Words cannot describe how anxious and excited I was for the Eagles to begin the regular season today. They went undefeated in the preseason and many new guys looked promising and talented. But after watching that game, I almost wish it had never happened. That was easily the worst NFL game that I have ever watched.
Despite the awfulness of it, the Eagles still got the win 17-16 over the Browns in the Dog Pound. They didn’t give up an offensive touchdown and forced rookie QB Brandon Weeden to throw 4 interceptions. Michael Vick threw for over 300 yards and never had to leave the field because of injury. The defense stopped rookie RB Trent Richardson to only 44 total yards. But those were just the good things; there were many many bad things coming out of that game.
Vick set a career high after throwing 56 passes against the Browns and threw 4 interceptions himself. He made many poor mistakes and incorrect reads that led to many botches on offense, including one pick that the Browns brought back for a touchdown. K Alex Henery missed his first field goal in a very long time after tying David Akers’ team record for most consecutive field goals made. RB LeSean McCoy lost a fumble, and the Eagles D only recorded two sacks. But the worst part about it was the most obvious and chilling: they only beat the Browns by one point.
If this is a sign to come, how could they possibly beat practically any other team in the league? Next week they face another great defense in Baltimore, who at this point has not shown their caliber since they play tomorrow night. The Eagles’ schedule is very challenging throughout the season and would involve a major turnaround already to do better in the rest of the season. After Washington proved that they are no pushover by defeating the Saints, it becomes likely that the Browns are their easiest matchup on their schedule. And if they can barely win that, what happens now?
One thing that needs to change is how often they pass the ball. They kept four HBs on their roster for a reason, so why don’t they use them more often? It felt like a good chunk of McCoy’s yards came in the fourth quarter after they realized that was a good way of actually gaining yards against the actually tough Cleveland defense. 56 passes is way too much. I mean that is just insane. Vick should not throw for more than 35 passes or they’re in trouble. And as shown in this game, they were in trouble for most of it.
They also have to minimize turnovers. I know this is the first game of the season, but 5 turnovers is far too much for any game. They are lucky that they got out alive after that performance, because that was just downright awful. Statistically, it may not seem that bad, but when you take into account that the Browns had a rookies at starting QB and RB and a rookie head coach (plus they weren’t supposed to be good in the first place), the Eagles should have won this game by about 4 scores. But instead, they one by one measely point.
Luckily, one of my favorite Eagles Clay Harbor came up big and caught the game-winning TD pass with 1:18 left in the game. TE Brent Celek also looked good, compiling 65 yards on 4 receptions. WRs Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson also looked good, combining 173 yards and a TD, but that could have come as a result of the pass-heavy attack. These stats still seem good though, and adding McCoy’s eventual surpassing of the 100 yard mark on the ground, how could they have done so poorly?
Oh yeah, Michael Vick. He was the reason they played so bad. He made terrrible decisions and almost lost the game for them. In the most important season of Andy Reid’s career, he needs to reevaluate his star player’s performance because that cannot be tolerated against any other team. The next four games include the Ravens, Steelers, and Giants, and all three of those teams are likely to crush the Eagles if Vick plays that way. One could only guess how long it would have taken the Eagles fans to get a “Foles” chant going had this game been in Philadelphia. Hopefully they won’t need to chant that next week for the Eagles home opener against the Ravens. But this game left me with a bad taste in my mouth and does not send good vibes to the Eagles fans overall.