Philadelphia Eagles-Indianapolis Colts: Looking at the Eagles' Studs and Duds
As the Eagles took the field on Sunday, Andy Reid looked to stay perfect. That is, Reid had never lost the game after a bye in his career as the head coach of the Eagles. This game may have been the most stressful win after the bye, but the Eagles were able to pull it out in the end.
The Colts are arguably the best team the Eagles will play in the back end of their schedule so this was a great test to see how things will be moving forward. You can talk about all the injuries the Colts have and try to down play the win all you like. However, at the end of the day, the Eagles beat a team led by one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game, and I'll take it.
Today I take a closer look at the game and nominate the Eagles I thought were studs and duds.
Stud: Michael Vick
I think this one is pretty obvious. There were some questions about how Vick would play after returning from his injury. Would he be more cautious when running the ball? Would this have an affect on his play overall? The clear answer here was no.
Vick looked as good as ever and had to with some shaky play from the offensive line. He made plays throughout the game, but the plays he made at the end of the game were the most important. There's no doubt that Vick really wanted to win this game, and he did everything he had to in order to get it.
Stud: DeSean Jackson
Much like Vick, Jackson was making a return to the field after spending time on the sideline due to injury. Jackson made his mark on the game early as he was on the receiving end of a touchdown pass thrown by Vick on the teams first possession.
He continued to be the same old Jackson we're used to seeing as he stretched the field and was a headache for the Colts defense throughout the game.
In the fourth quarter, Jackson even got involved in the run game. He had two key end-around plays in which he utilized his speed and finished the plays very wisely. In order to keep the clock running, Jackson pulled a Brian Westbrook type move, falling to the ground.
Stud: LeSean McCoy
Was this his best game of the year? No, it wasn't. However, his run on the Eagles first offensive play of the game would have a huge impact on the game. The Eagles received the ball first, and before we could even blink, McCoy was taking a hand-off all the way down the field and setting up the Eagles first touchdown.
Later in the game, McCoy was slowed down by some poor blocking up front but still continued to fight. At the end of the day he had some pretty nice numbers, but the momentum he gave the Eagles in the beginning of the game isn't something that shows up on the stat sheet.
Stud: Asante Samuel
After the Eagles scored the early touchdown, you had to hold your breath a little bit. It was Peyton Manning's turn, so it was time to see what he could do. Shortly after the ball was in Manning's hands, we let out a sigh of relief as an overthrown pass ended up in Samuel's hands. He returned the ball deep into Colt's territory and gave the Eagles another chance to put points on the board.
Samuel continued to be consistent in pass coverage throughout the game as Manning looked to attack Dimitri Patterson's side and stay away from Samuel. They also kept running Reggie Wayne to Patterson's side so Samuel couldn't shut him down.
At the end of the game, as the Colts looked to claw back into the game, Samuel picked off Manning for the second time of the day and sealed the win for the Eagles.
The Eagles racked up 14 penalties for 125 yards against the Colts. That's awful. Should the Eagles blame themselves for a lot of these penalties? Yes. However, the referees seemed to be out to get the Eagles on Sunday.
I hate to blame refs, but Sunday was just awful. With the hit on Austin Collie, the league has come out and supported the call by the refs. They supported the call but also noted that the refs should throw a flag if there is ever any doubt. Seems to be a pretty thin line working there. The good news is that there will be no fines given for that play.
After that call, I didn't think the refs could do much worse, but they did. On a fourth down play late in the game, Trent Cole came off the edge and hit Manning in the head with his hand as his momentum carried him past the quarterback. This resulted in a 15 yard penalty and gave the Colts another chance to climb back into the game.
I thought the call itself was awful, and the impact that it had on the game made things even worse.
Dud: Red Zone Offense
This seems to be a problem ever year. Sunday was a prime example of it. Early in the game, the Eagles had the chance to take a 21-0 lead on the Colts. However, they only ended up with a 13-0 lead. That's a lot of points to leave off the board.
Their lack of scoring touchdowns translated into the team trailing at halftime. They were able to walk away with the win here, but they could have saved themselves and the fans a lot of grief if they would be more efficient in the red zone.
Dud: Nick Cole
Cole entered the game when Max Jean-Gillies went down with an injury. When this transition took place, things seemed to fall apart. The Eagles could no longer run the ball. When Vick dropped back to pass, he had no time, even when they were in the shotgun.
This had a huge impact on the game as the Eagles entered a lull where they couldn't get anything going on offense. After the hot start to the game, the Eagles cooled off big time and it allowed the Colts to get right back into the game.
Cole has been disappointing at both center and guard this year, so it's hard to believe that the Eagles will have a lot of confidence in him moving forward.
Dud: Sav Rocca
Am I really going to pick on the punter? Yep. Rocca has been pretty solid all season, but failed to make some crucial kicks on Sunday.
When the Eagles were backed up in their own territory, they needed a big boot out of Rocca to bail them out. However, Rocca failed to deliver as he booted his worst punt of the day. Later in the game, the Eagles were not quite in field goal range so they had a short field to work with. Rocca had a chance to pin the Colts deep in their own territory, but he booted it right through the end zone.
Like I said, Rocca has been good this year, but I think he needs to improve on his situational punting.