Michael Vick and Brent Celek share blame on pick six
Here are some observations and ruminations about the Eagles-Saints game: NEW ORLEANS - Michael Vick's ninth interception of the season - and his second pick-six - was both his fault and that of Brent Celek.
Here are some observations and ruminations about the Eagles-Saints game:
NEW ORLEANS - Michael Vick's ninth interception of the season - and his second pick-six - was both his fault and that of Brent Celek.
The veteran tight end ran an "out" route just shy of the goal line, and he had a slight step on the Saints defender Monday night. But Vick led Celek too much. Celek, who may have been held, half-heartedly stuck a hand out and deflected the ball into the hands of New Orleans cornerback Patrick Robinson.
Robinson went all the way for a 99-yard touchdown for what was likely a 14-point swing.
And what was Vick thinking trying to take on a Saints blocker at the knees on the return? That play, alone - a penalty on Vick - told the story of the 2012 Eagles.
Poor start again
The Eagles' opening-drive drought continued Monday night. They have yet to score on their first drive this season, and that streak is still alive.
Unlike their decision in the last two games, when the Eagles won the opening coin toss and deferred to the second half, the Eagles elected to receive on Monday. They converted on three third downs, helped by a fortunate roughing-the-passer call. But on second and 13 from the Saints 30-yard line, Vick was sacked and fumbled the ball, pushing the ball all the way back to the Eagles 48.
That created third down and 35, and eventually led to an Eagles punt. The Eagles failed to score in the first quarter and have only seven first-quarter points this season.
They fired Juan Castillo for his 2012 defense, one much improved in the red zone, on third down, and in tackling, and what they got in return was the 2011 version.
The Saints converted on 2 of 4 third downs in the first half, were successful on their only trip inside the red zone, and benefited from some of the worst form tackling ever by an Andy Reid-coached team.
In the first half alone, one set of eyes counted more than a half-dozen missed tackles from the Todd Bowles-led defense.
One bright spot
One of the few encouraging signs for the Eagles this season has been the development of seventh-round pick Bryce Brown, a promising running back with limited college football experience.
Brown emerged as the Eagles' No. 2 running back during the preseason and demonstrated the ability that has earned praise in the season's first half.
He rushed for 49 yards in the first 30 minutes, including a 40-yard carry that took the Eagles near the Saints goal line. Brown showed his combination of speed, size, and field vision on the rush.
The Eagles failed to capitalize, though, when Vick threw the interception that Robinson returned for a score.
Where was McCoy?
The Eagles gained 157 yards on the ground in the first half and yet they went into the break with only three points. Vick's fifth red-zone turnover of the season obviously had something to do with the ineptitude of the offense, but how about Marty Mornhinweg's play-calling after LeSean McCoy ran 34 yards on fourth and 1 to the Saints 4?
The Eagles ran backup Brown on first down, and he was dropped for no gain. They called for a shovel pass on second down - as if former Eagles assistant and current Saints defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo didn't see that coming - and McCoy gained zero yards.
And then on third down, Vick dropped back and threw an incomplete pass to DeSean Jackson short of the goal line.
Why couldn't McCoy get a carry there?
How's this for piling on?
Eagles cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha was blocked by the official - not the Saints - in the end zone on the Saints' third touchdown.
As Marques Colston crossed from left to right through the end zone late in the second quarter, Asomugha, who already was having a tough time making a tackle in this game, ran right into an official as Colston streaked by the official and caught a perfect 1-yard strike from Drew Brees.
Special special teams
Finally, the Eagles special teams made a big play.
On the kickoff after Vick connected for a touchdown with Jackson in the third quarter, the Eagles forced a fumble. Chris Polk jarred the ball loose from Travaris Cadet, and Brandon Hughes recovered it. The Eagles wound up with just a field goal, but the momentum of the game seemed to have shifted to the visitors.