Friday, September 19, 2014
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Mike Check: How Vick handled the blitz

Michael Vick completed 18 of 31 passes for 237 yards, a touchdown and an interception against the Redskins.

Mike Check: How Vick handled the blitz

The Redskins blitzed Michael Vick on over 51 percent of his dropbacks on Sunday. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
The Redskins blitzed Michael Vick on over 51 percent of his dropbacks on Sunday. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

Michael Vick completed 18 of 31 passes for 237 yards, a touchdown and an interception against the Redskins.

He was also credited with seven rushes for 54 yards, although three of those were kneel-downs and two were QB sneaks.

Vick failed to complete at least 60 percent of his passes for the first time since Week 1, and his quarterback rating was less than 80.0 for the third time in four weeks.

But do those numbers matter?

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Here's the weekly look at how Vick played, starting, as always, with pass distribution:

  Targets Catches Yards Drops
 Jeremy Maclin 7 5 101 1
 Brent Celek
8
4
42
1
 DeSean Jackson
5
3
46
0
 LeSean McCoy
4 2
13
1
 Jason Avant
4
3
28
0
 Steve Smith
1
1
7
0
 TOTALS  29 18
237
3

There were a couple balls batted at the line so they are not counted here. Neither is Vince Young's interception.

Vick was very successful on throws to Maclin, and he targeted Celek a lot this week too.

As you can see, the pass-catchers didn't always help Vick as they piled up three drops. The ones by Maclin and Celek weren't costly, but the McCoy drop on the shovel pass looked like it could have gone for a touchdown had he held on.

Smith played seven snaps and made his first catch since Week 3.

AGAINST THE BLITZ

The Redskins blitzed Vick on 18 of 35 dropbacks, or 51 percent of the time. I believe that's the most of any team so far this season.

Against the blitz (defined here as five rushers or more), Vick went 9-for-15 for 127 yards. He was sacked once.

On non-blitz throws, Vick was 9-for-16 for 110 yards and a sack.

In other words, the numbers were pretty similar. But we learn a little more by breaking down the number of rushers. Here's the chart:

No. of Rushers No. of Plays Completions Attempts Yards
4 17 9 16 110
5 11 7 8 86
6 6 2 6 41
7 0 0 0 0
8 1 0 1 0

In previous weeks, we saw teams hold off on frequently sending six or more pass rushers after Vick, but that wasn't the case here. As you can see, Vick was excellent against five pass rushers or fewer (16-for-24 for 196 yards), but he struggled against heavier blitzes, going just 2-for-7 for 41 yards when Washington sent six or more defenders after him.

It will be interesting to see if defenses start to send more of those "all-out" blitzes at Vick after the bye.

THIRD DOWN, RED ZONE

As a team, the Eagles were just 6-for-16 on third down. Vick had the ball in his hands on 10 of those plays and converted four of them. He was 4-for-8 for 33 yards, a touchdown and an interception on third down. He was also sacked once and had the 1-yard QB sneak at the end.

Young's interception came on third down too.

The Eagles converted two of five red-zone trips into touchdowns. Vick was 2-for-7 for 6 yards, a touchdown and an interception in the red zone. The one completion was the 7-yarder to Celek. The other one was the ball that was batted high in the air before Maclin came down with it. In fairness to Vick, McCoy dropped the shovel pass in the red zone, like I mentioned above.

Vick dropped back to pass eight times in the red zone, and the Redskins sent six or more defenders at him on three of those plays (0-for-3).

There were multiple instances where the Redskins had a free rusher, who came at Vick unblocked. As I mentioned in Man Up, the cameras caught Andy Reid getting on Vick after one such play, so it's possible he made an error in his protection call. But that's just a guess.

SUCCESS BY DISTANCE

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 7 13 35
Mid 7 10 73
Deep 3 4 70
Bomb 1 2 59

That completion percentage on the short throws is not particularly good, but there were a couple drops in there. The Eagles have not had a lot of success with the screens to McCoy. On the season, he has 21 catches for 123 yards and is averaging 5.9 yards per catch. He's on pace for 56 catches and 328 yards. Last year, McCoy had 78 catches for 592 yards and averaged 7.6 yards per catch.

Vick was very good on the intermediate and deep throws. The first pass of the game was a Bomb attempt to Jackson that was incomplete. Later, Vick connected with Maclin for the 59-yarder.

OVERALL

There were a couple very encouraging things to take away from this game for Vick. The first is that he looked comfortable taking short drops and delivering the ball on time and on the money. At one point in the first half, he completed seven straight passes for 91 yards.

The Eagles' second scoring drive went 73 yards on 10 plays. Vick dropped pass to pass four times and completed all four attempts, while the Eagles ran the ball six times.

Vick's completion percentage and yards per attempt (61.5%, 7.87 YPA) are still similar to last year (62.6%, 8.11 YPA). The difference, once again, has been turnovers. Vick is averaging one interception every 25 attempts, compared to one every 38.8 attempts last year.

Vick the runner has been outstanding. He's averaging 8.3 yards per carry and is on pace for 992 rushing yards. Against Washington, he took off to run three times. Vick was sacked once and picked up 25 and 31 yards, respectively, on the other two carries.

We're at the bye week, and Vick has started all six games, although he's finished only four. The offensive line has allowed just nine sacks, fourth-fewest in the NFL, but Eagles quarterbacks have been hit 34 times, sixth-most.

In the final 10 games, Vick's challenge will be to stay healthy and take care of the football. If he does those two things, the Eagles should be able to put up some big point totals in the coming weeks.


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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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