Friday, July 31, 2015

Vick helps short-yardage woes

The Eagles came up big in short-yardage situations against the Bears, using a variety of plays to pick up first downs and keep drives alive.

Vick helps short-yardage woes

Michael Vick flips as he is tackled by Charles Tillman (right) during a run in the first quarter. ( Yong Kim / Staff Photographer )
Michael Vick flips as he is tackled by Charles Tillman (right) during a run in the first quarter. ( Yong Kim / Staff Photographer )

The Eagles came up big in short-yardage situations against the Bears, using a variety of plays to pick up first downs and keep drives alive.

Here's a look at how they were able to be so successful after struggling the previous two weeks.

And later today, we'll post Man Up on the offense.

3rd-and-1 (13:36 in the first quarter)

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It didn't take long for Eagles fans in our chat to say "Here we go again." On the Eagles' first offensive possession, they faced a 3rd-and-1 from their own 34 on just the third snap of the drive. What would it be? A run for no gain up the middle? A play-action pass where Donovan McNabb couldn't find a receiver and had to throw it away? No. It was Michael Vick who entered the game. The Birds went with three wide receivers, Brent Celek lined up on the line of scrimmage to Winston Justice's right and Leonard Weaver in the backfield. Absolute textbook blocking. Jamaal Jackson and Justice had the key ones. But also pitching in were Celek, Weaver, Cole, Herremans and Peters. Vick shook Danieal Manning and picked up 34 yards, by far his best play as an Eagle. I also thought it was cool how excited his teammates were for him. Celek was the first to congratulate Vick. Then Alex Smith and Joe Mays.

3rd-and-1 (1:39 in the third quarter)

The Bears had just seized momentum and taken a 20-17 lead. After a 6-yard run by LeSean McCoy, the Eagles faced a 3rd-and-1 from their own 38. It was Vick again in the shotgun, with three wide receivers and Celek lined up next to Justice on the right side. But this time, it was McCoy instead of Weaver in the backfield. The handoff went to the rookie, who showed good vision and made a good read, picking up 3 yards. Devastating block by Justice on Tommie Harris. Jackson and Cole also helped create the hole. On the play, the Eagles actually let Adewale Ogunleye come unblocked from the left defensive end position. After Vick handed the ball off, he faked like he was the ballcarrier, freezing Ogunleye for just a second, and allowing McCoy to pick up the first. Good-looking play all around.

3rd-and-1 (10:02 in the fourth quarter)

This was a big one. The Eagles were down, 20-17, but had gained some momentum after Antonio Dixon blocked a Robbie Gould field-goal attempt. A McNabb completion to Jason Avant gave the Birds a 3rd-and-1 from their own 47. McNabb lined up under center with three wide receivers, McCoy close to him in the backfield and Celek lined up next to Justice. A simple QB sneak behind Cole picked up the yard and kept the drive alive.

3rd-and-1 (3:25 in the fourth quarter)

With the Eagles trying to kill the clock, they faced one more 3rd-and-1, this time from their own 28. Weaver and McCoy lined up in the I formation, with McNabb under center. Avant was the lone wide receiver with both Celek and Smith in the game. Celek lined up next to Justice, and Smith went in motion to the other side. The left side of the line got just enough push, and McCoy picked up the first down, barely. Great job to keep his legs churning. McCoy was initially stuffed but charged ahead to keep the drive alive. The rookie had struggled in short yardage each of the previous two weeks so this was definitely an encouraging moment.
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About this blog
Sheil Kapadia is in his fifth season writing about the Eagles and the NFL for 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 or by clicking here

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