Mike Check: Stopping the Eagles' offense

Michael Vick and the offense will have to carry the Eagles if they want to make a run in the second half of the season. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)

For a number of reasons, the Michael Vick feature is late this week, but I still wanted to get it out there.

It's an abbreviated version, and I tried to make much of it focus on the future and the second half of the season.

Vick averaged just 5.6 yards per attempt against the Bears, his lowest mark since taking over the Eagles' starting quarterback job in 2010.

What did Chicago's defense do to stymie him? Let's take a look, as always starting with receiver distribution:

   Targets Catches
 Yards Drops
Brent Celek  10 7
Jeremy Maclin  9 4
DeSean Jackson  8 2
LeSean McCoy
 5 5
Jason Avant
 3 2
Clay Harbor
Ronnie Brown
 1 0

For the third straight week, Celek was the Eagles' most-targeted receiver. And once again, he played well with seven catches for 60 yards.

Maclin had a drop near the end of the first half and slipped on the fourth down at the end of the game, although Vick's throw was high.

The Eagles were once again unable to get the ball to Jackson, although he was targeted eight times. On the season, Jackson's being targeted 7.25 times a game. That's slightly more than last year (6.9).

McCoy was excellent as a receiver, setting season-highs with 46 yards and 9.2 yards per catch.


The Bears mixed coverages and did not play straight Cover-2. Matt Bowen of the National Football Post did a good job of explaining that further.

Chicago blitzed on 12 of 43 dropbacks, or 27.9 percent of the time. On those plays, Vick was 7-for-10 for 59 yards. He also ran once and was sacked once.

Here's the breakdown:

No. of Rushers No. of Plays Completions Attempts Yards
4 31 14 28 154
5 6 3 4 23
6 6 4 6 36

As you can see, the story was more about how the Eagles struggled against four rushers than against the blitz. Vick completed just 50 percent of his passes for 154 yards and averaged 5.5 yards per attempt against four rushers. The week before, he completed 13 of 16 for 176 yards, averaging 11.0 yards per attempt, when the Cowboys didn't blitz.


Here's a chart of Vick's throws by distance. I used the same ranges that Football Outsiders uses so we'd have a point of reference. Short is 5 yards or less. Mid is 6 to 15 yards. Deep is 16 to 25 yards. And Bomb is more than 25 yards. These are measured from the line of scrimmage to the point where the ball is touched, hits the ground or goes out of bounds.

  Completions Attempts Yards
Short  12 15 89
Mid  7 14
Deep  2 7
Bomb  0 1

Once again, no Bomb completions. That's two straight weeks without completing a pass that traveled more than 25 yards downfield.

The numbers on the Deep attempts are slightly misleading since one of those produced a pass interference penalty on a throw to Celek.


As I mentioned earlier in the week, Vick did not play a very good game, and he didn't get much help from his teammates (offensive line and wide receivers). He looked indecisive at times, and aside from the one interception, he had three other balls nearly picked off.

On the season, Vick is completing 62.0 percent of his passes and averaging 7.76 yards per attempt. Those numbers aren't too far off from last season (62.6/8.1). As we've discussed on a weekly basis, the difference has been the interceptions. Last year, he was picked off once very 62 attempts. This year, it's once every 29.6 attempts. Three of the nine interceptions have been in the red zone.

The big plays have not been there either. Vick has completed just 10 of 30 passes that have traveled more than 20 yards from the line of scrimmage, and he ranks tied for 17th with 14 pass plays of more than 25 yards.

The offense has piled up yards all season, but the 17 points it produced last week are not good enough. Given the struggles of the defense, Vick, McCoy and company will have to carry this team if it expects to make a run in the second half of the season.

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