You could probably guess what happened in the Philadelphia Eagles’ 33-30 loss to the San Diego Chargers simply by looking at that final score. Michael Vick and the Birds’ offense put up enough points to give Chip Kelly’s squad a chance to win but ultimately not enough to overcome their defensive shortcomings.
That’s not to say Vick and his crew were perfect by any stretch of the imagination. The offense left plenty of plays on the field on Sunday, and clearly it cost them.
Having said that, the defense was under siege from the start. Defensive coordinator Bill Davis’ unit forced just one punt over the entire 60 minutes, while a pair of fumbles in Philadelphia territory might be the only reason the Bolts didn’t win the game by more. This was not an efficient performance by the defense, period.
Still, we went through the trouble to break it all down position by position, because we wouldn’t want to forget to blame anybody. There’s enough to go around in what was a very winnable game here for the Eagles.
There’s not a ton to find wrong with Michael Vick’s game on Sunday. Once he got into a rhythm, the Eagles’ signal-caller was on fire.
Vick finished 23-of-36 with two touchdowns and a career-high 428 yards passing. He ran six more times for 23 yards and a score.
Most importantly of all, Vick didn’t turn the ball over. He was only sacked once for that matter. So why no ‘A’ for the second week in a row?
Well, it may sound nitpicky (again), but Vick missed some targets. Specifically, he left at least 14 points on the board through various over/underthrows. Nick Foles also played an important snap late when Vick went out with an injury, which essentially resulted in a wasted play—that goes toward the positional score as well.
To be fair, Vick was probably the only reason the Eagles were in this game. Then again, he’s also part of the reason they didn’t win it.
The Eagles didn’t run the ball as much this week, probably because they were trailing most of the time, not to mention throwing it was working quite well. That’s okay—LeSean McCoy just had to rack up 100 yards receiving instead.
Shady ripped off a 70-yard catch-and-run to pace his five-catch, 114-yard day. He added another 53 on the ground off of 11 carries, which was good for a 4.8-yard average.
Add Bryce Brown’s three runs for 13 yards (also 1 REC, 1 YD), and it wasn’t bad all around. They did everything they could do against a tight run defense.
First up, a mea culpa. I feel like I graded the wide receivers too harshly last week. When I went back and watched the tape, I remembered just how involved Riley Cooper and Jason Avant are as blockers.
This week they also got it done in as receivers. Cooper hauled in two passes, including a difficult 13-yard touchdown in traffic—an absolute bullet by Vick. Avant caught four for 39 as well, moving the chains a bunch.
Oh, and some DeSean Jackson fellow had nine receptions on 15 targets for 193 yards, including a TD from 61 yards out. He had another long scoring play that was called back on a penalty and was overthrown on at least one other.
Still, DJacc couldn’t quite wrap his hands around another big deep pass, so we can’t quite give him a straight ‘A’. We’ll remember this unit is willing to block for future report cards though.
I continue to be underwhelmed by this group for a second straight week however. Second-round rookie Zach Ertz grabbed both passes intended for him, taking those for 58 yards, so that was a plus.
James Casey dropped a pass in the end zone though—the throw was not good at all, but he had his hands on it. And where was Brent Celek? Targeted just once all day, he did not come up with a reception.
Considering the Texans tight ends ate up the Chargers in the red zone in Week 1, the Birds’ trio seemed way underutilized by comparison.
Two of the biggest plays in this game were arguably made by Lane Johnson. When you’re talking about the offensive line, that’s usually a bad thing.
The fourth-overall pick in this year’s draft was flagged twice for causing an illegal formation. One of the two erased a long touchdown pass to DeSean Jackson.
Overall, the line did a decent enough job. Vick faced some pressure early, and was sacked on the first series, but things settled down as the game went along, and the QB had plenty of sound pockets. The running game was better than adequate, despite being less than exceptional—tough opponent for that, though.
No real alarms to sound here, but they didn’t dominate or anything.
Not much to speak of here, other than Alex Henery’s missed field goal to close out the first half. Guess what? Those three points would have kept the Birds from losing, so that’s awesome.
Donnie Jones had one of his three punts downed inside the opponents’ 20. Damaris Johnson had plenty of opportunities returning kicks but only a long gain of 33 on seven tries.
The coverage units were good anyway, but for the emphasis that was placed on special teams this summer, I expect more.
When “eh” and “blah” are the first adjectives that come to mind, that’s probably bad.
The Eagles defensive line was not exceptional against an offensive line that has been experiencing problems the past few seasons. Quarterback Philip Rivers was routinely able to step up in the pocket, a major reason the field general completed 77 percent of his attempts, while running back Ryan Mathews dominated on the ground early.
On one three-man rush in particular, Rivers had enough time to enjoy this fine slideshow on his smart phone before finding Eddie Royal for a 27-yard touchdown.
No tackles for loss. No hits on the quarterback. No good at all.
Can’t say the linebackers fared much better than the boys in the trenches. Trent Cole didn’t dominate left tackle King Dunlap, arguably the most glaring of the defense’s issues from this contest.
At least Cole forced a fumble. DeMeco Ryans and Mychal Kendricks combined for 17 tackles (12 SOLO), but those feel like empty numbers. Where were the big plays? Kendricks couldn’t find a path to the quarterback on a blitz if he had GPS. Ryans’ only big play was knocking wide receiver Malcom Floyd out of the game—clean hit.
Connor Barwin was about the only linebacker who came up with a huge stop all game, logging Philadelphia’s lone sack. Need more from this group, especially in a 3-4 defense.
Grading on a (very) slight curve with Bradley Fletcher inactive due to a concussion.
Brandon Boykin was just fine in Fletcher’s stead, although he got beat on a play here and there—the D-line didn’t do the secondary any favors. Boykin had just the one pass defended officially, but he wasn’t the problem. He also chopped the ball out of tight end Antonio Gates’ hands down by the goal line, a huge play that swung the momentum in Philly’s favor.
Cary Williams drew the officials’ ire a couple of times, awarding San Diego first downs. He was also a little overzealous on one of Mathews’ biggest gains on the ground, tackling air. Not a great outing here.
In simple terms, while they didn’t get beat for many big plays, there weren’t enough stops in key situations from these corners. Boykin’s forced fumble was the lone bright spot, really.
What constitutes a total failure on this report card? Look no further than Eagles safeties in Week 2, particularly the rotation featuring Nate Allen and rookie Earl Wolff.
Neither one was effective in coverage, as Philip Rivers took the middle of the field or short flats at will, the safety constantly arriving just a moment too late. At least Wolff was a surer tackler but only when he actually got his arms around the ball-carrier. Usually he just ran himself out of the play, so kudos to Nate for getting in the way occasionally I guess.
Patrick Chung wasn’t exactly balling out there, either. He also got called for a ticky-tack penalty that awarded the Chargers a big first down in the second half.
It was clear heading into training camp that Philadelphia had something of a hole at safety. It’s even clearer after Sunday that the club is not even passable at this position.