Ric Flair is my favorite wrestler of all time. I'm not big into that "sport," but the Nature Boy, as he's affectionately known, has always entertained me. One of Flair's great sayings is that "to be the best, you have to beat the best." While the Colts may not be the best team in the NFL, they are still a measuring-stick franchise. The Colts have won 12 or more games in every season since 2003.
The Eagles offense had a big showing on Sunday. Michael Vick was a little up and down early on, but got better as the game went along and made several huge plays. He threw for 218 yards and a touchdown. He ran 10 times for 74 yards. That was huge as he was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week. The Colts have a very good pass rush. They got some pressure, but Vick was able to burn them with his scrambling. He could turn disaster into success. It was important to see Vick play well against a good team. His best games came against mediocre defenses. I wanted to see him go up against a good pass rush and a secondary that had solid coverage skills. Things didn't look as smooth for Vick as they did in the earlier games, but he fought through it and won. He showed that he could handle a game where there was some adversity.
The skill players delivered in a big way. LeSean McCoy had a 62-yard run to open the game. That set up an early touchdown and allowed us to play from in front for most of the game. McCoy found tough sledding after that run, but he converted a few short-yardage runs and did his part. He also did a good job with chip blocks and pass protection. DeSean Jackson looked like a star in his return to action. He had seven grabs for 109 yards and even ran three times for 20 yards. He delivered a huge play that flipped the field when we were pinned deep. Jackson also scored the first touchdown of the game. That's the kind of impact you want from a star receiver. Jeremy Maclin and Jason Avant didn't have great numbers, but each had some key catches.
Vick and the passing game were able to do good things because the protection was solid overall. Nick Cole had to come into the game and play right guard. Vick felt heat on some plays, but you just don't totally shut down Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. We controlled them for the most part. Mathis did have one sack.
We struggled in the red zone and that almost cost us the game. That's one area where the players and coaches have a lot of work left to do. David Akers kicked four field goals. Three of them were real short kicks. We must get into the end zone. We did do a good job of sustaining drives. That kept Peyton Manning on the sideline as a spectator. The Eagles had a pair of three-and-outs in the whole game. They almost converted on 50 percent of third downs. That's excellent.
This was a game where we needed the offense, defense and special teams to really work together. The offense had to move the ball and keep Manning off the field. The defense had to limit the Colts as much as possible. The special teams had to avoid giving Indy good field position. Nine of the Colts possessions started at their 20-yard line or worse. That hidden yardage helped quite a bit. One more field goal by them and all this positive talk is out the window.
Great win for the young Eagles. Now, they have to re-focus and get ready for Washington and a slew of NFC East games. It is November and the critical part of the season is here.
-- Posted by Tommy Lawlor, 7:00 p.m., November 10