Last week, I composed a little piece on the five most important things for the Eagles to avoid in their match-up with the Green Bay Packers yesterday. Let’s take a look at them and see how everything panned out. Shall we?
1. Michael Vick can’t get hit 17 times.
Vick wasn’t exactly hit too often, but he was sacked three times, and one of those came on the first offensive play of the game. He was heavily pressured often as the Packers featured linebackers and members of the secondary in their blitz packages.
The offensive line seemed ill-equipped to handle an aggressive 3-4 defense that they had all week to prepare for. The errors of Winston Justice almost got Vick killed once or twice. If it was Kevin Kolb back there, we may have had to plan a funeral this week.
The Swiss cheese look isn’t very attractive for this offensive line. It’s one of many areas that will need to be addressed this off-season.
2. Andy Reid can’t call pass plays 70% of the time.
The Eagles had 60 offensive plays. Vick threw 36 passes, was sacked three times, and was forced to abandon the pocket on a handful of broken plays, let’s say… five.
36 + 3 + 5 = 44…. 44/60 = 73%.
LeSean McCoy, one of the breakout stars in the NFL this year, was only handed the ball 12 times in a pass-heavy offense. Packers rookie running back James Starks ran 23 times for 123 yards. Do you find something wrong with that?
But I guess when an balanced attack doesn’t happen in the first 11 years, you really shouldn’t expect something different the year following.
3. Aaron Rodgers can’t be given time in the pocket.
Where the hell is Trent Cole?
In seven playoff games, Cole has 1.5 sacks. The regular season regulator is a playoff pansy and the Eagles defensive end did nothing to dispel the nickname I just gave him.
Nothing. He had two solo tackles in yesterday’s loss and even at that, I can’t remember his name being called all game.
As a result, the Eagles only got to Aaron Rodgers twice and although Darryl Tapp did force a fumble, the Birds couldn’t touch Rodgers in the red zone. He was even able to rollout inside the 20 to throw for a score.
Rodgers was 18-for-27 for just 180 yards, but threw for three touchdowns. His stats would have looked much better if his receivers didn’t drop a couple of key passes that really could have come back to hurt the Pack.
The bottom line is that the Eagles couldn’t get to Rodgers enough to force mistakes through the air. They failed to induce bad decisions because of an absence of pressure. This has been an issue for the Eagles in the past six games and was another contributing factor to the team’s overall poor performance yesterday.
4. The Red Zone defense can’t be historically awful.
The Packers were 3-for-3 in the red zone with three touchdowns. The running joke yesterday involved the unofficial awarding of six points for the Pack when they made it inside the 20-yard line…
…it stopped being funny after the third time.
It was imperative for Sean McDermott to relay the message to his players that they needed to get it together deep in their own territory. Yet, every time the Pack got there, the Eagles were embarrassed. 77% of the opponents’ red zone opportunities resulted in touchdowns in the regular season. Yesterday, the Packers were 100%.
And for some reason, Andy Reid said today at his weekly press conference that McDermott would return as defensive coordinator in 2011. There exists a large contingent that does not agree with that decision. McDermott’s defense was the worst in the red zone in 25 years. They needed to play yesterday like they weren’t.
But sometimes, you are what you are, and McDermott is the man who should be held accountable in this case.
5. The Eagles can’t start slow.
I mentioned earlier that Michael Vick was sacked on the Eagles first play from scrimmage. That pretty much set the precedent for the offense in the first half.
The Eagles first points came with just over a minute to go in first half on a David Akers field goal. It was Akers’ second try in the game. He missed a 41-yard attempt in the first quarter. (He missed a 34-yarder later).
DeSean Jackson left in the first quarter with an MCL sprain, hurting the offense’s chances for a big play early in the game. The Birds couldn’t get into a rhythm, and that usually hurts a team that runs better when they set a tempo early.
- Michael Vick didn’t get hit too, too often, but he did get hit early.
- Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg abandoned the run in a game where it was needed.
- The defense couldn’t get to Aaron Rodgers and force mistakes through the air.
- The red zone defense lived down to their reputation.
- The Eagles couldn’t put points on the board early.
But I can’t, for the life of me, figure out how this team lost…