Observations: Eagles Vs. Ravens
Here’s what we saw in the Eagles’ 40-17 win over the Ravens.
* DeMarco Murray showed why Chip Kelly wanted him on the Eagles’ first play. Murray put his head down, quickly got through the hole and picked up seven yards.
* Jason Kelce and Jason Peters blocked very well on the Eagles’ first drive, which ended in a touchdown. On one play, Kelce doubled-teamed a defensive lineman with Allen Barbre and then came off to push the linebacker past the first down mark, allowing Murray to pick up seven yards. Peters consistently did a nice job in pass protection against Terrell Suggs, including a good cut block that gave Sam Bradford enough time for a third-down conversion.
* The moment that Eagles fans were waiting for: Bradford gets knocked down and quickly stands back up. Suggs hit him after the hand-off below the waist and picked up a personal foul. It looked like John Harbaugh yelled to the officials “That’s bullsh**,” but the officials are going to throw the flag anytime the quarterback gets hit below the waist when he doesn’t have the ball. Bradford took another shot on the next play after Kelce tripped and was beaten.
* Chip’s formations and route combinations consistently troubled the Ravens’ defense on the first drive. On one play, Darren Sproles stacked closely to Jordan Matthews and lost his man before catching Bradford’s first completion. Other times, the Ravens struggled to trail receivers crossing over the middle.
* The Eagles’ first drive ended with a Ryan Mathews 14-yard touchdown run. Peters had a nice down block and the tight end, who looked like Brent Celek, sealed Suggs to open up a huge hole.
* The right side of the line was up and down, with Lane Johnson picking up a holding call after he was beaten off the ball on the first drive. Andrew Gardner, however, did a solid job in the red zone on the second drive on a couple of run plays that set up the next score.
* Murray capped the Eagles’ second drive with a two-yard touchdown run. Peters had another excellent down block and Trey Burton blocked Suggs—actually, he just got in his way—to open up another good hole.
* The Eagles’ lack of offensive line depth showed when the backups came in. Julian Vandervelde had a sub-par showing as his holding call eliminated a touchdown. On an earlier play, he was thrown to the ground by a defensive lineman who then tackled the ball-carrier. In general, Mark Sanchez had solid pass protection but he held onto the ball for a while a couple of times.
* Speaking of Sanchez, he’s better—but not by much—than last week. He missed his receivers high a couple of times and badly missed Jeff Maehl, who was open, in the end zone. On one of Sanchez’s throws that was too high, Nelson Agholor climbed the ladder to make the catch. The play after that, Agholor used his speed to create separation from Will Hill III for his second reception. Agholor is quickly becoming Sanchez’s go-to target.
* David Molk did a nice job in both run blocking—especially second-level blocking—and pass protection. John Moffit, however, was poor in pass protection.
* Matt Barkley completed less than 50 percent of his throws, but he had a few good plays. He did a nice job of placing the ball on intermediate and deep completions and threw the ball well on the run.
* Raheem Mostert did a nice job of finding the hole and creating something out of nothing. He also made people miss in the open field and had an important down-field block.
* Tim Tebow, who got another standing ovation, did about what you’d expect. He did little with his arm but was a threat on the ground. He made the outside linebackers remain on the edge and made them pay when he didn’t, including when he kept the ball on a zone-read and picked up 26 yards. When he threw the ball, however, it was unclear whether he was throwing the ball away or if he was just very inaccurate. On one play, Tebow missed Mike Johnson, who was open in the end zone, to tuck the ball in and run.
* Kevin Monangai needs to carry the ball high and tight so he doesn’t fumble, as he did in the fourth quarter.
* Riley Cooper exited the first half early because of a thumb injury. However, the X-rays were negative. He was held out the rest of the half as a precaution.
* Rasheed Bailey, meanwhile, exited in the second half. His right shoulder was X-rayed but his status was immediately unknown.
* Cedric Thornton had a rough start to the game as he got blown out of the hole on the Ravens’ first play, which was a 14-yard gain. Then, he got double-teamed on the second play and the Ravens picked up six more yards. On the third play, however, Thornton pushed the right tackle into the backfield and allowed Brandon Graham to come from the back side to make the tackle. On the third drive, Thornton beat his man and picked up a holding call.
* Walter Thurmond gets the credit on the stat sheet, but give Nolan Carroll the assist on Joe Flacco’s first interception. He stayed with Kamar Aiken step-for-step for nearly 50 yards and then tipped the ball into the air for Thurmond to catch.
* Byron Maxwell turned in a nice performance, which included an interception. He was in the right place at the right time when Flacco overthrew Marlon Brown. Earlier in the first half, Maxwell took away two of Flacco’s reads on one play by bumping Steve Smith Sr. on a slant and then falling back into his zone close to the tight end. Maxwell also played some as the nickel corner.
* Malcolm Jenkins makes me wonder how much Bill Davis will bring him up to the line to cover the tight end. He did a good job covering a Ravens tight end in press coverage.
* Vinny Curry did a good job in pass-rushing situations, but twice he bit too hard on the play-action and allowed the Ravens’ quarterback to get outside the pocket with plenty of time to throw the ball on naked bootlegs.
* After a dominant performance last week, Bennie Logan was quiet, but still effective, in the first quarter. On one play, Logan used his athleticism to beat a cut block before tackling the ball-carrier close to the line of scrimmage.
* While the Eagles’ backup offensive linemen struggled to live up to the first team’s performance, the second-team defensive linemen played well. On a run play, Brandon Bair shed his blocker and tackled the ball-carrier for a short gain. On a pass play, Bair batted down a pass that could’ve given the Ravens a first down. The defensive line as a whole did a good job pressuring the quarterback, but Najee Goode dropped an interception that was caused by pressure.
* On that note, even the Eagles’ third-string defensive line played pretty well. Brian Mihalik did a nice job rushing the passer and caused disruption in the backfield several times. Alfy Hill was a tough blocking assignment on run plays but didn’t do much in passing situations.
* Emmanual Acho did a good job of scraping and plugging holes, but Deontae Skinner did a poor job of shedding blocks.
* Eric Rowe still has plenty of room to grow in man-to-man coverage, but he’s improving. He does a good job in bump-and-run.
* One advantage Bryan Braman has because of his athleticism is making tackles even after staying at home to take care of his responsibilities. He’s able to stay outside to defend potential quarterback bootlegs then crash inside to make the tackle if the running back doesn’t get up the field quickly.
* The Eagles are going to have to find a way to keep Kenjon Barner when they eventually cut the roster down to 53. He broke a few ankle tackles on his 68-yard punt return for a touchdown and is tough to get down in the open field.
* Bryan Braman started the game with a nice play as he was the first one down the field on the kickoff before making a good tackle at the 13-yard-line.
* One of the Eagles’ defenders on punt return—it looked like Eric Rowe—did an excellent job blocking the gunner and constantly forced him out of bounds.
* Cody Parkey made the kicks he was supposed to and missed the one he was expected to. He made all three extra-points, a 21-yard field goal and a 35-yard field goal. He missed a 55-yard field goal attempt. Kip Smith, who has been practicing more at punter than kicker, made both a 30-yard field goal and a 34-yard field goal.