Eagle Eye Observations: Wild Card Weekend

One down – three to go. That’s the approach once you get to the playoffs. It wasn’t a thing of beauty on Sunday but a win is a win. I thought the Vikings outplayed the Eagles in the first-half: they ran the ball, converted third downs, and kept the Birds from establishing any consistency on offense. In the second-half, the defense buckled down and stuffed the Vikings. Here’s yet another look from the Eagle Eye:

  • Adrian Peterson‘s 40 yard touchdown run was the longest given up by the Eagles’ defense all season. Impressive.
  • The Birds totaled only 67 yards on the ground. But they did have 23 attempts, which for them isn’t bad. Nobody, I mean nobody, runs on the Vikings.
  • What the hell was that third-and-one call near the end of the first-half? A deep ball to Kevin Curtis that was picked off. I guess they were trying to catch the defense off guard, but all they did was cost themselves a field goal attempt.
  • By the way, on Peterson’s TD scamper, Chris Gocong was out of position and missed the tackle. Not good. Although he did play a strong game after that.
  • McNabb showed poise all game and delivered two sweet throws to Brent Celek and the thirty-four yarder to DeSean Jackson was as good as it gets. Donovan isn’t leaving Philly anytime soon.
  • Watching Brian Westbrook on that 71 yard touchdown reminded me how dangerous he is in the open field. I was certain he was going to be tackled at least three times, but he swerved his way into the endzone. A great play by a great player.
  • A couple more jarring hits delivered by Brian Dawkins. One on AP, another on Bernard Berrian late in the game. Just another day at the office for B-Dawk.
  • Asante Samuel is one of the best big-game cornerbacks I have ever seen. Playing in obvious pain, his pick six was a game-changer.
  • Chris Clemons absolutely buried Tarvaris Jackson on Samuel’s TD return. Reminded me of when Hugh Douglas flattened Jim Miller back in the 2001 playoffs.
  • Really stupid roughing penalty by Akeem Jordan on a third-and-ten incompletion with 3:24 remaining. He should know better in situations like that.
  • Was it just me or did the refs suck? Two very questionable calls on Sheldon Brown and Sean Considine had me livid. Not to mention the Vikings didn’t get flagged until the 7:26 mark in the fourth quarter. And what was the deal with calling a sack on McNabb when he never hit the ground? That should have been intentional grounding if it was anything.
  • Where the hell did Correll Buckhalter go in the second-half? Two carries for 27 yards in the first, then he mysteriously disappeared. Reid needs to get him at least ten touches every week.
  • Brent Celek is becoming a player. 9 catches for 86 yards and a TD in his last two starts. L.J. who?
  • I have a new nickname for Jason Avant: “Mr. Third Down.”
  • Losing Dan Klecko to a shoulder injury could prove important against the Giants. He’s been solid the last few games. Who would play FB in his absence? Buck or Kyle Eckel?
  • DeSean Jackson is fun to watch returning punts. When he sees a lane, he hits it fast as lightning. His body control and ability to slip pursuers is amazing.
  • He didn’t get a sack, but Trent Cole registered 14 total tackles. I don’t believe there is a better defensive end versus the run than Cole.

The Eagles got the job done. That’s all that matters. Round three against Big Blue is upcoming. That means Brandon Jacobs and Derek Ward and a Giants D still smarting from the Week 14 thumping. Reminds me of the 2000 season when the surprising Eagles traveled to the Meadowlands for the Divisional Playoffs. That day they lost 20-3. Here’s hoping Sunday will be different.