Game Review: Eagles Offense Vs. Chargers Defense
* Michael Vick played an outstanding game. He looked comfortable in the pocket, knew where to go with the football and delivered darts all day long. Was he perfect? No. The one deep ball led DeSean Jackson out of bounds (although he still had a chance to make a play). And Vick’s throw to James Casey in the end zone was a little low, even though he should have made the catch. But overall, 23-for-36 for 428 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.
* The 61-yard touchdown to Jackson was a beauty, and Vick did a masterful job of taking the Eagles 75 yards in 80 seconds in the first half. His one deep ball hit Jackson in the fingertips, but the wide receiver admitted he should have had it. When the Chargers blitzed (sent five or more), he was 6-for-10 for 133 yards and scrambled once. Vick got rid of the ball quickly on the 27-yard completion to Zach Ertz in the fourth, beating the blitz. And he even threw the ball away wisely on a couple occasions.
* Overall, Vick did a good job of avoiding hits until the final scoring drive when he took a couple crushing blows.
* On the season, Vick has 13 completions of 20+ yards, tops in the NFL. He’s averaging 10.3 YPA, tied for first. Only Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning have higher passer ratings. There’s still plenty of time to go, but I thought Vick looked significantly better in Week 2 than he did in Week 1. Chip Kelly and the coaching staff deserve credit too for putting him in positions to succeed.
* Nick Foles came in for a play and threw a fade incomplete to Jackson. Kelly admitted today that he should have called timeout and put Vick back in the game. I’m in the camp with those who believe the Eagles probably should have run the ball with Foles in the game, rather than have him come in cold and try to connect on that TD. But that’s why they call it second-guessing.
* The Chargers played a safety up and tried to stifle the Eagles’ running game, but it’s not like they shut down LeSean McCoy. He still had 11 carries for 53 yards and added five catches for 114. McCoy leads the NFL with 237 rushing yards and is averaging a healthy 5.6 yards per carry.
* McCoy got matched up with safety Eric Weddle on a route in the first, made the catch and took for a 70-yard gain. By the way, give Chargers linebacker Reggie Walker credit for hustling downfield and bringing McCoy down on that play. The Eagles settled for a field goal, so he essentially saved four points.
* McCoy had several other nice runs. He made Walker look silly on a 4-yard gain in the first, bounced a run outside for 9 yards later and got the job done in short yardage. McCoy had a 17-yard scamper and a 21-yard catch in the second. He did a good job of turning into a blocker on Vick’s touchdown run in the fourth.
* Bryce Brown played nine snaps and had three carries for 13 yards.
* I charted zone-read plays. The Eagles ran it nine times for 54 yards (6.0 YPC). Vick kept the ball on two of those nine, running for 17 yards. In Week 1, the Eagles used the zone read 49 times, per ESPN Stats & Information.
* The Eagles also have the league’s leading receiver. DeSean Jackson has piled up 297 yards in two games and had a nine-catch, 193-yard performance on Sunday. The truth is, it could have been even bigger. The Chargers tried to shadow him man-to-man all game long with Shareece Wright. That didn’t work out so well. There were four missed opportunities. One was the ball that was thrown too close to the sideline. Then there was the deep ball that hit Jackson’s fingertips and would have been a 79-yard TD. Vick overthrew him once on what would have been a 69-yard bomb. And Lane Johnson’s penalty negated a 37-yarder.
* Jackson still had a 61-yard grab and a 41-yard grab. But as crazy as it sounds, a 350+ receiving yard day was in play.
* Kelly is doing a masterful job of getting the ball in Jackson’s hands and creating mismatches. This is just the second time in his career he’s had back-to-back games with seven receptions or more. And he was targeted 15 times vs. San Diego. Jackson is catching the ball in a variety of spots and doing an excellent job of getting down and avoiding big hits when he’s in the middle of the field.
* Riley Cooper did an excellent job of using his size on the 13-yard touchdown. He also made a nice leaping grab for 12 yards.
* Jason Avant had four catches for 39 yards on seven targets, including a nice 21-yarder over the middle in the fourth.
* After a big first week, Brent Celek was only targeted once and ended up with zero catches.
* Zach Ertz only played 12 snaps, but had two catches for 58 yards. He show good YAC ability on a 31-yarder in the third and came back with a 27-yard catch and run in the fourth. As a blocker, Ertz did a poor job on Weddle on Brown’s 8-yard run in the first.
* The Casey grab in the end zone was close. My feeling is if they would have ruled it a TD on the field, it would have stood. But they ruled it incomplete, and it was too close to be reversed. Casey only played five snaps.
* I charted personnel groupings. The Eagles were in 11 personnel (1-RB, 1-TE, 3-WR) on 46 of 58 offensive snaps. They were in 12 personnel (1-RB, 2-TE) on nine snaps; went 3-TE twice; and showed one 4-WR look. For all the offseason talk about using multiple tight ends, the Eagles really haven’t gone that route much in their first two games.
* Overall, I thought the offensive line played really well, especially in the second half when the Eagles scored points on four straight drives. There were hiccups here and there, but overall, a strong showing.
* Let’s start with Jason Peters. The big man looked more dominant in the run game this week. Nice kick-out block on Brown’s 8-yard run. Good down block on McCoy’s 17-yarder. And Peters drove the linebacker to the ground on Vick’s 9-yard zone read carry in the fourth. In the first, he was matched up against Dwight Freeney, who hit Vick as he threw, but it really looked more like Vick stepping into pressure than Peters getting beat. The Eagles used some more unbalanced lines. Peters set up at right tackle in the first, but missed his block on the safety on a red-zone run. Other than the one play I mentioned, he was flawless in pass protection. If you see a replay of the 61-yard Jackson TD run, check out Peters on Freeney. He shoved him about 10 yards upfield and completely out of the play.
* Up-and-down day for Lane Johnson. It’s not like he was getting beat all game long, but just too many costly mistakes. The rookie got schooled by Freeney on a spin move in the second. Vick got hit on the play and overthrew Jackson. Later, Johnson was called for a penalty on the 37-yard touchdown to Jackson (details here). The Eagles had to settle for a field goal on that drive.
* Johnson had some other issues too. He got pushed back into Vick on a third-down incompletion in the second. He got beaten to the inside by the DT, who disrupted a third-down play in the third and stopped the Eagles for no gain, forcing them to kick a field goal. Again, overall, I thought Johnson did many things well, but there were issues.
* Todd Herremans was up-and-down as well. He got beaten badly by Jarius Wynn for a sack on the first drive. Herremans did a poor job on nose tackle Cam Thomas, who stopped McCoy on a 1-yard run. He pulled, but completely whiffed on the linebacker on McCoy’s third-down run that was stopped for no gain in the third. And he was slow to pick up a stunt on third down late in the fourth as the Chargers crushed Vick. Too inconsistent in this one.
* Evan Mathis was up and down in Week 1, but played well vs. the Chargers. Great seal block on Brown’s 8-yard run in the first and nice job pulling on McCoy’s 17-yarder in the second. Mathis delivered a good block on McCoy’s 21-yard screen. The only issues? He was slow to get to the safety on McCoy’s 3-yard run with the Eagles backed up near their own goal line. And he got pushed back into Vick in pass protection in the third.
* Jason Kelce looked like their best offensive lineman on Sunday. He did a nice job in the run game throughout and once again showed off his athleticism in the run game, pulling on McCoy’s 17-yard run in the second. Kelce made a nice block on McCoy’s 21-yard screen, and I didn’t really notice any issues in pass protection. He has played really well in the first two games.