Sunday, December 28, 2014

What I saw: Eagles vs. Rams

Here are my observations from today's Eagles-Rams game:

What I saw: Eagles vs. Rams

Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy fights for extra yards. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy fights for extra yards. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Here are my observations from today's Eagles-Rams game:

* Michael Vick's final numbers: 14-for-32 for 187 yards and two touchdowns. He also added 100 yards on eight carries on the ground. Overall, Vick accounted for three touchdowns. It wasn't always pretty, but he found his playmakers downfield and demoralized the Rams' defense with his legs. The Eagles finished an impressive 8-for-12 on third down. And they converted two of three red-zone chances into touchdowns.

This was a throwback game for Vick. I need to re-watch to see how he did against the blitz, but overall, he just did what he does best: make plays. The Eagles designed plays to get him out of the pocket, and Vick escaped on his own many times.

* DeSean Jackson was targeted 12 times and finished with six catches for 102 yards. He had two plays of 25+ yards. Those numbers could have been even better. Jackson dropped a bomb from Vick in the second that would have been at least a 40-yard gain. And he couldn't make a difficult catch in the end zone at the end of the first half. On the other hand, he went up between two defenders to pull down a 41-yard reception on the first drive. Last year, he had just four catches for 8 yards and a touchdown in the red zone, but Jackson had a red zone score in the third, hauling in a 6-yard pass from Vick.

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* The Eagles had several issues with getting to the line of scrimmage late in the first half. They used all their first-half timeouts before the two-minute warning.

* Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and Jason Avant all had catches of 20 yards or more in the first half. Steve Smtih was active. He was on the field for at least a couple plays but did not get a ball thrown his way.

* In the first three quarter, LeSean McCoy had 27 yards on 11 carries. He then exploded for 95 yards on four carries in the final 15 minutes, including a 49-yard touchdown run. Last season, McCoy averaged 6.1 YPC in the fourth quarter. He had two touchdowns, when you add in the earlier 7-yard reception.

* McCoy, Ronnie Brown and Dion Lewis each had a carry in the first half. That was surprising. Brown finished with 7 yards on four carries. Lewis had 10 yards on two carries. He was unimpressive as a kickoff returner, with 36 yards on two returns.

* Former Eagle Quintin Mikell sacked Vick and forced a fumble in the red zone in the first half.

* Steven Jackson took the Rams' first offensive play 47 yards for a touchdown. His longest run last year was 42 yards. The Eagles were in their base defense. It looked like Moise Fokou and Kurt Coleman were out of position/blocked on the play. The Rams' offense averaged 5.9 yards per carry, but they were just 2-for-12 on third down. Jackson was sidelined for most of the game with a quad injury.

* Three of the Eagles four defensive ends - Jason Babin, Trent Cole and Darryl Tapp - had sacks. Juqua Parker did not, but he had a touchdown on the play where Tapp stripped Bradford. Overall, the four defensive ends had four sacks (two by Babin) and eight QB hits. As a team, the Eagles had five sacks and 11 QB hits. Cullen Jenkins added a sack and two QB hits.

* Jarrad Page had a couple nice moments, starting at safety alongside Kurt Coleman. He stopped Brandon Gibson short of a first down on a third-down play in the second. And he nearly came up with an interception in the red zone in the third.

* I'd have to double-check, but I believe Nnamdi Asomugha was only targeted twice. One was a pass interference call in the end zone, and the other was a deep ball to Gibson. Asante Samuel saw a lot of action. And Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie played in the slot in the nickel. Asomugha blitzed once on the play where Cole was called for a late hit.


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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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