What more can you ask out of team in its first game than what the Eagles did today? Absolutely fantastic performance in all facets of the game from the Birds today. The offense hitting on multiple big plays, the defense smothering, and the special teams turning in maybe the best performance I've seen from the Eagles in years.
Onto the headlines!
It always come down to Donovan
You don't need to look any further than the first pass Desean Jackson caught to see the difference in McNabb from this year to last year. Last year, he simply would not have thrown that pass. How many times did we all say that it looked like a guy had to be wide open for McNabb to throw it to him last year? Not today though... He was still as smart as ever with the ball, but he trusted his recievers to make plays and he trusted himself to make a throw to a guy that wasn't wide open. McNabb threw for more yards today than he has on any opening day in his career... and he only played a little over 3 quarters.
Now McNabb certainly had plenty of help today... The offensive line gave him all day to throw(he was not sacked), his WRs ran free play after play and made tough catches when they needed to. Plus, look at how helpful it was for McNabb to have a healthy LJ Smith, who hauled in 5 passes including a TD.
For anyone thinking the Eagles would struggle without their top 2 WRs... For the first time since 1960 the Eagles had 3 WRs with over 100 yards. It was just that kind of day
McNabb finished the day 21-33 for 361 yards and 3 TDs. He also now owns the lowest interception percentage in NFL history. That's the least amount of INTs per pass attempt in NFL history.
Defense nearly perfect
Actually, the Eagles first team defense pitched a shutout. The Rams scored their FG against the
The Eagles defense held the Rams to just 87 yards of total offense in the first half. Pressure was the name of the game and the Eagles front 7 simply imposed their will on the Rams. Against the run, against the pass... the Eagles defense played on the Rams side of the ball and disrupted everything they tried to do. Bulger had no time to let anything develop, Steven Jackson had someone in his face whenever he touched the ball...
It's hard to single out any one guy on the defense who stood out. This was just one of those games where everyone did their job well. The Rams didn't score until there were 9 minutes remaining in the 4th quarter
Desean's dazzling debut
The rookie from Cal was the unquestioned standout of the preseason and so far it looks like that was no fluke. Desean showed no signs of slowing down as he turned in quite possibly the best debut from an Eagles rookie WR ever. Forget rookie WR, that was one of the best debuts from any Eagle rookie period. He was a constant threat on both offense and special teams racking up 206 total yards.
Jackson led the team with 6 catches for 106 yards averaging over 17 yards a catch. Desean is the first rookie to go over 100 yards recieving on opening day since Anquan Boldin.
Special teams looking special
I can't say enough about how well the special teams played as a unit today. Much of that success started with Sav Rocca. Three of his four punts ended up with the Rams pinned inside their own 20(2 inside the 5). There was tremendous hang time, smart angled punts, and heads up coverage on two plays from Quintin Demps.
Desean Jackson took about a half to get his feet under him as an NFL punt returner. He made some questionable decisions in the first half... but really hit his stride in the second. On consecutive returns in the 3rd quarter he had an 18 yard return that was one man away from probably going for 6 and a 69 yard return that gave the Eagles first and goal.
Eagles fans do us proud
I lost count of how many times the Rams offensive line jumped offsides. Certainly part of that was due to the job the Eagles front seven did penetrating play after play... but the fan factor can not be discounted. The crowd was loud, proud and made it difficult for the Rams' lineman to hear anything. Big assist to the Philly faithful for this win.
Ironic play of the day
How about the guy the Eagles brought in to play fullback but moved to defensive line lead blocking for a guy the Eagles brought in to play RB but moved to fullback? Dan Klecko paved the way for Tony Hunt's goal line TD run in the 3rd quarter.