple great grabs on high throws from Vick - one for 15 yards on a 3rd-and-3 and another for 7 yards in the fourth. Avant did a good job of coming back to the ball, making the catch and breaking a tackle on a 22-yard gain in the fourth. Overall, he was the Eagles' leading receiver with eight catches for 83 yards.
Riley Cooper- He played nine snaps and came up with a big 29-yard grab in the fourth. Vick looked for Cooper in the end zone in the second, but he wasn't open. He was also called for offensive pass interference on a separate play.
Brent Celek- As hard as it is to believe, he set a season-high with 50 receiving yards. Celek had three catches, including a 30-yard touchdown in the fourth. Vick was looking for him a lot. Celek was targeted eight times. He had a total of 10 targets in the previous four games combined. Vick overthrew him on what could have been a big gain in the first, and he missed Celek again in the third. The Eagles tried to run a shovel pass to him, but Vick hit Nick Cole in the back with his pass. As a blocker, Celek did a good job helping on Julius Peppers on the Maclin TD in the first half. On a 3rd-and-goal play in the fourth, he and Clay Harbor lined up in the backfield in an unusual formation.
Clay Harbor- He played 14 snaps and had two catches for 27 yards, including a 24-yard grab in the first. Harbor lined up all over the place once again - on the line of scrimmage, out wide and in the backfield. He did a decent job with his block in the second, opening the edge for an 18-yard McCoy run.
Winston Justice- Most of the Eagles' pass protection problems were on the right side of the line as Justice and Cole struggled against the Bears' twists and stunts. One such play resulted in a sack on the first drive. Justice had some trouble in multiple spots with Bears defensive end Israel Idonije. He did a good job with one-on-one blocks on the 24-yard completion to Harbor, the Maclin TD and the 29-yard strike to Cooper.
Nick Cole- As I just mentioned, he and Justice had trouble. Cole got driven back by Anthony Adams on the play that resulted in the second sack. He had trouble in protection on a third-down completion to Avant in the first. And Cole was beat again by Adams in the second as Vick threw the ball away. He did have some good moments. Cole had nice blocks on McCoy's 4-yard run in the first and his 8-yard carry in the second. He also got the job done on McCoy's 5-yard carry in the fourth. Cole, and the whole line really, did an excellent job on the Maclin TD. He also got out in front of the 21-yard McCoy screen.
Mike McGlynn- The first sack was a result of him falling down and allowing Matt Toeaina to get to Vick. McGlynn did an excellent job on the McCoy 8-yard run in the second.
Todd Herremans- He and Peters did a much better job dealing with the twists and stunts on the left side of the line. But Herremans got beat by Adams in the second as Vick had to throw the ball away in the back of the end zone. He was also beat by Tommie Harris, who deflected the Vick pass that resulted in an interception in the second. Herremans had good moments too. He flattened Brian Urlacher on Vick's 7-yard QB draw in the second. And he did a good job on McCoy's 5-yard run in the fifth and the 21-yard screen.
Jason Peters- Peters turned in another good performance and was the Eagles' best lineman Sunday. Peppers had one sack, and it was on a play where he was left unblocked. There were a couple times where Peppers got past him, but overall, Peters definitely won the battle. He did a good job on the 24-yard completion to Harbor, the Maclin TD, the 7-yard QB draw, the 10-yard completion to Avant and the 29-yard completion to Cooper.
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