If that isn't the motto for the 2014 Philadelphia Eagles, I don’t know what is. The Eagles were able to hold off the Austin Davis led St. Louis Rams 34-28. I say hold off because the Eagles took a 34-7 lead with 2:15 remaining in the third quarter. Then it was as if the team decided to have a little picnic at the park before realizing they had to close this game out.
Big Plays NOT On Offense
The game started with an efficient 3 and out forced by Philly. Austin Davis attempted three passes longer than 10 yards, all ending with the ball landing harmlessly to the ground. Lightning then struck by the name of James Casey, busting through the line and blocking the St. Louis punt with special team ace Chris Maragos scooping it up for the score. Once again the Eagles scored a touchdown without their offense stepping on the field. It also juiced up the pretty-in-pink-breast-cancer-awareness-clad crowd at the Linc less than 30 seconds into the game with a score.
Shady fumbled inside his 20, giving the Rams a huge opportunity down 13-0. On 3rd and 5, Vinny Curry got a strip sack on Austin Davis that was picked up by Fletcher Cox. WIP radio host Ike Reese earlier this week discussed how much he liked Vinny and how he needs to be permanently on the field. Well maybe the former pro bowler is right. This play ended up being even more important then it seemed looking at the final score.
The other massive play came in the beginning of the third quarter. After the Eagles first punt, St. Louis had the ball at their own 11. Austin Davis got taken out to lunch by Trent Cole, causing a fumble. The ball got batted by lineman Chris Long into the endzone and Cedric Thornton dove on top for the easy six. This gave the Eagles a 27-7 lead that many thought would be insurmountable.
Don’t Let The 34 Fool You
The high point total might make you think the Eagles O finally got back to its explosive self.
To be honest. It really didn't.
Philly had problems again down in the red zone. In their first goal to go series, Foles had to scramble out of the pocket twice and throw the ball out of bounds, not to a receiver. McCoy also had a rush for no gain, leading to a field goal, making it 10-0.
On their next possession, the Eagles earned a 1st and 10 at the St. Louis 13. In the same order as their first attempt at six, Kelly called pass, rush, pass. Foles threw two incompletions and McCoy had a 4 yard run. Philly had to settle with another 3, making it 13-0.
On their third series McCoy, trying to make a big play, coughed up the ball on a run that he ran around in the backfield for what seemed like 11 minutes. This gave the Rams the ball at the Philly 19. The Eagles didn't pay the penalty for this one as Vinny Curry, as mentioned above bailed them out.
The Eagles did have a very impressive drive to end the first half, with Foles hooking up with Cooper in the final minute giving the Eagles a cool 20-7 lead going into the locker room.
However, with the eventual 34-7 lead, the Eagles offense could not control the clock to put this game away, giving the young opposing signal caller hope.
With just over twelve minutes left in the 4th quarter, Foles took off running on a 3rd and 5. Instead of sliding easily for the first down, Nick dove head first, mishandling the ball and fumbling. Michael Brockers recovered for the Rams, and setting them up at their own 38.
After a 3 minute 10 shotgun play touchdown drive, the Eagles offense took to the field again. FOX announcers Kenny Albert and Daryl Johnston mentioned how even with the lead, the Eagles offense was moving in high gear, not running down the play clock. With 9:02 remaining and a 34-21 advantage, Foles connected for a first down throw to Cooper, but he foolishly went out of bounds after the catch, taking just four seconds off the clock. McCoy ran twice for a total of two yards and Foles threw an incomplete pass intended for Jordan Matthews. The Eagles took barely two minutes off the board, setting up St. Louis with the ball at their own 37. Austin Davis carved the field up again with pin-point passing, (a Bradley Fletcher 24 yard pass interference penalty didn't help the cause either) and everyone was holding their breath again, as the Eagles offense came onto the field nursing a six point lead with 4:41 left to play.
Darren Sproles had a 25 yard run on a 3rd and 5 which was a relief to the Philly faithful, but the Eagles ran into a roadblock on the ensuing 3rd down and had to punt again with 1:47 remaining.
Back Foot Foles
If we were to get in our time machines to the early 2000’s, Donovan McNabb was always ridiculed for having happy feet. He would practically be bouncing like a bunny in the backfield as he eyed opened receivers.
Well I don’t know where Nick Foles picked up these dance moves, but this Sunday Foles was flaunting off his new "Back Foot Fling."
I was astounded by the amount of times he threw off of his back foot. Sideline reporter Tony Siragusa remarked that, “He should have at least 5 interceptions with these throws. Maybe not against the Rams, but against other teams he would have at least 5 interceptions.”
I agree, these throws were downright awkward to look at. I haven’t really noticed Foles exhibiting this bad behavior before, and I hope it’s not going to happen again.
Next week the Eagles play the Giants with ball-hawking safeties that would gladly like to tango with Nick.
To put it short, our boys are fortunate. Very fortunate.
This game was won by big plays in the first half and the defense once again having to bail us out in the final moments.
I know that defense wins championships, but who in their right mind is going to say that we will win the Super Bowl without getting LeSean McCoy going?
His final stat line was 24 carries for 81 yards, no touchdowns and one fumble. Better than last week yes, but we need to rely on him and Sproles to give this Eagles big play defense a break once in a while. An NFL season is a marathon, not a sprint. We have time to turn the rushing game around, but I think it has to happen soon.
Like real soon.
Like Sunday Night soon.
If we want to stay atop the always competitive NFC East, we need Shady to be the star he is.