Eagles defeat Texans, but expose holes

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

The Eagles red zone defense is virtually non-existent. In fact, the Birds rank dead last in that category. (Philly.com)

Week 13 in the NFL kicked off with a stellar game in front of a sold out crowd at Lincoln Financial Field and with the whole nation watching as two high powered offenses went at it. It was a huge game for both teams fighting to stay in their respective heated playoff races. But one of the offenses was just too much to handle behind the phenomenal play of Eagles quarterback Michael Vick and running back Lesean Mccoy, the Eagles were VICKtorious, beating the Houston Texans 34-24. It was a good win for the Eagles putting them at 8-4 but still a lot of adjustments need to be made.

Eagles Offense: B+

This week the Eagles offense looked like a much improved unit from last week. They were able to move the football very effectively picking up over 400 yards of offense and 22 first downs on this Texans defense. They were able to continue drives converting on 50% of their third down attempts. This offense was clicking on all cylinders jumping out to a lead early and the offense was along for the ride behind “Starship 7” Michael Vick.

Vick has thrown 300 yard passing games in three of last four contests and accounted for three (1 rushing) Philly scores. The offensive line did a decent job to give time for Vick. He was only sacked once and hit four times.  And with that time was able to pick apart the worst secondary in football, finding his targets in stride. Desean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin’s speed was just too much to handle and contain as the Eagles weapons were running freely through this pass defense. The WR combination of “Mac ‘n’ Jack” totaled eight catches for 152 yards in the game.

The running attack wasn’t as effective but was enough to get the job done. Philly rushed for 115 total yards but quarterback Michael Vick ran for 48 of those on 10 carries. The Texans defense couldn’t contain Vick as he was able to make plays on the ground. The Eagles only had 19 designed running plays for 67 yards. Lesean Mccoy only managed 3.7 yards per attempt. Luckily McCoy is versatile enough that he can also make plays out of the backfield in the passing game, compiling 130 total yards of offense and two total touchdowns.

The Eagles also fixed some of their red zone deficiencies, converting four touchdowns in six attempts down inside the 20. They did, however still leave some points on the board as mishaps cost them. They have to execute when opportunities are given to them, like after the defense forced a turnover, giving them a short field but only came away with a field goal. A lot of questionable play calling by head coach Andy Reid and Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg down along the goal line to throw the football instead of trying to pick it up on the ground. The receivers didn’t help the cause dropping far too many passes in the red zone. Vick also had his second interception in two games and his third straight game with a  turnover.

Overall, it was a good job against a bad defense. Still some tweaks that need to be made and need to cut down on the amount of penalties especially at home. But it was a good job by Vick and the offense not to get frustrated and worried when they fell behind. Just good composure in the huddle to lead the team down the field and give them the lead early in the fourth quarter and then sealed it late in the game. It is still questionable how good this offense can play against stiff competition. Good defenses have been giving this unit a hard time and they have struggled. This offense is good against bad competition, let’s just see how they do in a few weeks when they go up against the Giants again. Hopefully the win can serve as a big momentum and confidence boost.

Eagles Defense: C+

Again, Eagles CB Asante Samuel was out and the lack of secondary depth showed as Matt Schaub lit up this defense for 337 yards and two scores, finding his favorite target Andre Johnson six times for 149 yards. The size and speed differential between Eagles defensive backs were just no match for Johnson. He kept on running into open space in this Eagles coverage making plays.

They were able to get some pressure on Schaub from all angles with different blitz packages, knocking him around and sacking him twice in the game. They were also able to force him to make mistakes causing two crucial turnovers. They were controlling this offense early on but as the game progress Schaub got into a rhythm and went to work spreading the ball around to connecting with eight different weapons in the game. He found the mismatch on the Eagles defense — covering the tight end.

No matter what Eagles linebacker it is — Stewart Bradley or Ernie Sims or whoever — they can never seem to control the tight end and in this game it was no different. TE Joe Dressen records five catches for 63 yards.

The Eagles also failed to contain RB Adrian Foster. The undrafted free agent from a year ago has really come along and he got to show his stuff on national television Thursday. The Eagles had no answer for him. He did only rack up 109 total yards, but had two total scores in the game. The plays and yardage came in crucial times when the Texans needed it most. He leads the league in rushing and total touchdowns and from this performance to knock over defenders and the burst he has when he gets into open field he is tough to bring down. He is going to be a back to watch for in the future.

Overall, this wasn’t a good game on the defensive side of the ball. The Eagles gave up over 400 yards of offense and 27 first downs. At one point they gave up 14 unanswered points, giving up the lead. A lack of discipline by the Eagles, giving up too much free yardage on penalties that also extended drives for the Texans. The worst red zone defense in the league showed up again allowing the Texans to convert on all three attempts to get in the end zone. And again, bad fundamentals and bad tackling by Philadelphia were costly.

They were unable to bring down the ball carrier, giving up too many second chance opportunities to let them get back in the game. Coach Sean McDermott has to get this unit together, teach them right and put them in a better position to make plays because it’s going to cost them football games eventually. They need to get better down the stretch and for the competition that they will see if they make the playoffs.

Special Teams: A+

David Akers wasn’t as much of a factor only kicking two field goals but successful on both. Punter Sav Rocca was a huge part of the Eagles win giving the Texans troubles. He pinned all three of his attempts inside the 20 giving them a tough hall with the long field to try and score. The coverage units were outstanding allowing no big returns. Players had good discipline to stay in their lanes and not allow the returner to break anything free. As for the Eagles return game, it wasn’t much of a factor but still was big. Jorrick Calvin did another decent job to give the Eagles good field position averaging about 23 yards a return. So a good job by Bobby April’s crew after a dismal game last week against Chicago.

Overall: B

Nothing flashy, but a good win in a game they had to have. The Eagles showed some good things but also some things they need to work on if they want to make a deep run into the playoffs. They have to get better defensively especially when they start to face tougher overall competition. The Texans offense is tough but defensively they are horrendous. When they play the full package this team is going to have trouble unless can fix things now. But they improve to 8-4 as they watch the competition on Sunday in some crucial matchups and can relax for a little when next game isn’t for another 10 days away when they travel to big D to take on the Cowboys.

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTER HOU PHI
TD 07:56 LeSean McCoy 1 Yd Pass From Michael Vick (David Akers Kick) 0 7
FG 04:55 Neil Rackers 48 Yd 3 7
SECOND QUARTER HOU PHI
TD 14:30 LeSean McCoy 4 Yd Run (David Akers Kick) 3 14
FG 09:35 David Akers 36 Yd 3 17
TD 05:38 Jacoby Jones 8 Yd Pass From Matt Schaub (Neil Rackers Kick) 10 17
FG 00:21 David Akers 22 Yd 10 20
THIRD QUARTER HOU PHI
TD 08:49 Arian Foster 13 Yd Pass From Matt Schaub (Neil Rackers Kick) 17 20
TD 00:50 Arian Foster 3 Yd Run (Neil Rackers Kick) 24 20
FOURTH QUARTER HOU PHI
TD 13:04 Michael Vick 2 Yd Run (David Akers Kick) 24 27
TD 04:18 Owen Schmitt 5 Yd Pass From Michael Vick (David Akers Kick) 24 34
HOU PHI
1st Downs 27 22
Passing 1st downs 18 14
Rushing 1st downs 6 8
1st downs from Penalties 3 0
3rd down efficiency 6-10 6-12
4th down efficiency 0-1 0-0
Total Plays 64 63
Total Yards 431 416
Passing 323 301
Comp-Att 22-36 22-33
Yards per pass 9.0 9.1
Rushing 108 115
Rushing Attempts 26 29
Yards per rush 4.2 4.0
Red Zone (Made-Att) 3-3 4-6
Penalties 4-25 11-85
Turnovers 2 1
Fumbles lost 1 0
Interceptions thrown 1 1
Defensive / Special Teams TDs 0 0
Possession 28:11 31:49
Houston Passing
C/ATT YDS AVG TD INT RATING
M. Schaub 22/36 337 9.4 2 1 99.0
Team 22/36 323 9.0 2 1
Philadelphia Passing
C/ATT YDS AVG TD INT RATING
M. Vick 22/33 302 9.2 2 1 103.3
Team 22/33 301 9.1 2 1
Houston Rushing
CAR YDS AVG TD LG
A. Foster 22 83 3.8 1 29
D. Ward 2 15 7.5 0 13
A. Johnson 2 10 5.0 0 7
Team 26 108 4.2 1 29
Philadelphia Rushing
CAR YDS AVG TD LG
M. Vick 10 48 4.8 1 13
L. McCoy 12 44 3.7 1 13
J. Harrison 3 20 6.7 0 14
C. Hall 3 3 1.0 0 2
D. Jackson 1 0 0.0 0 0
Team 29 115 4.0 2 14
Houston Receiving
REC YDS AVG TD LG TGTS
A. Johnson 6 149 24.8 0 42 9
J. Dreessen 5 63 12.6 0 20 8
K. Walter 4 33 8.3 0 14 6
A. Foster 2 26 13.0 1 13 4
V. Leach 1 21 21.0 0 21 1
J. Jones 2 20 10.0 1 12 2
D. Anderson 1 17 17.0 0 17 1
J. Casey 1 8 8.0 0 8 3
Team 22 337 15.3 2 42 34
Philadelphia Receiving
REC YDS AVG TD LG TGTS
L. McCoy 8 86 10.8 1 40 8
D. Jackson 3 84 28.0 0 33 5
J. Maclin 5 68 13.6 0 34 8
B. Celek 4 55 13.8 0 20 7
O. Schmitt 1 5 5.0 1 5 1
J. Avant 1 4 4.0 0 4 3
Team 22 302 13.7 2 40 32
Houston Interceptions
INT YDS TD
J. Allen 1 0 0
Team 1 0 0
Philadelphia Interceptions
INT YDS TD
T. Laws 1 13 0
Team 1 13 0
Houston Defensive
TACKLES MISC
TOT SOLO SACKS TFL PD QB HTS TD
J. Allen 9 9 0 0 1 0 0
B. Cushing 6 5 0 0 0 0 0
B. Pollard 5 5 1 1 1 2 0
G. Quin 4 4 0 0 1 0 0
K. Bentley 4 3 0 0 0 0 0
T. Jamison 3 3 0 0 0 0 0
M. Williams 2 2 0 1 0 0 0
E. Wilson 2 2 0 0 0 0 0
A. Foster 2 2 0 0 0 0 0
M. Anderson 2 2 0 1 0 1 0
D. Sharpton 2 2 0 0 0 0 0
K. Jackson 2 2 0 1 0 0 0
A. Okoye 2 2 0 1 0 0 0
A. Smith 2 1 0 0 0 1 0
M. Schaub 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
V. Leach 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
D. Lewis 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
S. McManis 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
A. Molden 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
Z. Diles 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
T. Nolan 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Team 54 50 1 5 3 4 0
Philadelphia Defensive
TACKLES MISC
TOT SOLO SACKS TFL PD QB HTS TD
Q. Mikell 7 7 0 1 2 1 0
D. Patterson 6 6 0 2 0 0 0
E. Sims 5 5 0 0 1 0 0
N. Allen 4 4 1 0 0 0 0
S. Bradley 4 4 0 1 0 1 0
J. Hanson 4 4 0 0 0 0 0
T. Lindley 4 4 0 0 0 0 0
M. Patterson 4 3 1 1 0 1 0
T. Cole 3 3 0 0 0 0 0
M. Fokou 3 2 0 0 0 0 0
J. Chaney 2 2 0 0 0 0 0
C. Anderson 2 2 0 0 0 0 0
K. Coleman 2 1 0 0 0 0 0
A. Dixon 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
J. Maclin 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
B. Bunkley 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
T. Laws 1 1 0 0 1 0 0
D. Te’o-Nesheim 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
B. Graham 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
D. Tapp 0 0 0 0 1 1 0
Team 56 52 2 5 5 4 0
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1 Comment

Filed under game recap, Jeffrey Warner

One response to “Eagles defeat Texans, but expose holes

  1. John from Bensalem

    VICKtorious, I love it! Jeff Warner, I love reading you’re Eagles stuff every week. You are the man.

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