MONDAY Night Football. Prime time, national audience, on the road, with a rookie QB under Center. The stage was set to watch our budding team fall on their faces. After which national sports pundits would talk about how nice our rookie was, but how much farther this team has to go. But this team had other plans in mind for how that game would turn out.
It wasn’t a performance for the ages, but it was a 29 – 14 victory. At no point did the team panic when something didn’t go our way. After spending the first half unable to get the ball in the end zone, all three second half scores were touchdowns. That says that someone somewhere on the coaching staff, is correctly recognizing the underlying problems, and then doing a great job of addressing them so far. Kudos to them.
The Defense was stingy on the ground giving up just 64 rushing yards, and driving the opposing QB out of the game with a hand injury. He was the second QB we knocked out of a game in two weeks.
But what about the stuff that the final score doesn’t reveal? That’s the reason for these “Four Things” articles. To have an idea of what needs addressing BEFORE the game, so that we’re forced to honestly answer questions AFTER the game.
So, of the Four Things we were looking for in this last game, what exactly did we see?
1) Hit Jay Cutler early and often. We did. He gave us 2 turnovers and we knocked him from the game. DONE.
2) DE need to keep contain. I was watching this one like a hawk and we did a solid job of it. As a result the Bears run game was bottled up and the game was put on Cutler’s narrow shoulders. DONE.
3) Get some Guard help for C Jason Kelce. While keeping an eye on this I noticed that starting LG Allen Barbre was losing some snaps to back-up Stefen Wisniewski. While I can’t say that I was bowled over by how the left interior played, I will say that QB Carson Wentz was able to stand in the pocket and step up when he needed to. DONE.
4) Play aggressive man coverage with WR Alshon Jeffery. We really didn’t do too much of that. Jeffrey saw a lot of off-coverage and what looked to me like tight zone coverage. The result was 5 catches for 96 yards with a long of 49. NOT DONE.
The result was a clear score of 3 of 4 goals this week. In sports it’s possible to got one of these things “mostly done” or “done for all intents and purposes”, if you write about sports, you have to be mindful of that fact. This week however, (and thankfully) there was no parsing of these things.
Next up we get a hard assignment in the form of a high scoring Steelers team. Can the Eagles hang in a fire-fight? Or will our Defense do to Pittsburgh’s offense, what China did to their regional economy?