8– Number of Michael Vick fumbles through five games. The Eagles’ quarterback once again had to address the turnovers after Sunday’s game. One quote really stood out.
“I’ve never really had a problem fumbling the football,” Vick said. “It was just one of them days. Everything happens for a reason. If it was meant to be, I wouldn’t have fumbled the ball at the goal line. I have no explanation for it. There’s really none.”
I’ll cut Vick some slack. He’s addressing the media right after the game, and he’s tired of answering the same questions. But to say he’s never had a problem fumbling the football is just off-base. In 2004, with the Falcons, Vick fumbled a league-high 16 times. In 2010, when Vick led the Eagles to playoffs, he fumbled a league-high 10 times. Last season, he fumbled 10 times.
Entering Sunday, Vick had a league-leading five fumbles, and he added three more vs. Pittsburgh. It’s a huge problem, and while the rate of fumbles may go down, evidence suggests the issue is not going away.
72.2 – Vick’s completion percentage in the second half. After the Cardinals game, I used this space to criticize Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg for their game-plan. Everything was downfield, and they put Vick and the offensive line in a very difficult spot, especially considering the team had backups starting at left tackle and center. The last two weeks have been a different story though. The offense has looked more efficient. They are not going for big plays all game long. And other than the fumbles, it’s been working. Vick has completed 65 percent of his passes in the last two games (39-for-60) and he hasn’t thrown an interception in his last 104 passes. According to ESPN, Vick was 11-for-15 (73.3 percent) against the blitz. At some point, Reid and Mornhinweg could get impatient, but it sure looks like this offense will operate differently the rest of the way. And given the issues with turnovers and pass protection, that’s a good thing.
16 – The Eagles’ average points per game in the first five. Entering Sunday, the Eagles ranked 30th, averaging 16.5 points per game. During Reid’s tenure as the team’s head coach, the Eagles have averaged 23.8 points per game. They’ve finished in the top half of the league 10 times; the bottom half just three times. As I mentioned above, this has the look of a different offense from the ones we’ve seen the past couple weeks, but the Eagles still need to get more points on the board.
“We’re going to need to score more points,” Vick said. “We’re going to need to help our defense out a lot more. And we tried to [today] the best we can.”
The offense has scored a total of three touchdowns in the last three games.
5.8 – Rashard Mendenhall’s yards-per-carry average Sunday. Many will point out that the Eagles’ defense only allowed 16 points, and that’s obviously true. But the offense, which was clicking in the second half, only got three possessions after halftime. As a team, the Steelers were averaging just 2.6 yards per carry in their first three games. Yes, Mendenhall came back, but this was his first action of the season after rehabbing from a torn ACL. Mendenhall has averaged 4.1 yards per carry for his career, but he had 81 yards on 14 carries against the Eagles. In the next couple days, we’ll go back and look at what happened with the run defense.
5.6 – Ben Roethlisberger’s yards per attempt. He needed 37 passes to accumulate 207 yards. Generally speaking, you’ll take that as a defense. Roethlisberger is usually able to hit on big plays, averaging 8.0 yards per attempt in his career. The Eagles didn’t have any sacks, and the Steelers hit on some critical third downs, but overall, the Eagles limited Pittsburgh’s big plays downfield. Mike Wallace, one of the league’s best vertical threats, had just two catches for 17 yards on eight targets. The Steelers’ longest pass play of the day went for just 20 yards.
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