I want to have an article after each Eagles week and recap some major points from the game. 7 seem to be fitting, as in 7 points for a touchdown. So here we go, first attempt.
1. The hit on Austin Collie
I freaked out when they called this an illegal hit, as did my entire Eagles watching crew. Quintin Mikell drilled Collie with his shoulder, and Kurt Coleman came in and finished the tackle, with primarily his shoulder, and some incidental helmet to helmet brushing. Call me biased, but as far as hitting goes, this one looked clean to me. Now don’t group me in with the assholes who were happy that Collie was hurt, I only condone the cheering of Michael Irvin laying lifeless on the Veterans Stadium turf. With all of that said, the NFL is not going to fine Coleman, furthermore proving that in retrospect, the hit was clean. Since the Eagles still won, I’ll take the fact that at least Coleman isn’t being fined. 50K is a lot for an undrafted rookie safety.
The problem I have with all these hits and penalties is that this is a contact sport. Again, I do not condone players being injured, but do you want to put a speed limit out there? How often does anyone get hit by something going 25 miles an hour and not get hurt? It’s physics, and it’s what you’re taught in little league, high school, and forever: the lower man wins. The only way to get lower than the opponent is to get your head down low. If defenders have to stand up straight, Adrian Peterson is going to lower his head and demolish them every time. No man on defense standing straight up can make a tackle on a ball carrier charging at him with his head down. However, the defender charges the same way and he faces a crippling penalty, and an even more crippling fine. Intent, situation, and player history needs to always be taken into account. On this play, it was a penalty because it was incomplete…it was incomplete because Collie got leveled on a sweet hit, which is the point of the hit. Collie definitely made a football move, and although he probably doesn’t remember, he braced himself. Bracing yourself is a football move. Sorry it didn’t work, but that’s not…oh wait, that is Quintin Mikell’s fault. No, that’s actually his job.
2. Dimitri Patterson
Ellis Hobbs is a bum. I’ve wondered this entire time is this hip injury is serious, or an easier way to sit Hobbs down and let Patterson roam. I know it’s only one game, but this was Peyton Manning, so as far as one game goes, this one was a pretty good test. Patterson spent most of the day against Reggie Wayne. Yeah, Reggie Wayne, the Colts #1 receiver, and an NFL elite receiver. Patterson held Wayne to 7 catches for 52 yards on 10 targets in the first half, and 11 catches for 83 yards and no touchdowns for the game. Manning went to that side of the field, and at Patterson in particular, early and often, and Patterson welcomed the challenge. This seems like the type of player that fits the Eagles mold, and the type of guy who’s up to the challenge and wants to work, which is what Eagles fans always appreciate. I’m sure he’ll have a bad game at some point, but a game like this is enough to offset even the worst of days.
P.S. The 2nd interception by Manning: Asante Samuel went to Quintin Mikell and told him to lineup at cornerback. Samuel played safety, essentially center field, read Manning, and came up with the game ending pick. I LOVE this from Samuel. Just saying.
3. Vick Returns
See my Kolb/Vick article, but to further emphasize, I was a huge supporter of the Kevin Kolb movement, but wrote last week that I thought Vick needed to be the QB for the rest of the season, and that it was the right call. Point proven. Vick outplayed Peyton Manning, the 8th best player in NFL history as stated on the NFL’s Top 100 Players List (Top100.NFL.com). Vick continued his streak of passes without an interception, now at 154 attempts. Vick threw a touchdown, threw for over 200 yards, and ran 10 times for 74 yards. Vick also made more of an attempt to get to the sidelines, but still ran very aggressively. Overall, Manning had a passer rating of 65.7, and Vick had a rating of 93.8. Most importantly though, Vick got the win.
4. Good for Andy
Andy Reid fist pumped his way to his 113th win as a head coach, all with the Eagles. This was his first ever against the Colts and Peyton Manning. This has been a tough year for Reid, a very makeshift offensive line, a rotating door at quarterback, lots of moving parts on defense, and this team is 5-3 at the halfway point. A huge critic of Andy Reid myself, seeing the mess McNabb has become, and Andy having success without him, and with one of the least talented teams overall that I feel he’s had in a while, I have to give Reid a ton of credit, and I think all Eagles fans should. In a wide open NFC, it won’t be easy for the Eagles at 5-3. Not exactly sure how the tie breakers would work, but the Eagles are basically in a 3-way tie for the last wild card spot with Tampa and Chicago. I believe Tampa will fall, and we can help ourselves by beating Chicago November 28th in Chicago, not to say that game is a given. Regardless, I thought coming into this season we would be 8-8 behind Kevin Kolb, and I was accepting of it. While Kolb hasn’t had the chance to develop, the goal should always realistically be to win now, and the Eagles are. I’ll take it.
5. Good for McDermott
I miss Jim Johnson. God bless him. I think we all do. Sean McDermott learned a lot from Johnson, but it doesn’t seem like he’s shown it that often. I’ve been more of a critic of McDermott than Reid, but again, I was very impressed by McDermott calling this game. How many men, on or off the field, can say they outsmarted Peyton Manning. A defense that is far from elite really had a great game, even with all the penalties, some legit, some not so much. Same goes for McDermott as does for Patterson, it’s only one game, but that one game being this game is pretty impressive. After a breakdown against Kenny Britt and Kerry Collins of the Titans, this defense was embarrassed. To bounce back like this, and against the Colts, is all the more impressive. Hopefully this is a turning point for McDermott and this defense.
6. Time Management
I’m already done feeling good about Andy Reid, back to being a critic. This guy needs to hire someone to manage his timeouts, challenges, etc. I’d try to use Daylight Savings Time as an excuse for Reid being a little off, but he’s never ever been “on” as far as time management goes. The Eagles used their 3rd first half timeout with 7:14 left in the half. Vick had to run the 2 minute drill with 1:58 left, but no timeouts. This inevitably led to the Colts getting a last second field goal and taking a 17-16 lead. From 13:58 left in the 4th quarter on, the Eagles only had 1 timeout. There isn’t much else that can be said, except that this is unacceptable, and how much longer can this go on?
7. Trent Cole punched Peyton Manning in the head
Another problem with the NFL. I’m all about protecting players, especially quarterbacks. They’re the show, the star, the leader. Same as managing how much you should have to drink, how much you spend on your Christmas shopping, etc., discretion is the name of the game. If you watched Winston Justice in this game trying to stop Rashean Mathis, he held him on literally every play. When a defensive lineman gets held, his arms immediately flail up, trying to show the referee where the offensive lineman’s hands are, and that he’s performing what is a holding penalty. Trent Cole was being held by Charlie Johnson, an undrafted left tackle for Indianapolis. His arms were up trying to get around it as he rushed towards Manning on a 4th and 18, and again, incidental contact happens, and it’s 15 yards and a first down instead of a turnover on downs, Eagles ball, game essentially over. I don’t think quarterbacks should be hit in the head, and any intentional hit, punch, slap, etc. should be penalized, but I don’t even think Cole moved his hand at Manning as much as his arms were up from being held, and he was just as much rushing at Manning as Johnson was driving him into Manning as well. Again, we won, so I’m not nearly as angry as if it cost them the game, but this could’ve been devastating. Adding to the impressiveness of this game for the Eagles was overcoming some very poor officiating.