By the Numbers: A Win!

Michael Vick Dolphins

Jason Babin, after the game:

“I don’t know how many times we stopped them, but it was almost unfathomable. I wouldn’t have even guessed we could stop them that much.”

I think I speak for all Eagles fans when I say, yes, that is “almost unfathomable.”

10 = Stops by the Eagles on downs of two yards or fewer. Very unexpected, although if you go through them individually as the above linked article does, you’ll see not a single linebacker’s name among the list of defensive players who came up big in short yardage.

9 = Sacks by the Eagles, including 3 each by Trent Cole and Jason Babin. Note that no one is talking about how bad the wide nine formation is today.

1.4 = LeSean McCoy’s yards per carry. McCoy finally got a ton of carries, but he was largely stuffed. Undoubtedly this will be used as proof that running the ball doesn’t work, and Marty Mornhinweg will call 50 passes next week against the Jets.

12 = Interceptions for Michael Vick in 10 games. In 2010, Vick had a 1.6 percent interception rate — better than Donovan McNabb’s career rate. This year that’s up to 3.6 percent, which is just barely off the Hall of Fame-type pace set by Mike McMahon in 2005.

57 = Yards from scrimmage by the Eagles in the second half. That’s in 7 possessions, with 6 punts and 1 interception. Good thing they got out to such a big lead in the first half.

1 = Win. If you look at the box score, it’s hard to understand how the Eagles won. Their leading rusher went for 38 yards, their leading receiver for 59, and their quarterback completed only half his passes. Still, getting a victory has been nigh impossible for this team at various points in the season, so it’s hard to be too negative. Plus, playoff possibilities!

Photo from Getty.

Dolphins and Eagles: Two Roads Diverged

Vince Young Eagles

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence

Let’s take a trip back to week nine. The Eagles were 3-4 with some momentum, having just defeated the Redskins and Cowboys in back-to-back weeks. It was the high point of the season, when everyone was still talking about Andy Reid’s ability to turn his team around down the stretch.

Conversely, week nine for the Eagles’ upcoming opponent was their lowest point. Miami was 0-7 going into that game, and people were discussing the Dolphins in the same sentence as the Colts for worst team in the NFL honors.

Of course, things didn’t stay that way for long, for either team. The Eagles tanked, winning only one of their next five contests. The Dolphins turned their fortunes around, winning four of five.

So, how did that happen? There are basically two reasons: defense and turnovers.

The Eagles defense over the last five weeks has been atrocious. They’ve allowed an average of 26 points and 365 yards from scrimmage. Miami has only given up 11 points per game and 288 yards over that span. 15-point swing per game? No wonder.

But an equally big difference comes in quarterback play. The Eagles were universally hailed this offseason for getting a quarterback of Vince Young’s quality for their backup job. Matt Moore’s signing with the Dolphins went mostly unnoticed. Yet Young has been an interception machine in replace of Michael Vick, while Moore has been a steady hand.

Over his last three starts, Young threw for four touchdowns and eight interceptions. Three of those interceptions came in the second half last week, as the Eagles failed to mount any kind of challenge to the lowly Seahawks. Even in Young’s game against the Giants, the team won despite of his many mistakes.

The unheralded Moore has thrown five touchdowns and zero interceptions in the last three games (and 8 TDs, 1 Int in the last five). He doesn’t have the special physical skills of a guy like Young, but when he plays safe and relies on his defense, Moore is a much better quarterback.

This Eagles team is dysfunctional in so many ways that you can’t count on them to do anything right. Even with Vick back from injury, I’m not predicting an Eagles win this weekend. After the road this team has taken so far, how could anyone?

Photo from Getty.