Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Man Up: What went wrong for Eagles' D?

It was probably the defense's worst performance of the year.

Man Up: What went wrong for Eagles' D?

Sheldon Brown´s fumble recovery and touchdown was one of the only bright spots for the Eagles´ defense Sunday. (Michael Bryant/Staff Photographer)
Sheldon Brown's fumble recovery and touchdown was one of the only bright spots for the Eagles' defense Sunday. (Michael Bryant/Staff Photographer)

It was probably the defense's worst performance of the year.

But is it time to panic? I don't think so.

Here's the player-by-player look at what went wrong against the Giants:

Juqua Parker - Pressure on Eli Manning was non-existent, and that includes Parker, who started at left defensive end. I only saw one play where he got close to Manning, and that was in the second quarter. Manning stepped up in the pocket on the play and found Hakeem Nicks, but Asante Samuel broke it up. Parker was credited with half-a-sack, but I'm pretty sure that should have gone to Victor Abiamiri (No. 95, not 75).

Jason Babin - He saw quite a bit of action, but again, was not able to get much pressure on Manning. He has a motor and made a nice hustle play in the fourth, bringing down Ahmad Bradshaw from behind on a screen. In the final minute, Babin nearly had a sack/safety, but Manning got rid of the ball at the last second. He was also whistled for an offsides in the fourth.

Mike Patterson - It's very tough to write a one-sentence summary on Patterson. I thought he competed hard throughout. Sometimes he won. Other times he lost. The Giants double-teamed him at times, including a 13-yard Jacobs run in the first. He was also blocked on a Jacobs 4th-and-1 carry, a 7-yard Jacobs run, a 6-yard Bradshaw run and an 8-yard Bradshaw run. Patterson missed a tackle on a 17-yard Bradshaw run at the end of the second. He made a very nice play to stuff Jacobs down near the goal line on third down in the third. And he showed great hustle, catching Bradshaw from behind on a screen in the third.

Brodrick Bunkley - Bunkley also had his ups and downs. He got blocked (and probably held) on Bradshaw's touchdown run in the second. The Giants did a good job on him on several other plays. On the Jacobs TD run, he actually did a great job breaking through the line, but couldn't get his hands on the hefty Giants' running back. As a pass rusher, he batted down a Manning pass in the first. Also, on a positive note, I spelled his name correctly this week.

Antonio Dixon - Didn't notice Dixon having a lot of success this week when he was on the field. He got double-teamed on Jacobs' touchdown run. Take note that the coaching staff still prefers him to last year's second-round pick, Trevor Laws, who was inactive.

Trent Cole - As quiet a game from a pass-rushing standpoint as we've seen out of Cole all year. The Giants helped block him with their running backs and tight ends at times, but they also had success neutralizing him one-on-one. Cole did have some positive contributions. He helped force the Jacobs fumble in the first. And Cole's pressure caused Manning to scramble on the dive/fumble in the third. Overall, he did a good job against the run, although the Giants took advantage of his aggressiveness with a delayed handoff right at him for 9 yards in the third -- a good idea for opposing offenses who want to help keep Cole in check. He also was called for an offsides, and there was of course the whole punching incident at the end, which we'll get to below.

Chris Clemons - Most of his action came in the fourth quarter as a pass rusher. He didn't really have an impact. However, it was his shove that started the scrum at the end. Clemons gave David Diehl a little shove on the final play after the whistle. Diehl then delivered a blow to Clemons' back after he turned around. That's when Will Witherspoon entered the fray, seemingly trying to break things up. Cole, wanting to help his teammates, then got in on the action. Shaun O'Hara gave a little shove to Cole, and he went off, delivering a couple blows to O'Hara's head/helmet. That's at least how I saw it go down when I watched on replay.

Darren Howard - He might have been the Eagles' most effective pass rusher. Howard brought pressure off the edge, leading to the Manning throw that went into Jeremiah Trotter's hands, and then into Kevin Boss' hands. He made a great move to sack Manning in the fourth and of course had the strip on the game's final play. On the downside, Howard missed a tackle on the flip to Bradshaw that went for 31 yards.

Victor Abiamiri - Like I said, I believe he should have been awarded half-a-sack in the third quarter. Didn't notice him much beyond that.

Jeremiah Trotter - The numbers do not deceive. Trotter had nine tackles and was very effective in the middle. He made some great plays against the run, including one where he dropped Jacobs for a 3-yard loss at the end of the first. He also stuffed Bradshaw at the end of the third and made a nice play to stop Jacobs short of the end zone on third down in the third quarter. On the downside, he whiffed on an 8-yard Jacobs run in the third and dropped the INT mentioned above.

Will Witherspoon - He started on the outside and was blocked on a 13-yard run in the first. Witherspoon's moment to forget came on the 60-yard touchdown to Domenik Hixon where he missed a tackle. It looked like Witherspoon misplayed the touchdown to Boss in the fourth. Not one of his better performances, but Witherspoon has been moved around quite a bit. It will be interesting to see what his role is going forward.

Akeem Jordan - Tonight I'm going to try and chart how many plays each of the LBs played, and where they were positioned. Jordan entered the game on the second series. He actually saw some time in the middle. Overall, did not look like the active playmaker we saw early in the season before he got injured.

Chris Gocong - He looked good on a couple plays, but overall, it just seems like Gocong is a step late or not near the ball on run plays. He stuffed Bradshaw and finished with eight tackles, although he was rarely the first person to get to the ballcarrier.

Tracy White - White and Witherspoon played in nickel packages down the stretch. He should have had a sack on a fourth-quarter blitz, but Manning flipped it to Bradshaw somehow for 31 yards. Add White's name to the long list of Eagles who missed tackles Sunday. He failed to bring down Bradshaw on a screen late.

Sheldon Brown - We'll start with the good. Brown picked up the Jacobs fumble and took it to the end zone in the first. In coverage, he wasn't so good. Brown was beat on an 18-yard slant to Nicks in the first. Manningham got by him in the fourth, but couldn't keep his feet in, or it would have been a sure touchdown.

Asante Samuel - The Giants had no reservations about throwing in his direction. Nicks beat him on a deep ball down the sideline, but couldn't come down with the catch. Nicks beat him in the second quarter, and Samuel missed a tackle after the catch, leading to the touchdown. Samuel gambled and lost on a 23-yard completion to Boss in the third. And Nicks beat him for a 20-yard gain in the third. Finally, Samuel was juked on a 31-yard Bradshaw catch and run in the fourth. Not a good performance for Asante.

Joselio Hanson - The Eagles' nickel corner returned and played well. He broke up a pass in the end zone intended for Smith, doing a good job of looking back for the ball. He blitzed on multiple occasions, picking up half a sack in the third quarter.

Sean Jones - He actually led the team in tackles, but most of those came downfield after failures by the D in coverage. I'm still trying to figure out what Jones was doing with that tackle attempt on the 60-yard touchdown to Hixon. He was also on the receiving end of a Boss stiff arm in the third.

Quintin Mikell - Maybe his worst game ever as an Eagle? Mikell got burned on a deep ball to Nicks, but he dropped it. He missed a tackle on the Nicks touchdown in the second. Was beat by Smith on what should have been a big play in the second, but Manning's throw was slightly off-target. And he was called for three penalties - two illegal contacts and an unnecessary roughness. I also didn't like that Mikell was talking to the ref instead of making the tackle on the play where Trotter dropped the INT and it fell into Boss' hands. A day to forget, for sure.

Sheil Kapadia Philly.com
About this blog
Sheil Kapadia is in his fifth season writing about the Eagles and the NFL for philly.com. His earliest memories as a sports fan include several trips to Veterans Stadium with his Dad. He's not a beat writer or an Insider, but is here to discuss the NFL 365 days a year. E-mail him at skapadia@philly.com or by clicking here

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