This game ended up closer than it ever should have been. After a rough first half, the Eagles defense seemed to turn things around in the second half pitching a shutout in the 3rd quarter. In the meantime, the Eagles offense built a 35-17 lead. Then... things started to come undone. I don't know whether the Eagles defense got complacent or just reverted back to the generally crappy play of the first half, but the Lions scored 15 straight points and recovered an onsides kick to make what appeared to be a comfortable victory into a very tense affair. That said, we'll get back to the defense. Let's look at the good first.
You have to wonder whether it's fair to say that Michael Vick "looked like his old self" today, because it's hard to remember when Vick was ever as poised a passer as he was today. He was 21 of 34 for 284 yards and 2 TDs with no turnovers. Thing is, the numbers don't really even tell the story. How many times did he stand in and make a great throw on a play where he knew he was about to get blasted? He was accurate, he was calm under pressure, and generally looked fearless out there. I've never been a big fan of Vick as a QB, but there's really nothing to criticize today. The guy played fantastic.
If Michael Vick was the Eagles offensive MVP, LeSean McCoy had to be the runner up. The second year man had his first career 100 yard game to go along with 3 TDs on the day. Amazingly, he's the first Eagles RB to rush for 3 TDs in a game since Charlie Garner did it in 1995.
DeSean Jackson had a big day as well hauling in 4 passes for 135 yards including a 45 yard TD.
Now, to the defense... They were terrible. There's really no other way to put it. The first half, they were absolutely steamrolled on the ground as Lions RB Jahvid Best had almost all of his 78 yards rushing in the first two quarters. Then, as I said earlier, the defense really seemed to respond coming out after the half and played really well in the third quarter before just falling to pieces in the fourth. The worst part was, the Lions game plan was remarkably simple. They ran up the gut in the first half and carved the Eagles with screens to Best and short throws to the TE in the second half. Nearly all of the Lions offensive success came on two or three different play calls over and over. It was eerily reminiscent to the games against Dallas last year where they dominated the Eagles with a delayed handoff and WR bubble screen.
What can be done to fix it? Certainly the return of Stewart Bradley will help as Omar Gaither was slow to the sidelines on every play to the outside and pushed back on most runs to the inside... But unless Bradley is he second coming of Mike Singletary, his presence alone can't solve everything.
Oh and Ernie Sims got his first win in 30 games. Wouldn't that have been a terrible irony for him had the Lions managed to pull this one out after he'd lost 28 straight games as a member of that team? Good for him and us that they didn't.
A win is a win and any win on the road in the NFL is a good one. Considering the Cowboys lost today to fall to 0-2... It was a pretty good day.