Take that Vegas! The Eagles came into this game as 24 point underdogs and while unfortunately were unable to beat the Pats, only lost by three. Hey, we lost to the Pats by three in the superbowl...
I haven't felt this good after a loss in quite a while. I was expecting a blowout tonight and instead the Eagles delivered an inspired effort. Onto some headlines!
No reason to hang our head today
The Eagles scored more first half points against the Pats than any other team since 2005. They played the Pats closer than any other team in football this year and they did it in prime time on the road. Even better, they made that 24 point line look pretty silly. That last INT just killed us. We were moving with about 4 minutes left and we were in FG range... but I think AJ just went for too much there. You could tell by his reaction afterward that he knew it. While the way it ended sure was a tough pill to swallow, it doesn't change the fact that the team probably played it's best game of the year.
This is the playcalling we've wanted to see all year
Really aggressive playcalling on both sides of the ball. Going for it on 4th down early. The onside kick. Attacking the Pats over the middle down the field. We saw some trick plays... This is what we want to see every week! We want to see a coach that's putting it all on the line, that's playing desperate, that's going to take absolutely everything he can. I really hope this game acts as a boost for Andy and the confidence of this offense.
On defense, they may have even been more aggressive and inventive. They didn't hold the Pats much in the first half, but they did a good job overall. We saw the Eagles D forcing punts, limiting the Pats to FG attempts, and even making big stops on 4th downs. They may have given up 31 points, but that's the second lowest point total for the Pats all year. They gave us a chance to win and that's all you can ask. Jim Johnson basically ran a 3-4 for parts of the game. They lined up 3 down lineman and rushed Gocong like a DE. For Gocong's part, he did a good job in that role. He got a sack & hit Brady's arm to force a bad throw. In all, the Eagles sacked Brady 3 times and he's only been sacked 10 times all year. Plus, Brady only threw one TD. He's thrown 38 TDs this year and to hold him to one TD isn't too shabby.
Speaking of playcalling...
The Patriots called one run play in the first half. 26 called passes and one run. By the end of the game, the Pats had called 13 runnings plays(for 32 yds) and 57 passes(for 380 yds). For those counting I believe that's an 81-19 pass-run ratio.
Great games from Lito & Gaither
Lito Sheppard probably played his best of the year tonight against Randy Moss. He had safety help all night, but he did a great job sticking with Moss and keeping him out of the end zone. In the end, Moss ended up with on 5 catches for 43 yards and was basically taken out of the game in the second half. Tonight was one of the few times I've seen Lito match up against one guy all game.
Also, I must give kudos to Omar Gaither who finished the game with 8 tackles and 2 passes defensed. He knocked one pass down while covering Welker one on one in the end zone and knocked away another pass while covering a receiver on a big a 3rd down play. Some people correctly remarked in the game thread that those were plays Jeremiah Trotter would have never made. I thought Gaither was outstanding tonight and probably played the best of game of his career.
Happy Birthday McNabb, Have another week off why don't ya?
Today was Donovan McNabb's 31st birthday and I'd like to think that I've been mostly a McNabb defender here. I've not been one of these Eagles fans over the years moaning and groaning about how we can't win with McNabb and how he's overrated... In fact, I still don't think that. That said, I can't see how we don't start AJ Feeley next week. Andy didn't dumb down the playbook one bit tonight. He didn't go 60-40 pass run, he didn't just ask AJ to "manage the game." He asked AJ to to go out and run the full offense which he did better than McNabb has done almost all year.
AJ was getting the ball out quick, he was making accurate passes, he was seeing the field well, and and really attacked the middle of that Pats defense. In the end, he made a really bad throw in the end zone in the 4th quarter where he went for more than he needed to and that really killed us... but he still went out there and played a game that none of us saw coming. In the end his line was 27-42 for 345 yds 3TDs & 3INTS. To me, that's good enough for another week.
Speaking of guys filling in tonight...
Solid game tonight from JR Reed. He absolutely crushed Randy Moss once and separated him from the ball preventing a first down. He laid a few nice hits throughout the game actually. He slipped once and gave up a long throw but played well in the first half. In the second half he made a nice play on a deep Brady throw and should have had a pick, but he dropped it. Overall, not the disaster I thought he'd be. In fact, he was pretty solid out there.