Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Eagles-Dolphins: Game Analysis

The first half of this game was pretty exciting to watch as a Dolphins fan...and then the second half rolled around. I felt pretty good about Miami notching its first win when they went in at halftime. McNabb had been knocked out and replaced by A.J. "Pick-Six" Feeley. The defense was playing well and the young guys on the team were all stepping up. Surely, that's a winning formula.

It is, but only when it's applied for a whole game. Once again (and I sound like a broken record) Miami failed to maintain its play over the course of an entire football game.

Let's get into the good and bad:

The Bad
Beck's accuracy - Obviously, this is an area that can be corrected, and an area that Beck has proven to be adept at in the past, but for this game he was inaccurate on many of his passes. The rain and his nerves clearly played some part, but he will have to pay particular attention to this facet of his game during practice this week.

3rd down efficiency - 2/11...pitiful.

Run defense - The run defense collapsed again in the second half, allowing Westbrook to run roughshod over them. Philly averaged 5.2 yards per carry for the game. Come the second half of games, I have absolutely no confidence in this defense to make any kind of stop whatsoever.

4th and goal play call - That pitch back to Jesse Chatman was truly abysmal. You never never never pitch the ball backwards 5 yards from the one yard line in an attempt to score, especially on fourth down. I have no problem with the decision to go for the TD in that situation. But if you are going to go for it, give yourself a chance. Pound it straight up the middle with Chatman and let him try to jump over the pile or burrow his way under. The line has been playing well; they should be expected to be able to get a half yard of push. That was the nail in this game's coffin, and it could have been avoided.

The Good
Ted Ginn Jr. - Teddy had a nice little game for himself this week. He finally had a TD return that wasn't called back and he proved to be Beck's favorite target, making some nice catches downfield. It's good to see that Beck and Ginn had some immediate chemistry since that will be the tandem that is going to be fueling this offense for some time.

Beck's poise - While his accuracy needed work, Beck did show tremendous poise and composure in the pocket, particularly for a rookie making his first start. That's something that can't be taught, so to see him display it from the get-go is a great sight. The plays that stand out in my mind were his 3 yard scramble for a first down and his audible at the line into a running play that picked up big yardage.

Jason Allen - Seriously, Jason Allen had a great game. I've always said the team needs to give this kid at least 2 full seasons before making any judgments on his potential, and it finally looks like he's settling in. Not coincidentally, this marked improvement comes on the heels of the coaches' decision to make him a starter. Let's see if he can keep this play up for the rest of the year. If he can, I think he gets a shot at starting next season. At the very least, he can play well enough to avoid being released after the season.


Play of the Game - The 4th and goal pitch play to Jesse Chatman. Ugh.

Player of the Game - Brian Westbrook. 32 carries for 148 yards. He powered the Philly offense for the entire game and was the key player when it came to closing the door in Miami's face at the end of the game.

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