Philadelphia Eagles vs New England Patriots XXXIX is on replay right now and I decided to watch. A few things jumped out right away. The first thing is WOW how different watching now, knowing the outcome, vs having all of the anxiety of watching it live! The other thing that hit me right away was the team we fielded vs the team they fielded. In my mind I guess as the team personnel changed so did my memory of that team. But every year the team has a feel. And watching the game that feel comes back. The last thing was coaching. The Eagles game plan vs the Patriots. Who played in that game? Who did well? How did the coaches grade out? More after the jump.
Our LB's were Trott(I expected) Dhani Jones and KEITH ADAMS! Looking back I forgot about Adams. Rolle kind of reminds me of Adams. Stout and strong if he gets his hands on you he'll tackle you. But he can take bad angles. How did they do? Adams 5 tackles, Trott 4 and Jones 2. Dhani never fit our system. So no surprise that his game was weak. Who is worse; those 3 guys or the 3 we had last year?
Our DB's! Brown, Lito, Lewis and Dawk. I forgot what it was like to have 2 CB's that could tackle. Lito made some great plays early. Lewis had a big hit on a deep ball to Patten in the first series. All in all this bunch was tested the most and played the best of the defensive unit. Consider that Brady was getting pressured hardly at all, holding the Pats to 236 passing yards was fantastic. Dawks 5 tackles, Brown 4, Lito 3, Lewis SIX. Lewis faded in my head as a good player because he slowed down so much at the end for us that he couldn't cover. He played a great game in the SB.
Who did that defense face? Brady, Dillon, Branch, Brown and Givens. Not the powerful weapons Brady has now. Who hurt us? Branch had 11 rec for 133 yards. Everyone else had 3 or less rec and less than 32 yards. Our defense really showed up for this game. Especially our pass D! In 2004 the Eagles were ranked 10th total vs yards in the regualr season. 12th vs pass and 16th vs the run. Where this crew stood out was in ppg allowed. What made Jim Johnsons defenses notorious was his bend but don't break style. When teams got in the red zone they got shut down. The Eagles were ranked 2nd....tied with the Patriots that season.
In 2004 D McNabb had more TD's, more yards and less INT's than Tom Brady. His QB rating was the best of his career. DMac was dialed in like a young girl trying to win Justin Bieber tickets from her local radio station. Corey Dillon finished his season with over 1600 yards and 12 TD's. Westy had 812. Owens had 1200 yards and 14 TD's and the Pats best WR was Givens with 874 yards and 3 TD's. Obviously these type of surrounding cast and his success with them is what made Tom Brady so great!
Finally how did the coaches stack up? It felt like all coaches did a good job in preparing. First series on defense for us Trott shot through the center of the line like a hot knife through butter and was chipped by a diving Faulk just enough for Brady to get rid of the ball. If not chipped, Trott could of set the tone for the game and maybe the hit changes Brady's confidence for the whole game. New England(Bruschi) also had a jail break towards McNabb that caused a fumble but the call was reversed(McNabbs knee was down) in their first series.
Andy was typical Andy at times and was so smart he was out smarting himself. We were running on 3rd and short and 2 out of 3 downs often in the first quarter. We were not good in short yardage team that season from my memory. And we were the best passing team we have EVER been, that year. Oh Andy you....you......oh Andy(shaking head in disbelief). Another WTF play. Eagles just had a big play, plus penalty tacked on to the plays completion to Owens resulting in a first and goal(1st qtr 3.5 mins to go). Clearly we are in a great position to take control of the game. McNabb gets sacked and we are pushed back from the 6 to the 24. Yeah that sucked! The next play McNabb drops back and throws a jump ball to an Owens who's not looking and is intercepted(by Asante) in the end zone. Luckily an illegal contact(on LJ Smith) was made and the INT was erased. First and 10 on the 20 and McNabb drops backs and BOOM jump ball INTERCEPTED. Should a coach notice his QB is frazzled after a sack and an abnormal jump ball for an INT reverse? Hind sight is 20/20 But careful McNabb was not being careful. Maybe should of been checked with a run play.
Belichick mirrored Andy's sentiment as both coaches were very very conservative especially inside their 20. Truthfully I didn't know that Patriots team well enough to give Billy Boy a grade. The Eagles lost 24-21 mostly due to a few mistakes by us(LJ Smith fumble) McNabbs INT's(I only count 2 because the 3rd came with barely any time on the clock), and our poor clock management. I can't help but feel that that was our year even with the TO injury, the Chad Lewis injury etc.....
I can't wait until camp starts tomorrow!