1. I want to thank John Madden for actually doing a great job of announcing and explaining key things happening during the game. He picked up on Patriots taking away the sideline throws and playing a soft zone inside; thus, the Eagles receivers making catches (like the Detroit game in one way) wasn’t too surprising (and Feeley’s inability to hit the deep throws at the end also wasn’t a surprise).
He also took time to illustrate when Feeley showed a deft touch on the ball, and discussed the Eagles’ defensive schemes: how a three man rush would turn into a four man rush all of a sudden, how the Patriots tried to isolate Randy Moss but he was always covered with help for the defender around. He also noted the wide variety of uses Omar Gaither and Brian Westbrook had.
2. Of course, the main reason why the game is significant is that the “Donovan McNabb sucks” crowd is about to emerge again and create a quarterback controversy. A.J. Feeley played an excellent game against a soft zone and was mobile and got rid of the ball fast and showed great touch. Nevermind his two interceptions at the end of the game against something that Madden saw a mile away and that Feeley was acutely aware of – his first interception being returned for a touchdown also game from trying a sideline pattern.
Now granted, McNabb has looked like crap in the last two games and does hold the ball a bit too long. But I think if there’s something I learned watching the Eagles/Pats game, it was this – this season so far has been Andy Reid’s fault. Entirely his fault. To list the complaints:
- Why on earth did the defense look energized and attacking and willing to gamble? Far too often this season I saw that defense sit on its rear for the whole game and let other offenses toy with it.
- The receivers were open – but hey, let’s say the Patriots played man, with two very good corners in Asante Samuel and Hobbs. Are you telling me that the Eagles would have had an easier time? And whose fault is it that receiver play is inconsistent?
- The play calling. My goodness, I saw an ambitious team out there. And I’m not saying the Eagles should go to the air all the time. I actually think they should run more, way more. But there are ways to be ambitious with the run game just as the Eagles were ambitious with the pass in this game.
I have to say that Belichick did not prepare his team well for this game at all. The way you beat the Eagles is by playing Man on the receivers – it has shut them down all season – and running right at the defense. What you saw on the TD run by Maroney could have been done all night.
That’s it. I’m applying to be head coach of the Eagles. I want all you fans to support McNabb, so he can be there when I take over and instantiate my master plan of running Buckhalter at least a third of the time, and making sure the defense can play gap control when it doesn’t attack outright, and maybe getting some better defensive tackles.