A game to remember for MV7 but a game to forget for the Eagles defense. That's how you would describe the week two meeting between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Detroit Lions. The "Battle of the Backups" saw the Eagles defense almost blow an 18 point lead but ultimately come out on top 35-32. While the talk would usually be on the negative of the game most of Philadelphia will be buzzing about Eagles quarter back Michael Vick, who was making his first start since 2006. The controversial QB made defenders miss like it was 2005, but also showed off the arm strength that had Frank Beamer recruiting him to play for the Hokies way back in 1998. For the first time in a long time Michael Vick was able to put everything together and make many fans forget what he had done.
One of the biggest criticisms Michael Vick has faced during his time in the NFL was that he wasn't a QB, just a runner. A selfish player who would drop back and run the ball just because he could. At one point his receiving corp featured 3 former first round draft choices and a tight end that was taken in the second round. Still Vick was never able to put up decent passing numbers in Atlanta. Sunday, however, Vick looked like a different QB from he one we saw in Atlanta. A QB who utilized his arm, and his legs, and had good decision making. There were times in the game where 4 years ago Vick would have taken off but not on Sunday. On Sunday Vick evaded Detroit defenders and continued to look down field to make a play with his strong left arm. Vick finished the game with 284 passing yard, 2 touch downs, and a passer rating of 108. He also rushed for 37 yards.
As impressive Vick was he wasn't the only Eagle to have a big game as the new Eagles running back LeSean McCoy rushed for 120 yards and 3 touch downs. He became the first Eagles running back to rush for 3 TD in a single game since Charlie Garner way back in 1995. Both McCoy and Vick were a big reason for the Eagles first win of the season. McCoy showed the speed, and vision, that made him the Eagles second round pick in the 2009 draft. Eagles fans are praying they see similar production from "Shady" for years to come.
While LeSean McCoy led the way for the Eagles in terms of rushing, it was the Lions running back that had everyone talking on Sunday. The Lions took Jahvid Best with the #30 pick in the 2010 draft. Many fans, enamored with Chargers rookie running back Ryan Mathews, forgot about the Lions rookie and are kicking themselves for it. Jahvid Best may have been the best player on the field on Sunday. The rookie ran for 78 yards, and 2 TD but also caught 9 passes for a total of 154 yards and a receiving TD. At the end of the day Jahvid Best had a total of 232 all purpose yards.
At the end of the day though it wasn't enough. Jahvid Best couldn't do it all himself and neither could backup QB Shaun Hill who was filling in for the injured Mathew Stafford. Hill tried to leave a 4th quarter comeback, and was almost successful in it but the Eagles defense eventually stopped them on a 4th down, and then took a kneel down to end the game.
**Michael Vick looked really good. He had over 300 all purpose yards and didn't throw an interception. He made good reads and finally looked to make plays with his arm. Its amazing to think that maybe Andy Reid, and the rest of the Eagles coaching staff, have finally made this guy realize that in order to be the better QB he needs to throw the ball. It will set up the running plays he is famous for and make him more of a duel threat. Before this game he was a one trick pony in my mind but maybe I need to change my opinion.
I still however think we need to take this game for what it was. The Lions aren't a great defensive team. Yes they are very much improved but its hard not to be after going 0-16. Their secondary is nothing great and Vick exploited their weaknesses with a little help from DeSean Jackson (4 catches, 135 yards, 1 TD). I still think Vick needs help reading defenses. He did get lucky on some plays where he threw into double, sometimes triple coverage. He needs to learn not to force the ball into a tiny window. Sometimes it works and its great and other times its picked off and changes the game. While this was a great sign, I also want to see what he can do against a good secondary.
This can only be a positive though if your an Eagles fan. Like Mike Vick or not he's on the team. Most of the people that were anti-Vick tried looking at the positive when he signed; "Well at least we can trade him and get a pick". Vick playing well is only boosting his trade stock and this is a good time to do it with lots of teams around the league having QB questions. I expect Vick to start next week against the Jacksonville Jaguars, a team that could use a QB and a guy to sell tickets. With the growing awareness on concussions in the NFL you wouldn't think the Eagles would want to rush Kolb back. Especially after the way he played against the Packers. There is no QB controversy though, if Kolb is healthy he is the Eagles starting QB. But the injury to Kolb gives them time to show off their biggest trade chip and possibly get something in return for their controversial investment.
**Rookies Brandon Graham and Nate Allen had a game to remember as well. Nate Allen had a first quarter interception of Lions QB Shaun Hill and with that interception he became the first Eagles rookie to have two interceptions in his first two games since Brenard Wilson in 1979. Graham recorded his first ever NFL sack in front of friends and family. Graham, the Eagles first round pick out of Michigan, made an impact early but ultimately ended with a shoulder injury. The Eagles first two selections from the 2010 draft (Graham and Allen) have been making a big impact quickly.
**When the Eagles let Brian Westbrook go it was tough on Eagles fans. Westbrook was the little engine that could from local college Villanova. A 3rd round pick in the 2002 draft, Westbrook went on to be one of, if not the greatest running back in Eagles history. Along with McNabb they destroyed defenses with the screen pass for years. The Eagles however always looked for a bigger compliment for Westbrook so they wouldn't wear the little back out. Never able to find one they once again took a shot on a running back from Pittsburgh in the 2009 draft.
I know I was surprised when the Eagles let Westbrook go and gave the reigns to LeSean McCoy. McCoy showed flashes in his rookie year but nothing that made me think "Wow we really got something here". That was until Sunday. LeSean McCoy had his coming out party and in a big way. He should great vision and wonderful burst as he ran all over the Lions defense. His first 100 yard rushing game was great but the 3 TD he added were even better.
**It seems like I am one of the few, but I think Sean McDermott has done a terrible job. McDermott was hyped up by the local media as the next Jim Johnson but has never lived up to it. His defense couldn't stop Stephen Hawking on Sunday as they let rookie RB Jahvid Best run all over them. They let up 335 passing yards to Shaun Hill. If you know what team Shaun Hill was on a year ago kudos to you because I don't think many fans saw a gun slinger coming at them this weekend.
I just don't get it with him. How can an entire team not know how to tackle? Its gotten embarrassing. The fact that this defense looked out of position on a backup QB and a rookie RB. After last years Cowboys massacre I want to know when is enough going to be enough, and we ask for McDermott to take some blame for this awful defense. You cant blame Reid for everything.
**Bobby April, the Eagles new special teams coordinator, also needs to be taken behind a barn. Who in the world decided to hire a guy from Buffalo? Have you seen their record the past few years? They had a guy run into a Lion who had signaled for a fair catch and then there was the whole Riley Cooper doing his best Hank Baskett in the super impression during the onside kick. I don't know if I can go an entire season with a Bobby April special teams.
**I walked around the city before the game and after the game and saw 3 Eagles jerseys. I must have passed about 100-200 people and that's it? Where is the Eagles spirit? Philly likes to act like this huge football town and that's all I get? And two of the jerseys were guys who aren't on the team anymore. Win or lose support the team folks. Its called being loyal and its something to teach your kids. Also don't go food shopping during a game. In fact if your a guy don't go food shopping at all on Sunday. NFL Sundays should be a holy day and to see guys in a grocery store, with their recyclable bags, its just awful. Grow a pair and at least act like you like football.
The Eagles will head to Jacksonville for a game that most Jags fans probably wont see because it will get blacked out. They will face off against one of the better RB in the game in Maurice Jones Drew who is basically the Jags entire team. They will also be reunited with Sean Considine. Look there's no way to really make this game exciting. If the Eagles don't win there is a problem. Jags coach Jack Del Rio should have been fired years ago as he is one of the worst coaches in the NFL. Vick will be under center and hopefully be showing the Jags what they could have, for a draft pick.