Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Eagles Win Different

Much Of Today's Game
Going into today's game with the Vikings, we knew two things, without any shade of doubt.

1) The Eagles, especially QB Carson Wentz, made good decisions and didn't turn the ball over.

2) The Vikings, especially QB Sam Bradford with a dominant defense, had the same tendency, but even more so.

So... both teams combined for turnovers on five straight possessions damn near immediately. With the QBs being primarily responsible for nearly all of it.

Some credit should be shown to the defenses in this game, who took advantage of the dearth of WR talent to just limit all play inside the hash marks and just grind it down, but still. I suppose the wind also had some impact, but we're talking about a day in which the QBs threw it 69 times for 362 yards, with 2 TDs, 3 INTS, and 7 (!) fumbles. I'm not sure I've ever seen a game like that before, honestly.

As for my laundry, a win is a win, and you had to like the world-class hurting that they laid on Bradford today. It's also nice to see the STs make as many plays as they did in the high times of the Kelly Era, with Josh Huff's kickoff return for touchdown, and the late fumble recovery off a mid-field punt, proving exceptionally meaningful. But it's hard to feel very good about a game where the offense goes 3 for 11 on third down, where nearly all of the penalties were on the offensive line, and where Wentz looked as skittish and rookie-not-ready as we've ever seen him. There wasn't a single offensive player, with the possible exception of Huff, who had what you'd call a particularly effective day, and the offensive line was the worst of the bunch.

On the defensive side of the ball, this game showed exactly why no one in the local market is pining for Bradford. Game manager is never a compliment for a QB, and Bradford's idea of management -- checkdown, checkdown, checkdown, even when the defense is absolutely begging you to take it on third and long -- is the definition of empty calorie football stats. He's not mobile, doesn't stretch the defense, has terrible body language when behind, and just looked like he had absolutely no interest in playing football by the end of this game. Minnesota is still 5-1 and in fine shape in the NFC North, but make no mistake about it; any team that has this guy taking the snaps has a hard cap on their offensive potential, and while you can obviously win that way (see, um, Denver last year), it's not exactly easy or pretty.

Next up is Dallas in Dallas, and just to make matters even more challenging, the Cowboys are coming off a bye. I don't expect them to win that game, but I also didn't expect them to win today, or against Pittsburgh before the bye. If they bring today's defense to that game, and WR Dez Bryant isn't 100%, maybe.

They'd also be well-advised to not bring whoever was in Wentz's jersey today, either.

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