Week 8 Game Recap: Philadelphia Eagles 21, Denver Broncos 49
What you need to know
Halloween came early for Eagles fans, as the Philadelphia offense was just frightful. The Eagles went three and out on their first four possessions, and finished the first quarter with just four net yards. Denver was up 28-0 before the Eagles could even begin to mount an offense. The 28 points surrendered by Philadelphia was the most points given up in a single half since November 21st, 1999.
QB Donovan McNabb’s first 12 pass attempts fell incomplete, his worst start of his career. McNabb finished with 283 yards and three touchdowns but two interceptions.
WR Terrell Owens failed to catch a pass in the first half, but then broke a 91 yard catch and run in the third quarter for the longest touchdown of both his and McNabb’s careers. Owens added two more catches as his numbers amounted to 154 yards and a score.
RB Brian Westbrook contributed over 100 total yards once again, including finding the end zone on a 14 yard catch. Westbrook had 13 carries for the game, about average for him in the Eagles’ offense, but still a good number of carries as the Eagles had to throw often and play from behind for the entire game.
Philadelphia mounted a valiant comeback from a 28-0 deficit, closing the margin to 28-21. However, they turned the ball over a second time on an interception in the end zone that ultimately changed the momentum back to the Broncos
Denver became the first team in NFL history to have two rushers with over 100 yards and a quarterback throw for over 300. The Broncos led by 28 points twice in the game, first at 28-0 then later by the ultimate final score, 49-21. Denver was one point and three yards shy of setting franchise records for offense, as they racked up 564 yards and 28 first downs.
QB Jake Plummer completed over 60% of his passes, throwing for 309 yards and four touchdowns. His yardage was a season high, and the four scores tied his career best. Plummer had 212 yards and three touchdowns in the first half.
The duo of RB Tatum Bell and RB Mike Anderson had 107 and 126 yards, respectively. Both backs found the end zone, as Anderson scored once and Bell added two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Bell broke a long run of 67 yards for his first touchdown.
The production for the wide receivers and tight ends for Denver was evenly distributed. WRs Ashley Lelie, Rod Smith, Charlie Adams and lesser known Todd Devoe all caught at least three passes. Lelie led the receivers with 81 yards, and Smith and Devoe both found the end zone. TE Stephen Alexander also added a spectacular one handed touchdown grab.
What you ought to know
|QB Donovan McNabb, Pass: 12 - 34 - 283 - 3 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 3 - 13 - 0|
McNabb started the game with 12 incomplete passes, his worst start of his NFL career. McNabb tried to pick up the pace after the terrible start, finishing the first half with four completions on 18 attempts for 74 yards and a touchdown to TE LJ Smith. He continued the comeback effort in the third quarter, hitting WR Terrell Owens for a 91 yard touchdown, McNabb’s longest touchdown pass of his career. He added another touchdown pass to RB Brian Westbrook as the Eagles climbed back into the game, trailing 28-21. As McNabb attempted to throw a tying touchdown to WR Reggie Brown, the ball was intercepted. McNabb finished the game by completing just over half of his pass attempts (12 of 22) after the terrible start.
Westbrook carried the ball 13 times, mostly in the third quarter as the game started to become close. However, when the Eagles were trailing by 14 points or more, they quickly abandoned the run game once again as they attempted to catch up on the scoreboard. Westbrook did finish with 48 yards rushing, just shy of a four yards per carry average.
Westbrook added another 56 yards on four catches. He made a nice 34 yard catch and run in the second quarter to help set up the first touchdown of the game for Philadelphia. In the third quarter, he had a ten yard catch called back due to a penalty, and then followed that up with a 14 yard touchdown catch. Westbrook broke a tackle to finish the catch and run into the end zone, showing strong determination and strength. He finished the game quietly, catching just one more pass of four yards in the fourth quarter.
|RB Lamar Gordon, Rush: 2 - 16 - 0, Rec: 1 - 13 - 0 (1 targets)|
Gordon carried the ball two times in the second half, both times gaining eight yards. He also added one catch for 13 yards in the third on a third down and 31 to go for the Eagles. Gordon’s second carry was the final play of the game.
Owens did not catch a pass in the first half despite five targets. He was able to get open in the first half, but QB Donovan McNabb was under so much pressure that he could not get a clean pass away.
Owens quickly got on the board in the third quarter, breaking a sideline pass for a 91 yard touchdown, his longest touchdown of his career. He was closely guarded by DB Champ Bailey, who appeared to strain his hamstring on the play. Owens caught the ball near the sideline and squared up to Bailey. Owens juked to the sideline, Bailey bit, and then Owens bolted inside and raced to the goal line for the score. The Eagles tried to exploit Bailey’s injury, targeting Owens deep three times over the next few drives. Owens made a second catch for 46 more yards on one of those targets. Denver countered by taking Bailey out of the game, and Owens was able to only catch one more ball for 17 yards for the rest of the game.
Brown made a nice catch and run in the second quarter on the first Eagles scoring drive, gaining 36 yards. He was also the intended receiver in the end zone on what would have been a game-tying touchdown (the score was 28-21 Denver at the time), but the ball was thrown more towards rookie Bronco DB Dominique Foxworth. Brown finished his output by adding a nine yard grab.
Lewis caught two passes of 15 yards, yet only one of them stood up on review. Both of his catches were low and close to the ground and both were reviewed. Both were initially called catches, but the first one was overturned.
Lewis was also the intended receiver on a deep pass in the second quarter and also a short pass in the same quarter that was deflected by the defense and intercepted by DB John Lynch, who was actually covering WR Terrell Owens.
Smith caught just one ball in the second quarter, but made the most of it. Smith scored on a crossing pattern in the back of the end zone for a one yard touchdown catch in the second quarter, the Eagles’ first touchdown of the game.
Cortez kicked all three of his extra points successfully. He attempted no field goals.
Philadelphia could not stop the Denver running game. Both running backs for Denver ran for over 100 yards for the game and found the end zone at least once. RB Tatum Bell scored twice and gained 107 yards including a long 67 yard score. RB Mike Anderson had 126 yards and another touchdown. Denver averaged over seven yards a carry.
The Eagles surrendered four passing touchdowns and 309 yards to QB Jake Plummer. Denver had over 200 yards passing and three scores before halftime as the Eagles caused no interceptions and registered just one sack for zero yards lost. The only defense against Denver’s passing game was Denver themselves, as they stopped calling passing plays in the fourth quarter once Denver was up 35-21.
|QB Jake Plummer, Pass: 22 - 35 - 309 - 4 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 22 - 0|
Plummer tied his career best performance as he threw for four touchdowns, all to different receivers. His 309 yards passing was also his best yardage performance this season.
Plummer had a great first half, throwing 22 times and completing 16 passes for 212 yards and three touchdowns. He looked comfortable and decisive, throwing the ball to eight different receivers and rolling out and around the pocket. Plummer also showed he still has running abilities, as he ran for 22 yards in the second quarter straight up the middle.
The passing game was ratcheted back in the fourth quarter as Denver had extended their lead back to 35-21 – the final 11 plays for Denver were run plays.
|RB Mike Anderson, Rush: 21 - 126 - 1, Rec: 1 - 16 - 0 (1 targets)|
Anderson continues to be the main ball carrier in Denver, leading the team in carries once again. Anderson gained 61 yards in the first half including a two yard touchdown dive. It was notable that the one quarter that Anderson touched the ball just once was the least productive quarter for Denver. In the third quarter, Denver had three possessions that were three and out drives and a fourth drive of just four plays. Anderson helped Denver to pick up the offense in the final quarter as he added 58 yards and on just seven carries. Anderson also lost a 21 yard gain due to a penalty in the last quarter. He finished with over 100 yards rushing, the eleventh time in his career.
Bell broke a big run once again, rushing for a 67 yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. The touchdown helped solidify Denver’s victory, as Philadelphia had climbed back to a 28-21 disadvantage. Bell had only gained 27 yards in the first three quarters, so the long score made his afternoon. Bell later added four carries on the final possession, including a six yard touchdown in the final minute. He also carried the ball inside the ten in both the first and second quarter, but could not make it all the way to the end zone. Both drives resulted in touchdown passes for Denver.
Despite getting targeted five times, Johnson caught just one ball. To his credit, it was a six yard touchdown.
Smith caught a pretty two yard fade pattern in the second quarter for a touchdown, which was the shortest of his five catches. Smith caught every ball that came his way, including two passes for over 20 yards. Smith probably could have had a 100 yard day, as Smith had 57 yards at halftime, but the Broncos were favoring the running game in the second half.
Devoe was used mostly as an outlet receiver in spread formations, as he is the fourth receiver in Denver behind WRs Ashley Lelie, Rod Smith and Charlie Adams. Devoe had a quiet start to his day, catching just two balls for 15 yards before the fourth quarter. Devoe later made his afternoon as he caught a short pass and broke towards the sideline when Eagles CB Rod Hood slipped and fell in the rain. Devoe ran past the fallen defender and scored from 44 yards.
Charlie Adams has established himself as the third WR option in Denver, lagging behind only WRs Rod Smith and Ashley Lelie. Adams caught three short passes for a total of 25 yards in the game against Philadelphia. On his two other targets, Adams had a short pass tip off of his hands on another potential short gain, and then almost made a nice catch on a ball that ricocheted off of his body multiple times when he slipped and fell on the pass route.
Lelie had a strong beginning in the game against the Eagles, catching two deep passes for 32 and 37 yards in the first quarter. He added a 12 yard catch on his first target of the second quarter, and was targeted deep on his next chance. Lelie was targeted just twice more in the game, with both third quarter passes batted away by the defense. Lelie was seen stretching out his legs in the second half, but showed no visible signs of any injury.
Alexander caught a short pass of four yards in the fourth quarter, and a short three yard pass in the second for a touchdown. The touchdown was a fantastic catch, as he grabbed the ball with one hand in the back of the end zone.
Putzier had a very nice game despite catching just two of his six targets. Putzier caught his first pass for 11 yards, and gained ten more yards for his team on his next target. Although the ball fell incomplete, he earned the yardage by drawing a pass interference call. Putzier did not catch his next four targets, as he was the deep target on a few passes downfield that fell incomplete. His last ball was his best as he gained 28 yards on his final reception.
Unfortunately for Putzier, he was seen limping off the field in the final few minutes. He looked to be slightly favoring his ankle, but be sure to check the injury report as little was said about it after the game.
Elam kicked a lot, but not for many points. He made all seven of his extra points successfully. He attempted no field goals.
The Eagles were unable to establish any semblance of a running game until the third quarter, and then had to abandon it once again as they fell behind by two scores. Philadelphia finished with just 79 yards rushing on 19 attempts and no touchdowns on the ground.
Denver showed eight and nine man fronts at Philadelphia, abandoning the middle of the field in favor of putting pressure on QB Donovan McNabb. The strategy worked early, as McNabb’s first 12 passes fell incomplete. Only the injury to DB Champ Bailey and his breakdown in coverage on WR Terrell Owens afforded the Eagles big gains. The Broncos created two interceptions, with the second by rookie DB Dominique Foxworth that kept Philadelphia from tying the score.