Michael Vick led a fourth quarter comeback to lead the Philadelphia Eagles over the Houston Texas 34-24 on Thursday Night Football. If the Giants or Bears had set out a blueprint for how to slow the Eagles offense a bit, the Texans either didn't get it or couldn't execute it as Vick lit them up for 302 yards passing, 48 yards rushing, and three total TDs (2 passing, 1 rushing). It was Vick's third 300 yard passing game of the season and fifth game with a QB rating over 100.
As good as the Eagles offense was, the defense was almost that bad. The Eagles had built a 10 point lead at the half, but the defense just melted down in the third quarter giving up 14 straight points and surrendering the lead. The two Texans drives in that quarter went for a combined 24 plays and over 12 minutes. It was excruciating to watch the Texans move methodically down the field toward the red zone, where they'd inevitably score against the league's worst red zone defense. Vick and the offense bailed them out in this game, but we can't gloss over the fact that there's real problems on that side of the ball. Any win in December is good, but if we want to win some games in January the defense simply needs to be better.
Next up for the Eagles is a 10 day rest then a trip to Dallas to take on the Cowboys on Sunday Night football. After playing their 4th game in 17 days tonight, it'll be a much needed rest for this Eagles team. Notes on the game after the jump.
Michael Vick's Toughness
Gotta love Michael Vick's toughness tonight. He got beat up frequently and was seen clearly limping off the field a few times, but he came back and continued to make plays throughout the game. The play that just left your jaw dropped was when Bernard Pollard was literally hanging off his back 7 yards in the backfield and Vick threw him off and turned the play into a 7 yard game. The guy is a warrior and no one needs this 10 day rest more than him.
Brent Celek's Redemption
Brent Celek had pretty much lost me in this game. First, he dropped an easy TD pass from Vick just one play after Jason Avant had done the same thing. The Eagles had to settle for a FG on the play. Later in the game, Celek had a holding penalty which pushed the Eagles back out of the red zone. However, just two player later on 3rd and 19 Vick hit Celek about 5 yards shy of the first down marker and Brent pushed forward, rolling over a defender and reaching out to get the tip of the ball just beyond the first down marker. It was just a fantastic individual effort. The play was ruled short of a first down initially, but Andy Reid challenged and the play was overturned. Vick hit Owen Schmitt for a 5 yard TD two plays later for the final score of the game.
Andy Reid's Clock Management
Two opposite clock management moments for Andy tonight. First, a great move where he waited for the playclock to run down to 1 second before throwing the challenge flag on the Brent Celek 3rd and 19 play. The Eagles were up four at that point and at least in FG range, so burning an extra 40 or so seconds off the clock when you were going to challenge anyway was a crafty move.
Then of course with the Eagles up 10 and only three minutes remaining, they throw on third down to stop the clock for the Texans. So he batted .500 for the night, which is pretty good for him.
Trevor Laws Giveth And Taketh Away
Up and down game for Trevor Laws tonight. First, he made a great play intercepting a Matt Schaub pass near the end of the first half to stop a little momentum the Texans had built up and set the Eagles up for three points heading into the half. Then, as the Texans were driving in the 3rd quarter the Eagles had made a third down stop but it was negated by a laws neutral zone infraction. That ended up leading to the go ahead TD for Houston.
Andy & Marty's Game Plan
I really loved the playcalling in this game. The Texans seemed to try to employ the Bears game plan of bringing pressure with their front 7 and playing their safeties way back off the line of scrimmage. What type of play does that scream for the Eagles to call in response? A screen right? Yes! Andy/Marty took notice and called a bunch of screens that ended up gashing the Texans for big yardage. If a team is going to play that strategy against the Eagles, you have to be able to punish them with the screen.
As a result of the game plan LeSean McCoy caught 8 passes for 86 yards and TD tonight.
David Akers played his 184th game as an Eagle tonight which put him past Brian Dawkins for the most in franchise history. Of course, the 184 games played by Akers were a whole lot different than the ones played by #20...