Today's Eagles game certainly wasn't a pretty win, but any win in the National Football League is a good win. The Eagles jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead against the Detroit Lions, fell into a 17-7 hole, scored 28 unanswered points to lead 35-17, and held on for a nail biting 35-32 victory, their first since the 15th game of the 2009 season.
For the record, I am thrilled with the performance of Michael Vick over the last one and a half games, but Kevin Kolb is still the Eagles quarterback, and regardless of his poor play in very limited action versus Green Bay, the man deserves AT LEAST half a season before we call him the next Bobby Hoying.
Below is a list of ten things I learned about the 2010 Eagles from the second game.
1. Nate Allen is a stud.
He's not Brian Dawkins (nobody is), but rookie Nate Allen has been impressive through his first two NFL games. He intercepted Aaron Rodgers and returned the pass 11 yards last week. And today he intercepted Shaun Hill in the end zone, a huge interception that easily could have changed the outcome of today's game had the pass gone for a touchdown.
2. Michael Vick is even more of a stud.
In his first start since the 2006 season finale, Michael Vick exceeded all expectations. Vick torched the Lions' defense for 284 yards and two touchdowns through the air, while adding 37 yards on the ground. For the second straight week, he did not commit a turnover.
As crazy as it sounds, Michael Vick would contend for the NFL MVP award if the season ended today. Unfortunately, there are still fourteen games to go, and Vick likely won't be playing much more in 2010.
3. The defense has some work to do.
32 points against the Detroit Lions and their backup quarterback? Not acceptable. Jahvid Best absolutely torched the Eagles, rushing for 78 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries, and catching nine passes for 154 yards and a touchdown. According to Pro Football Reference's Game Finder, Best's performance was the second in NFL history in which a running back accumulated at least 75 yards and a touchdown on the ground, and 150 yards and a touchdown in the air. (Ironically, both have come against the Eagles, and both times the Eagles still won the game.)
4. Although the defense gives up points, it always produces turnovers.
Despite allowing 32 points, the Eagles' defense produced two turnovers, both interceptions. Last week, the Eagles allowed 27 points to Green Bay but also grabbed two turnovers. Defensive coordinator Sean McDermott has to be disappointed with the 59 points allowed this season by the Eagles, but two turnovers a game will usually get the job done.
5. LeSean McCoy is quickly becoming one of the Eagles' best players.
I've never been much of a McCoy fan. I thought his performance last season was decent, but I didn't expect much going into the 2010 season.
So far, I've been completely wrong. McCoy turned in the best game of his career today, rushing foe 120 yards on 16 carries and three touchdowns, the first Eagles' running back to rush for three touchdowns since Charlie Garner in 1995. McCoy's performance was just the 26th in NFL history in which a running back rushed for at least 120 yards and three touchdowns on less than 20 carries.
6. DeSean Jackson is a hit or miss as a receiver.
DeSean Jackson is either going to hit a home run or strike out. Today he clubbed a couple of homers. He caught four passes for 135 yards and a touchdown. His 45-yard touchdown ranks 12th of his 19 touchdowns in yards, thanks to his streak of long touchdowns in the 2009 season. Jackson also pulled in a 53-yard reception from Vick.
7. The Eagles can't cover the tight end.
Okay, this is nothing new. But Brandon Pettigrew killed the Eagles today. He caught seven of the eight balls thrown to him for 108 yards. On a day in which the Eagles contained Calvin Johnson (for the most part), Pettigrew turned in the biggest game of his short career.
8. Jason Peters is going to struggle all season to stay healthy.
I've never been a big Jason Peters fan. Maybe it's the 11 penalties and seven sacked he allowed last season, which earned him a Pro Bowl selection. Peters has taken a lot of heat throughout his tenure in Philly for being soft and not playing through pain. In both games this season, he has suffered apparent knee injuries but has returned to play. However, don't expect Peters to play more than 12 or 13 games this season.
9. Sav Rocca has quietly become one of the NFL's elite punters.
Rocca has turned the corner as a punter and now ranks among the NFL's elite. Last week, he averaged 49.8 yards on five punts, and today he averaged 48.7 yards on seven punts. Rocca could just be going through a hot streak, but over the last four games, which includes the two Dallas losses at the end of last season, Rocca has been phenomenal.
10. The rest of the NFC East is not near as dominant as we all thought.
The Cowboys were torched by Jay Cutler and the Bears, dropping to 0-2 for the first time since 2001. The Redskins blew a 17-point lead to the Houston Texans, falling in overtime, 30-27. And the Giants were destroyed by the Colts in the Manning Bowl on Sunday Night Football. As a result, the Eagles, Redskins, and Giants are tied for first place in the division with 1-1 records, and the Cowboys stand alone in the cellar at 0-2.
Preseason Eagles pick: 10-6
Updated Eagles pick: 8-8
Next week's prediction: Eagles 27, Jacksonville 23