Thoughts From Eagles-SteelersBREAKING NEWS, Eagles, News Sunday, October 7th, 2012
The Eagles lost a very winnable game to the Pittsburgh Steelers, and most of the blame for this loss can be placed on quarterback Michael Vick.
A week ago against the Giants, it looked as though Vick had made some strides in his development by playing a sound game, making good decisions, running the ball out of bounds, and protecting the football. This week Vick wasn’t sharp at all, and wasn’t interested in protecting the football.
The turnover-prone quarterback fumbled an astounding four times, and lost two of them. One of them came on the goalline in the first quarter, which took crucial points off of the board for Philadelphia. Imagine how different this game is with an additional seven points? Or even an extra field goal makes a huge difference.
Vick’s second fumble came inside the Eagles own territory, and gave the Steelers an opportunity to score. Fortunately for Vick, Pittsburgh was unable to capitalize.
Vick had another turnover erased after an official ruled he was down by contact. He also threw up a couple of careless passes that could have been intercepted.
It just goes to show you, once again, that Vick just can’t be relied on to perform at a high level every week. He’s going to have some pretty good games, but too often there’s going to be instances like this in which he costs this team with his careless play.
I thought the three first quarter fumbles really epitomized Vick as a player. He always claims to be crushed by his mistakes, and supposedly acknowledges that he tries to do too much at times, yet he never learns and adjusts based on his errors. The first fumble that he had was overturned, and should have been enough of a wake-up call to Vick that he needed to protect the ball better today. Instead, just several plays later he fumbled into the endzone to kill a drive and wipe away points. And even after the redzone turnover, Vick was still loose with the ball, and fumbled two more times.
Yes, Vick played much better in the second half, and did his part to help bring this team back, but his play in the first half was absolutely inexcusable. He’s been shooting this team in the foot throughout the season, and his bright moments aren’t enough to make up for it. Either he’s got to change, or they’ll have to be a change at the quarterback position.
Defense Wasn’t Good Enough
The defense did a fair job today (considering the position they were put in by their quarterback), but they were lacking in several key areas.
For the second straight week, the pass rush just wasn’t good enough. A couple of hits and a handful of hurries couldn’t do anything to throw Ben Roethlisberger off of his game. They were unable to register a sack on the Steeler quarterback, and by the time the second half began, Big Ben was in a rhythm and was picking the Eagles defense apart.This is supposed to be a defensive line that generates a handful of sacks in every game, but they’ve been almost completely MIA in the last two games. They got away with a no-show against the Giants, but they cost the team this week.
The unit also didn’t have an answer for running back Rashard Mendenhall. It was the first game that the running back had played in since returning from an ACL injury, but the Eagles allowed him to pick up over 80 yards and a touchdown despite the Steelers giving him limited touches.
The defense received a number of breaks today. There were a number of instances in which Roethlisberger found an open receiver, only to have his target drop the pass or have him miss the target by a couple of inches.
Juan Castillo’s group also missed key opportunities to make some game changing plays. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie dropped an interception in the endzone that would have wiped three points off of the board for the Steelers, and the defense had a chance to get off of the field on a 3rd and 12 on the final Pittsburgh drive, but couldn’t get the job done.
The defense wasn’t horrible today, and deserves some credit for keeping this game close, especially early on. However, this wasn’t their best effort, and they had the opportunity to make a bigger impact on the game but just couldn’t get it done.
Let’s Recognize McCoy’s Greatness
You have to love the effort by LeSean McCoy today.
While it wasn’t his most impressive statistical game, the running back was instrumental on the team’s final offensive drive that gave them a one-point lead in the fourth quarter. McCoy was the go-to guy on the two fourth down conversions, and produced both first downs with second and third efforts.
It’s clear that the injuries on the offensive line have impacted what McCoy can do in the running game. The Eagles are leaning heavily on outside runs, and don’t trust their line to generate a push to send McCoy up the middle. But in spite of the issues with his line, Shady still finds ways to make a great impact on the game, and that’s what makes him one of the best running backs in football right now.
- Kickoff coverage was an issue again today, but Colt Anderson did make a nice stop inside the 10-yard line to begin the second half. This unit should get a boost as Anderson’s knee continues to improve and when Akeem Jordan is able to return.
- I like the way the Eagles work Stanley Havili into the offense every week.
- The Eagles haven’t had much success with the deep ball this year. Either receivers haven’t been able to get necessary separation, or Vick hasn’t thrown the bomb well enough. Remember when DeSean Jackson was good for multiple 50-yard touchdowns a year? Not so much these days.
- Very active game for DeMeco Ryans, who finished with 12 tackles.
- Mychal Kendricks struggled for the first time this season. Kendricks was late getting to several plays, and missed a tackle on Rashard Mendenhall’s touchdown.
- In the third quarter, down 10-0, why not have DeSean Jackson back returning punts? The Eagles needed a boost at the time, and Damaris Johnson isn’t going to be the guy that provides it for them.
This was a rough loss for the Eagles. I didn’t expect them to win this game, but they had a chance to come away from this game with a huge road victory and weren’t able to seize the opportunity.
It’s so hard to get a read on how much to expect from this team because of the hazy, erratic play of the quarterback. The Eagles can’t continue to have Michael Vick come out every week and turn the ball over multiple times.
Even with a turnover-free performance against the Giants, Vick is averaging more than two turnovers a game on the season. All three of the Eagle victories have come by less than three points. Imagine if the Browns had caught that near-fifth interception Vick had thrown on the final drive in Cleveland, and team sat at 2-3 right now. I think if this team didn’t have a winning record, the Eagles would be strongly considering changing to Nick Foles right now.
Vick tried to brush off the questions about his turnovers after game by saying it was just “one of those days.” Well Mike, there’s been too many of those days, and the fact that you’re turning the ball over at such an alarming rate is a clear indication that you have a serious problem.
While Vick will remain the quarterback next week, he’s going to face another situation in which he could be playing for his job. Another three-turnover performance could make Andy Reid take a long hard look at Foles during the team’s bye week. We’ll see what happens next week when the rested Detroit Lions come to Philadelphia.
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