Vick, Jackson lead offense to 26-24 win

By JEFFREY WARNER
Staff Writer — jwarner@highhopesblog.com
_______

Michael Vick played exceptionally Sunday in a 26-24 win over the Colts. (Yong Kim)

It was Week 9 in the NFL and what promised to be an exciting matchup between the Eagles and Colts didn’t disappoint. Four quarters of a back and forth battle between the two teams made way for a chance to win it or lose it in the game’s final drive. But in the end, the king of the bye, Andy Reid who is a perfect 12-0 in his career out of the off week struck again, with a nail biting 26-24 victory improving the Birds to 5-3 halfway through the season.

By the numbers

Team    1st      2nd    3rd     4th       Final
Colts         0            17         0           7             24
Eagles     13            3          3           7             26

Indy      Philly

1st Downs 26 19
Passing 1st downs 14 9
Rushing 1st downs 6 8
1st downs from Penalties 6 2
3rd down efficiency 6-14 7-15
4th down efficiency 0-1 0-0
Total Plays 74 63
Total Yards 338 402
Passing 276 207
Comp-Att 31-52 17-29
Yards per pass 5.3 7.1
Rushing 62 195
Rushing Attempts 19 31
Yards per rush 3.3 6.3
Red Zone (Made-Att) 3-4 2-5
Penalties 7-59 14-125
Turnovers 2 0
Fumbles lost 0 0
Interceptions thrown 2 0
Defensive / Special Teams TDs 0 0
Possession 28:10 31:50

Passing
-Eagles: Michael Vick- 17/29 218 yds 1TD 0 Int; 93.8 QB Rating

-Colts: Peyton Manning- 31/52 294 yds 1 TD 2 Int; 65.7 QB Rating

Rushing

-Eagles: RB Lesean Mccoy- 16 att. 95yds; M.Vick- 10 att.74yds 1TD; WR Desean Jackson- 3 att. 20yds; RB Jerome Harrison-  2 att. 6yds

Team: 31 att. 195yds 1TD

-Colts: RB Donald Brown- 15 att. 50yds; RB Javarris James: 4 att. 12yds 2TDs

Team: 19 att. 62yds 2TDs

Receiving

-Eagles: D.Jackson- 7rec. 109yds 1TD; WR Jeremy Maclin- 4rec. 48yds; WR Jason Avant- 2rec. 41yds; FB Owen Schmitt- 1rec 12yds; L.Mccoy- 3rec. 8 yds

Team: 17rec. 218yds 1TD

-Colts: TE Jacob Tamme- 11rec. 108yds 1TD; WR Reggie Wayne- 11rec 83yds; D.Brown- 3rec. 47yds; WR Blair White- 3rec. 42yds; WR Pierre Garcon- 2rec 15yds; WR Austin Collie- 1rec. -1yds

Team: 31rec. 294yds 1TD

Defense

-Eagles: Interceptions- CB Asante Samuel, 2 interceptons; Sacks- DE Trent Cole(1), LB Ernie Sims(1), DE Darryl Tapp(1)

-Colts: Sacks- DE Robert Mathis(1), DT Eric Foster(1), LB Tyjuan Hagler(1)

Eagles Grades:

Offense- A-
Overall, it was a great day for the Eagles offense, scoring 26 points and racking up over 400 yards of offense moving the ball with will on the Colts defense. They came out of the gate hot, scoring on their first three possessions to jump out to a 13-0 lead. Getting ahead early proved to be big, going up against a high powered Colts offense. As the game progressed though, the offense slowed down, doing just enough to get the W.

The biggest thing that led to the success was the balance play calling by Andy Reid and Marty Mornhigweg, and great time management, despite seeing yet again what’s become a constant under this regime, fumbling around with timeouts and challenges, controlling the clock for over 30 minutes, keeping Peyton Manning off the field.

Before this game, the only thing everyone was talking about was the return of Michael Vick and how he will perform after being out of football for a month. Well I would say he exceeded expectations. Vick showed how dangerous and dominate he can be with his precision and accurate passes, spreading the ball nicely to all his weapons.

But the biggest day was from the man with the big return to the field. WR Desean Jackson hauling in seven grabs for 109 yards including a 58 yard pass completion from Vick beating the safety over the top to make a brilliant catch.

The Eagles most dangerous weapon was the star quarterback’s ability to break away from pressure making plays on the run. Vick put up 292 total yards and was accountable for both Eagles touchdowns. His ability to make plays on the run and through the air really opened up the running game for the Eagles.

The Colts defense is one of the worst against the run and today the Eagles use Indy’s weakness to their advantage. The Birds racked up 195 yards on the ground behind the magnificant running by RB Lesean Mccoy who had a big day. Mccoy busted for 62 of his 95 rushing yards on the very first play that set up the first Eagles score. And he averaged 5.6 yards a carry in Sunday’s contest.

But still some things the Eagles need to work on. The Eagles offensive line unit continues to struggle with their inability to block with the bookends, Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis with the pass rush off the edges. Vick was sacked three times and he continued to run for his life for most of the game. They were also inconsistant on breaking holes open in the running game. The struggles also continue in the red zone. The Eagles left alot of points off the scoreboard getting down inside the 20 five times and could only capitalize on the opportunities twice in the game. Im sorry but field goals aren’t going to win you football games they need to continue working on punching the ball in for touchdowns.

Defense: B
-The main focus for this defense coming into this game is how to stop Peyton Manning and this Colts offense. Manning has had success against the Birds, 3-0 with seven touchdowns and a QB rating of 133.6.  But overall the Eagles D played enough to win the game.

The Colts offense are virtually one dimensional, rarely running the football. But when they did they weren’t effective. Eagles continued their success against the run only allowing 62 yards on the ground and held their receivers for the most part in check..

The Colts had to rely heavily on the pass which gave the Eagles the advantaged knowing what the Colts were trying to do with the football.The secondary played extremely well not giving Manning anything down the field. The question on defense was how would CB Dimitri Patterson do in his first start? And the answer is he played very well, six tackles and pass deflection, and not giving up the big play. Manning was going to get his numbers passing for 294 yards and only one touchdown. But the thing that was un-Manning like was the two costly turnovers the defense forced. The ball-hawking CB Asante Samuel came up big in this game picking off Manning twice including at the end of the game to seal an Eagles victory. The reason the secondary played so well was the front seven getting pressure on the future hall of famer.

The Eagles only sack on Manning was by Mike Mamula in 1999. Well that all changed as the Eagles pass rush came up big bringing down Manning three times in the game. It was big to get pressure because it really disrupted the rhythmn and passing game forcing Manning to get rid of the football early. He had no time back in the pocket to pick apart the defense and thats big. Great job by Defensive Coordinator Sean Mcdermott to come up with the blitz packages to get to Manning.

The D however gave up 338 total yards of offense and 24 points. The thing that was puzzling about this defense was the officiating and the amount of penalties called on this defense. Some of them were very questionable indeed but still could of played a major factor in the outcome of this game. Luckily for the most part it did not. They still struggled stopping the tight end. TE Jacob Tamme with the career day, 11 catches for 108 yds and a touchdown. They still have some things to work on but overall did a nice job out their not allowing the big play and not giving the Colts players second chances on the miss tackles. The Eagles D should hold their heads high after this team performance.

Special Teams:B+

-Another great performance by K David Akers. Akers went 4-4 in the game with a 44-yarder into the wind. Also on kickoffs did a tremendous job taking away the return game.

Punter Sav Rocca didn’t have the best of days. He only averaged about 38 yards a punt and only pinning the Colts deep in their territory once. He muffed a punt to give them tremendous field position before the half to give them the 17-16 lead at halftime. Yes the wind did have to do for part of it but no excuses. It was not the greatest performance that we have seen from Rocca.

Return man Jorrick Calvin continues to impress averaging 30.5 a return.setting up the Eagles offense with great field position. And the coverage did well not allowing no big returns by the Colts. A all around solid game for this unit who has had its struggles this season. Bobby April has really come along way to improve this team’s special team problems.

Overall: A-

-The Eagles did exactly what I said they needed to do. They got pressure on Manning which forced him to make bad decisions and turn the ball over. In all three Colt’s losses they lost the battle of turnover differential which the Eagles did. And they ran the ball effectively to kill the clock and keep Manning off the field. Big win for the Eagles as they improve to 5-3, 2nd in the NFC East behind the Giants. The Eagles start the stretch to make a push for the playoffs and it won’t be easy. They have back to back NFC East matchups. First up for the Eagles, they have to go on the road as they look for some revenge when they face off with Donovan McNabb and the Washington Redskins on Monday Night Football.

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