What We Saw
Each week, Daily News football writer Paul Domowitch tells you what he will be keeping an eye on during the Eagles game. Here is how things panned out yesterday:
1. Vick and the blitz:
Green Bay defensive coordinator Dom Capers sent five or more rushers after Bears quarterback Jay Cutler on nearly 47 percent of his dropbacks last Sunday, and figured to up that percentage dramatically against Michael Vick. Vick completed just 55 percent of his passes against the blitz in the regular season and had been sacked 19 times when teams sent extra rushers. Only Cutler has been decked more. The Packers sacked Vick three times for 22 yards, hit him on a number of other occasions and chased him out of the pocket several other times.
2. A little give, a lot of take:
Entering the game, the good news was the Eagles were 8-1 when they won the turnover battle. The bad news was they had won just one turnover battle in the previous six games. There was more good and bad news yesterday. The Eagles won the turnover battle, 2-1. You know the result.
3. Putting the squeeze on Aaron Rodgers:
The Eagles, who had just 15 sacks in the previous eight games, had to find a way to get pressure on the Packers quarterback, who had a 122.0 passer rating in his last seven starts. But the front four was running on empty and Rodgers is the top-rated passer in the league against the blitz. Rodgers was sacked just twice, threw three TDs without an interception, and had a passer rating of 122.5.
4. Run, LeSean, run:
The most effective way to neutralize Aaron Rodgers is to keep the ball out of his hands. And the best way to do that is to run the ball and control the clock. The Packers had won the time-of-possession battle eight times this season. They were 6-2 and averaged 32.5 points in those games. In the eight games they lost: 4-4 and 16.0 points per game. Yesterday, Eagles rushers not named Michael Vick had just 13 carries, and the Packers won the time-of-possession battle, 32 minutes to 28.
5. As the red zone turns:
The Eagles' defense has been pathetic in the red zone this season. Its 76.7 failure rate inside the 20 is the worst in the NFL in 22 years. It doesn't know how to say no in goal-line situations, witness the fact that the Packers were 3-for-3 inside the 20.