10 Things We Learned From the Eagles Game: Week 6
1. The Eagles have a full-blown quarterback controversy on their hands. Kevin Kolb played the best game of his career, and the best game by an Eagles quarterback this season. He completed 23 of 29 passes for 326 yards and three touchdowns. Even though he threw an interception, his passer rating was a phenomenal 133.6. Head coach Andy Reid has avoided giving a straight answer on his quarterback choice, but one thing is for certain: The Eagles have two quarterbacks who deserve the opportunity to start.
2. Something fishy is going on with Michael Vick. Reid gave Vick permission to show up for the game at 12:15, just 45 minutes before kickoff. Why? Even if Vick wasn’t going to play at all, why allow him to show up so late? What was this really about and when will we know?
3. King Dunlap may not be as bad as advertised. The mammoth Eagles’ left tackle played well in his start in place of the injured Jason Peters. He didn’t allow a sack against the Falcons’ three-time Pro Bowl defensive end John Abraham. And he didn’t commit a penalty. Don’t hurry back, Jason Peters.
4. Eldra Buckley may have a (mini) future with the Eagles. I thought Buckley would never again carry the ball for the Eagles, let alone carry 12 times. Yeah, a lot of the carries were in mop-up duty at the end of the game, and he only gained 38 yards, but it’s nice to see that the Eagles still trust Buckley with the football.
5. Stewart Bradley exists. The former All-Pro middle linebacker made about zero good plays with the Eagles this season. Then he racked up seven tackles, including one for a loss, a sack, a defensed pass, and a quarterback hit. Bradley is an enormous part of the Eagles’ defense and it’s very reassuring to see number 55 making plays again.
6. Jorrick Calvin probably just earned himself the full-time punt return job. Calvin returned a punt 44 yards yesterday, the longest by an Eagles punt returner since DeSean Jackson took one 72 yards for a touchdown against the Giants last December. With Jackson out for at least a week, Calvin will continue returning punts, and I see no reason to risk any injury to Jackson by making him return punts on top of catching passes. Plus, Calvin has five returns for 77 yards this season. Jackson has 10 for 76. I’ll take Calvin.
7. David Akers basically kicked away any chances of making his fifth Pro Bowl. Three missed field goals in a single game? Pathetic. Unfortunately, one bad game can seriously hinder a kicker’s chance of making the Pro Bowl, as Akers now has four missed field goals this season.
8. Jeremy Maclin, and not DeSean Jackson, is the Eagles’ most dangerous receiver. Yesterday, Maclin turned in the best game of his short career, with seven catches for 159 yards and two touchdowns, including an 83-yard touchdown catch. All seven passes to Maclin were completed. For the season, Maclin has 25 catches for 416 yards and six touchdowns. His season projections? 67 catches for 1106 yards and 16 touchdowns. DeSean Jackson has 19 grabs for 395 yards and 3 touchdowns, which are still fantastic numbers, but he’ll have nights where he catches one pass for 14 yards. Maclin is much more consistent.
9. The Eagles are finally playing physical football. It’s ironic that I say this, because the Falcons laid down the biggest hit of the game yesterday. But the Eagles provided the steady tackling all game. Just two weeks after seemingly getting pushed around by the Redskins, the Eagles pushed around the Falcons.
10. The Eagles have a chance to go far in the NFC. Really, who is the best team in the NFC? The Giants? The Eagles? The Saints? The Falcons? The Packers? The Bears? Whoever it is, the difference between number one and number six is not much at all. Any of these teams could beat any other team on any given day.