Eagles Rewind: DeMeco Ryans joins the Eagles' sack pack

Jacoby Jones beat Nnamdi Asomugha for a second-quarter touchdown.
Jacoby Jones beat Nnamdi Asomugha for a second-quarter touchdown. (YONG KIM / Staff)
Posted: September 19, 2012

It took until the ninth game last season before an Eagles linebacker recorded a sack. DeMeco Ryans needed all of two games to notch his first sack of the season.

Linebackers accounted for only three of the Eagles' 50 sacks last season. The low number had something to do with the defense dialing up fewer blitzes. But with the way Ryans and rookie Mychal Kendricks have covered the field in the first two games, it's safe to assume the linebackers will increase that number this season.

Who's to blame?

When Bryce Brown couldn't hold onto a handoff and fumbled in the second quarter Sunday, many pointed the finger at the rookie running back. But Michael Vick was just as guilty. The Eagles quarterback didn't get the ball into Brown's gut, and the exchange was botched. Vick was charged with the fumble in the official statistics.

Rewind the tape

Ultimately, it did not cost the Eagles, but clock mismanagement - along with some poor decision-making on special teams - led to a Ravens field goal before the half. Rookie Damaris Johnson should not have fielded a punt inside the 5-yard line with about a minute left. But the Eagles still could have essentially run down the clock on their next four plays.

On first down at the 6, LeSean McCoy ran for 3 yards, and the clock continued to run. On second down, the Eagles had 13 seconds left on the play clock and could have drained the regular clock down to 19 seconds. Instead, they snapped the ball with 31 seconds left, and McCoy ran for 3 yards.

Baltimore then burned its second timeout with 25 seconds to go. On third down, McCoy was dropped for a 2-yard loss, and the Ravens called for their final timeout with 18 seconds left.

If the Eagles had managed their time correctly, there would have been only five seconds remaining on fourth down, and a punt would have essentially taken the teams to the half.

Instead, the Ravens got the ball back with nine seconds left. And after a pass for no gain, kicker Justin Tucker nailed a 56-yard field goal to give Baltimore a 17-7 lead at the half.

This and that

On Ray Rice's 43-yard run in the second quarter, safety Nate Allen appeared to over-pursue on the play, but Ryans took the blame after the game. On the replay, the linebacker got caught up inside, and the Ravens running back burst through a giant hole in between Allen and Ryans.

On Joe Flacco's 21-yard TD pass to receiver Jacoby Jones, both Ryans and Kendricks blitzed. Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha was in single coverage, and safety Kurt Coleman could not help because he started the play on the far numbers. Flacco threw a perfect pass.

Vick's 28-yard completion to Brent Celek in the second quarter was a beauty. Brown missed his block, but Vick calmly avoided the pressure by stepping up in the pocket, and he hit the tight end between the numbers.

In Baltimore, they're claiming that the pass-interference call on Jones that negated a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter was a bogus call. They may have a case. Jones did use his hands to separate from Asomugha. But the cornerback, who trailed the receiver, also made contact. After the play, the officials spotted the ball on the 40, thinking that it was a 15-yard penalty. Ravens coach John Harbaugh, who could be seen screaming, "That's not right," had to alert the referees that this wasn't college football.

Point after

The official statistics credited the Ravens with three quarterback hits, but Vick took many more shots behind the line of scrimmage than that. Last week, the Browns had 11 hits, but some observers had him taking contact 19 times. On Sunday, the number was more like 12, by this count.

Reid was asked if he just accepts the hits because that's just the way Vick plays. "I want Michael to be Michael," Reid said. "He's 32 years old. . . . I just want him to keep competing and playing and take what's there."

What Andy said

On whether there is any merit to the Ravens' accusations of the Eagles being "cheap":

"I would tell you there was a little pushing and shoving and all that. I think it was probably both sides. I think it was two good football teams playing each other. You're going to get a little of that."

What Andy meant

"Of course not. We're only cheap when we ask players with brain injuries to take pay cuts."

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