This is a new blog I’m starting about the Philadelphia Eagles. I have aspirations of becoming a journalist or, more specifically, a sports journalist, and I will be writing about the team I have always loved and followed. This first post is coming off the heals of what many consider to be the single greatest victory in Eagles history. If you are one of the few Americans who has not seen the last play of the game, watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PwVS9MOAWt8. As a quick recap, the Giants really did a phenomenal job of not only containing Vick but stopping him cold throughout the entire first half. They carried out a very aggressive gameplan to perfection where they would blitz six or seven players – usually at least one was a defensive back – and keep Vick in the pocket. They got pressure from every angle, including up the middle, where 6’0″ Vick had about five passes deflected at the line of scrimmage. They led 17-3 inside of the two minute warning until Vick hit second year receiver Jeremy Maclin, who could not hang on to the ball. Right on the border between an incomplete pass and a fumble, the referees ruled the play a catch and a fumble, giving the Giants the ball inside the Eagle 10. They scored an easy touchdown to Hakeem Nicks, on the ensuing play, giving New York a 21 point halftime lead.
After an Eagle touchdown, Philly seemed to have a bit more hope. When they got the ball back, they marched down the field until DeSean Jackson let go of the ball after he was down by contact. Ruled a fumble on the field, Andy Reid inexplicably chose to keep the red challenge flag in his pocket. Sure enough, the Giants scored again to extend their lead back to three touchdowns at 31-10. It wasn’t until the final eight minutes that Michael Vick was able to work his magic. He connected with Brent Celek on a 65 yard strike made possible by a great block by Jeremy Maclin, then took the field again after a perfectly executed onside kick was recovered by rookie Riley Cooper. On his next two drives, Vick ran for nearly 100 yards and threw for another touchdown, the tying score to Maclin, who had seven catches on the day. Forced to kick off to the Giants, the Eagles defense stepped up and forced a Matt Dodge punt. The rest, of course, is history.
Really, the game should not have come down to the final punt. The Eagles defense was atrocious on third downs, allowing Eli Manning to convert at will in the first half. The worst mistake of the day for the Giants, however, was not punting the ball in bounds or not expecting an onside kick. It was their decision to switch to a much more conservative defense in the fourth quarter. They had limited Vick to ten points three quarters of play, and while one can understand the decision to give Corey Webster and Terrell Thomas over-the-top help instead of blitzing, Michael Vick toyed around with the Giants defense. The Giants had the most dangerous player in football figured out, but called off the dogs before it was in the bag. Tom Coughlin and Perry Fewell have only themselves to blame for that.
So, the Eagles clinch their division with a victory next week against the Vikings at home. If they win out and the Chicago Bears lose at least one of their remaining games, Philly will have earned a first-round bye in the playoffs. With the pounding their stars have taken this season, it would be welcomed with open arms. Michael Vick has played through a lot of pain this year, Winston Justice is on the mend, but Asante Samuel does not look 100% out on the field and Stewart Bradley is still out with a dislocated elbow. Until next time, Eagles fans!