They were at their best early in the game, when they were able to run some great plays that they had designed against the Redskins defense. The Skins were off balance and didn’t know what was coming next. Once they realized, the Birds were up by two touchdowns.
The initial drive stalled in three plays, but the next time the Eagles got the ball, Reid and Mornhinweg worked their magic with their 15-play script to help the Eagles grab a 7-0 lead.
There were deceptive plays, screens, sprint draws, play action passes and three-step drops which are all pure west coast offense.
The Seam Route To DeSean Jackson
It was a scoreless game and the Birds had second down and ten on their own 31-yard line. The Eagles had three wide receivers in the game. DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin were lined up to the right side with LeSean McCoy in the backfield and Jason Avant and Brent Celek lined up to Michael Vick’s left side.
Vick was under center with McCoy to his right. Number seven took the snap, then faked a handoff to McCoy. The fake to one of the leading rushers in the league, slowed up the Skins linebackers as they dropped into coverage.
Reid and Mornhinweg were anticipating a zone and they were right. The run fake had created an open area in the middle of the coverage with the linebackers stepping forward on the fake.
Jackson was in the slot. He eluded the corner on him and headed downfield on what looked like a seam route. Maclin was running a hook route outside and Vick was watching it all as he dropped into the pocket.
Vick let go of a low laser across the middle in front of the safeties. It would allow Jackson to head inside for it and protect himself at the same time. Vick threw Jackson open by throwing the ball inside away from the oncoming safety. I’m sure Jackson has told Vick that if he’s got to go inside he would prefer the ball be thrown low.
With the safeties closing Jackson turned on the burners and caught up to the pass, then reached out and caught with his hands, while turning over to protect the ball and himself. It turned out to be a 23-yard gain and gave the Birds a first and ten at the Skins 46-yard line. Laran Landry was coming like a missile to hit Jackson, but he just missed him because the ball was low to the ground. Great throw. Great catch. First down.
Vick To Avant On The Get Open Route
Late in the drive, the Birds came to a fourth and two with the ball on Redskins 38-yard line. The Eagles had Vick under center with an empty backfield along with three wide receivers, a tight end and a running back. They had Jason Avant in the slot to the left side matched up against backup cornerback Kevin Barnes.
He seemed to be the go to guy, who needed to get inside of his defender to give Vick a clear opening to throw the ball. Reid and Mornhinweg knew that the Skins, who are mostly a zone team, would play man-to-man on 3rd and short.
They were right, the Redskins were in man-to-man with a safety in middle of the field deep. Avant overpowered the smaller Barnes by running through his jam and getting inside. Once he was inside, it was a done deal. Vick completed the easy throw down the middle, as the two connected for a 18-yard gain to the Washington 20-yard line.
Man-to-man coverage isn’t a strength of the Redskins and the Eagles knew they could take advantage of it.
LeSean McCoy With The Sprint Draw
On the next play from the Washington 20-yard line, the Eagles ran a sprint draw which worked very well for them all day long. You’re going to see more of this for the rest of the season because it takes advantage of Vick’s speed and the threat of him getting outside of the pass rushers.
Vick took off on the play blazing outside to his left, like he was trying to get outside contain. It caused the Redskins defensive line to take off outside. The outside linebacker Rob Jackson came upfield immediately to try to contain Vick.
At the point, the quarterback slipped the ball into the stomach of McCoy, who took off through the opening created by Jackson getting upfield. Left tackle Todd Herremans gave Jackson a pass set look to get him upfield then let him going while knowing that Shady was following him inside through a natural gap.
McCoy got right in behind Herremans, who delivered a pancake block on safety Oshiomogho Atogwe as number 25 was taking the ball down to the Skins 9-yard line.
The Tight End Screen To Celek
Finally the play which put the Eagles into the end zone was a perfect call by Reid and Mornhinweg. It was third and goal from the Skins seven yard line. The Eagles knew the Skins were going to be in man-to-man so close to the goalline.
They also knew Washington would thinking about getting to Vick and stopping him from trying to roll out with a pass run option. Next up they would thinking about a screen or short pass to McCoy, or maybe an inside curl route to Avant or Maclin.
Nobody was thinking about tight end Brent Celek and the Eagles knew it.
Celek was lined up tight to the left side. He began the play by dropping in a pass blocking stance and getting his hands on blitzing linebacker Brian Orakpo as he went upfield. This caused the linebacker covering him Rocky McIntosh to look to help somebody else because Celek seemed to be blocking. That was all the Eagles needed because Herremans had faked his block and was now in between McIntosh and Celek with nobody else in the area.
Vick induced the pass rush towards him by backing up. He then flicked the ball to Celek who had set up and turned his way in back of Herremans. McIntosh had no way of getting free of Herremans as Celek ran untouched into the end zone.
This was a brilliant call and took care of the Birds red zone problems on this drive.
Despite how well the Eagles played early and the big lead they had, i remain concerned about their inability to consistently get the ball into the end zone and the fact that they didn’t score in the second half. They’ve had problems in those areas all season and despite the win, those problems continue.