Instant Observations: Eagles 23, Bucs 21

Here are my instant observations from the Eagles’ 23-21 win over the Bucs.

OFFENSE

* Nick Foles is going to win some people over with this performance. With 2:44 left in the fourth quarter, Foles drove the Eagles 64 yards and threw the game-winning score to Jeremy Maclin from 1 yard out. It was the Birds’ first win in nine games. The Eagles faced a 4th-and-5 on the drive, and Foles hit Jason Avant for 22 yards. The offense rushed to the line of scrimmage and spiked the ball with two seconds left before the touchdown. Foles also hit Maclin for 23 yards on a 3rd-and-14 on the drive.

* Overall, Foles went 32-for-51 for 381 yards and three touchdowns (one rushing). Avant had seven catches for 133 yards. Maclin had nine receptions for 104 yards.

* Foles was sacked six times. He had only been sacked twice in the previous two games. The offensive line had trouble with Tampa’s stunts up front. King Dunlap struggled. It looked like he was responsible for two of the sacks. Dennis Kelly gave up a sack to Michael Bennett on the Eagles’ final drive.

* Foles made a beautiful throw to Maclin for 22 yards in the fourth. And he did a great job of escaping pressure and finding Avant for 39 yards down the right sideline late in the first half. On his first touchdown pass in the fourth, Foles scrambled to his right and threw on-target to Clay Harbor from 11 yards out.

* Bryce Brown couldn’t get anything going on the ground. He tried to get outside all game long and had no success, finishing with 6 yards on 12 carries. Brown had averaged 8.1 yards per carry in the previous two games.

* Avant made one of the best catches you’ll see all year, leaping into the air and coming down with a one-handed grab near the sideline to beat the blitz in the second.

* Foles appeared to have Marvin McNutt open deep in the first quarter, but he overthrew him. Former Eagles third-round pick Daniel Te’o-Nesheim pressured Foles on the play. Te’o-Nesheim later had a sack.

* Brent Celek was knocked out of the game with a concussion on the Eagles’ first offensive play from scrimmage.

* Alex Henery crushed a 58-yard field goal at the end of the first half, but it hit the left post and was no good. In the second half, he missed a 31-yarder.

* Special teams was unkind to the Eagles once again. Damaris Johnson muffed a third-quarter punt, leading to the Bucs’ first touchdown. They also gave up a 30-yard punt return.

* Maclin fumbled a WR screen in the third, but the refs blew the whistle early and ruled it incomplete.

DEFENSE

* It was a tale of two halves for the defense. In the first, the Eagles shut the Bucs out and limited Josh Freeman to 5-for-16 on 61 yards. The defense gave up just 79 yards through two quarters. They were handed horrible field position (the 5-yard-line) in the third, but then allowed touchdown drives of 77 and 75 yards, respectively. Freeman finished 14-for-34 for 189 yards and a pair of scores. Opposing quarterbacks had been completing 76.3 percent of their passes against the Eagles in the previous six games, but Freeman completed just 41.2 percent of his attempts.

* Doug Martin ran 28 times for 128 yards, averaging 4.6 yards per carry.

* The Eagles switched up their starting linebackers. Jamar Chaney got the start at SAM, and Mychal Kendricks moved over to WILL, replacing Akeem Jordan. Kendricks had a tackle for loss after a completion behind the line of scrimmage in the first. And he nearly had a couple interceptions. Chaney had an early tackle against the run and broke up a pass intended for the tight end.

* The Eagles gave up a 13-yard touchdown to Vincent Jackson in the fourth. Horrible tackling attempt by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on the play. Rodgers-Cromartie otherwise played one of his best games of the season.

* Nnamdi Asomugha did not play well. He got beaten by Mike Williams for a 1-yard touchdown in the first and later gave up a completions of 28 and 40 yards, respectively. Asomugha made a nice play breaking up a pass intended for Dallas Clark in the first half, but landed hard and was slow to get up. He went to the locker room and was replaced by Curtis Marsh before returning.

* Did you notice Dick Stockton twice saying that Gangnam Style had taken the world by storm as the camera showed a kid doing the Dougie? That was my favorite part of the first half – by far.

* Fletcher Cox dropped Martin for a 6-yard loss on a screen in the second quarter. Cox sacked Freeman late in the first half. He also had another tackle for loss and a QB hit.

* Nice play by Marsh, breaking up a deep ball for Williams down the far sideline late in the first half.

* John Lynch called out Rodgers-Cromartie and Asomugha for their lack of effort last week against the Cowboys.

* Ryan Rau was active and made a tackle in kickoff coverage in the second.

* Cullen Jenkins had a sack late in the first half after Brandon Graham pressured Freeman.

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  • morgan c

    Nick Foles! I’m not going to claim that this game proves he will be a superstar franchise QB, but short of some extreme and very unlikely regression in the next few weeks, what this game DOES prove is that we can go forward with him next year. He proved it today. We should NOT have won this game. Everything worked against the kid today, and it would have been a successful performance nonetheless without the victory. The muffed catch gave the Bucs 7. The defense again couldn’t stop anyone down the field. NA tried his
    hardest to let the team down, again, with his matador routine. No timeouts left… and we still win!
    Way to go Nick.

  • atlvickfan

    Foles looked good. The D-line looked much better with no Washburn. Wish they called this many WR screens throughout the season.

  • What Would Saracen Do?

    Here’s a gif of Avant’s catch: http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/1853635/avantomg_medium.gif

    Very pretty.

  • aub32

    Take that Phillies! No longer will we have to hear that they won more recently than the Eagles

  • morgan c

    Foles proved it today. We should have lost. Everything working against him. Kid grew up today, and this proves we can go forward with him next year, at the very least. Just really impressive.

    • morgan c

      Sorry for spam and aggressive enthusiasm, haha. Didn’t see my first comment go up…

  • Myke Lowery

    I’m very impressed but very cautiously optimistic.. as college scouts have mentioned and I continue to notice, he makes those “head scratching” throws.. like the NEAR INTERCEPTION at the end. hopefully he gets better at not making those.

    • morgan c

      dude threw for 380 and had 3 tds and had ZERO run game, NA playing like shit as usual, and horrible special teams. and you talk about a couple bad throws. everyone has bad throws. focus on the good man. he is a legit quarterback.

      • JM

        Please don’t get carried away. Players have good games and bad games, this doesn’t mean he is the answer or legitimate. His QBR wasn’t even 100 and you are going on about him like he is the second coming of christ.

        • morgan c

          I’m not acting like he’s the second coming of Christ. I said he looks to be legit and that this game should serve as proof that he can be the guy going forward *PROVIDED HE CONTINUES SOLID PLAY GOING FORWARD.* I agree we don’t know for sure and I was a little overly-enthusiastic perhaps right after the win…
          But besides man, after this season, it’s good to be excited about something… it’s okay to look at the positives. I don’t care about his QBR; dude just played the best game as an Eagles quarterback in over 2 years. And that’s just a fact.

          • johngiam

            we are talking about a kid who has sat on the bench since august, lucky if he saw a hand ful of first team reps when Vick was healthy…That same rookie, got thrust into a disasterous choatic situation sorrounded by backups, and players who have quit on the team…yet all the kid has done is improve from 1 week to the next! Foles is the last person this cunt of a fanbase should be bitching about today!… do any of you really think Luck, RG3, or wilson would have done much better in the circumstances that foles was supposed to endure? those rookies all had the continuity of playing the preseason, and continuing as the guy in the regular season. Those rookies have competant coaches who build gameplans around those rookies giving them the best chance to succeed. Those Qbs are not asked to win games, with a backup line, no number 1 reciever, backup running back, a coach who ignored the run and had him throw 50 times…..How much better do you people think it would be, if it were luck in those circumstances instead of Foles? Considering everything, all Foles has done was get better from 1 game to the next.. Its admirable if you ask me!

  • Run Eagles Run

    I will say this about foles… without any type of run game going, he was effective. They knew he was gonna pass, and he still got it done. He still telegraphs where he is going to throw it, often locking in on his first option (as you saw on the 2pt conversion attempt. everyone knew, cooper). But, he is a rookie, and he can work on that stuff. At this point, Id rather see him in there and grow than have Alex Smith, but he still needs some competition. Other than Trent Edwards.

  • aub32

    Really good to see a win. Our Back ups and young guys give me hope for next season. Most of this week’s conversation will be about Foles, but let’s not forget Cooper, Harbor, Kendricks, and several others who played really well. Where I am not looking forward to all the Vick bashing that will undoubtedly come as a result of this game, I am happy for Foles. This was a huge step and he performed well. I still remain on the fence whether he is the guy for next year, but if his next three games are anything similar to this one, than I will have confidence in him going forward.

    • http://abigbuttandasmile.com/ A Big Butt and a Smile

      The funny thing is there is no need to bash VIck. He had 5 fourth quarter come from behinds this year with three of them ending in wins. Foles wins a game in his 4th start and his 5th game. It was a good game. And hopefully we can build on it. But like with most of the year the Oline is doing no one any favors, thoughthe D looked much better than they have in ages.

      • http://abigbuttandasmile.com/ A Big Butt and a Smile

        And while I’m sure MM and crew will continue to do it – I don’t think it’s a good idea to have Foles throw for 50+ a game…against better pass D I still say that’s a recipe for disaster.

      • livingonapear

        There’s a big difference between leading a comeback because your D (or special teams) gave up points, and leading a comeback because you threw a ton of interceptions.

  • BrickSquadMonopoly

    Happy to see a win? This team going to screw theirselves out of franchise draft picks every year?

    • johngiam

      ridiculous isnt it? they won the andy bowl today! screwing ourselves out of drafting manti teo….surprise surprise, kendricks flourishing at the WIL, where I always said he should be playing..Manti at Sam and we will have something special going forward!…fletcher is a beats

      • GoBirds1

        John, have you submitted your resume for the HC position yet, you seem to know so much about football. Thank you for pointing out several times how your are right about everything you have been saying, brilliant!

        • JohnGiam

          please can you just ignore me? i will gladly do the same to you. I dont claim to be right, I post my oppinion about what I see, hoping that someone will engage me in a respectful, but intelligent debate (exchange of views and Ideas in case you dont know what that is)..Obviously you prefer to just tear people down, and argue senslessly..there are plenty of other people on this site that enjoy that sort of thing, go find one of them, to bring NOTHING to the table to! Im not the one! enjoy your day, please rephrane from reading my posts the same exact way I dont read yours. THanks, have a great day!
          YOu dont agree with something I say, no problem, but if you want to talk to me, then bring something to the table, list facts and ideas that support your bashing of my argument…if you cant do that, then please FOCK OFF! thanks again

    • TXEaglesFan

      Really? there is no RG3 or Luck in this years draft. I would rather have Foles developing and showing he can be legitimate winning QB even if it means dropping 5-10 spots in the draft.

  • johngiam

    like I have been saying the past 3 weeks…foles needs to be our qb next season.

  • Zachary Kahn

    Not to mention, Colt Anderson made a couple big tackles against the run. Not sure he does much in coverage but that guy doesn’t shy away from contact.

  • xlGmanlx
  • hillbillybirdsfan

    I was saying all along that I wanted them to lose to get a better pick but I was happy to see a win! What if Te’o-Nesheim turned out to be the best out of all of the 2010 draft picks? That would sure be a kick in the beanbag!

  • Wilbert M.

    With guys like Teddy Bruschi & John Lynch and many others calling Nnamdi and DRC out for their lack of effort, it must mean that Marsh and Hughes really suck, or Andy can’t see what everyone else sees. And if Marsh and Hughes suck that bad, why have they been on this team for two years? It’s certainly not because of their special teams play. Coleman stinks week after week but there’s no one to replace him with. Andy has ignored defensive depth (other than our dozen DL’s) and it kicked him in the butt.

  • Run Eagles Run

    Lets keep things in perspective… I like Foles. But he needs competition. tampa gives up an average of 300 passing yards per game.

  • 1972

    nicky foles looked good, keep imporving. the d looked good. colt anderson actually made more plays than kurt coleman has all season!! nnamdi and allen still stink,but its a win and ill take it.. might be good bye to a defensive playmaker in the draft. but i think we need a OT before anything anyway. dont be fooled by a couple of good games by the line.get us a tackle a saftey and a new coach.. kendricks making plays< why? because he was moved to the will position. SMH…new tacklle , new saftey, new coach and im ready for next season

    • JohnGiam

      be fooled by a couple good games from the BACKUP line? ok, we will try not to! thanks
      Defenses win Friggin championships…we are the worst defense at causing turnovers that I have probably ever seen…but yeah, you are absolutely right, screw a defensive playmaker. who needs one? we got 4 Pro bowl caliber lineman returning from injury next year, scott, and some young players who saw time and were forced to improve. oh btw, next year we will actually play a traditional blocking scheme, and ask players to block the way they have blocked their entire life. Its not out of the realm of possability to think that there is a chance, that some of the lineman who we call bums, can be significantly better next year when we go back to blocking in an orthodox way!…screw a defensive playmaker…we are abously overflowed with those type of defensive players!

  • daggolden

    Did anyone mention Tampa was #1 in the NFL vs the run hence Bryce Brown 12 carries 6 yards and last in the NFL vs the pass hence Nick Foles 32-51 381 yards? Still the kid had a nice game vs the worst pass defense in the NFL. Good job!

    • http://abigbuttandasmile.com/ A Big Butt and a Smile

      And this is why I’m not as cheery as some other folk. It was a good game against a really bad pass defense who was on a losing streak (3rd loss in a row) – it was good game. A good confidence builder. But talk to me when he beats one of our divisional rivals or a team with a solid D – something.

    • MAC

      For all those talking about Tampa NFL low pass defense I understand, however we have 1 starter on the line left. He was missing Desean, Celek, McCoy, etc. Also Johnson drops the punt inside our 15 yard line giving the Bucs points as well as O line getting Foles killed by Gerald McCoy. Last ranked defense or not this was impressive for a rookie QB in first few games. Also one thing I think got overlooked that I was very impressed with was the job to get to line and spike ball after the completion to Avant on second to last play of game. Reid has never been good game manager, but with Foles last few games before half or at the end his clock management has looked surprisingly efficient for a Rookie QB.

  • LostInChiTown

    It looks like Andy really called out Nnamdi and DRC this week because they gave maximum effort. That was good to see. And anyone who thinks this team and Andy Reid don’t care – look at how they celebrated. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Andy Reid as happy as he was doing that jump-hug with Duce Staley! Had to rewind three times it was so funny.