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Philadelphia Eagles win preseason thriller 33-32 over Jaguars

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Yes It doesn't count, but that was still a pretty fun end to a game. Down 12 with 12 minutes left Kevin Kolb led the Eagles on three straight scoring drives, the last of which ended in a go ahead David Akers FG with 15 seconds left in the game. It gave the Eagles their first win in preseason and dropped the Jaguars to 0-3.

It was a big night for Kolb, whose last game action was last years' devastating loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Even though it was against backups in a preseason game, Kolb showed poise and looked very sharp with his passes. Not to steal Bob Q's thunder, but I'll say "stock up" for Kolb tonight.

Now to the important stuff. The first team offense and defense. It was an odd night with two flukey touchdowns that put the Jaguars up early. The first came on a play where Jacksonville had driven down to the red zone and Asante Samuel put a devastating(and probably illegal helmet to helmet) hit on a Jags WR, who dropped the ball on the one yard line. The Eagles players stood around as if it was an incomplete pass, but Torry Holt made a heads up play to pick up the ball and walk it in for a TD. While it was somewhat of a "fluke" play, the fact that the Jags had driven that far down the field and were likely to score anyway was not. Other than that drive though, the Eagles first team defense was much improved from the first two preseason games. The return of Trent Cole meant the return of the pressure as the front four repeatedly hurried and hit Jags' QB David Garrard.

The secondary also played well, led by Asante Samuel... who seemed to have an extra something in his play tonight. Samuel was out hitting like a linebacker, picked off a pass, and made a very nice strip on a Jags' WR that was initially ruled a fumble. Asante certainly seemed like he was up for filling whatever leadership void might exist on the defense in the absence on Brian Dawkins.

We get to the offense after the jump.

The offense is another story. We'll get to Vick later.... First, they generally moved the ball well. In a stat line that was all too reminiscent of last season, they were better than the Jags' offense in pretty much every conceivable stat other than the score. They moved the ball, but failed to score TDs in the red zone.  In the red zone, they settled for two FGs and had one fumble returned 92 yards for a TD. The fumble came on a swing pass to Lesean McCoy that the Eagles and most of the Jags thought fell incomplete, but since the pass wasn't thrown forward it was a live ball. Jags' backup LB Brian Iwuh made a heads up play to pick up the live ball and return it all the way for a TD. No excuses though, it was a bad play and McNabb & McCoy certainly share the blame.

The second half opened with a fumble finally going the Eagles way. Broderick Bunkley tore the ball out of the grip of Chauncey Washington and Quintin Demps returned it to put the Eagles in good scoring position.  Lesean McCoy ended up scoring after bouncing a run outside and beating two Jaguar defenders to the pylon for a TD. The offensive starters would score another TD on a 4 yard McNabb pass to rookie Marcus Mailei in what ended up being the starters' final drive of the night. The starting offense left having put up 20 points on the board in a little less than three quarters.

Things started tough for the second team when Kevin Kolb was called for an intentional grounding on his first pass which awarded the Jaguars a safety. From there on though, the Eagles reserves thoroughly outplayed the Jaguars' second string and ended up coming from 12 points down to win the game.

Finally, let's get to Vick.

First, I think that the experimenting Andy Reid did with him in the first quarter threw McNabb and the offense off a bit. The team clearly moved better and McNabb looked sharper when Vick wasn't being subbed in every two or three plays. It makes sense that the offense would be somewhat out of sync if they're running gimmick plays once every 4 downs. The experimenting made it hard for me to really evaluate how the first team offense really looked in that first quarter.

Vick himself looked as about as good as expected. Physically he seems like he's in pretty good shape. He didn't appear a step slow, he looked quite comfortable out there, and executed the few things he was asked to do well. That said, he wasn't asked to do much. He did appear in the wildcat formation with McNabb lining up as a WR and tossed a few shovel passes to Lesean McCoy. He threw one beautiful pass to Hank Baskett, which really showed that he still has a cannon for an arm... and ran one designed run play that really wasn't blocked well and left him with no where to go.

So while Vick looked fine, he really wasn't asked to do much.

A few more random thoughts before we wrap this thing up.

- While Jeremy Maclin still didn't show much as a return man, he did play noticeably better as a WR in the first half where he caught 4 passes for 53 yards. Still a work in progress.

- I noticed that rookie Macho Harris started at free safety and not Quintin Demps. Demps had one poor play where he flung himself at TE Marcedes Lewis and bounced off him, rather than make the smart play to wrap him up. Plays like that might be a reason he didn't get the start... He did grab a fumble though and make a decent return with it, although he attempted an ill advised lateral that thankfully went out of bounds. Smart play to pick up the ball and run, bonehead play to lateral it.

- Speaking of second year men having up and down games... DE Bryan Smith made a really nice interception after a Paul Smith pass was tipped, but later drew a pretty stupid and obvious roughing the passer penalty.

- Can anyone make an argument that Jason Avant is at least the second best WR on this team? Avant again caught nearly everything that went near him, ran perfect routes, and constantly got himself open. He was the best WR on the field tonight. With Kevin Curtis being banged up, Maclin still catching up, Reggie being Reggie... should Jason Avant be starting on this team come opening day? You can't say he hasn't earned it.

- Both ex-Patriot starting corners tonight played well. Asante Samuel we've already discussed... but Ellis Hobbs played the run very well tonight and managed to knock down a pass as well. He certainly helped to redeem himself after a rough outing against the Colts.

- Moises Fokou led the team in tackles for the second straight game and saw some time with the first team at middle linebacker.

- 4 FGs for David Akers tonight including the game winner. After two missed against New England it was nice to see him bounce back with a strong night.