Eagles Hang On to Beat Broncos

The Eagles survived a sloppy 2nd half, and a Broncos comeback to win with a game winning David Akers field goal with 4 seconds left.

The Eagles came out of the game and looked unstoppable in the first half. McNabb barely threw an incompletion, and was picking apart the Broncos, and had almost 250 yards passing and 2 TD's at halftime. Brent Celek had 121 yards receiving and a touchdown at half. The Eagles also got the ball to start the 2nd half, and instead of putting the Broncos away, McNabb threw an interception. Sometimes it seems like McNabb struggles when he has too much time in the pocket, which is what happened on the interception. McNabb tends to play his best when he just makes plays, and reacts to what is happening. He made numerous passes right on the money in the first half with pressure in his face.

After the Broncos settled for a field goal, the Eagles scored another touchdown on a pass from McNabb to Avant, who made a nice catch concentrating on a tipped ball. The Eagles were up by 17 at the point halfway through the 3rd quarter. The Eagles offense really struggled at this point, and the Broncos took advantage of a Macho Harris fumbled kick return, and eventually tied the game at 17. The Eagles defense however buckled down in the 4th quarter, and held the Broncos deep in their own territory late in the game, giving the Eagles the ball back at the Broncos 42 yard line with 1:41 left to play in a 27-27 game. After a McCoy 2 yard run, McNabb found Jeremy Maclin at the 13 yard line for a 27 yard completion. This play was initially ruled incomplete right along the sideline, but after reviewing, was called a completed pass. Akers would kick the field goal after 3 runs, and the Eagles move to 11-4 on the year, and still a shot at the #2 seed, and hopefully wrapping up the NFC East with a Redskins win tonight.

Because McNabb was picking apart the Broncos in the first half, the Eagles rushing attack never really got going. McNabb threw 35 passes, and the Eagles called 23 runs between Westbrook, McCoy, and Weaver. McNabb ran the ball 5 times as well, including a 27 yard scramble on a 3rd and long. Westbrook ran 9 times for 32 yards, McCoy ran 6 times for 27 yards, and Weaver ran 7 times for 20 yards. McNabb threw for 322 yards, 3 TDs, and 1 INT.

For some reason the Eagles seem to be able to do whatever they want in the first half of games, and lead the NFL in almost every statistical scoring category in the first half of games. However, they seem to really hit a wall at halftime. When the other teams' defense adjusts to the Eagles offense after halftime, the Eagles offense doesn't seem to adjust. I'm not sure what it is, but the Eagles need to get better, and close out games in the 2nd half in games that they have large leads.

On defense, the Eagles played fairly well overall. They were put in bad positions a few times in fairness to them on a couple of the Broncos touchdowns. They only allowed 241 yards of total offense for the Broncos, and did a very good job shutting down the Broncos best weapon in Brandon Marshall. They didn't seem to blitz a lot, and even though they got 3 sacks, I would have liked to see them get more pressure on Kyle Orton.

Either way, the Eagles get the victory to move to 11-4, and now can watch the Sunday night, and Monday night games, and root for the Redskins, and Bears. If the Redskins win tonight, the Eagles win the NFC East. If the Cowboys win, the Eagles have to travel to Dallas next weekend needing a win to win the NFC East. The winner of that game would win the division. If the Bears beat the Vikings on Monday night, the Eagles and Vikings would have identical records fighting for the #2 seed in the NFC and getting that first round bye.


T-Bone said...

This team continues to be a head scratcher: lights out offense in the first half, only to go completely comatose as soon as the second half whistle is blown. It's really puzzling given the level of talent in key positions that we now (finally) enjoy. It simply confounds logic, and I really can't figure out what the problem is. Apparently, Big Red and all his little reds can't figure it out either...Just as bizarre is McNabb's performance when he has ample time in the pocket. You're right on in observing that "...McNabb struggles when he has too much time in the pocket." While it's clearly true, it's completely counter-intuitive and doesn't make sense on the face of it -- how can a QB ever have "too much" time in the pocket? Yet that's exactly when Dr. Don seems to toss his grounders, overhead lasers, or INTs. In that respect, he's almost the complete opposite of every other QB, college or pro. Considering both of these oddities, it's no wonder the Birds are frequently so maddening.

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