Well, that was a tough one.
After winning last week’s game with a missed last second field goal, the Eagles lost to the Steelers 16-14 in the closing seconds on a Shaun Suisham kick. Having had some time to digest the game, here are my thoughts.
1. Turnovers continued to hurt this team. Vick fumbled four (four!) times during the game, two of them giveaways. The stat sheet says three fumbles, but that play where Vick’s fumble was overturned was the result of pure luck more than anything. He coughed that ball up uncontested. Also, if Vick hadn’t fumbled the ball into the endzone, who knows how this game would have gone.
2. While the fumbling is an issue, Vick played a very good game overall. #7 seems to be showing serious improvement in terms of decision making, releasing the ball quickly, and giving up on plays. Vick went 20-30 for 175 yards with 2 TDs 0 INTs and led another comeback drive in the fourth quarter. He led the team on a 17 play 79 yard touchdown drive, eating up 6:33 minutes of the clock. Another promising trend from Vick and the Birds.
3. Rashard Mendenhall really pumped up a struggling Steelers offense. Prior to the game, the Steelers were ranked as one of the worst rushing attacks in the league, averaging 65 yards per game. In his first game back from an ACL tear, Mendenhall looked like his old self–putting up 101 total yards and a touchdown. He was able to break tackles, push the pile, and even make some nifty cuts on the outside. In short, he was their best offensive player yesterday.
4. The offensive line is like Spongebob Squarepants: porous. Vick was constantly harassed yesterday and had to move a lot in the pocket. Lawrence Timmons in particular gave the Birds fits yesterday, recording 9 tackles (2 for a loss) and had two hits on the QB. The line also struggled to adjust to a variety of overload blitzes.
5. The Eagles stayed faithful to LeSean McCoy. McCoy had 20 total touches throughout the game for 80 yards and a touchdown. He was a vital reason for the Eagles success as he constantly dodged defenders and converted a seemingly doomed 4th down at the end of the game to keep the Eagles hopes alive.
6. The defense didn’t ply a great game. While it may not appear that way on the stat sheet or the scoreboard, the Eagles pass defense benefitted from an uncharacteristically high number of drops by the Steelers (Mike Wallace in particular).
Also, while the line is getting pressure, the Eagles need some minor adjustments schematically. They’ve now registered zero sacks in the last two games. That’s a concerning number. Whether that means blitzing, adjusting in how the players are rotated, or doing more stunting to create space for their lineman something needs to change.
I didn’t mind the Eagles calling a QB draw for Vick at the goal line. His running ability is a special talent and a similar play call resulted in a touchdown against Baltimore. Don’t forget that the Eagles gave LeSean McCoy the ball three consecutive times on the goal line last week and failed to punch it in. This was nothing more than a good play with unfortunate results.
Eagles Player of the Game:
LeSean McCoy. The guy is simply phenomenal and always manages to make something out of nothing on a routine basis. Chis Johnson might want to watch some of his tape.
Eagles Goat of the Game:
Mychal Kendricks. Kendricks appeared to struggle in space in the running game and was juked out of his pants by Rashard Mendenhall on his 15 yard TD. He also allowed Heath Miller to make a few good plays in the passing game.
With Pittsburgh in the books, the Eagles look forward to the 1-3 Detroit Lions at home. the Lions, like the steelers, are coming off of a bye.