Game Review: Eagles ‘D’ Vs. Bucs Offense

If you missed the first game review on the Eagles’ offense, click here.

Now onto the defense.

DEFENSIVE LINE

* The Eagles’ No. 1 goal defensively was to stop Doug Martin and the Bucs’ running game. They were successful in that respect, limiting Martin to 67 yards on 16 carries. The pass-rush got better as the game went on, and the defense only allowed three points in the second half.

* Fletcher Cox played his best game of the season. Chip Kelly said yesterday that the coaches had Cox down for five pressures, and he was disruptive against the run also. Cox drove the left guard back on a run play in the second and drew a holding penalty. On the very next play, he pressured Mike Glennon and hit the QB’s arm, forcing an incompletion as the ball popped up into the air. Those are the kinds of plays that will eventually lead to turnovers. Big-time rush in the second by Cox, as he threw left tackle Donald Penn to the ground as Glennon escaped the pocket. Cox blew up a Martin run for no gain in the third. He brought Martin down after a 1-yard run in the fourth. He pressured Glennon in the red zone in the fourth. And he wasn’t fooled by play-action, pressuring Glennon into throwing the ball away in the fourth. Tremendous game overall for Cox.

* Cedric Thornton played well also. He was a key factor in the run game, getting into the backfield on a 1-yard Martin run in the first and stopping him after a 2-yard gain in the second.

* Isaac Sopoaga has been invisible for most of the season, but he had some good moments Sunday. Sopoaga helped bring Mike James down after a 3-yard run in the first, and he drew a holding penalty, negating an 11-yard Martin run in the fourth.

* Rookie Bennie Logan has also had a quiet season, but he notched a sack for the second consecutive week. Logan was active earlier, drawing a holding penalty on a run play in the third. Late in the game, he abused Jamon Meredith and pressured Glennon into an incompletion on fourth down. The coaches are seeing improvement from Logan.

* Vinny Curry played more in the base defense and totaled a season-high 25 snaps. He still has work to do against the run. The Bucs ran right at him for an 11-yard pickup in the second. He was OK as a pass-rusher. Curry had a chance for a sack in the second, but couldn’t finish as Glennon scrambled for 16 yards and a first down. Curry pressured Glennon and batted a ball down at the line of scrimmage on the Bucs’ final drive.

* Clifton Geathers was quiet. He got into the backfield once to help disrupt a run that lost 2 yards in the first.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS

* Connor Barwin has been one of the Eagles’ most consistent defenders. He and Curry ran a stunt in the fourth, and Barwin broke free for the sack. He got good pressure off the edge on a Glennon incompletion on the Bucs’ final drive. Barwin continues to be excellent against the run. He set the edge and stopped Martin after a 1-yard run in the first.

* Pretty quiet game for Trent Cole. He was put in a tough spot and let the tight end get behind him for a 36-yard gain in the third. Cole had a few good moments. He helped bring James down after a 3-yard run in the first. He got a hand in Glennon’s face on a rush in the third, helping to force an incompletion. And he hit Glennon on a third-down throw in the red zone in the fourth.

* Brandon Graham was pretty quiet too. He nearly had a sack on third-and-long in the first and ended up drawing a holding penalty. But that was it.

INSIDE LINEBACKERS

* DeMeco Ryans was a huge factor against the run, piling up 12 tackles. He came up with a big stop early on 3rd-and-2, forcing Tampa to settle for a field goal. And he made an excellent tackle after a 1-yard Martin run in the third. In coverage, he had his share of issues. Ryans was matched up with Jeff Demps in the first and didn’t have much of a chance, giving up a 10-yard completion. He gave up a 12-yarder to the tight end in the third and got juked by Vincent Jackson on a 12-yard completion in the third. Bottom line: He was excellent in the run and suspect in coverage.

* Mychal Kendricks played well. He helped tackle James after a 3-yard run in the first and drew a holding penalty on a run play in the third. Kendricks tackled the TE after a 4-yard completion in the second. On the long second-half drive, he had very good coverage on Timothy Wright, but Glennon made a perfect, tight-window throw for a 16-yard completion on third down.

CORNERBACKS

* I’m not sure exactly what happened on the 24-yard touchdown to Jackson. Bradley Fletcher was on him initially, but it looked like he was expecting help from Nate Allen, which wasn’t there. DeMeco Ryans also got pulled up on the play-fake. Will ask around today.

* Overall, Fletcher had a pair of pass break-ups and an interception. He was targeted twice on the first drive. On third down, Fletcher made a great break on the ball to force an incompletion. His interception in the third was huge, even if it seemed like more of a gift than a great play. Fletcher was targeted deep down the right sideline in the second half, but had great coverage on Jackson. He gave up a 24-yarder to Jackson on 3rd-and-9 in the third. Overall, more good than bad. Fletcher will give up some completions, but has held up better than expected.

* Good game for Cary Williams. Other than the 1-yard touchdown to Jackson on the fade, I didn’t see him give up an incompletion the rest of the game. Funny moment in the second when Williams saw a flag and started laying into the official before realizing the offense was being penalized.

* Brandon Boykin continues to show up every week. He gave up a 10-yard completion on a slant to Jackson in the first, but I’m pretty sure that was it. He dropped an interception late in the game, but overall is playing at a very high level.

* Williams was dealing with cramps, so Roc Carmichael came into the game in the fourth. He was called for a 16-yard pass interference penalty.

SAFETIES

* I mentioned above that Allen might have been at least partially to blame on the 24-yard touchdown. But other than that, he played well. Good hit on a receiver, jarring the ball loose in the third. Excellent coverage on a deep ball in the third, forcing an incompletion. Allen and Ryans stopped Martin for no gain in the red zone in the fourth.

* Earl Wolff played probably his best game to date. He came on a blitz in the first and forced an intentional grounding. Wolff got pressure again on a third-down blitz in the second, forcing Glennon to throw it away. In run support, he tackled James after a 4-yard run in the fourth and helped bring  Martin down after a 1-yard run. In coverage, it looked like he was at fault for a 16-yard completion to Jackson in the third. But Wolff is showing he can man up and cover one-on-one. He broke up a pass in the end zone for the second consecutive week, this one on third down in the fourth. Wolff had really good coverage on Wright on 3rd-and-9 in the third, but Glennon threw a perfect pass for a completion. Overall, the rookie is improving.

* Patrick Chung started and played well before his shoulder started acting up. He dropped Martin for a 2-yard loss in the first and broke up a pass intended for Jackson in the end zone in the second. On the 24-yard TD to Jackson, Chung was blitzing freely, but the play-fake froze him and gave Glennon the time he needed.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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