Instant Observations: Eagles Vs. Patriots
Here are instant observations from tonight’s Eagles-Patriots game.
* The Eagles’ offense got off to a great start. Michael Vick took the team 77 yards on five plays, finding DeSean Jackson open down the right sideline for a 47-yard touchdown. Vick also threw a strike to Jason Avant for 22 yards over the middle on the drive. He was on the field for two drives and looked good, completing four of five passes for 94 yards and a score.
* Nick Foles also got two drives. The first one was rough. Todd Herremans was beaten badly, and left tackle Allen Barbre gave up pressure too as Foles was sacked and fumbled. But he looked good on the next possession, directing the Eagles to a 10-play, 66-yard drive. The offense picked up the pace on the possession, and Bryce Brown found the end zone from 8 yards out. Jason Kelce and Todd Herremans had excellent blocks on the play.
* Foles was 5-for-6 for 43 yards. Brown had two catches for 19 yards. He also carried five times for 22 yards and a score. Chris Polk started the game, but Brown came in with the second team. Polk had four carries for 7 yards.
* Riley Cooper started opposite Jackson. The Eagles began the game with two 2-TE sets (Brent Celek and Zach Ertz). Ertz lined up in the slot on both plays.
* We can probably call the punting battle. Donnie Jones has been better all camp long, and he nailed a 48-yarder that was downed by Colt Anderson at the 1-yard-line in the first half.
* Foles flashed some wheels with an 11-yard scramble in the second. The Patriots had an unblocked rusher on the play. It looked like perhaps Brown was supposed to stay in instead of going out into his route.
* The Eagles’ special teams looked outstanding. Damaris Johnson and Brandon Boykin both got shots to return kicks in the first half. Johnson had a nice 52-yard punt return in the second.
* Matt Barkley came in with under six minutes left in the second quarter and looked like a rookie, completing 4 of 11 passes for 22 yards in the first half. Barkley’s best drive came at the end of the third quarter, when he led the offense on a 7-play, 57-yard touchdown drive. Earlier in the game, he kept the ball on a read-option run for 8 yards. Overall, 11-for-22 for 103 yards and a score.
* Celek came in as the long snapper in the second quarter after Jon Dorenbos exited the game with a head injury. Celek had a bad snap on a botched field-goal attempt.
* The Eagles’ second-team offensive line, from left to right, was Matt Tobin, Matt Tennant, Julian Vandervelde, Danny Watkins and Matt Kopa.
* Greg Salas did a great job on a WR screen in the fourth, finding the end zone from 12 yards out without much blocking help.
* The Patriots went 80 yards on six plays in 3:12 to start the game. Not a good start for the defense. Stevan Ridley opened the game with a 62-yard run. I have to re-watch, but it looked like Fletcher Cox got taken to the ground on the play, and DeMeco Ryans was blocked too. Nate Allen also missed a tackle in the open field.
* Mychal Kendricks got run over by LeGarrette Blount on a red-zone run later on the first drive.
* Brandon Hughes started at left cornerback, opposite Bradley Fletcher. The thought going in was that Brandon Boykin would get a shot out there with Cary Williams out.
* Upon first glance, Vinny Curry was the Eagles’ best defensive player in the first half. He had two QB hits and half-a-sack playing with the second team defense. Curry has had a quiet camp, but this was a good sign.
* The defense gave up an awful 51-yard touchdown run to Blount in the second. Blount started to the left, reversed field and then cut back one more time for the score.
* Brandon Graham made a nice play on special teams, stopping the Patriots’ returner at the 20 to start the game. He later got good pressure on a stunt to force an incompletion. But he looked bad on the Blount 51-yard TD run.
* Cox rebounded on the second series and got a hit on Tom Brady. Cedric Thornton also had good pressure on the play. It was the only incompletion Brady threw (7-for-8 for 65 yards).
* Bradley Fletcher gave up a third-down completion to Kenbrell Thompkins on the second possession. He also gave up a 23-yard completion. Coverage didn’t appear to be bad, but Brady’s throws were on-target.
* The Patriots got Shane Vereen lined up out wide vs. Kendricks on their second possession. Brady threw a perfect ball for the 14-yard touchdown. The Patriots’ second drive went 80 yards on 10 plays in 4:28. Kendricks’ coverage was actually pretty good on the play.
* The second-team defense came in on the third possession. Up front, it was Clifton Geathers, Damion Square (NT) and Bennie Logan. Curry also rotated in. The outside linebackers were Graham and Phillip Hunt. The inside linebackers were Casey Matthews and Jamar Chaney. Hughes stayed in the game, but Boykin replaced Fletcher. Kenny Phillips came in for Patrick Chung.
* Phillips made a nice play up at the line of scrimmage against the run in the second. Allen did not look good. He and Chaney missed tackles on a 22-yard completion to Zach Sudfeld.
* The Eagles showed a three-safety look in the first quarter with Chung, Phillips and Allen. Chung played the slot. We saw them practice this during the week.
* Jake Knott made a couple plays in the second. He had a pass deflection and half-a-sack, combining with Curry to take Tim Tebow down. Knott, an undrafted free agent out of Iowa State, has a chance to earn a backup linebacker spot.
* Chaney (shoulder) and Matthews (knee) both left the game in the second half.