Instant Observations: Eagles 23, Bucs 21
Here are my instant observations from the Eagles’ 23-21 win over the Bucs.
* 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.
* 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.