Sunday was a good day. It was a fun day. The Eagles played in a big game, one that had a playoff atmosphere. The Eagles matched the atmosphere of the game with their level of play. That really hasn't happened in a while. It was good to see the team play up to the situation instead of leaving us all to wonder "What if?" as has happened so much in recent years.
I wrote after Week 1 that I felt the Ravens were one of the three best teams in the league (along with the 49ers and Texans). Playing them was a big challenge and the Eagles responded to that challenge. The coaches came up with a good gameplan. The players executed it well. The players also were physical and matched the Ravens’ intensity. You don't beat the Ravens just with talent or scheme. You better block, hit, tackle and win your share of one-on-one battles.
The offense piled up 486 yards of offense. They scored 24 points, despite four turnovers. Did you expect the Eagles to have that kind of success against the Ravens? I did think some of the matchups worked in the Eagles favor. In my preview I wrote, "The Ravens still have to figure out how they'll cover
Joe Flacco threw 42 passes. Vick threw 32. Ray Rice ran 16 times. Shady McCoy ran 25 times. The Eagles kept the attack more balanced and that helped to keep the Ravens from just blitzing relentlessly. Don't count on Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg doing this all the time. The fact they altered the offense shows you just how much respect they have for the Ravens.
Vick led the offense on a game-winning touchdown drive late in the game for the second week in a row. I can't stress how huge this is. You must be able to perform in clutch situations to win playoff games. Vick and the offense showed they could get the job done at critical moments. Turnovers are still a major problem, but you can see the offense rounding into shape.
The plan on Sunday was to be aggressive against the Ravens and use a no-huddle attack at times. While the offense was balanced, the Eagles didn't play conservative football. That's not Reid's style. It's not Vick's style either. I think the gameplan brought out the best in Vick. He was much more confident this week. He looked like the Vick we've enjoyed watching in recent years.
So how were the Eagles aggressive? They went for it on fourth-and-1 when already in field goal range. Reid didn't want field goals. He wanted touchdowns. The Eagles threw the ball downfield when backed up inside their own 20-yard line. The coaches had several designed runs for Vick. They weren't afraid to have him take a hit if they thought he could get key yards. The Eagles weren't afraid to mix in role players to the attack.
The skill players made big plays, but the offensive line also did their part. Center
The defense was also huge. For the second week in a row, the defense stopped the opponent when all they offense had to do was get in field goal range.
|Tommy Lawlor, goeagles99 on the Discussion Boards, is an amateur football scout and devoted Eagles fan. He is the Editor of IgglesBlitz.com and was a contributor to the Eagles Almanac.|
Flacco was only sacked twice, but don't think for a minute that he had it easy. The defensive line got pressure on him all game long.
How fun is it to have good linebackers?
Life is good now with the Eagles at 2-0, but there are flaws to work on. Neither the offense nor defense is perfect. Both groups are making too many mistakes to be thrilled with where they are. The good news is that the problems aren't due to effort or lack of talent.
The offense is the bigger concern, primarily due to turnovers. The offense has turned the ball over nine times. In 2008, the Miami Dolphins had 13 turnovers for the entire season and set an NFL record. The Eagles are too aggressive on offense to go through a year like that, but the offense is really hurting the team right now. Vick has thrown six interceptions.
The defense just needs to tighten up a few things. Kendricks and Ryans are new to the wide-nine and occasionally will get in the wrong gaps on run plays. The corners have gotten careless on a few pass plays. That's led to a couple of big plays and some penalties. I'm nit-picking some things here because the defense is playing really good football for the most part.
The Eagles are 2-0, but nowhere close to playing their best football. That's encouraging, especially when you consider that they looked like a playoff team on Sunday. The last time the Eagles started 2-0 was the Super Bowl season of 2004. I think it is early too consider this a Super Bowl team, but there are plenty of reasons to feel good. Vick looks like the old Vick. The skill players are off to a good start. If the line can come together, the offense will be potent. Special teams are still a work in progress as so many young and new players are mixed in. As for the defense, they're legit. And so are the Eagles.