Inside the Eagles - Week 6

Monday, October 13, 2008 ·

While Andy Reid has a miraculous record after a bye week, he's been pitiful heading into one. Sitting at 2-7 before the bye in his career, Andy has never been faced with this big of a must-win, this early in the season. A loss against the 49ers would put them at 2-4 overall and 0-4 against the NFC.

Then, things magnified. The Washington Redskins lost to the St. Louis Rams at home, to give the opportunity for the Eagles to sneak closer. While the Eagles were playing, Dallas was in trouble in Arizona and they eventually lost. The Eagles were in the prime situation to gain on the toughest division in football. Well, after 3 quarters, it didn't look like it'd happen.

The Eagles looked to be cruising through the first half. Up 17-6, they allowed the 49ers to drive down the field and kick a field goal. With little time left, the Eagles drove into field goal range (for Akers 4 years ago), but the kick was blocked. In a dramatic change of events, the Eagles were only up 17-16 at half.

In the third, the 49ers took the lead after a Frank Gore touchdown and they later added a field goal. All the momentum was on their side, our offense couldn't do anything, and we were down 26-17 heading into the fourth.

Finally, the defense who allowed 5 scoring drives to the 49ers stepped up. In the fourth quarter alone, they forced 3 turnovers, including Juqua Parker's game-clinching interception to put the Eagles up 40-26 with little time left.

Time to dig a little deeper.

Offense
Well I don't want to sit here and knock the offense again, but they really need to improve in the red zone. Yes, they scored 3 red zone touchdowns, but they also kicked 3 field goals and McNabb threw a pick. We scored touchdowns on only 3 of 7 red zone possessions and also kicked a FG when we were at the 21. So, virtually, it was 3 of 8 possessions from inside the 25.

The Eagles had no problem driving the ball all game. They were 50% on 3rd down, but they started strong. The short-yardage game and red zone efficiency is still what drives me nuts. I understand McNabb is fragile, but if he cannot run a QB sneak, get him the fuck out of there, regardless of his talent. He's our best short yardage option right now and we're still afraid to use him.

Buckhalter had his best game ever as an Eagle. On 18 carries, he rushed for 93 yards and a touchdown. He was also a big factor in the passing game as he and the Eagles worked the screen pass to perfection. He caught 7 balls for 85 yards.

Rookie DeSean Jackson had another big game offensively with 6 receptions for 98 yards, nearly getting his 3rd 100 yard game of the season. If he continues at this pace, he's projected to catch 77 balls for 1155 yards, which by my quick research, would eclipse every Eagles receiving record for a rookie.

Hank Baskett made some great catches as well, but I was most definitely shocked when the Eagles finally ran a fade route to him in the end zone. It only took them forever to call that play.

While the offense struggled at times, they still put up 33 points on the board.

Defense
I'm going to be blunt with you. The defense played bend, but don't break defense for 3 quarters. They allowed 4 field goals and only one offensive touchdown all game. For the second straight week, they allowed a 100-yard rusher and 49ers TE Vernon Davis find himself wide open often and usually for a big gain.

But then there was the fourth quarter were the defense got plenty of pressure, forced 3 turnovers, 3 and outs, and got a defensive touchdown to seal the game. Why does every Eagles game seem like it just has to be close. While we dominated both Pittsburgh and St. Louis for all 4 quarters, we've really struggled to have the complete game for most of the year.

However, they bailed out the sluggish 2nd half offense again and gave them plenty of opportunities in San Francisco's zone to put points on the board.

Special Teams
Desean Jackson = Good.
Our Punt coverage team = Bad.

Also, Quinton Demps had a very good kick return they almost broke for a touchdown. This is the best return game I've seen from the Eagles in a long time.

Players of the Week
Offense - Buckhalter
Defense - Parker
ST - Demps

Conclusion
The Eagles got the must-win they needed heading into the bye. It was an ugly win, but they got the win and gained ground on both Dallas and Washington. It would perfect weekend if somehow the Giants fell to the Cleveland Browns. Sadly, it was our first win in four tries against the NFC, but sitting at 1-3 is much safer than 0-4.

Next week we have the bye, so I'll see you in two weeks!

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We Hate to Lose began in October 2007. The initial purpose of the website was to provide news updates and commentary on all four major sports teams in Philadelphia. Because of time-constraints, in April of 2009, I decided to post only on my first-love, the Philadelphia Phillies.

My name is Justin Evans and I hope you enjoy the site.

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