Philadelphia Eagles vs. Houston Texans: Quick Reactions From Week 13 Win
-- For the most part, Michael Vick's decision-making was pretty good. He did get picked on an underthrown ball and almost got picked because he stared down a receiver, but other than that he was hitting the open guy and allowing his receivers to make plays. Vick threw for 300 yards for the third time this season and continues to look like a real quarterback.
-- LeSean McCoy was, once again, under-utilized. At an embarrassing 12 carries, head coach Andy Reid continues to ignore McCoy's value as a runner. At one point, McCoy was well over five yards per carry, but carries in garbage time into a Texans' defense expecting it dropped his average to under four per carry. He did, however, have eight receptions for 86 yards and one touchdown.
-- He still has yet to carry the ball even once, but Owen Schmitt chipped in with his first touchdown reception as an Eagle. Schmitt continues to be a great blocker and a reliable option out of the backfield.
-- Like McCoy, Jerome Harrison was disgustingly under-used. Three carries. That's it. If he was upset about his playing time in Cleveland he's got to be fuming now.
-- The big story this week was DeSean Jackson. Even though he didn't have the big game everyone expected, he chipped in with three receptions for 84 yards. It doesn't sound like a lot, but they were all big catches that kept the offense moving. The team will still look for more out of him, but it was better than what they got last week.
-- With five catches for 68 yards, Jeremy Maclin actually had a down game. He's been red-hot as of late but, like Jackson, most of Maclin's receptions were key within the drive in which they occurred. He also turned and went straight up-field for once. So, three cheers for Maclin.
-- What is going on with Jason Avant? He had another dropped touchdown pass. Even one is a lot for a guy like Avant, and this recent one was almost as bad as his drop against the Giants.
-- Brent Celek made the best play of the night with his key first down on third-and-long. The awareness to understand that he was not down because he was on top of a defender and make one last reach for the sticks was worth applauding. Unfortunately, it only canceled out a dropped touchdown catch of his own.
-- Chad Hall, playing in place of the injured Riley Cooper, only accounted for three yards on three carries, but accounted for a first down along the way. I, like most Eagles fans, believe Cooper has a bright future, but right now Hall is more valuable player because of his versatility.
-- The offensive line was just short of spectacular. They had a couple breakdowns that forced Vick to move out of the pocket, but more often than not they were man-handling the Texans' defensive line and giving Vick tons of time. They just have to cut down on the random mental lapses and they might turn into a very good unit.
-- Even King Dunlap was impressive in limited time while filling in for an injured Winston Justice (who, by the way, is said to have a sprained MCL and will have an MRI Friday).
-- The play-calling was suspect at best. Reid and Marty Mornhinweg are still calling far too much play-action without actually establishing the run first. I would love to ask them what they think that's going to accomplish. And the designed runs with Vick are just going to get him hurt. It's time to seriously cut back on those and just starting handing the ball to McCoy instead.
-- For the fourth time this season, Trent Cole was held without a sack. He got some good pressure and chipped in with three tackles, but overall it was a disappointing game for the Pro Bowl defensive end.
-- Antonio Dixon, once again, was monumental in containing the running game. Arian Foster is the league's leading rusher and was held to 83 yards on 22 carries. Dixon's ability to play two gaps at a time is a huge reason for the defense's recent ability to stop the run.
-- Mike Patterson chipped in with a sack, and Brodrick Bunkley did a good job of controlling the line in limited action. It seems like the team is trying too hard to turn Bunkley into a two-gap player like Dixon. He's a guy who belongs in the three technique and shooting a gap, not trying to eat up blockers.
-- In his fifth start of the season, Brandon Graham was basically invisible. Were it not for his ability to do all the little things, his rookie season would be a pretty big disappointment. Juqua Parker should easily re-take his job when healthy.
-- There is not a happier man on this earth than Trevor Laws. Coming down with that interception had to be the greatest feeling of his young career and is just another positive step forward for the former second-round pick. Now all they need to do is teach him how to hold onto the football.
-- I'm not sure what to say about Darryl Tapp or Daniel Te'o-Nesheim anymore. Neither one did anything worth while until Tapp recovered Matt Schaub's late fumble. Both look completely inept. This is looking like a miss on the trade for Tapp and drafting Te'o-Nesheim in the third when most scouts graded him around the sixth round.
-- For the first time since all year, Stewart Bradley looked like a middle linebacker this defense could build around. He was blitzing well, reading plays very well, and even making tackles and finishing plays. Hopefully he's starting to get healthy and this is the Bradley we'll see moving forward.
-- Ernie Sims continues to be a disappointment in my eyes. I haven't seen the speed when it really counts. The only time it seems to show up is when he's running past a play. He doesn't seem able to control himself and might be another linebacker rental.
-- Not much to report on Moise Fokou. There weren't any spectacular plays, but he did a very good job of forcing Foster back to the middle and not allowing him to hit the edges.
-- The secondary could not stop Andre Johnson. But then again, few can. We saw Joselio Hanson get beat a couple times again, but he was much better than last week. I did take notice that Trevard Lindley played most of the game on the outside while Hanson stayed on the inside in nickel situations. That's what I was yelling for last week, and it worked this week.
-- The more I see of Dimitri Patterson, the more he starts to look like Sheldon Brown.
-- Rookie safety Nate Allen got ran over in the endzone by Foster early in the game, but made up for it with a late strip-sack of Schaub. Overall, Allen is looking like an absolute steal in the second round.
-- Quintin Mikell was clearly sick of hearing the talk about his demise. He nearly had a couple sacks, would have had an interception were it not for his stone hands, and would flying around the field all night long. It hasn't been a great year for him, but he picked it up against the Texans.
-- Was I the only one who saw the graphic showing that the Eagles' defense is the worst in the redzone since the 1988 Houston Oilers? That's a direct result of Sean McDermott's soft play-calling and the soft way he calls a game in general. I'm still on board to see him fired.
-- I'm officially a fan of Colt Anderson. I would be lying if I told you I knew who he was coming off the Minnesota Vikings practice squad, but he keeps making big plays on special teams and has proven to be a good under-the-radar pick-up.
-- Following Anderson, the coverage for both kicks and punts was very good. It was great to see after a complete breakdown against the Bears last week. Bobby April should stop Reid's streak of firing special teams coordinators.
-- Nothing to report in terms of DeSean Jackson returning punts. He called a fair catch and let the ball roll another time on both of Matt Turk's punts. Jorrick Calvin had a 102-yard kick return, but it was called back by a questionable holding call. I think, before the season is out, Calvin will have a return that actually counts.
-- At 8-4, this team controls its own destiny. All they have to do is keep winning and they'll take the NFC East for the sixth time in the Reid era. But with two games against the Dallas Cowboys, one more against the New York Giants, and a potential trap game against the Minnesota Vikings, that's easier said than done.
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