BY PAUL MANCANO—Missed opportunities. That’s what I thought I was going to write about in this review. All the would-be picks bouncing off fingertips and gaps in the offensive line missed and downfield heaves over-heaved. Missed tackles and passes dropped and bad playcalling. That’s what I thought would be the focus of this article.
Instead, I’m stuck singing the Eagles’ praises once again, because, huzzah, we won. Yay. Because all the missed opportunities disappear in the haze of victory. Everything is forgiven so long as the team pulls out a W. Oh Eagles, you never cease to frustrate.
The Moose Approves
Darren Sproles – I figured this year would be a career one for this guy, but this is something else. Through the first two games, he’s got 263 yards from scrimmage and two TDs. He’s 31, but you wouldn’t be able to guess it by watching him. He runs like he’s 25 and is insanely hard to bring down. Clearly, the Colts over-prepared for Shady and took their chances with Foles and the screen game. It’s OK Indy, you probably would’ve lost the battle either way.
Pass Protection – The Eagles’ O-line feasted on a Robert Mathis-less Colts pass rush. Nick Foles was sacked a grand total of zero times. Much improved over last week, when Jason Peters looked utterly and bizarrely helpless. Foles had some struggles (hold on, hold on, I’m getting to it) but they weren’t due to a lack of time in the pocket.
Chip Kelly’s Conditioning – Chip’s not looking too crazy now, is he? The Eagles were the more in-shape team Monday night, and it showed on the last two drives. Foles moved the offense at will at the most critical time, and the defense overpowered a worn-down Colts offensive line. Chip can test his players’ pee all he wants, so long as they keeps pulling out late-game comebacks.
Bend-Don’t-Break Defense – We heard that term thrown out a lot in reference to the Eagles’ defense last year. The phrase held true in this one, as the Eagles avoided a loss despite looking porous throughout most of the game. How? Turnovers have consistently bailed out this team. The fumble recovery in the third and the
pass interference interception in the fourth kept them in the game and gave the offense a chance to win. But you know what they say: you play with fire, you get the horns. Or something like that.
The Moose Boos
Run Defense – In a performance reminiscent of Mark Ingram’s playoff train-running in the playoff game, Trent “the Punchline” Richardson absolutely punched the Eagles’ line. (They call me the Moose reincarnation of William Wordsworth) Think about that. Trent Richardson had 79 yards on the ground. Granted, he only picked up 3.8 yards per carry, but Bennie Logan should’ve been able to bring him down with his rugged beard hairs. It took until the fourth quarter for the Eagles to solve the Colts’ running game puzzle, which was, to me, puzzling. (Once again, Moose Wordsworth)
The Refs – Yes, some calls may have benefitted the Eagles down the stretch, but the referees made questionable all game. Trent Cole was flagged for a phantom Illegal Use of Hands penalty in the third that almost cost the Eagles a touchdown. Then, there was the missed pass interference call that cost the Colts a key drive. Finally, there was the horse collar penalty that wasn’t a horse collar penalty. But then again, this probably was:
If the Birds lost, the Moose would be stomping his hooves and making whatever noise a moose makes. (growling? roaring?) Instead, they won, so he’s purring/mooing.
The First-Half Eagles – I don’t know what it is about the first half that scares the BeJesus out of the Eagles. In two games, they’ve got six points and four turnovers before the break, and 58 points and no turnovers after the break. Everything they did wrong in the first half of Monday’s game, they did right in the second. Finishing in the red zone. Making tackles. Picking up the pace. Creating turnovers. Not turning it over. Scoring more points than the other team. It’s inexplicable. It’s inconceivable.
Moose Notes and Nuggets
- Nick Foles continues to look uncertain and hesitant. He’s still missing wide-open guys and being oblivious to others. The plays he’s left on the field haven’t hurt him yet, but they will.
- Every time I watch Andrew Luck play, I’m amazed at everything he can do. From drawing the Eagles offside three—count em, three—times to scampering for 15 yards up the sideline, Luck can do it all. And what a classy dude, too. After the game, Luck was baited by a reporter to blame the refs for the interception, but he took the high road and blamed himself. Mad respect, homie.
- Wow, what a drop-off from Kendricks to Casey Matthews. After Kendricks left with a hamstring pull, Luck completed seven of his next eight attempts, most of which were over the middle. Matthews is a poor man’s poor man.
- Zack Ertz: Once again, you da real MVP. But nah, seriously, good game again.
- Cody Parkey kicked the game-winning field goal – twice. Nice redemption from missing a chip shot earlier.