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Preseaon Game #2: Philadelphia Eagles @ Cincinnati Bengals Starters (first half)Gameday Thread

Eagles Vs. Bengals Gameday Thread
By Lance Epstein

First quarter:

** The first unit offense and defense are going to play the entire first half according to Andy Reid. The defense will be without Asante Samuel as Joselio Hanson will replace him. The offense will welcome back Mike Bell, but Nick Cole remains sidelined with a knee injury.

** On another note, the Eagles will face their arch-nemisis tonight ion terrell Owens. However, they also are facing Dhani Jones. Should be interested in too see how he fares and how Akeem Jordan fares at his old position of SAM LB.

** The Eagles will start on defense. Akers kicks off and Benard Scott is tackled at the 20 by Dimitri Patterson. Patterson is in a dog fight to make the team.

** Palmer on a play action bootleg hits Owens for a 11-yard gain and the first down. The fake really got the Eagles going one way and hurt them. For the second straight play Owens touches the ball, this time on an end around for 2 yards. Cole played it perfectly.

** Cedric Benson managed to pick up 3 yards to make it 3rd and a long 5. Joselio Hanson with an excellent pass deflection on Jordan Shipley. Hanson needed to have a big game since he has been struggling in camp and in danger of losing his job. He helps the Eagles get off the field on third down (there was a penalty on the Bengals but it was declined).

** Eagles starting form their own seven-yard line. On first down the Eagles hand it off to LeSean McCoy, but the offensive line was pushed back and gained no yards. On second down, Kolb got crushed by an inside rusher and near connected with Jackson on a huge play. Still not good that Kolb is getting hit.

** Once again Kolb has received pressure up the middle. On third down was forced to run out of the pocket to avoid the pressure and dump it off to McCoy who nearly picked up the first down, but was a yard short. Sav Rocca boomed a 61-yard punt after a three-and-out by the offense. bengals will start at their own 29. Offense line looked extremely bad on that series. McGlynn and Andrews in particular.

** Bad containment by the Eagles LBs on first down. Cedric Benson gets to the outside and picks up seven. Benson should have been tackled in the backfield but Jordan lost his containment. Luckily, there was a false start on Benson the very next play.

** On second down the coverage in the secondary was great, but the pass rush was not able to get to Palmer and runs and then hits Benson on a check down for the first down to the 44. The next play Benson ran for two yards making a second and 8.

** Benson seems to be finding holes on the Eagles defense. Benson ran right up the gut and then greeted Nate Allen with a truck-stick Madden style of hit for the first down to the 43. Mikell left the game with a injury (returned to action).

** One of the players who has had an excellent camp has been CB Dimitri Patterson. Patterson played the route perfectly as he picked Carson Palmer and takes it to the 44 yardline. So far tonight Patterson has contributed on special teams and has a interception. He is battling it out with Macho Harris, Lindley for the No. 4 cornerback position.

** Kevin Kolb seems to be a little hyper in this game. He nearly overthrew Maclin. Maclin dove for the ball and picked up six yards. On second down and 4 the Eagles hand it off to FB Leonard Weaver. Weaver gains three makes it a third and short. This has plagued the Eagles in the past and still is plaguing the Eagles. Tank Johnson got penetration in the backfield and destroyed the Eagles interior line. Rocca is in to punt. It is fair caught by Adam Jones at the 12.

**This is the second straight series that the Eagles offense has failed to pick up a first down. Additionally, the interior line is getting pushed around. Very similar to the season-ending loss to Dallas. Right now, it might be safe to say Mike McGlynn could be losing his starting center job without Cole even playing. Moreover, Andrews and Jean-Gilles has been unimpressive as well.

** Poor tackling has been the story of this game so far by the Eagles. Akeem Jordan had a chance to make a tackle on Benson for a short two yard gain, but Benson stiff-arms him and gains five. Quick slant route by the rookie TE Jermaine Gresham. Hanson was playing off and allowed him to pick up the first down.

** Trent Cole makes a tackle and limits first down to a 1 yard gain. The first time the Eagles have gotten good penetration against he run. Benson loses 2 yards to make it 3rd and 10. On third down, Trent Cole nearly gets a sack on Palmer and the pass bounces off the hands of OchoCinco. Hanson was beat badly on the play and it should have been a 18-yard gain, but he couldn't pull it in. After a good start by Hanson, he has been beaten on two simple routes.

** After a five-yard penalty on Cincinnati, the Bengals punt the ball where it is fair caught at the 36 by WR Chad Hall.

** So the Eagles have their third offensive possession. The previous two possessions they have amassed a whopping 18 yards. After a short gain by McCoy on first down, Jackson pulls in a ball for to make it 3rd and short. Kolb finds Jackson down the field for a pick up of 18 yards and the Eagles are in Bengals territory. Good snap by McGlynn to get the offsides call to get the free play.

** Just as we praise McGlynn he lets a defensive tackle right up the middle and Kolb throws off his back foot to Weaver who drops it. After a one-yard gain by McCoy, the Eagles run a wide receiver screen to Maclin. Maclin tries to stretch out the ball and it is stripped and recovered by the Bengals. Once again, the Eagles offense is stopped in its tracks. The Bengals take over from their own 25.

** Right after the turnover, a deep-in route to OchoCinco for 15 yards. He badly beat Hanson on the route. Hanson has been bad so far tonight besides the one third-down play. Starting to think Hanson needs to be removed from the field.

** Hanson is clearly being picked on right now. OchoCinco picks up 12 yards on the route for the first down. That time Hanson had good position, but just could not get there to break up the pass. Nevertheless the Bengals are attacking the weak link on the Eagles defense, which is Hanson. That ends the first quarter.


Second Quarter:

** Once again the Bengals go and attack Hanson. Owens nearly misses pulling in a 25-yard reception. Hanson just gets in to deflect the ball away. Hanson makes up for the previous play on that. Nate Allen lays a hit on Benson, which caused a fumble, but he was ruled down. On third and six, Palmer finds Gresham who gets the first down. Hanson in on the tackle, the Eagles looked to be playing zone so he is not at fault.

** A holding call on the Bengals set them back ten yards and Cole nearly made it second and 25. Cole has been a consistent force out there for the D.

** On 3rd and 13, Andre Caldwell caught the ball for a 2 yard gain and nailed by Mikell. Great open field tackle by Mikell. If he doesn't make the tackle it goes for a sure first down. A false start takes the Bengals out of field goal position. The Eagles defense was fortunate to pick up a couple of bad penalties by the Bengals. Still, they bent, but did not break. As for Hanson, he has been picked on a lot tonight. He has stepped up on some plays, but others he has looked lost.

** The punt goes into the end zone and the Eagles will start at their own 20.

** On first down, Kolb tries to thread the needle into a very small window to Jackson. Hall is called for the pass interference. Either way it was not a good throw, very dangerous. Vick comes him for the wildcat, but the handoff goes to Weaver for 3 yards.

** On second and seven, McCoy gains 5 yard to the 37, but it is called back for a illegal formation on Jason Peters. It is now 2nd and 12.

** After aPeters penalty, the Eagles run a fullback screen to his side of the field. Weaver follows his blocker and gains 8 yards. Needing just four yards, Kolb throws off his back foot and finds Maclin cutting across the field. He crushed by Joseph and failed to pick up the first. After the play he went to the ground and called the Eagles training staff over. He appears to have injured his shoulder and it doesn't look good. As for the play, Kolb needs to step up in the pocket and not throw off his back leg, which he has done multiple times. All in all, the offense has looked shaky and Kolb has not looked sharp.

** Rocca sends another booming punt but the Eagles interfere with Adam Jones on a fair catch and had an ineligible man down field. Then Jones picks the ball up and has a wall of blockers out to their own 47-yard line plus the 5 yards added on (starting at the 48). For the second straight week the Eagles punt coverage and kickoff coverage was nearly beat for a touchdown. April needs to get this unit playing better because they are giving opponents quality field position.

** Once again on first down, Joselio Hanson is picked on. He is burned down the field by Terrell Owens for a 43-yard reception. Hanson did not jam him at the line and allowed him to have a free release. Hanson has given up three touchdowns this preseason in only 1.5 games.

** Touchdown for the Bengals. Scott runs it in for 7, but should have been tackled in the backfield if not for poor tackling and numerous players out of position. Regardless, a awful showing by the defense on that Bengals possession. THey scored on two plays and less then a minute of game time. Bengals 7-0.

** The offense starts off their next possession with a five yard false start penalty setting themselves back to the 18-yardline. On first down, the Eagles offensive line is destroyed by the Bengals as Eagles only pick up 2 yards with Weaver.

** After the pocket broke down, Kolb scrambled to the outside and found Jackson on a beautiful touch pass for a 28yard gain. This gives the Eagles a first down out to the 47 yard line. Maybe that play gets the offense started because the very next play McCoy broke off a 17-yard gain for the first down into the Bengals territory (36 yardline).

** With Vick under center, the Eagles run a bootleg and the Bengals lost containment. Vick picks up 15 yards to the 22.

** On the very next play, Kolb sees a ton of pressure up the middle and is forced to throw the ball away. The interior line is being manhandled right now. On second down, Kolb just overthrows Jason Avant who was open in the end zone.

** Third down, the Eagles pick up a penalty for illegal formation. However, it was declined due to incomplete pass by Kolb. For the second straight week, the Eagles struggled to move the ball inside the 30. Akers does make the field to make it 7-3 Bengals.

** Good kickoff coverage by the Eagles as the Bengals start at their own 20.

** Even with a holding penalty, the Eagles get to Palmer for the sack by Parker. Still the Eagles accept the penalty making it 1st and 20 from the 10.

** On first down, the Bengals hand it off to Benard Scott who picks up 8 yards. The Eagles are giving up big chunks of running yards.

** Owens makes a move to get open and picks up 11 to make it 3rd and 1. The Bengals pick upa first on a shovel-pass to Benson that goes for five.

** Palmer got Hobbs to bite on the play action but Nate Allen took a good angle to help out and cause a incompletion. A impressive play by a rookie free safety.

**Palmer finds his new favorite weapon Gresham, who makes a 6 yard pass into a 17 yard gain. The Eagles continue to struggle covering the tight ends with their linebackers. This is not a good sign with great tight ends in the NFC East.

** The Eagles stop Benson in the backfield and cause an incompletion to the tight end on back-to-back plays. On 3rd and 10, OchoCinco gets absolutely destroyed by Stewart Bradley and the ball flies into the arms of a diving Mikell for the interception. Mikell returns the ball back to the 43-yardline. OchoCinco looked woozy after that jarring hit. he did not want the help off the field, but that was a huge hit. As for the hit, that is what was missing from the Eagles defense last year. Bradley can make plays in coverage and is a big hitter. With Bradley coming back from injury, the Eagles defense is immensely better. The Eagles will take over at the Bengals 43. Lets see if the Eagles can cash in on the turnover.

** on first down Kolb finds a wide open Jackson for 22 yards to the 21 yard line. It is clear Jackson is his favorite target. The next play Kolb connects to the Cincinnati native for another first down inside the 10 yardline. The Eagles making their first trip inside the red zone tonight.

**On first down and goal the Eagles direct snap it to McCoy. McCoy finds minimal room to the outside and picks up two. Second, down saw Kolb throw behind Jackson and the ball falls to the ground.

** Finally the Eagles get a touchdown, but it is called back by illegal formation by Jason Peters (his second illegal formation). Once again the red zone woes continue. This time a penalty cost the Eagles 7 points and they will have to settle for a field goal after Avant gained 6 yards.

** Akers makes the chip shot field goal to make the score a 7-6 (Bengals lead). The Eagles offense has been out of wack inside the red zone over the last two weeks. If they expect to return to the playoffs they have to get touchdowns not field goals especially with Green Bay, Indianapolis, Minnesota, Dallas, New York, Houston on the schedule.

** The Eagles special teams allows a huge return by Adam Jones. he takes the ball out to mid-field. Besides the red zone offense woes, the special teams has been just as bad. April must get this unit playing better. This will eventually take its toll on the defense.

** On first down Palmer finds Benson for a short 4 yard reception, but was hit hard by Hobbs and the ball rolled out of bounce. Similar to first down, Palmer finds Benson over the middle of the field for 5 yards. With 7 seconds left on the clock, the Bengals call timeout.

** Benson picks up the first down after pulling a 5 yard reception. Benson gets out of bounce to stop the clock with 4 seconds. The Bengals attempted a 60 yard field, but it was short and wide left.

** At half time, the Eagles trail 7-6. The offense started to move the ball in the second quarter, but failed to score a touchdown on their only trip into the red zone. Additionally, Kolb's accuracy was off tonight. he needs to be precise otherwise the offense will have long funks like it did with McNabb. Kolb also made some throws off his backfoot, may have contributed to his inaccuracy. However, in the second quarter he settled down and was a lot better.

** The interior line was abysmal. They allowed too much penetration and pressure by the Bengals defensive tackles. This was another reason it took Kolb a little awhile to get going. While McGlynn has been impressive on some plays, he looked equally as bad on others. Nevertheless Jean-Gilles and Andrews struggled as well. Tank Johnson had a big half for the Bengals. Hopefully, Herremans can suit up soon and Nick Cole or Jamaal Jackson, because the interior line looks pretty weak right now.

** The interior line was manhandled, but Jason Peters made two penalties. One of them got a touchdown called back. Peters has to improve, he is making a lot of money and has not played at a high level.

** On the bright side, the Eagles defense played well except for Joselio Hanson. They created two turnovers (picked Palmer twice). While Hanson had some good plays, but most were bad. He constantly gave up first downs to continue drives, was out of position and gave up the big play that led to the Bengals only touchdown. This marks the third time he has been beaten for a pass over 35 yards in the preseason. Unfortunately for the Birds, Hanson has not been the same since his 4-game suspension. If he expects to maintain his No. 3 cornerback position, then he has to play better especially with Patterson coming up with a nice interception. Patterson is making a strong case to be the team's third corner. Also if Lindley or Harris has a good second half, Hanson might find himself in Reid's doghouse.

** Lastly, the special teams have been either really good or bad for the Eagles. On one play, the Eagles special teams does its job, but then the very next time they give up a huge return or commit a dumb penalty. They need to sure up the special teams coverages otherwise the defense will be the ones that suffer.

Stay tuned after the game for the press conference quotes from the players and coaches.

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