The objective Sunday for the Eagles secondary on Sunday was first and foremost to contain Lions receiver Calvin Johnson. For the most part, the Eagles were successful.
Johnson was targeted 11 times by quarterback Shaun Hill, but only hauled in four receptions for fifty yards. One catch, a 19-yard touchdown, came late in the fourth quarter when the Eagles loosened their coverage. All in all, the Eagles secondary corralled one of the biggest, most physical receivers in the game.
"He's a big guy, he's tall, and when he goes up for the ball he's up there," rookie free safety Nate Allen said Monday morning. "He's a great athlete. We knew he was going to make some plays …and he did.""
The Eagles knew that any one-on-one coverage against the 6-4 Calvin Johnson was a dangerous game to be playing. Johnson has dominated just about every team that tried to match him up with one guy, so the Eagles defense went into the game knowing it would be a team effort.
"We were just trying to roll our coverage to him and get as many people around him as we could," Allen said. "We tried not to isolate him on anybody. I think we did a pretty good job with what we were game planning but still he's a good athlete and he's going to make a play here or there. I think we did well overall.""
Veteran cornerback Asante Samuel agreed with Allen's assessment. Samuel spent a lot of his Sunday afternoon covering Johnson, and like the rest of us, he was taken aback by size of the giant wide receiver. But overall, he thought the defense responded well against some talented guys on the Lions' offense.
"He's definitely a freak of nature man," Samuel said postgame in reference to Calvin Johnson. "They have a lot of players, Calvin Johnson, the running back (Jahvid) Best, we had to stop all the main threats. But for the most part, we did an all right job on Johnson."
Defensive coordinator Sean McDermott is always looking at the bigger picture. His defense played Johnson well, keeping the receiver in check for the better part of the game. But on the flip side, they still gave up 444 yards and 32 points.
A win is a win, and all the coaches take that to heart, but McDermott still knows there is a lot to work on.
"We came in with a game plan to take (Johnson) away, and I thought for the most part that we did that,"" McDermott said. ""Now we had some other areas that reared their ugly head as far as the tight end and the running back passing game that we have to get squared away, and those will be addressed this week."
As for Nate Allen, he secured his second pick in as many weeks. And while he couldn't make any guarantees, it sounds like he's trying to make a habit of it.
"I'll try to (keep it going)," Allen said. "I'm trying to make something happen out there, but that would be pretty nice."
-- Posted by Josh Goldman, 5:00 p.m., September 20