AP Photo/Mel Evans
Another week, another heart-pounding ending to a Philadelphia Eagles game. This time it was against a quality opponent, unlike last week.
The Eagles beat the Ravens, 24-23, after another game-winning drive directed by Michael Vick.
With the Eagles down by 6 points, the offense took over at their own 20-yard line with 4:43 remaining in the game. Vick drove the team down to inside the Ravens 10-yard line with just over 2 minutes left.
This is where things got a little interesting.
On 2nd and goal, Vick appeared to have thrown an incomplete pass after being under tremendous pressure by the Baltimore defense. However, the officials ruled it a fumble with the Ravens recovering.
The replays clearly showed it was an incomplete pass and therefore the call was reversed, thankfully.
Vick then proceeded to run it into the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown on the very next play and put the Eagles up 24-23.
Though it was an exciting moment, the game was far from over.
The Ravens got the ball back with plenty of time on the clock and only needed to move into field goal range for a kicker that nailed a 56-yarder earlier in the game.
However, the defense held strong with rookies Brandon Boykin and Mychal Kendricks coming up big in pass coverage on the final Ravens drive.
This game was a street fight as several skirmishes broke out during the game. At one point, there seemed to be more fights than points scored. Both teams were extremely physical and battled each other all day with neither team backing down.
If you look at the game statistics, you would think that the Eagles dominated this game instead of barely winning by 1 point.
The Eagles controlled the ball for 34:21 compared to just 25:39 for the Ravens. The Eagles also owned significant advantages in first downs (26 to 17), 3rd-down efficiency (Eagles 7/15, Ravens 4/14) and total yards (486 to 325).
How did the game end up being so close? Turnovers, that's how.
The Eagles had another bad day with 4 turnovers, including 3 within the red zone thus killing scoring opportunities.
If not for the turnovers, they would have dominated the Ravens on the scoreboard as well.
But anyway, let's move on to the good, bad and brutal aspects of the Eagles' Week 2 game...
DeMeco Ryans. Finally...FINALLY...we have a linebacker! For the second week in a row, Ryans played a great game and came up big. He recorded 7 tackles, a sack, 2 tackles for a loss and an interception.
He was also credited by his fellow defensive teammates for being a good leader, particularly on the final drive by the Ravens when they had to stop them from getting into field goal range.
Hey Andy...see what having a good middle linebacker can do for you?
Brent Celek. It was good to see Celek get more involved in the offense and man, did he deliver! He posted a career-high 157 yards on 8 receptions. Though he didn't find the end zone, he had a significant impact on the game.
At one point, Celek took a hard shot from Ravens safety Bernard Pollard. He looked like he had his bell rung for a few seconds, but then dusted himself off, got up, and did his trademark first-down signal (and was shaking his head up and down as if saying "yeah boy, bring it!").
And how about his little leap over the defender while running down the sideline? Celek is sneaky athletic and also is a hard guy to bring down once he has a head of steam going.
DeSean Jackson. DJax became the focal point of the wide receiver corps since Jeremy Maclin was hurting and ultimately left the game. Jackson delivered in catching 7 passes for 114 yards.
Jackson also may have made the play of the game when he hauled in a 49-yard picture-perfect pass from Michael Vick late in the 3rd quarter. He caught the ball over one defender and had Ed Reed barreling down on him and took a hard shot, but held onto the ball for a big gain.
Michael Vick. A week after landing on my brutal list, Vick now finds himself on the good list. Hopefully, he stays here.
Although, on the game's first drive, I thought Vick was going to end up on the brutal list after he threw an awkward pass back to his left while rolling to his right and directly into the arms of Bernard Pollard in the end zone.
It was another red zone turnover and killed what was a nice opening drive. He did throw one other interception, but that one was more on Brent Celek as the ball clanged off his hands and into the hands of Ed Reed.
However, after that, Vick was great. Overall, Vick was great, actually. He played a much better game and went 23 of 32 for 371 yards with one TD passing and one TD rushing (the game winner).
Vick made good throws all game, though he did seem a little hesitant at times when he would start to throw, only to stop, then re-**** and throw. He also came up big for the second week in a row by orchestrating a game-winning touchdown drive towards the end.
Mychal Kendricks. He and Ryans are doing what we all hoped they would do -- be a pair of every-down linebackers and make plays.
Kendricks again showed his athleticism in both the run-game and pass-game with 5 tackles, 2 for a loss and a pass defensed. It was his tight coverage on Ray Rice on 4th and 1 at the end of the game that forced the incompletion, securing the Eagles' victory.
Brandon Boykin. Boykin didn't make a lot of plays but had good coverage all day. He also came up big when it mattered most. He made a great leaping pass deflection during the final Ravens drive on a deep pass over the middle intended for Jacoby Jones.
If Boykin didn't make that play, the Ravens would have been in, or very close, to field goal range.
Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg. I always have to include these 2 guys together when talking about the game plan and offensive calls during the game. They, too, were on my brutal list last week for calling a horrible game.
Much improved this week.
Last week I laid out a few things I wanted to see in this game: Get Celek more involved and mix in the run more throughout the game. Well, they did both and it worked extremely well.
There were 33 called run plays (including 2 Vick rushes that appeared to be called for) versus 40 called passes (8 of which Vick scrambled). That's much better balance, and more importantly, it was dispersed much better throughout the game.
Hopefully, Reid and Mornhinweg continue to mix the run and pass that efficiently.
Damaris Johnson. Sorry, but I have to call the little man out on this one. Towards the end of the first half, he fielded a punt around his own 5-yard line. The rule is, if a punt is going to land inside the 10-yard line, you let it go and hope for a touchback.
Johnson is a rookie so I'll cut him a little bit of a break on that one. However, the decision had a ripple effect: Pinned deep, the Eagles made the prudent call to just run the ball 3-straight times in an effort to run out the clock and go to halftime.
The Ravens used their timeouts, got the ball back and were able to get a field goal just before the half. If Johnson let that punt go and the Eagles had it at the 20, the Ravens likely would never have gotten those 3 points.
Bryce Brown. Sorry Bryce, I have to call you out for that fumble on the hand-off when the Eagles were again in the red zone. Handing the ball off is as easy as it gets, gotta hang on to the ball Bryce!
LeSean McCoy. I hate to put McCoy on this list because he wasn't really bad, but he did lose his second fumble in 2 weeks and then had a pass bounce off his chest on what should have been an easy 3rd-down conversion on 3rd and 1.
His 81 yards rushing and 1 TD were decent, but I hope his fumbling doesn't become a trend.
I'm not sure who to really fault for this...maybe the offensive line in general? But, Vick seemed to get hit on every single play in the first half. He was getting hit so often that he was even tackled on a run-play after handing the ball off to McCoy.
It's nothing new that Vick takes too many hits, but yesterday it seemed more than usual and that obviously has to stop...now.
The 4 turnovers by the Eagles, 3 in the red zone. Obviously, this was bad and maybe borderline brutal. Attention Vick and McCoy: Please stop giving the other team the ball...thanks.
Though they might not technically belong on this list, but, I have to call out Joe Flacco, Vonta Leach and Ray Lewis of the Ravens. It was after the game, but those guys complained about the Eagles being "dirty" and that the refs impacted the outcome of the game.
Flacco was particularly complaining about the offensive pass interference call on Jacoby Jones that wiped out a Ravens touchdown late in the game. Newsflash to Flacco...it was a penalty because Jones actually did push-off on Asomugha.
Maybe it was ticky-tack or whatever, but they made a few ticky-tack calls against the Eagles too. The replay clearly showed contact and it certainly appeared Jones did push off, so it was an okay call by the referee.
And Ray Lewis needs to get his eyes checked. He felt that the ruling of a fumble by Vick on the game-winning drive was the correct one and that the replay clearly showed it was a fumble.
Come on Ray, I know you're a senior citizen out there but damn, you might want to look at the replay again today with new prescription glasses. It was clearly an incomplete pass by Vick, not a fumble.
That's why the refs, as bad as they were, had to overturn it. And hey, speaking of the refs...
Fortunately, there are no players on the Eagles I thought were particularly brutal. However, there were some folks involved in the game that were...
The officials. They were the cause of the majority of my WTF outbursts during the game. They were downright horrible and do not deserve to referee another game.
It was one of the worst officiated games I've ever witnessed. The odd thing is, that I didn't think the actual penalties they called were bad, they just couldn't handle the game and made several "silly" mistakes.
On multiple occasions they misplaced the spot of the ball and announced the wrong down (as in, saying it was 4th down instead of 3rd, etc.). There were actually two, 2 minute warnings at the end of the game because they mistakenly ran the clock off with 2:05 left.
Their miscues and indecision delayed the game and affected the flow.
They also botched 2 important calls: the first one was when Reid challenged the spot of the ball after a Vick scramble down inside the Ravens' 5-yard line. It was a 3rd-down play and they needed to get the 4-yard line for a first.
The refs spotted the ball at the 5, Reid challenged it, and after clearly...I mean, CLEARLY, seeing the replay where Vick got to at least the 4 and 1/2 yard line, the refs still ruled the spot correct.
Vick didn't have the first down either way, but the importance of that call was the fact that the Eagles were charged with a timeout. Reid should have won that challenge and not had a timeout taken away.
In a tight game like that, a timeout could have been precious at the end.
The second call the refs botched was ruling Vick's incomplete pass a fumble on the game-winning drive. I actually couldn't believe they ruled it a fumble in the first place, but at least they got it right after reviewing the play.
The NFL needs to end the lockout and settle with the real refs...pronto!
Follow Dave Stoessel on Twitter or check out www.eaglesaddict.com for more Eagles news and views!
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