So much for low expectations and meaningless preseason games. With the build up to the Eagles third preseason game being the return of Jason Peters, the announcement of Michael Vick as the starting quarterback, the chance of Kenny Phillips to see the field in an Eagles uniform, and the great defensive performance against a pesky Carolina Panthers, this was a game of large expectations. Fans and media alike looked for Chip Kelly offensive magic to blow away the Jacksonville Jaguars, despite this being their first road game under Chip Kelly.
The game tested players skills and fortitude, and challenged the fan’s faith and patience. After the smoke cleared, some lost hope but the Eagles fought hard for a well deserved win.
Despite the reactions of fans during the game, the Eagles were within striking distance throughout the game. At halftime, the Eagles trailed by 1 point 16-17. They did fall behind by 8 in the third quarter before coming back for the victory.
Michael Vick threw a touchdown pass en route to completing 15-23 and 184 yards passing and adding another 53 yards rushing. But shades of 2012 Vick did resurface, as Vick did miss some throws, was intercepted once and even was sacked twice. .Just days after being named the starter, Vick showed solid command of new coach Chip Kelly’s up-tempo offense. “I think there were a lot of things that happened tonight that are very promising for our team,” Vick said. “I ran the ball pretty well. I don’t want to run that much, but I would if I have to. I did it and protected myself all night. If I can do it like that, then I can help this football team.”Vick found Riley Cooper in the back of the end zone for a 9-yard score in the second quarter to take the lead temporarily.
“I thought Michael did a really good job of keeping plays alive at times, but there are other times where you have to cut your losses and get us back to the line of scrimmage and get the next snap off,” Kelly said. “He did a good job of not forcing the football. He did a good job of making them honest and picked up some good yardage in running after they did a good job in coverage.”If you do that, then your quarterback can hurt you with his feet, and I think that’s what Michael did tonight.”
The eagles struggled to keep control of the ball during the game as well. Demarius Johnson, who averaged 22 yards per return, fumbled a 2nd quarter punt at the Eagles 44 yard line which led to a Jacksonville field goal to tie up the game. Bryce Brown fumbled a sure touchdown into and through the end-zone for a touch-back and change of possession, which also signaled the end to Mike Vick’s play for the evening.
By the time the Eagles got the ball again, there were 3 second remaining in the third quarter and the Eagles were down by 8 points. The eagles were again snake bit on a 4th and 1 play where they made the first down, but found the play called back with an untimely holding penalty.
Foles did finally get the Eagles back on the score board by driving 50 yards to get the eagles within 1 point and with over 10 minutes remaining in the game. After the defense forced the Jaguars to punt, the Eagles got the ball on their own 1 yard line. Mixing passes and runs with Marshall Tucker, Bryce Brown, and capping off with a touchdown plunge from the 4 yard line by Chris Polk.
With the win, the eagles can focus on improving the team, where the errors were obvious: ball handling, penalties, and improving the blocking. But the eagles have some wins to take away from this game :
The Eagles generated seven sacks against the Jaguars
Despite moments of poor angles, the eagles did hold the Jaguars offense to 100 yards fewer than the Eagles offense.
Eagles receivers caught 25 of 34 passes tossed their way, while the jaguars counterparts caught 19 of 32 passes.
Kendricks, Curry, Barwin, and Cox all made their presence felt.
In leading the Eagles to a come from behind victory, fans found themselves once more mumbling for Foles to get the start. Foles, who lost the starting job to Vick earlier in the week, completed 10 of 11 passes for 112 yards in the second half. “That’s what I expect out of him,” Kelly said. “He’s an outstanding quarterback. I said that when we made the decision with Michael that I feel we have two quarterbacks that are quality NFL quarterbacks. We expect him to do that. That’s the type of player he is.”
For the game, the results were pretty close.
The Jaguars are wrestling with their own quarterback controversy after the game. Jacksonville’s Chad Henne, who lost the starting job to Blaine Gabbert earlier in the week but got the start because Gabbert has a broken thumb, completed 11 of 18 passes for 106 yards, with two touchdowns and an interception .Henne threw a 17-yard strike to Justin Blackmon in the first quarter and found Allen Reisner on an 8-yard score in the third.
Judging by the fans, this topic will be a debate waged all year-long.
Written by: @milroyigglesfan
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