The Philadelphia gave hometown boy Matt Ryan a rude welcome home. Ryan, the former number three overall pick in the NFL draft, led the Falcons into Lincoln Financial field, and left with a loss. The Eagles dominated the Falcons and shut down their offense, and their defense. A game that I thought was going to be a tough one for the Eagles to win turned out to be a breeze. Led by quarterback Kevin Kolb the Eagles pulled off their division leading fourth win of the season.
** With Michael Vick battling a rib injury Kevin Kolb was given the reigns of the offense and had his best game of the 2010 season. Before Sundays game Kolb had been efficient (ignoring the first half against the Packers) but to look at his stats might deceive you. Before Sunday 70% of Kolb’s passes were going for 10 yards or less. He was checking down just about every play and failing to take shots deep. That wasn’t the case Sunday.
Last week I brought up the fact that Kolb had failed to utilize DeSean Jackson, rarely throwing to the dynamic receiver. Not only did Jackson get the ball Sunday but Kolb also spread the field using Jeremy Maclin. Kolb passed for 326 yards, 3 touchdowns and one interception. He completed 79% of his passes and finished with a quarterback rating of 133.6.
Kolb looked really good against the second best defense in the league. He torched the Falcons defense and looked comfortable in the pocket. While Michael Vick beat the Lions defense, and the Jaguars defense, Kolb just did it against one of the league’s best. It’s hard to argue that Kevin Kolb should be your starting quarterback come Sunday in Tennessee.
**Jeremy Maclin is having a breakout year and the national media just hasn’t caught on. Maclin has become Kolb’s go to guy with Kolb under center. Vick had Jackson, and Kolb is keying in on Maclin for big results. Kolb’s week five win in San Francisco saw Maclin grab 6 catches for 95 yards. This past week he beat the Falcons secondary to the tune of 7 grabs, 159 yards, and 2 touchdowns’s including a gorgeous 83 yard bomb that saw the second year receiver play possum and then jet to beat the secondary.
Maclin is the Eagles leading receiver in yards (416) and touchdowns (6). The Eagles took Maclin with the 19th overall pick in the 2009 draft out of Missouri and thought that they finally had a receiver tandem that could compete with the NFL’s best. After draft pick busts like Todd Pinkston, and Freddie Mitchell, the Eagles last two big wide receiver drafts picks are turning out to be NFL stars. With Maclin and Jackson the Eagles have their best group of wide outs in decades.
** King Dunlap was taken by the Eagles in the 7th round of the 2008 draft. King went to Auburn and going into his senior year he was projected to be a first round pick. After a bad senior year, and an awful senior bowl the Eagles were able to steal King in the 7th round. He was a project sure, but in the 7th round he was also a great upside pick. Eagles fans saw that upside on Sunday.
While many Eagles fans were envisioning another situation like Winston Justice’s first start in the NFL (it’s hard to forget) King played outstanding football. Filling in for Jason Peters King was faced off against All Pro defensive end John Abraham who came into the game with 4 sacks and left with 4 sacks. King proved to be a great fill in for Peters who was out with….pick an injury. Eagles fans didn’t have to witness false start penalties, or holding calls and then the shock that said tackle was holding. King shut down one of the better defensive ends in the game, and shocked Eagles fans in the process. A+ for living up to your name!
** Sean McDermott. Yes I said Sean McDermott. Your defensive schemes frustrated the Falcons offense. The defense focused in on Falcons running back Michael Turner and limited Turner to just 45 yards with 0 touchdowns. They frustrated Matt Ryan, and were even able to shut down All Pro tight end Tony Gonzalez for the first half. Granted Gonzalez did catch 2 touchdowns but was limited to just 19 yards.
I’ve been very critical of McDermott this season but he finally looked like he knew what he was doing on Sunday. Not only did the defense look strong but they even managed to tackle. Even Asante Samuel got into the mix having 3 tackles and a pick. Matt Ryan was also frustrated most of the day by Eagles defensive end Trent Cole who had a team high 5 tackles and 2 sacks and forced a crucial fumble. Cole now has 5 sacks on the season.
** The good news is that DeSean Jackson was explosive on Sunday a 34 yard touchdown, and rushing twice for 44 yards and a touchdown. It finally looked as if DeSean Jackson was ready for his first big game since Jacksonville until Dunta Robinson came around. Robinson leveled Jackson in the middle of the field with a helmet to helmet hit that is costing the Falcons cornerback $50,000.
Both Jackson and Robinson are now suffering from concussions and neither returned to the game. Eagles head coach Andy Reid said “it’d be a real stretch to see DeSean play on Sunday”. He reportedly was unconscious on the field for a while and didn’t know why he was being helped off the field. It appears like the Eagles will be without the talents of #10 for quite some time.
** Eagles kicker David Akers missed 3 straight kicks wide left. I don’t think Tony Siragusa waving his arms to signal where Akers should aim helped. The long time kicker changed his pink cleat to a normal one and then booted a 30 yard field goal right down the middle. It’s really nothing to be alarmed about but in a game where the Eagles dominated it’s hard to find flaws.
** The Eagles failed to pull the trigger on a deal Tuesday, the NFL trading deadline. They now have two quarterbacks and, come free agency they will get nothing for Michael Vick. The Eagles have wasted a golden opportunity to finally receive something for their investment in the troubled quarterback.
The Eagles are committed to Kevin Kolb past this year but Michael Vick is set to become a free agent. You can’t possibly think that there wasn’t a team who wasn’t looking for a starting quarterback on Tuesday. Vick not only could provide decent quarterback play but also could help a team in the box office. Teams like Buffalo and Jacksonville could use a draw like Vick, and the Eagles could always use the extra pick.
Vick supporters will think I’m crazy for suggesting the Eagles trade the quarterback but the fact is Kevin Kolb is the Eagles quarterback of the future. Vick was brought to Philly and immediately the Eagles were bombarded with negative publicity regarding Vick, and his previous digressions. You have to wonder, the Eagles took a major public relations hit when they brought Vick in, they then picked up his 5 million dollar club option, and come March hell be flying the nest and looking for a new home.
The Eagles head into Tennessee to battle Chris Johnson and the Tennessee Titans. The Titans are 4-2 on the season and are currently in second place in the AFC South. The Titans are led by former Rose Bowl MVP Vine Young who they may not see come Sunday due to a sprained knee. The Eagles will ever see Vince Young or Kerry Collins under center for the Titans.
Neither quarterback is going to be battling for a league MVP any time soon. The Vikings offense isn’t led by their passing game because when you have a running back of the caliber of a Chris Johnson you don’t really need one. The Titans bread and butter is Johnson and the running game. They pound the ball with Johnson and why not? Johnson is currently second in the NFL in rushing yards with 596 and first in the NFL in rushing touchdowns with 7. Johnson is one of the best backs in the NFL but if the Eagles can stop Michael Turner there is no reason to think they can’t shut down Johnson.
The Titans feature a ferocious defense that ranks fourth in the NFL. They are led by their pass rush and stopping the pass rush starts with a former Eagle. Jason Babin was taken out of Western Michigan in the first round by the Texans. While he played defensive end in college the Texans decided to convert him into a linebacker. That experiment didn’t work so well and Babin bounced around. Babin arrived in Philly last season where the Eagles converted Babin back into his natural position of defensive end.
Babin played well for the Eagles as he rotated in and out of the defensive end spot. He had 2.5 sacks and was starting to show promise but the Eagles let him go and he signed with the Titans. In 6 games with the Titans Babin is leading the team in sacks with 6. A 5th round pick out of UCLA named Dave Bell is also helping the Titans defense become one of the league’s best. Another scrap heap pickup by the Titans, Bell is second on the team in sacks with 5.
The Eagles offensive line is going to have their work cut out for them as their going to attempt to keep Kevin Kolb’s jersey green. Kolb will be without one of his biggest weapons in DeSean Jackson who probably won’t play because of a concussion. With Kolb’s success against a tough Atlanta defense he has instilled faith in me that he can handle the pressure of tough teams. I have faith he can lead the Eagles to victory but this game is going to come down to whether or not the Eagles can shut down Chris Johnson.