We don’t have the All-22 images yet, but ESPN did a good job of providing clear shots of the seven sacks the Eagles allowed in Monday night’s game against the Saints. So here’s one man’s attempt to figure out what in the world was going on with the Birds’ protection schemes.
Sack 1: This one started with the pre-snap look, and specifically Dennis Kelly. The Eagles’ right guard expects linebacker Curtis Lofton to blitz, so he moves off of his man to pick him up.
Keep in mind that this sack took place in 2.1 seconds (all times unofficial, of course). The Eagles were not outnumbered. They had six blockers to handle four pass-rushers, but they had a breakdown in protection, and Vick got crushed.
Sack 2: The Eagles run slow-developing play-action. By the time Vick turns around, Will Smith has already beaten King Dunlap badly and is in the quarterback’s face. He scrambles and is eventually sacked by Brodrick Bunkley. The Eagles had six in to block five.
Sack 3: The Saints blitzed Jonathan Vilma right through the A-Gap. New Orleans crowded the line of scrimmage, and Dallas Reynolds let Vilma go right by him, instead choosing to block Lofton.
This shot is right after the ball is snapped. Could Vilma have an easier path to the quarterback? Vick spun away, but Cameron Jordan beat Todd Herremans badly, and the two defenders sandwiched Vick, sacking him and forcing a fumble.
This is one of those where the Eagles had six blockers against seven defenders so someone was going to be free. But Vick was sacked in 1.9 seconds. If Herremans doesn’t get beat, perhaps he’s able to improvise. It also looks like a play where Reynolds and/or Vick didn’t get the job done pre-snap.
Sack 4: The Eagles are in the red zone, and the first thing you’ll notice is they’re going empty backfield with no in-line tight end. Keep in mind that this is in the third quarter after the offensive line already had several issues. Why not give them at least a little help here? The Saints crowd the line of scrimmage.
Protection slides to the right. The Saints rush five, and the Eagles have five to block, but Smith has a free path to Vick. Not only that, but the Eagles can’t even block the other four guys, even though they have a one-man advantage. Jordan breaks through between Kelly and Demetress Bell.
Sack 5: This is one where Vick held on to the ball for awhile. Without the All-22, we don’t know if he had a receiver open or not, but he did have 3.6 seconds to get rid of the ball. It should be noted that the Eagles had six blockers to take on four pass-rushers, yet Brent Celek was asked to handle Jordan one-on-one.
Sack 6: This one’s probably on Vick. He could have stepped up, but instead danced right into the sack, as Dunlap had trouble with Smith off the edge.
You see the rest of the line has provided a clean pocket. Vick has plenty of space to move forward or to his right. Then again, this was in the fourth quarter. Can we really blame Vick for being a bit antsy after all those hits? The sack took place at 3.0 seconds.
Sack 7: And finally, a culmination of all the Eagles’ errors. It was a basic four-man pressure, but Bell got abused by Jordan, who sacked Vick in 2.3 seconds. Of course, it didn’t help that the Eagles again went with an empty backfield. And as you can see, if Jordan didn’t get Vick, Kelly and Dunlap got beaten also.
Perhaps at some point today, you’ll have a conversation with friends about who’s to blame: the offensive line, Vick or the coaching staff. The truth is, they were all responsible in one way or another. When you’re a 3-5 team and you score 13 points against a team that is allowing over 30 a game, there is plenty of blame to go around. So feel free to not be too picky.