Eagles Rewind: Kolb needs to focus on more than the short gain

Eagles quarterback Kevin Kolb fires a pass on the run, as the Redskins' Andre Carter pursues. Kolb connected on 22 of 35 passes, mostly for short yardage. His longest pass was 18 yards.
Eagles quarterback Kevin Kolb fires a pass on the run, as the Redskins' Andre Carter pursues. Kolb connected on 22 of 35 passes, mostly for short yardage. His longest pass was 18 yards.
Posted: October 05, 2010

Kevin Kolb got a second chance Sunday but showed he still has work to do if he is going to take over as the Eagles' full-time starter.

His play was improved from his Week 1 flop, but Kolb struggled to come up with anything more than short throws against a Redskins team determined to prevent big plays.

Michael Vick, in his one quarter of action, had also been forced to take small gains. But while Vick's speed and arm strength provide a sense that the Eagles might explode at any moment, the team only nibbled away with Kolb.

Kolb drove the offense well on three of his seven drives, but he only mustered nine points. After reviewing video of the game, here is another look at Kolb's play and a glance at some key defensive missteps:

Short, not sweet

The accuracy numbers sound good - 22-for-35 passing - but the yardage tells the story: just 201, about 9 yards per completion.

Of Kolb's 22 completed throws, 19 came on passes that hit receivers fewer than 5 yards beyond the line of scrimmage or behind it. Only two of Kolb's completed throws traveled 10 or more yards beyond the line of scrimmage.

Television cameras showed several plays on which DeSean Jackson or Jeremy Maclin found space downfield, but Kolb did not go in their direction. The one time he threw long, to an open Jackson, Kolb missed.

Kolb continued his habit of throwing into traffic. Two passes could easily have been interceptions; another two were tipped away. He also showed a lack of awareness on one play, stepping up in the pocket but losing track of a defensive end who blasted him and forced a fumble.

Kolb led his first touchdown drive of the season and got the Eagles to the goal line on another possession. Another potential scoring drive reached the Redskins' 26-yard line but was cut short by a LeSean McCoy fumble.

Kolb will likely start again this week, and the Eagles will need more downfield daring to get their offense rolling.

Defensive miscues

The Eagles defense held Washington to just 17 points, but a slow start put their team in an early hole. Defensive mistakes helped the Redskins drive for a touchdown on their second possession.

Ryan Torain gained 13 yards on a second-and-10 run after breaking a tackle by defensive tackle Mike Patterson. Later, Clinton Portis took a screen pass and slipped tackles by defensive end Juqua Parker and linebacker Stewart Bradley - twice - for a 14-yard gain.

On the touchdown pass, the Eagles got caught in a bad matchup. The Eagles rushed six defenders, including safety Nate Allen, who came from the right. That left just linebackers Ernie Sims and Bradley to handle tight end Chris Cooley. Bradley said after the game he should have checked to a different coverage. Instead, Cooley caught a perfect pass from Donovan McNabb for a 14-0 lead.

Losing containment

McNabb's most important second-half play came on a late 18-yard third-and-4 run that let the Redskins bleed the clock before the Eagles got the ball back. The Eagles blitzed on the play but could not contain the quarterback.

The play was foreshadowed earlier in the half. On a third and 9, the Eagles rushed six and played man coverage downfield. With the defensive backs occupied, McNabb had room to run, picking up 12 yards and a first down. That drive stalled, but a similar play much later would prove far more damaging.


Contact staff writer Jonathan Tamari at 215-854-5214 or jtamari@phillynews.com.

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