Instant Observations: Eagles Vs. Steelers

Here are my observations from the Eagles’ 16-14 loss to the Steelers Sunday afternoon. The Birds are now 3-2 on the season. They host the Lions next week before the bye week.

OFFENSE

* The Eagles put together a 17-play, 79-yard drive, taking 8:18 off the clock and scoring on a Michael Vick 2-yard pass to Brent Celek in the fourth quarter. The touchdown put them up, 14-13. LeSean McCoy converted a couple a 4th-and-1 plays. Vick also hit DeSean Jackson for a 24-yard completion on 3rd-and-10.

* Great execution by the Eagles on the 15-yard touchdown to McCoy in the third. The Steelers blitzed six. Rather than stay in to block, McCoy let the rusher go free, made the catch in the flat and made a great move against linebacker Larry Foote on his way to the end zone.

* Vick turned it over on consecutive possessions in the first half. The first came inside the Steelers’ 5 on a quarterback draw when he lost the ball after safety Ryan Clark hit him. The second came on the very next possession after Lawrence Timmons knocked the ball loose. Interestingly enough, the Eagles called a QB draw on the very next possession.

* Overall, Vick went 20-for-30 for 175 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. He was 13-for-18 for 105 yards in the second half. McCoy had 16 carries for 53 yards, but I thought he played much better than the stats show.

* Jackson had four catches for 58 yards. Jeremy Maclin had five catches for 39 yards.

* The Eagles benefited from some penalties that don’t show up in the stat sheet. Maclin drew a 31-yard pass interference penalty in the first against Ike Taylor on a deep ball down the left sideline. On the touchdown drive in the third, Celek and Maclin both drew personal foul penalties for illegal hits by Steelers safeties.

* The Eagles once again used no-huddle at various points in this one.

* Demetress Bell was called for a false start on 3rd-and-5 during the first possession. Clay Harbor was also called for a false start in the first. Overall, the Eagles had five penalties for 35 yards. The Steelers had nine for 106.

* Vick hit DeSean Jackson for a 23-yard gain on a shallow cross in the second. Jackson fumbled at the end of the play,  but recovered. McCoy had an excellent block on James Harrison on the play.

DEFENSE

* The defense couldn’t get a hold at the end of the game, allowing the Steelers to drive 64 yards on 14 plays for the game-winning 34-yard field goal.

* The Eagles’ run defense wasn’t good. Rashard Mendenhall had 81 yards on 14 carries (5.8 YPC). And the Eagles did not sack Ben Roethlisberger.

* Roethlisberger was 21-for-37, but he averaged just 5.6 yards per attempt (207 yards total).

* Rough possession for linebacker Mychal Kendricks in the second. On a Roethlisberger run, he fell for a fake-lateral and allowed the quarterback to pick up extra yards. And on the 13-yard Mendenhall run, Kendricks had a shot at the tailback, one-on-one, but couldn’t make the play.

* At the end of the first half, Kurt Coleman made a tackle on Antonio Brown in the red zone, potentially saving a touchdown. He tossed Brown’s shoe, which came off on the play, to the sideline. Jerricho Cotchery stumbled on the next play on what looked like a TD. The Steelers had to settle for a field goal.

* Darryl Tapp  was called for a personal foul penalty for shoving a Steelers offensive lineman in the first.

* Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie followed Mike Wallace to both sides of the formation. Wallace had two catches for 17 yards. Brown talked some trash during the week and backed it up with seven catches for 86 yards.

* Have to watch the All-22, but it seemed like Nnamdi Asomugha had a rough first half.

* Kendricks left the game with an injury in the third. Casey Matthews replaced him. Kendricks would later return.

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  • http://twitter.com/beefbreen jamie b

    ……my instant observation is that Boykin was not good today. Bad on returns and worse in coverage in both M2M and Zone.

    • JofreyRice

      on the big third down conversion Brown had on the last drive, I could be wrong, but I don’t think it was entirely on Boykin. It looked like Brown read the zone, found a void, and waited for Ben to deliver. I would have preferred to see Boykin manned up on Brown there–at least give him a shot to try and make a play. This team should be in zone coverage as little as possible. If you don’t send pressure, and your line isn’t getting home, running a zone coverage is just a pitch and catch drill for the opposing offense.

  • Fake

    Are the eagles regretting the lineman they cut Jackson etc

    • Adam

      Lol yeah Jamaal Jackson would definitely saved that game for us. Smart call.

  • http://twitter.com/corry_k Corry Henry

    It’s hard to get a read on this team. On one hand, they’re 3-2 with both losses coming on the road against one 4-1 team and the other in Pittsburgh where it’s very hard to win.

    But…the offense is questionable at best. The turnovers keep coming, and they’re seemingly out of rhythm when they aren’t turning the ball over. After 5 games, I still don’t know what this team is.

    • Uncle Carm

      I still say that it’s nothing that a heavy dose of McCoy wouldn’t cure.

  • Kimbafuzz

    Today was a bad day for the defense in the second half. They struggled to stop the Steelers and got like no pressure on Big Ben. What’s going on with the D-line? What happened to their ability to rush the passer?

    • Uncle Carm

      The defense did not look great today, but they only gave up one touch down after two turnovers and one very poor kick coverage. They were also hung up to dry with some three and outs by the offense that left them on the field for an awful ong time. I’m a little disappointed, but not overly so. Our two outstanding rookies Kendricks and Boykin did not have good games. Welcome to the NFL.

  • whattheDEUCE22

    0 sacks in the past 2 games. What is happening?

    • JofreyRice

      Arizona used short drops for kl00b, but against the Giants and now Steelers, the ends were just not getting to the QB. I can remember a pressure from Cole and Graham, but that’s not much. Babin’s been invisible these past 2 weeks, and neither the Steelers nor the Giants have stellar O-Lines.

  • barry_nic

    Here’s my observation, again Vick is in trouble and the staff is incapable of changing the gameplan to take the ball out of his hands. 16 carries for McCoy, on D, the linebackers couldn’t find the right hole, and nobody seemed able to tackle. A bad game all around, it’s a shame they abandoned the run game again, I was hopeful after last week that the coaching staff woke up but that was a bit too much to hope for. It’s just a broken record, too bad.

    • JofreyRice

      Agree. 8 carries in the first half for McCoy, w/Vick clearly struggling to recognize blitzes again. I wouldn’t mind the carries for Bryce Brown if the runs for McCoy weren’t so insufficient–what does Brown do that McCoy can’t, anyway? When you have a guy on your team that knowledgeable football folks talk about in the same breath as Barry Sanders, you make him the focus of the offense, not an afterthought for when you get tired of calling 9 routes for the WRs and having your QB run around 25 yards in the pocket every play. It’s amazing it actually even came down to a FG.

  • Mr. Magee

    Corry, I think the eagles are exactly what you’ve seen so far, and I don’t see any reason to expect anything different going forward. Overall, a 9 – 7 record seems like a reasonable expectation at this point.

    Under the circumstances, the pressure will grow on Andy as the season goes on to replace Vick with Foles… it will be an intersting plot line, that’s for sure.

    • Adam

      You’re absolutely right this team looks like a 9-7 team. The only thing I can say to that is.. we’re 1st in the NFC East and 9-7 was all it took to win this division last year.

      I’m a glass half full guy, but this team makes it hard to buy in.

  • Ash Z

    The decision to commit to Vick as QB seems to have been founded on some wrongheaded wishful thinking. He just looks very average to me. Anyone else notice that the rapid tack toward mediocrity by this team started around the time Marty was brought in? Even when not giving turnovers away this O is just not very efficient, much less exciting. If not for the close games and comebacks, this season would rank among the most boring in my book. I’ve been a crazy, rabid Eagles fan for 20 years but I’m becoming disinterested in this team. We can’t expect that the D should have to keep opposing offenses to <16 points every week. Yawn…

  • GoBirds1

    Here is a thought. If you had a 6’5″ QB that not only could see over the line, but could effectively read the D, get the ball out quickly, and hit a hot receiver in stride without hitting the opposing lineman (or your own for that matter), wouldn’t you use him and have an efficient offense? McNabb could never do that, and certainly Vick can’t either. Maybe the Marty and Andy show are convinced that it can’t be done. However, I see rookie and 2nd year starting QBs all over the league doing it. So why can’t Foles? It is just a matter of circumstances or injury that the opportunity will present itself, so why wait to find out.

    I hate to break it to you, an offense scoring an average of 16 points per game and almost 3 turnovers, with 11 of them coming from Vick, this team is going nowhere. If Reid cannot instill some discipline in ball security when both in and out of the pocket, then when 8 and 8 looks like a reality, we will see what Foles can do. GoBIrds!

    I don’t think it is possible that a rookie could have more turnovers than our 10 year vet starter.

    • birdpoop

      It’s the money, and the risk, and Vick’s fragile psyche. Coaches and management are especially slow to change qbs because after paying so much for Vick, the coaches and management don’t want admit they’ve invested too much, It would be very risky to put the rook out there, if he fails then the coaches have a mess on their hands, unless Vick would come back with a new fire in his belly. And then there’s Vick’s tendency to talk big but act depressed… how many times have we seen him react to his mistakes and problems by hanging his head and moping around? Vick’s reaction to being replaced would probably deflate him, instead of firing him up.