Philadelphia Eagles: 7 Keys from Week 2
After the awaited Michael Vick return back to Atlanta, the Falcons prevailed and won the thriller 35-31.
The headlines here are all about Vick.
We have learned that Michael Vick is human, and it certainly showed this week. He took a beating, made some iffy throws and sat out the majority of the fourth quarter with a neck injury.
Here are the seven keys from Week 2.
This is the last thing we want to see, but at least the Eagles have a backup.
Everyone knows Vick is frail, and knowing he sat out the moment that counted the most with a minor concussion shows that it doesn't take much for him to sit out. Since Vince Young was inactive for last night's game, Mike Kafka came in and did a pretty good job.
Kafka completed his first seven passes for 72 yards before failing to convert on his final two. Maclin dropped that crucial fourth-down pass for the first down, so if he would've held on to it, the game could've ended completely different.
Regardless of the outcome, I think Kafka did a much better job than Young would have done. Kafka knows the offense better than Young, and I would feel much more comfortable if he came in for Vick when he goes down again.
Pressure on the QB
One thing that impressed me was the Eagles' ability to get to Matt Ryan.
The Eagles' defensive lineman got to the QB four times, but pressured him nearly every play.
Trent Cole was a monster, having four of his tackles being behind the line. Pressuring the quarterback is something I want to see more because once a quarterback feels pressure, he is inclined to make bad throws that usually end in the Eagles' favor.
Even though Ryan threw a career-high four touchdown passes, he only threw for 195 yards along with two interceptions. Containing one of the best quarterbacks in the league is something they should be proud of.
Guess what? The Eagles allowed zero sacks against the Falcons.
The O-line was heavily criticized after last game against the Rams and was challenged to step it up. Well, the those young men took the challenge and did a great job.
Michael Vick did have two lost fumbles, but they weren't the O-line's fault at all.
Next week the Eagles face the Giants. If the offensive line can protect Vick and keep his jersey clean again in Week 3, then the Eagles organization can rejoice the fact their young group is holding their own.
Even though Vick took some pretty hard hits, again, I wouldn't blame it on the line. Every hit he took was after the ball was thrown and most of them were cheap shots. The play that knocked him out of the game wasn't the result of poor work by the linemen, it was the work of Todd Herreman's shoulder, which Vick's head hit on the way down.
Smile—not allowing a sack is something we can all be happy about.
Maclin Is Back
Did anyone notice that wide out Jeremy Maclin had 13 receptions for 171 yards and two touchdowns?
Having 13 receptions is almost unheard of on this Eagles team, due to the fact that they have so many weapons. DeSean Jackson only had two catches for 21 yards, but the double coverage the Falcons had on him is a big reason Maclin was so open.
Maclin sat out all of preseason and training camp due to his illness, and many wondered if he would be well enough to start out the season properly. Well, I think we can all agree he's doing just fine.
Yes, he did drop that fourth-down catch that would've given the Eagles a first down in the red zone and a chance to win, but I guess we'll all have to force ourselves to put that out of our memory.
If Maclin can produce numbers like these throughout the season, then the opposing teams better watch out.
Vick Looked Great
Watching Vick play against the Falcons was eerie. He was the most calm I have every seen him, and that's odd for a player against his former team.
Vick entered Atlanta knowing it was going to b a big game, and he played as if he knew the outcome was going to go his way. If he wouldn't have gotten injured, I fully believe the Eagles would've left Atlanta with the win.
Even though he sat out the majority of the fourth quarter with a concussion, Vick finished the night with 242 yards, two touchdowns, one interception (which should have been challenged!) and a 103.6 passer rating.
Vick was the most calm, collected and under control I have ever seen him. He played perfectly in the pocket and never looked rushed or worried once.
If he can keep that style going in the weeks to come, then expect big things.
Eagles Need to Find Run-Stop Solution
Everyone has a weakness. The Eagles' kryptonite is stopping the run game.
Surprise, surprise, the Eagles have a gaping hole in their "dream team."
Everyone posed the question during the offseason about how the Eagles' young squad of linebackers can fill the gap and stop the running game. Well, from what we've seen, not so good.
In Week 1 against the Rams, the Eagles allowed 154 rushing yards, which included a 47-yard touchdown run by Stephen Jackson on their first play. Luckily for the Eagles, he only ran the ball once more before sitting out the rest of the game with an injury.
Now, against the Falcons, Michael Turner was not injured and managed to play the whole game. Turner rushed for 114 yards and the Falcons finished the game with 138 rushing yards total for the night.
Every team in the NFL now knows the key to taking down the Eagles—just run the ball.
If the Eagles want to keep their hopes and dreams of winning the Super Bowl this season, then they need to find an immediate solution.
The biggest question we are left with is how will the Eagles bounce back in Week 3?
Michael Vick is expected to make a full recovery and start against their hated rivals, the New York Giants.
The Eagles will need to forget last night even happened in order to come out of the gates and play strong. They need to learn from their mistakes, make adjustments and play accordingly.
Playing against the Giants is always tough, but the Eagles have seemed to crack their code the past two seasons. With a ton of injuries putting a damper on the Giants season, the Eagles do not want to go into Week 3 unprepared and start the season 1-2.