The Defense went from abysmal to 'good but not quite great' this week. At first you had to be a bit worried when watching them go out in the first half. They were really taken advantage of by the Eagles. Westbrook was running and McNabb was throwing. Thankfully, they did enough for us to stay in the game and got very stout in Red Zone situations. I was very excited to see our defense excel in that zone. We are going to face teams who have great offense's or hot players and they will get down field on us. However, I believe that the most important things is getting stout in the Red Zone and not giving up big plays. This week we accomplished both, and that helped keep us in the game.
Thats the short version of a long story. things looked much better for the team, and a lot of problem positions stepped up yesterday and preformed very well. After the jump we will highlight some specific players and their impact on the game.
Brian Urlacher has started to return to the status of Meastliest player on our defense. He talked about having to step up his game during the week and then followed through on the field. He was playing with a sense of urgency and that was a welcome sight. He led the team with 12 tackles and 8 solos.
Trumaine McBride started at corner and did very well. He didn't give up a big play. Didn't give up any penalties. He played well and will do just fine as a fill in until Vasher gets back. He was second on the team tackle list with 8 tackles and 5 solos.
Tommie Harris I wasn't thrilled with the play of our defensive line throughout the game. Was it just me or did it seem like Donovan McNabb had enough time in the pocket to eat a can of Campbell's Chunky soup? It was bad at times. However, Tommie Gun provided some life into our barren stat line (seriously before his sack we had one sack and no turnovers) by notching a pair of clutch back to back sacks. We know he isn't 100% and was held out of the last couple defensive plays because his hamstring was locking up, but it was good to see the sacks.
Adam Archuleta is an enigma wrapped in a shroud. Seriously, I don't get this guy. I have no idea how the rest of the season is going to turn out, but I can tell you it will be interesting. However, I have to give respect where it is due. His sack was a good play, and for a tiny guy he got McNabb pretty good.
Secondary seemed shored up by the start of McBride at CB and Danieal Manning at Safety. They weren't great yesterday, but they were much improved from last week. Furthermore, we didn't have to worry about two safeties who can't tackle with Brandon McGowan on the bench.
Again, as I said before we didn't give up any big plays. I felt that our line backers and secondary really stepped up and did a good job. Also, it was good to see the defense stop Brian Westbrook. Although I will say I don't know how much of that was really them, and how much of that was Andy Ried's ineptitude. We held him to 79 yards rushing and 40 yards receiving, but he only got to run the ball 18 times. I know the defense on the whole gave up 123 yards, but I don't know how Andy Ried can have one of the best running backs in the NFC and not utilize him more. In any case, he didn't kill us, and after last week that is a welcome feat.
Although I must say, if there is one thing that stings about this win it was our lack of big plays. That is no forced turnovers for the second straight week. I will take the win we got every day of the week and twice on Sunday's, but I want to see turnovers. This is a department we have been sorely lacking in and used to be a staple of our defense. We need to force some turnovers next week and get back to what is supposed to be a strength.
All in all it was a good game for our defense and a big step up form last week. I will take a defense that keeps us in the game and dosen't give up big plays, but I want to see us force turnovers next week as well. Hopefully they will address that in film review and practice.
Offensive recap will come tomorrow.
What was the most welcome aspect of our defense on Sunday?
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Brian Urlacher leading the team in tackles
Tommie Harris getting two sacks
Allowing only one touchdown
Not giving up any big plays