Positive: The offensive line seems to be holding up
Michael Vick once again completed 2/3 (20-for-30) of his passes and is clearly getting more time in the pocket to release the football. His completion percentage is going up and he’s fortunately not on the ground as much as he was in the first couple of weeks; hopefully Demetress Bell and the entire line can continue their improved play.
Negative: Turnovers still appear to be an issue
It’s not even the interceptions anymore, it’s holding on to the football. Michael Vick has struggled mightily to hold on to the ball in rushing situations, and unfortunately he was unable to hold on to the ball near the goal line even though there wasn’t any “jarring” contact. His penchant for letting go of the pigskin at the first sign of contact nearly cost him 4-5 times, but luckily for the Eagles they were able to recover Vick fumbles a couple of times. If they want to continue winning games, he has to hold on to the football!
Positive: Andy Reid has faith in LeSean McCoy
Although I still consider 16 rushing attempts not enough for one of the league’s top backs, he put the ball in Shady’s hands in some critical spots. This included 6 times on the final drive with two of them being for 4th-down conversions. He should still be getting the ball more, but Andy understands what needs to be done in crunch time.
Negative: They’re taking the wrong approach on 1st and 10
1st Down and ten yards to go, the most common situation in football. Sometimes Andy Reid runs the ball, but when he passes he shouldn’t always go for all ten yards in one play. The way I look at it, they have 3 plays to get ten yards, and so they shouldn’t go for all ten on the first try. Settling for a 5-7 yard pass to set up 2nd down is perfectly okay. Then, maybe, you could give the ball to McCoy and he could pick up the first.
If Andy Reid took this strategy—which would incorporate more screens and short crossing patterns—instead of the longer passes he loves to call, I think they would be putting together more clock-consuming, touchdown-producing drives.
Looking Forward: Although this is a game I would have loved to see the Eagles win, I still think there in good shape, sitting tied for 1st place in the NFC East. Their next matchup is at home against a 1-3 Lions followed with the bye. The Eagles should get back in the groove and reclaim sole possession of the division.