Philadelphia Eagles Showed Some Encouraging Signs Despite Loss to Bills

Darren GrossmanCorrespondent IOctober 9, 2011

Jason Avant's two fumbles were costly
Jason Avant's two fumbles were costlyKevin C. Cox/Getty Images

I know it is hard to be optimistic about a 1-4 football team, but the Eagles left me thinking positive after the game Sunday. While Juqua Parker's incredible stupidity was frustrating, the Eagles played their best half of football of the season in the second half verse Buffalo, outscoring the Bills 17-10 and dominating the half.

There were a couple of great signs. First, they did not use the wide nine nearly as much in the second half, especially the fourth quarter and as a result, the Eagles defense looked better than they did all season. They also had Asomugha play more man to man defense and that worked well. 

I thought the defense had their best quarter of the season in the fourth quarter when they totally shut Buffalo down. 

If they can build off this effort and improve, there still might be time to turn things around. 

On the offensive end, Jason Avant had a really good day catching the ball, but the fumbles were killers. Avant's best trait is catching the ball and he scares me when he runs with it. He should just catch it and hit the ground, as he is not fast enough to outrun anyone anyway.

The Eagles also spread the ball around nicely, with Jackson, Maclin and Avant all having productive days, and LeSean McCoy still had 80 yards on the ground. 

The turnovers are a huge concern, but you have to think that is something that is fixable. The interceptions were not really on Vick. He got hit as he threw on one of them, one went through Avant's hands (and should have been a fumble) and the other one was deflected. 

So really only one of the interceptions was on Vick and even on that one he was under a lot of pressure.

PHILADELPHIA - SEPTEMBER 27:  Darren Howard #90 and Juqua Parker #75 of the Philadelphia Eagles celebrate a first quarter sack against the Kansas City Chiefs during their game on September 27, 2009 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Travis Lindquist/Getty Images

I thought Danny Watkins played pretty well and in the second half, the offensive line did a better job blocking for Vick than they have all season long. 

On the negative end of things, this team continues to make silly mistakes. Juqua Parker jumping offside at the end of the game was ridiculous. He is a veteran player and needs to know better. 

That's not on Castillo or Reid, that's on the player.

Asomugha's facemask penalty was a killer also and that is on him. Terrible job on that play.

Abandoning the wide nine seems to be the right move. The Eagles should stick with the standard 4-3 defense. If the defense can continue to improve and Castillo makes adjustments, maybe he will keep his job after all (it did not seem like he should keep his job in the first half of the game).

Overall, the Eagles seemed to figure some things out in the second half. The defense played better and the offense moved the ball. If they can play like they did in the second half for 60 minutes next week, they will beat the Redskins.