Man Up: Peters, Justice protect McNabb
Hard to believe that this is our 15th Man Up of the year, huh?
I think we need a sponsor. C'mon, wouldn't you like your business to be a part of this?
Man Up, brought to you by [insert company name here]
One for offense and one for defense?
Just throwing it out there.
On to the player-by-player look for the offense in the Eagles' 27-13 win over the 49ers Sunday:
Donovan McNabb - Far from his best game of the season, and McNabb admitted as much after the game. It was just the second time all season he threw more than one interception. McNabb actually could have been picked off a couple more times, if not for drops by 49ers defenders. He was low with multiple throws and overthrew DeSean Jackson on what should have been a touchdown in the third. That being said, he did throw for 306 yards and accounted for a pair of touchdowns. McNabb once again did a great job of buying time and finding Jackson on the first TD. McNabb made a nice throw to Celek for 43 yards in the second and had an excellent play-fake on the 59-yard bomb to Jackson in the fourth. He also ran a touchdown in.
Michael Vick - He was on the field for three plays before suffering a bruised thigh. Not sure we've seen the formation the Eagles used on the first play before. Vick started in the backfield with McNabb in the shotgun, and then went in motion to the right side as a decoy. The Eagles ran a screen to the left to Leonard Weaver. Vick carried two times for a couple yards.
LeSean McCoy - This was his highest yards per carry average since Week 8. McCoy carried nine times for 48 yards. He had his ups and downs as a blocker. McCoy was late picking up a blitzing Michael Lewis on a third down in the first quarter. McNabb got hit and threw incomplete on the play. But in the second, McCoy did an excellent job picking up a blitzer on the play where Brent Celek drew a 15-yard pass interference penalty. On the Eagles' final drive of the first half, McCoy showed a good presence of mind to pick up a first down but still get out of bounds on a screen pass.
Leonard Weaver - Watching the play at the end of the first half where Weaver was jawing with Ahmad Brooks instead of getting lined up was actually hilarious. Weaver put Brooks on his, ahem, backside, on the previous play with a great block. As the two are jawing back and forth, it actually took Reggie Brown to run over and shove Weaver into position. At one point, Jason Peters turned around and tried to call a timeout. At that point, McNabb went nuts and waved him off since the Eagles had none left. Complete chaos. As for Weaver, he had 17 carries for 52 yards. His previous high for carries this season was nine. He had a couple good, tough runs where a defender met him at the line of scrimmage, but Weaver powered through to pick up positive yardage. He made a nice catch early on the low throw from McNabb, which was initially ruled an incompletion before getting overturned. In addition to the block on Brooks, he had a good blitz pickup of Patrick Willis in the first and a good lead block on the McCoy touchdown run.
Winston Justice - Pretty much flawless in pass protection. The 3-4 scheme gave the Eagles' tackles no problems at all. Justice didn't let anyone get near McNabb all game. Justice had ups and downs as a run blocker. He was beat early on a play where Weaver got stuffed. But Justice did a good job on a 9-yard Weaver carry during the Eagles' final scoring drive in the fourth.
Nick Cole - One of Cole's better performances in awhile, particularly in the run game. He made some really nice blocks on McCoy runs throughout. Cole was also good in protection. Nice cut-block by Cole on the 7-yard completion to Kevin Curtis in the second.
Jamaal Jackson - One important note here. Earlier in the season, when the Eagles had problems in protection, a lot of it seemed to be due to confusion along the offensive line, not necessarily execution. That confusion has disappeared as of late and was non-existent Sunday. A lot of that is continuity and playing together, but let's give Jackson some credit too. He had some very nice blocks in the run game, going up against nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin.
Todd Herremans - He had quite a bit of trouble with 49ers defensive lineman Justin Smith. Particularly in pass protection, Herremans got pushed back on multiple occasions. He was also beat by Brooks on one play where McNabb's pass was batted down, and he couldn't get to Takeo Spikes on the shovel pass to McCoy in the red zone. Herremans had his ups and downs as a run blocker, and was called for holding, negating a big McNabb run in the third. Not one of his better performances.
Jason Peters - Same thing I said about Justice. Peters was pretty much flawless in pass protection, not allowing the 49ers to get any pressure on McNabb off the edge. McNabb had three completions of 35 yards or more. The Eagles have killed defenses with big plays all season, and a lot of credit has to go to the tackles for providing McNabb time to find receivers down the field. Pretty amazing how smooth this transition has been in the pass game to two new bookend tackles. Offensive line coach Juan Castillo deserves a ton of credit, as does the front office.
Brent Celek - Not sure how much injuries factor into this, but Celek has not been the same blocker in the run game the past few weeks. As a receiver, four catches for 73 yards, his highest total since Week 6. Celek also drew a 15-yard pass interference penalty in the second. His 43-yard catch and run was the key play on the Eagles' second touchdown drive in the second.
Alex Smith - He didn't block anyone on the 4th-and-1 Weaver carry that got stuffed in the first. Smith had one catch for 3 yards. He did a better job as a pass blocker, picking up a blitzer on a third down in the fourth quarter to give McNabb time to find Celek.
DeSean Jackson - Amazing how he continues to get open deep week after week. Jackson had the touchdown catch in the first quarter. He later added a 39-yarder and a 59-yarder. Overall, six grabs for 140 yards and a touchdown. On the season, 56 catches for 1,087 yards and eight touchdowns.
Jason Avant - I overheard Avant tell teammates he felt like a fullback Sunday. That's because he was counted on to block on several occasions, and did a great job. In the run game, he did a good job on Weaver's 7-yard carry in the first. And take notice of the job he did to take down a defender on Jackson's 39-yard reception in the second. Jackson was able to jump right over the guy. As a receiver, he had three catches for 44 yards. Avant also drew a holding penalty in the red zone in the second to keep the Eagles' drive alive.
Kevin Curtis - I might be off slightly, but I counted Curtis on the field six times, five in the first half. He played on the outside on each of those plays and had one catch for 7 yards.
Reggie Brown - I joked earlier, but I do like that he ran over to Weaver and shoved him into place on that play. Shows that he was in tune with what was happening. Brown had just one catch for 13 yards, and it came off a deflected pass that easily could have been intercepted. McNabb looked for him deep in the first, but they couldn't connect.