Texans vs. Eagles Thursday Night Football: Philadelphia's Post-Game Report Card
The Philadelphia Eagles (8-4) were the hosts of the Houston Texans (5-7), in a tough battle that ended in a second half shootout. The game was closely contested throughout, and the Eagles were able to flex their muscle and walk out with a win.
The Eagles following this win advance to (8-4) and are now once again on top of the NFC East, one game ahead of the Giants. This was a must win game for the Eagles as the NFC playoff race seemingly gets more difficult every week. Depending on how the Giants perform in this weeks game against the Redskins, it could be a bigger win than it looks. As the Eagles head down the stretch, this is a huge momentum win and a huge win for a playoff push.
The Texans are now looking at last place spot in the AFC South (5-7), but are still in the runnings and win out for a playoff spot. This division is looking more and more weak as the season progresses and who knows what will happen when the playoffs role around. This loss hurt, as they could have been in an even better position to go to the postseason if they could have pulled out a win.
It was a great battle between two quality opponents, but the Eagles in the end asserted their dominance.
Here is the Eagles report card following a win over the Texans:
Honorable Mention: Arian Foster: B
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Arian Foster came out in this game and just didn't give up. The Eagles strong rushing defense was able to stop him in the backfield a number of times, and at one point in the game he actually had negative yardage.
But instead of getting into a slump, he turned his play around and ended up with a nice chunk of yards and an impressive touchdown.
This is the type of player that teams build around, the type of guy that plays until the whistle is blown, and refuses to go down without a fight. A true NFL running back.
As shown in the photo- Foster has about six Eagles trying to tackle him, but he is still powering through to get every single yard. I envy a player like this, and I love McCoy on the Eagles, but I would take Foster over almost any RB in the NFL.
Another good showing from Foster.
Passing Offense: A-
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Michael Vick has now had two consecutive 300 yard passing games, and he was able to tear up this weak Texans secondary. This is Vick's bounce back game and he was able to put some big drives together at big times in the game. He showed why he deserves to be the Eagles starter and also why he is making a strong case for MVP.
Vick's receivers did everything they could to help him out, they were finding huge holes in the secondary and they were able to make the big catches when they needed to. It seemed like every drive Vick was able to bomb the ball down the field and find at least one open receiver for 30 or more yards. It was a huge improvement from last weeks game and the final score reflected that.
Even better news- DeSean Jackson actually is a weapon on the Eagles offense!
That's right! Jackson had a huge turnaround game and was able to contribute quite a bit to the Eagles win, with three catches for 84 yards. Vick was seriously finding the long ball with Jackson.
Also, Brent Celek may have dropped a touchdown pass, but he made up for it in the long run by making an athletic play on third down to extend the drive. An amazing reach maneuver that was allowed the Eagles to keep the drive alive. He finished the game with four catches for 55 yards. That's a season high, and hopefully a sign of things to come.
The real man who deserves credit in the passing game, LeSean McCoy.
I think Andy Reid may have drafted the best screen RB of all time. This guy has all the moves and hands like a WR. It seems like every time that the screen is called, it is a huge success with McCoy running it. He was the Eagles leading receiver with 86 yards.
This is your man fantasy owners.
Rushing Offense: A
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When can we start putting LeSean McCoy into the, "Best RB's in the NFL," discussion?
This guy does it all. He is quick, elusive, has great down field vision, can block like a tackle, and can always make the first defender miss. I have seen few plays where I have actually seen a negative result from handing the ball off to McCoy.
There is nothing he can't do.
McCoy found some big holes this game and was able to get the first downs when the Eagles needed it the most. Finishing the game with 86 yards and one touchdown.
Ready for the real kicker?
McCoy averaged 10.8 yards a carry.
That's right. Almost 11 yards every time this kid touched the ball. I'm starting to think that Reid should really start running the ball more. The offensive line may be disappointing, but when your running back is averaging that many yards, there is no reason not to.
Jerome Harrison also stepped in for a few plays and ran the ball incredibly well, picking up a first down and around 12 yards on one of his runs. Also, some nice blocks in the backfield to give Vick some time to throw, an underrated quality in Harrison.
The Eagles showed that they can run the football, and that they have some serious depth in the RB position.
Rushing Defense: B+
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Like I said earlier, Foster is a beast.
He is leading the NFL in every single category that is important to RB's. Things like, total yards, rushing touchdowns, and yard from scrimmage.
The Eagles did the best they could to contain him, and I think they did an admirable job. Where Foster ends up hurting a defense is with his big run ability, the Eagles were able to hold him to just a few big runs. Foster may have won the battle in the trenches on short yardage plays, but the Eagles won the big play battle.
Any defense that can hold Foster to 88 yards and one touchdown, have done their job. The Eagles showed a massive improvement from last week, and they did not get beat on the ground.
Surprisingly, Stewart Bradley played a large roll in todays game and had some impressive tackles in the backfield. The most notable play, a perfect read by Bradley and a hit on Foster as soon as he was handed the ball. I think most Eagles fans, including myself, should back off of Bradley and let him go through this season before making any decisions on him.
The Eagles defensive line did an excellent job of not allowing Foster any big holes, and as soon as he was handed the ball they were all moving towards him. It seemed like every defensive lineman was just on a direct path to Foster, whether or not he even had the ball.
A great showing from the Eagles rushing defense.
Passing Defense: C-
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I can name three times during the game where Andre Johnson was just left wide open. What defense that is trying to win a game does that?
The Eagles passing defense is not the same without Asante Samuel, and I think that we can all agree on that and accept that games are not only more difficult, but less exciting when he is not playing. The Eagles backup corners performed admirably against a tough Texans passing offense.
The biggest weakness in this game for the Eagles secondary was the play action pass that would allow Matt Schuab to find numerous receivers to throw to. This may be one of the reasons that Foster did not have a huge game, but it hurt in other ways. Schuab was loving the Johnson deep throw, and was hitting it all game. Usually wide open and allowed to make the catch and then run some. Johnson was able to pick up 149 yards on six receptions.
Go ahead fantasy owners, rejoice.
Maybe the Eagles secondary thought this was a no interference offensive practice? Nate Allen must have thought that, after allowing several receivers to burn him with the juke move.
Another big problem that the Eagles faced was covering the Texans' tight ends. This is alarming because Owen Daniels has not even played this season, which meant it was two back-up TE's that were running all over the Eagles secondary. Dreessen had the second most receiving yards on the team, finishing the game with 63, and almost matching Johnson in receptions.
This game was still an improvement, but there are quite a number of weaknesses throughout the Eagles secondary that need to be worked on.
Special Teams: A+
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Jorrick Calvin was on fire tonight returning kicks, giving the Eagles great field position following every Texans kickoff. This guy when he first signed with the Eagles, looked like a turnover machine that could hardly return kicks. Now he is a great consistent returner that can get the Eagles great field position.
Punt returns were non-exsistent, as there were only two the entire game and both were fair catches.
Punts by Sav Rocca were awesome. Pinning the Texans deep inside their own territory on every single one of his punts. He finished the game 3/3 with punts inside the 20 yard line. It's a relief to have a punter who can actually punt. (That was a slight at Matt Dodge of the New York Giants).
David Akers was stellar. Hitting every single one of his attempts as usual. Finishing the game with 10 points combined on the night.
Good performance all around.
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I think we can say Andy Reid earned our respect tonight. He made some aggressive play calls, and made the conservative ones when needed. Reid was able to move the ball on offense and keep the Texans in check on defense. A great game from Reid.
Hey! He even won a challenge this game! Everyone mark your calendars! One year from now Reid will win another!
Sean McDermott had me worried for a while in the first half and towards the beginning of the second half, but he turned it around. I just wish that he was more aggressive on defense with blitzing and more just overall more aggressive play calling. He may have left Johnson open a couple of times, wide open, but he did a decent job without Samuel playing, McDermott also managed to hold the top rusher in the NFL to under 100 yards, so I think recognition is deserved.
Marty Mornhinweg did a fine job calling plays on the offense. The screens to McCoy worked all game and he called a variety of them so that the defense could not jump them. I'm also liking how he is allowing Vick to run more frequently and not forcing him to run on his own. Also a great job of getting receivers open down field.
On a side note- The Eagles trainers were able to win the, "Best in the NFL," award this season. Showing superb athletic and medical skills, they were voted in by all of the other training staffs in the NFL. I send my congratulations to them.
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The Eagles were able to win this game on momentum and game changing performances. The Texans had a shot to win this game, but they made several mistakes that the Eagles were able to capitalize on. The combination of mistakes and it being a road game just proved to be to much for the visiting Texans team.
The Eagles needed this win as they advance one win closer to a playoff appearance, and the win in Philadelphia is always an added bonus. The Eagles were also able to pick up another win in front of a national audience, this season 3-0 in spotlighted games.
Now the Eagles look forward to their next game on the road when they play the Dallas Cowboys. This is going to be an interesting game, and there are plenty of subplots heading into Dallas.
The Eagles are once again on top of the NFC East.