Philadelphia Eagles: Luck Starts Swinging the Other Way
In an Eagles season where field goals and last-minute, game-winning drives have been the deciding factor in almost every game.
With near misses bringing too-close-for-comfort success, eventually, luck starts swinging the other way.
And over the pasts two weeks, luck seems to have swung its favor to the other side.
For three consecutive games, the Eagles have had their fate dictated by whether or not the opposing kicker can make a lengthy field goal to win the game.
And, in two of the three instances (Pittsburgh and Detroit), the opposing team has come out with the victory.
After the Lions sacked Michael Vick twice in a row during the Eagles’ only drive in overtime, setting up a 3rd and 31 situation that squandered a brilliant goal-line stance in the fourth quarter to force the Lions into overtime, the Eagles were forced to punt the ball out of their own end zone, leaving the Lions on the 50-yard line to start their game-winning overtime drive.
Overall, though, the mistakes were a total breakdown of the team, so the blame can be placed in several places, but certain factors contributed to a higher degree.
The Eagles, once again, came out focusing too heavily on the pass in the first half as Vick threw the ball 24 times against seven rushing attempts by LeSean McCoy, a 2-yard run by Bryce Brown, and a run by DeSean Jackson that lost 14 yards.
Sure, the Lions out-gained the Eagles 60 to 21 yards on the ground in the first half, and the Eagles had an extremely difficult time setting up the run, but abandoning the rush is not a prudent option; however, the Eagles have done that far too often this season.
McCoy rushed the ball two times in the the first quarter, and he ran the ball seven times for a total of just 12 yards in the first half. In total, he finished with 14 carries for 22 yards, averaging only 1.6 yards per carry, and questions concerning whether he could have had more yards if the Eagles had used him more were present, once again. To put it simply, the Eagles cannot afford to abandon the run; McCoy is a primary weapon, and, as such, he needs to be a key player setting the tone from the start of the game.
The Eagles need to get a better start to their games. The Eagles did not get past the 50 yard line until their third drive of the game, with a little under four minutes left in the first quarter, and the team used a drastically inopportune method for movement as Vick, in all too familiar fashion, fumbled the ball at the 47-yard line but recovered the ball at the 50.
Although he averted danger, he came into the game with five lost fumbles, and, since he could not even make it through the first quarter without fumbling the ball, the situation looks just as bleak as before.
As reported, he had been walking around the practice facility this week with a ball in his hand to promote better ball security on the field, but that obviously did not work too well. In the heat of the moment of running, he too often holds the ball out and away from his body — as if he is holding a suitcase instead of a football — leaving an easy target for defensive players to prey upon.
If he cannot keep control of the ball, the Eagles will struggle throughout the rest of the season.