Clay Harbor's Winning Touchdown
The Eagles defense was on the top of their game. They held the Cleveland Browns to only 210 total yards and stopped 11-of-13 third-down conversions. Kurt Coleman and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie each intercepted two passes from Brandon Weeden, and the Philadelphia defensive line held Trent Richardson to 39 yards on 19 rushing attempts.
New additions to the team in the offseason showed their value. DeMeco Ryans displayed his skill in stuffing the run. Rookie Fletcher Cox had a sack and rookie linebacker Mychal Kendricks had five tackles.
Now let's turn to the offense. Usually when a quarterback throws for 317 yards and two touchdowns, you would call this a pretty good day. But Michael Vick also threw four interceptions, one of which went for a touchdown. And there should have been a fifth interception, but the Browns L.J. Fort dropped an easy pick thrown right at him late in the fourth quarter.
Vick threw 56 passes and ran another seven times on plays that were probably designed for a pass. It seems to me that he was hurried or hit on well over half of them. The Eagles offense offered no answer to the Browns' continued strong pressure.
Vick's judgement was poor on many occasions. On one interception, he threw to a receiver covered by three defenders. Though you need to give Vick credit for hanging in and orchestrating the winning 91-yard drive late in the fourth period, you really need to ask if he can be the starting quarterback any more.
Should Michael Vick start next week?
To add to the offensive problems, the replacement officials were outrageous. I can't remember seeing so many tacky holding calls on running plays, especially on wide receivers. On one play late in the game, the officials were so clueless that they took what seemed to be five minutes to determine that there was a coach's challenge on a play that couldn't be challenged.
I know these guys are in a tough position and trying to do the best they can, but 12 penalties on the Eagles for 110 yards with only three on the Browns for 35 yards makes you wonder which bar in Cleveland they picked up the officials for this game.
The Eagles offense needs to get things in order pretty fast. The Ravens will present even an bigger defensive challenge next week. For starters, the Eagles need to remember some basic things to slow down an aggressive pass rush:
1. Run a draw play
2. Throw a quick pass in the flat to a running back
3. Bring a second running back into the backfield for extra protection
4. Run more three-step drop passing plays and stick to them.
And if Michael Vick can't execute such plays, then it will soon be time to give Nick Foles his shot.