Add the four quarters of tonight’s game to the first three quarters of last week’s Giants win and what do you get?
A very inconsistent, sometimes awful Eagles team that has holes from top to bottom and should not be mentioned in the same breath as the New England Patriots.
Tonight, the Eagles were beat over and over again by the same play from the Vikings defense: Antoine Winfield coming off the edge. He was in Michael Vick’s face all night, hitting him countless times, sacking him twice, and forcing a fumble that he ran back for a touchdown. Marty Mornhinwheg and Andy Reid waited too long to keep a running back in the backfield to block him, and by that point Vick was rattled and off his game. He was sacked six times altogether, fumbling twice and adding one interception, although it should have been three. He made bad decisions with the football and with his legs. A lot of it could be contributed to how often he was hit, but good quarterbacks know when to throw the ball away — as of now, Vick does not. He does great things on a field but he has to get rid of the ball rather than take a sack.
The offensive line, namely Winston Justice, Max Jean-Gilles and Jason Peters are in for an ugly week in the film room based on tonight’s play. Aside from a few great runs by LeSean McCoy, which he mostly generated by his own shady-ness, they couldn’t run-block either. McCoy had three runs that went for 30 yards. The other 13 rushes went for a combined 14 yards. Andy Reid didn’t get these guys out enough to block for screen passes, which would have been very effective against this ragtag Minnesota defense.
The offense as a whole didn’t get into much of a rhythm all night. It seemed that every time they did, Vick would turn the ball over or a dumb penalty would set them back. The gameplan was never executed and it’s very unclear what the gameplan was. Aside from Vick running through the gap Jared Allen made when he tried to go upfield on Peters, there were very few times that the offense succeeded in what they tried to do.
There’s no reason Joe Webb should be getting publicity for tearing up an NFL defense. The Eagles didn’t put him down early, giving him confidence and letting him get comfortable in the pocket, hitting open receivers for short yardage and letting them run by poor tacklers. Dmitri Patterson continued to be bad, Asante Samuel committed a really stupid penalty and missed some more tackles, and Kurt Coleman started hot and ended really, really cold. Juqua Parker and Trent Cole each recorded a sack on Webb, but there were 6-8 more times that the line should have gotten him down but couldn’t. He’s not nearly as crafty as Vick, even though the defense made him look like Steve Young.
More understandably, Adrian Peterson ran all over the place tonight, shedding tackles and cutting everywhere he wanted to for 129 total yards and a touchdown on 23 touches. The youth of the Eagles defense really showed this game, missing their assignments and running behind each other, making it easy for AP to do what he does.
Regardless of what this means for next week and whether the Eagles could sit most of their starters, a loss like this is terrible to take. The Vikings are a bad team with Brett Favre at the helm. They are worse with rookie wide receiver Joe Webb taking the snaps under center. With a very shorthanded defense and practice squad guys filling major roles, the Eagles couldn’t capitalize on their weak competition, putting their first round placing in jeopardy. A bye would be great for the veterans trying to heal up for the playoffs and obviously a guarantee to make it out of the divisional round.
Reid and company will go back to practice on a short week, try to heal up quickly, and get up for the Cowboys game in only 5 days. Good thing it’s a short week for us, this one leaves a really bad taste in my mouth. Tuesday Night Football should never happen again.