Look, nobody can sit here and say that the Eagles looked good after today’s 17-16 season opening win over the Cleveland Browns. But it was still a season opening win. A win in which the Eagles’ much-maligned defense came up huge, forcing four Brandon Weeden interceptions and limiting the rookie quarterback to a 5.1 passer rating. That rating, by the way, is the lowest they’ve allowed since 1976.
Yeah, Michael Vick threw for over 300 yards, but was mostly putrid. He consistently made terrible decisions with the football, often rolling to his left and then throwing back across his body into traffic. His four interceptions could have easily been seven or eight. So nobody will argue that the offense wasn’t out of sync, sloppy, and will certainly be a concern moving forward. But here’s the thing. DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin were explosive. LeSean McCoy recorded his tenth career 100-yard game. And Vick, despite being the first Eagles quarterback to throw four interceptions in a game and still win since 1969, came down the field and got it done when it mattered most.
How many times did the Eagles blow late leads last season? How many times did we all wonder how things could have been different if they would have pulled out a few more ugly wins like they did today? It wasn’t impressive. It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t the emphatic exclamation point that 2012 will be their year like we all wanted. But it was a win. And it buys them the opportunity to improve heading into next week, perhaps, cough, balance the offense, and put together a much better performance at home against what promises to be a good Baltimore team.
So while we dissect the shortcomings this week–as we well should–let’s keep in mind the Eagles won a game they should have lost on Sunday. And that’s something they simply couldn’t say a season ago.