Ravens vs. Eagles: Despite Mistakes, Philly Proving to Be a Powerhouse
Two games into the 2012 season, the Philadelphia Eagles have committed nine turnovers and have outscored their opponents by a grand total of two points. But all that matters is that the Eagles are 2-0.
It is a concern that Philadelphia continues to make more mistakes than are acceptable from an elite team, but that it was able to beat the very talented Baltimore Ravens Sunday despite four of them is an indication that Philly is on the right track.
The Eagles again overcame a slew of miscues with a top-quality defensive effort, also surviving the losses of offensive starters Jeremy Maclin, King Dunlap and Jason Kelce in the victory.
Michael Vick had two interceptions, but he also made big plays when it mattered most. His decision-making skills were less terrible this time (progress!?), and he again led a game-winning drive in the final moments.
We continue to learn, though, that this Eagles team isn't completely about Vick or LeSean McCoy or even that vaunted pass rush.
Because Vick still made his share of mistakes Sunday, while McCoy struggled to find running room and the defense registered only two sacks on Joe Flacco. They might not have won without Vick, McCoy and Jim Washburn's defensive front, but the rest of the defense has stepped up in a big way early on this season.
Against the Ravens, DeMeco Ryans was once again fantastic, Mychal Kendricks made the stop on the game-clinching play and the coverage was close to top notch.
Ray Rice is one of the league's most dangerous weapons, and Rice did make two pretty big plays, but outside of 43-yard run and a 37-yard catch-and-run, Rice was held to just 72 yards on 20 touches. And most importantly, he was kept out of the end zone.
The Eagles have work to do. It starts with learning to prevent mental mistakes. But lost in that is that the sometimes comically bad run defense that we saw in 2011 is gone. And the trajectory points upward: They completely shut down Flacco and the Baltimore attack in the second half Sunday.
And yeah, they've turned it over nine times, but that D has also forced six turnovers.
We don't yet know the extent of injuries suffered by Kelce, Dunlap and Maclin, but luck with health notwithstanding, the future looks bright.
This Eagles team continues to reveal its flaws, but it also clearly has the firepower, the experience and—maybe most importantly—the balance to do big things this season.
Logic says they won't maintain this pace when it comes to turnovers. Can you imagine how dominant Philly could be if it were to kick that problem?
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