Week 4: Eagles' Studs And Duds
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) --- 3rd and 1 on the 49ers' one-yard line. Two minutes left in the game. The Eagles had the ball down 26-21. Two plays to win the game. The 49ers were timeout-less. And they couldn't do it. Chip Kelly controversially called two straight pass plays and Nick Foles over threw his receivers both times. The Eagles lost by five points---well, a yard and a half really---and fell to 3-1 on the season.
All the sudden Chip Kelly is being compared to Andy Reid, Nick Foles to Bobby Hoying, and LeSean McCoy to a wet blanket who is a bad tipper. It's overreaction Monday, did you expect anything else?
3. Nick Foles
To his credit, Foles put together an improbable 15-play, 90-yard, 4:45 drive in the fourth quarter, but it eventually ended with a turnover on downs thanks to two errant throws. Besides that drive, which ultimately failed anyway, Foles was awful all day long. Statistically, he finished 21-43 for 195 yards, no touchdowns, and two interceptions---but it was even worse than that. He was 0-7 on deep balls as well.
He had Maclin on 4th and goal, just missed him.
2. Cary Williams
This guy is really starting to get on my nerves. All he does is yap and yap, and they get beat all over the field on Sunday's. Williams had no pass break-ups all day and was beat multiple times, including on a Stevie Johnson 12-yard touchdown catch in the corner of the end zone, in which Williams' looked lost.
1. The offensive-line / LeSean McCoy
A depleted, backup offensive line against a good defensive front and you get 12 rushing attempts for 22 yards. McCoy had 10 carries for 17 yards and missed a key block and 3rd and goal (pictured above). It was ugly. When David Molk is replacing Jason Kelce, you know that is going to be problem. And when an offense becomes one dimensional on the road against a good defense, you suddenly have major problems. Still, amazingly, the Eagles had a chance to win this game.
3. The defense (Connor Barwin / Malcolm Jenkins)
The Eagles defense was solid all day. After not recording a sack in week 3 against the Redskins, the Eagles sacked Colin Kaepernick four times. The leader of the pressure was linebacker Connor Barwin, who had seven tackles (tied for the team lead), a sack (tied for the team lead), a tackle for loss, and two quarterback hits (tied for the team lead).
The leader in the secondary, and unquestioned No. 1 playmaker on this defense, has been and is Malcolm Jenkins. Jenkins recorded his third interception and three games, and remarkably took it back to house in dramatic fashion. Jenkins is the first Eagles safety to record three picks in three straight games so since Brian Dawkins in 2004 and the first Eagle overall since Asante Samuel in 2010.
Jenkins' three interceptions is already a career-high for him.
2. Jeremy Maclin
(Photo credit: Screen shot / NFL Game Rewind)
That 22-yard catch Maclin made on 3rd and 14 with 3:11 left in the game, was a thing of absolute beauty. That alone warranted him a stud spot on this list. J-Mac finished with a modest five catches for 68 yards, but if the Eagles won this catch would have been talked about all season long. Special play.
1. Special Teams
The Eagles scored two special teams touchdowns---a blocked punt by rookie TE Trey Burton that was recovered by Brad Smith in the end zone and an 82-yard punt return touchdown by Darren Sproles. It was the first time the Eagles scored twice on special teams since November 22nd, 1992 at NYG and the first time they scored in back-to-back games since 2000.
Every time Darren Sproles is back to return a punt, I think he's going to score. He's spectacular.
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