Sunday, February 7, 2016

Eagles pass messy first test

Eagles 31, Rams, 13

Eagles pass messy first test

Just like in 2010, Mike Vick used his legs to keep plays alive against the Rams on Sunday. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)
Just like in 2010, Mike Vick used his legs to keep plays alive against the Rams on Sunday. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)

ST. LOUIS -- First weeks in the NFL season are, by their very nature, untidy. First weeks after off-seasons interrupted by lockouts, as it turns out, are something worse than untidy. But even amid the clutter of their 31-13 victory over the Rams on Sunday, it was possible to see why the Eagles entered this season with a realistic hope of making a long run into January.

Yes, the offensive line, tight ends and running backs had their hands more than full dealing with the blitzing pressure of the Rams' defense. Quarterback Michael Vick was hit too often. Especially early on, the whole operation left people filled with the same dread that they had been embracing all summer, a dread that multiplied when the team began switching everybody's position in the last 2 weeks.

But here is the thing: it did get better as the game went on. The same could be said for a run defense that was gashed for a 47-yard Steven Jackson touchdown on the Rams' first play from scrimmage. All of the summer's worst fears were realized in that moment, and in the next couple of drives -- but then, like the offensive line, it pulled itself together as the game wore on. Of course, it helped that Jackson suffered a quad injury on the game's second series.

DeSean Jackson? Yes, he dropped what should have been an 88-yard touchdown pass. But he also caught 6 balls for 102 yards and a touchdown.

More coverage
Report card: Eagles-Rams
Game stats
Photos: Eagles 31, Rams 13
Follow the Eagles: On your iPhone or Android
Buy Eagles tickets
Buy Eagles gear

Vick? Yes, he was hit too often. And, yes, he made some head-scratching throws. But he also countered the Rams' blitz with his legs, sometimes to devastating effect; 8 carries and 100 yards before a couple of clock-killing kneel-downs at the end of the game. And on the touchdown pass to Jackson in the third quarter, Vick made the kind of throw that pretty much nobody else in the NFL can make -- scrambling to his left, presssure in his face, falling backward, he still got the ball to Jackson accurately, on time and with enough oomph. It really was a beauty.

Shady McCoy was excellent running the ball -- 15 carries, 122 yards and a touchdown (plus another receiving TD). On the other side of the ball, the Eagles' front four pass rush was consistent and consistently punishing. They finished the game with five sacks, two by Jason Babin.

So it was all on display, the good and the bad, all of it wrapped around the general messiness of this partticular opening game. There was plenty of fuel for both the optimists and the skeptics to feed their arguments for another week. But in the end, the skeptics are trailing, 1-0.

Daily News Executive Sports Editor
We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue.
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines.

Comment policy: comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Read 0 comments
comments powered by Disqus
About this blog
Rich Hofmann arrived at the Daily News in 1980 for a job whose status was officially designated as "full-time, temporary." A senior at Penn at the time, he was hired to fill in on the copy desk during a staff illness. The notion of him covering the Eagles or being a columnist did not exist in anyone's imagination. It was supposed to be six weeks and out, but he never left. It is only one of the reasons why so many people have concerns about him as a potential house guest. Rich has blogged the postseasons of the Flyers and Eagles. E-mail Rich at Reach Rich at

Rich Hofmann Daily News Executive Sports Editor
Latest Videos:
Also on
letter icon Newsletter