Fun game to watch, though the ending was obviously a bit of a letdown. However, the #3 pick in the draft is looking pretty good right now. Here’s a few initial thoughts on the game:
– Foles bounced back as expected. He made one terrible throw (the missed TD to Maclin) and had an awful fumble, but the rest of the game was strong. He was accurate and made a few great plays with his feet, buying time and keeping his eyes downfield. I’m not really bothered by the fumble; he’s been really strong with the ball thus far. The Maclin miss, however, is problematic. Watching the replay, the ball just dies as it gets closer to Maclin, with a tight spiral devolving into an ugly mess. Mechanics issue is the likely culprit, so hopefully it’s something he can address (that may solve some of his deep-throw accuracy issues as well.)
– I was very disappointed by the play-calling and player-usage. I know Andy Reid really wanted a win in his (likely) final home game, but he put his own success above the team’s long-term best interests today. Just 18 rushing attempts (non-QB) with Bryce Brown getting just 4 carries. At this stage in the season, there is no real benefit to playing Shady. We know how good he is. Conversely, with Brown’s lack of experience (in the NFL or college), now would seem like a perfect time to feed him the ball. The O-Line was having trouble, but still need to see Brown touch it more than 4 times on offense.
– Brandon Graham alert. Though it’s unlikely he will ever make anyone feel good about passing on Earl Thomas (everyone mentions JPP but the consensus pick at the time was Thomas, who is now arguably the best safety in the league), B-Graham is fast becoming one of my favorite players. Excellent effort on nearly every play. He led the team in tackles and was very disruptive. With every additional strong performance, the odds of his improvement being a fluke grow smaller.
– The Invisible Man was indeed invisible again. Did anyone even notice Jamar Chaney was in the game? Can’t blame you if you didn’t, he registered just 1 tackle and, on the first view, it seems that was the only time he contacted a ball carrier. I’m anxious to see how many snaps he got, but in any case 1 tackle from the starting SAM is unacceptable. The problems at safety have drawn a lot of attention (deserved) and are the biggest hole on the team, but the third LB spot is next on my list and isn’t getting anywhere near the publicity it deserves as a roster weak spot.
– Fletcher Cox concussion is a shame. He was playing a strong game prior to the injury. Can’t imagine he plays next week, but he and Graham are easily the biggest positives to come out of this year.