Sunday, September 27, 2009
Not having the stars healthy matters little when you have as many weapons as the Eagles do. They still had arguably their biggest threat in DeSean Jackson, and he had a career day, catching 6 passes for 149 yards and a 64 yard touchdown. Jackson did all that despite an injured groin, one that nearly sidelined him for the week.
The other big offensive story was Kevin Kolb, who continues to show dramatic improvement at quarterback. He looked calm and confident all day as he carved up the Chiefs defense, going 24 of 34 on passes for 327 yards and 2 touchdowns. Kolb also added a rushing TD to cap his day. His continued maturation into a quality NFL quarterback has been surprising and has shut his critics up. While he doesn't have a huge arm and can't make crisp deep passes, he is a smart QB who is accurate on short passes to the outside. Kolb has also developed a connection with Brent Celek, who he connected with 8 times for 104 yards and a touchdown.
Of course, there was also that other quarterback playing for the Eagles today, Michael Vick. Vick got on the field quite a bit, lining up at QB and at wideout, but had little impact in the game. He finished the day going 0 for 2 in the passing game and with 1 rush for 7 yards. The Eagles did a lot of Wildcat plays early but once Kolb got into the groove they didn't need the trickery. Vick's debut was anything but memorable, but you can expect that he will get worked into the offense more and more in the coming weeks.
As for the other side of the ball, the Eagles were also dominant on defense. The Chiefs were playing without Dwayne Bowe, their top wide receiver, and that allowed the Eagles to stack the line and force the Chiefs to try to beat them through the air with their second-rate passing attack. The Chiefs failed miserably, putting up barely over 100 yards passing as they couldn't move the ball all day. The Eagles also got to the quarterback all day, sacking Matt Cassel three times, and also forced a Larry Johnson fumble. It was a big turnaround for a defense that was torn up last week by the Saints.
What a difference a week makes for the Eagles. After last weeks game, everyone worried about the defense and whether it was still elite. Now, after shutting down the Chiefs basically all day, the Eagles defense looks to be back. I would be careful making that statement, however, because the last two weeks have been all about the opponent. There is a huge drop-off when you go from the Saints to the Chiefs, so of course the Eagles defense is going to look good. How they do in a few weeks when they play against the rest of the NFC East will be the true test.
It was great to see the Eagles dominate a team they should have dominated even with their backups in the game. Now they need to get healthy and figure out how to best utilize all of their offensive weapons during the bye week.