In the middle of August, it was the Eagles first preseason game that ended in a one point win. On Sunday, it was a completely different story that ended in a 25-point win. In August it was the debut of Kevin Kolb as the Eagles new starter. Earlier today it was the beginning of a new Eagles era–for however long it lasts—the Michael Vick era.
Michael Vick accounted for all four of the Eagles touchdowns against the Jags. The Philadelphia offensive was practically unstoppable, posting their best numbers of the 2010 season. The offensive line certainly bent but didn’t break, enabling Michael Vick to find his receivers and scramble around the field. Defensively, the Eagles held the Jags to no touchdowns, making it the first time they’ve done that since the 2008 season.
It’s always fun to give grades when the Eagles play well:
Quarterback: A –
The spotlight was on Michael Vick after Andy Reid’s decision to give him the starting job for the rest of the season. Vick delivered in dramatic fashion, throwing for 291 yards and three touchdowns. He also added another touchdown on the ground off a 17-yard rush in the fourth quarter.
For the first time in his career, Vick recorded his third straight passer rating over 100. He has made a special connection with his receivers, especially with DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin on the long ball. The only problem I had with Vick was his completion percentage on Sunday. He finished the game just 17 for 31 (54.8 percent), which really needs to come up when the Eagles start playing competitive NFL teams.
Running Backs: B
Typical of an Andy Reid offense, the Eagles didn’t let the running game develop on Sunday. LeSean McCoy continues to prove why he deserves more carries each game, as he averaged five yards per carry on 11 carries for 49 yards. What more does he need to do to win over Any Reid? He is averaging 6.7 yards per carry behind a sub-par offensive line.
Mike Bell, who has gotten little action this season, failed to convert two short yardage situations today. He was supposed to be a good compliment to McCoy’s speed, but failed to get the job done and brought the running back’s grade done because of it.
Wide Receivers: A
What a beautiful sight seeing the wide receivers exploit defenses. They are one of, if not the, most dynamic cores in the league. The speed of DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin cannot be defended by most teams in the country, which was proven on Sunday. Jackson opened the game with a 61-yard touchdown and finished the game with five receptions for 153 yards and a score. Maclin recorded his third and fourth touchdowns of the year and had 83 reception yards on four catches. To put things in perspective, Maclin only had four touchdowns all of last season. It was also great to see Brent Celek in the mix, who finished with four receptions for 42 yards.
Offensive Line: B
In the beginning of the game, the offensive line struggled to protect Vick, forcing a number of incomplete passes. Throughout the game, Vick was sacked three times, which shows that there is always room for improvement when it comes to the Eagles offensive line. However, this was definitely the best the o-line has looked this year. Once they got situated and into a rhythm, they gave Vick a lot of time to make plays happen.
Defensive Line/Linebackers: A
Maurice Jones-Drew is the type of running back that is not often held to 3.7 yards per carry. It’s amazing how much the front seven improves with the presence of Stewart Bradley in the middle of the field. On top of stopping the run, the Eagles also sacked David Garrard six times, which is the most they have all season. Trent Cole led the team in sacks (2) and tackles (8) and continues to be the staple on the defensive line.
As I mentioned in the preview post, one of the big concerns heading into Sunday was how the Eagles would defend the athletic and versatile tight end Mercedes Lewis. The linebackers did a great job preventing him from catching balls over the middle and held him to three catches for 15 yards.
Any time you hold an opposing quarterback, and I don’t care who that quarterback is, to 105 yards of passing, you are doing something right. The Jaguars didn’t have an answer for the Eagles pressure from the front seven, which led to bad passes on tight coverage. Asante Samuel recorded his first interception of the season and did a great job defending Mike Sims-Walker throughout the game.
Special Teams: A —
I don’t think I’m the only one who found myself wondering who Jorrick Calvin was when he entered the game. He did a pretty solid job returning punts after DeSean Jackson and returning kicks after Ellis Hobbs. Speaking of Ellis Hobbs, he had a great kick return of 46 yards that sparked an Eagles offensive drive. Sav Rocca also continues to kill the ball, averaging over 45 yards per punt this season.
Now the easy part of the season is behind the Eagles. The highly anticipated return of Donovan McNabb to Philadelphia will take place next Sunday night, which also marks the Eagles first divisional match up. Isn’t it odd to think that after all of the controversy this past week the Eagles are the only team in the NFC East to be above 500? Funny how things work out.