Welcome back, Patch readers!
It's been an incredible week for Philadelphia fans, as the Eagles got off to a nice start to their 2011 campaign, and the Phillies did the unthinkable by taking three of four from the Brewers in Milwaukee.
Let's breakdown the Eagles first game of the season, and then jump to baseball as the magic number steadily drops to zero.
Eagles 31 - Rams 13
The Eagles got off to nice start to their season with an 18-point road victory over the St. Louis Rams, who many consider to be a dark-horse candidate for the playoffs this year.
Passing Offense: B-
Vick's completion percentage was rubbish, but the Rams have a solid front-four, and their coach is known for his blitzing scheme. Vick's ability to scramble effectively stopped the first-half blitz craze, and accounted for another touchdown on an amazing throw off his back foot while in retreat.
The touchdown pass to Desean Jackson will make defensive coordinators across the league think twice about blitzing Vick again.
Rushing Offense: A
McCoy had a nice game, and before everyone starts complaining about how half his yards came in garbage-time--save your breath. That's how most of the backs in the game get it done. If you could show me a running back that literally averaged five yards-per-carry, I'd show you a team that never needed a third down.
Vick threw in an additional 98 yards, which put the team total well over 200 yards on the ground.
Once again the run / pass ratio was out of whack, and Reid could have used Brown and Lewis when Shady got off to a rough start, but as a whole the ground game was effective.
Passing Defense: A-
Nnamdi got beat on one play, and took a foolish penalty on another, but the defensive backfield did its job, holding the Rams to a net-pass-yardage of only 181 yards on 35 attempts. Then again, their two starting receivers were both discarded by the Eagles last year.
The wide-nine defensive line showed its fury collecting five sacks on the afternoon, and consistently pressuring Bradford without blitzing.
Rushing Defense: D
The linebacking corps must have breathed a collective sigh of relief when Jackson was unable to make his return.
While the front-four were playing on the other side of the line of scrimmage, the linebackers were frequently out of position, as they seemed to constantly over-pursue on the cut back and delayed handoffs.
Surprisingly, a second viewing shows Matthews actually handled his own throughout the game while engaged with blockers, but for whatever reason, he was often out of position. That's quite a role reversal.
It's always nice to get an opening day win. It's even better to get that opening day win on the road, by 18 points, when not playing well.
This is almost a best case scenario, as the Birds did what they needed to do, but left plenty of room for improvement. It's never good to peak too early. The offensive line is a work in progress, but showed significant improvement from the first half to the second half.
Hopefully the coaching staff can sort out the linebacker situation before it becomes a major thorn in their side.
The Phillies played seven straight games against opponents they'll likely see again in the playoffs. When all was said and done, the Phillies were 6-1 against the Braves and Brewers, and were literally a few innings away from completing the week long sweep.
Pitching is as strong as ever, with four out of five starting pitchers boasting sub-three ERA's. Hitting has been consistent and timely, and as it stands now, the Phillies have a 12-game-lead over the Braves, and have a magic number of six for home-field advantage.
Quote of the Week
"Football and freedom. Never forget." - Will Simcox, of Lansdale, shortly after the NFL concluded its September 11th tribute.
Video of the Week
The Phillies stay on the road for a three-game-series with Houston, before swinging back to Philadelphia for a day-night doubleheader against the Marlins followed by another three-game-series against the Cardinals.
Michael Vick will make his return to Atlanta on Sunday Night Football, as the Eagles square off against the Falcons on Sunday. Andy Reid is 6-1 lifetime against the Falcons.
Lastly, the Union will host Columbus on Saturday night.
Here’s your schedule for the upcoming week in Philadelphia sports:
- Phillies at Houston 8:05 p.m. on PHL17
- Phillies at Houston 2:05 p.m. on CSN
Phillies vs. Marlins 2:25 p.m. on CSN
Phillies vs. Marline 7:35 p.m. on CSN
- Phillies vs. Cardinals 7:05 p.m. on PHL17
- Phillies vs, Cardinals 7:05 p.m. on PHL17
- Union vs. Columbus 7:30 p.m. on TCN
- Phillies vs. Cardinals 8:05 p.m. on ESPN
- Eagles at Falcons 8:20 p.m. on NBC
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