Posts Tagged ‘Darren Sproles’

Philadelphia Eagles can’t hang on in loss to Dallas Cowboys

Monday, December 15th, 2014

by Brandyn Campbell

Brandyn Blog






The Dallas Cowboys got out to a quick 21-0 lead over the Philadelphia Eagles, a nightmare beginning to the rematch of the NFC East rivals. The 24 unanswered points then scored by the Birds in the second and third quarters were a rousing flash of the team we saw on Thanksgiving Day. Then came the final collapse, where Philadelphia ultimately fell 38-27 to Dallas at the Linc.

We waited for Tony Romo to be Tony Romo in December, but it didn’t happen. Instead, he finished the game 22/31 for 265 yards and 3 TDs. No interceptions. Boo.

The Eagles’ secondary could not contain Dez Bryant, who had 114 yards and three touchdowns. A slew of penalties against Cary Williams added insult to injury. Once Philadelphia pulled ahead to  a 24-21 lead in the third quarter, they quickly let it vanish.  The Cowboys scored two TDs within 2 minutes and 51 seconds – a DeMarco Murray touchdown, followed by Mark Sanchez throwing an interception and giving the football to Dallas at the Philadelphia 42-yard line to start the fourth quarter, ultimately ending in a Bryant score.

Philadelphia running backs put in work – Chris Polk saw the endzone twice as his team was mounting its comeback, and Darren Sproles got one in late in the third quarter. And that was all she wrote for the Eagles offense this game.

A now 9-5 record has covered many issues on this Eagles team, which have been terribly exposed in each game against a winning opponent. A woeful secondary can only get you so far, and Mark Sanchez has shown himself to be who he truly is: Mark Sanchez. He finished the game 17/28 for 252 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions. The Eagles now lead the league with 34 turnovers, a distinction that has made all the difference against playoff-caliber teams.

What does the playoff picture now look for for the Birds? Philadelphia is now one game behind the dreaded Cowboys. Dallas controls its own destiny – if they win out, they win the division. For the Eagles to win the NFC East – far more likely option than getting a wild card berth – they need to win the final games on their schedule – road games against the Redskins and Giants. Philadelphia then needs for Dallas to lose one of its final two games – next week against the Colts, or the following week at Washington.

Philadelphia would also get the NFC East title if the Cowboys lost both of its final games and the Birds won both of theirs. That seems unlikely, given that the unsightly Redskins are one of their upcoming opponents.

Winning the division is still a possibility for the Birds, though they have made the situation far more difficult on themselves. But the question we all have to wonder at this stage is this: Even if this team gets a playoff berth, what have we seen that convinces us that they can do anything with it?

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Brandyn Campbell of Philly Sports Muse, for War Room Sports

Philadelphia Eagles trounce Tennessee Titans with big win at the Linc

Monday, November 24th, 2014

by Brandyn Campbell

Brandyn Blog





LeSean McCoy found his footing in the Philadelphia Eagles’ 43-24 victory over the Titans.

LeSean McCoy found his footing in the Philadelphia Eagles’ 43-24 victory over the Titans.

It started with Josh Huff returning the opening kickoff for a 107-yard touchdown for a franchise record. From the opening seconds of the game onward, the Philadelphia Eagles led the Tennessee Titans and never looked back, winning the match-up handily with a final score of 43-24.

The Birds quickly extended their lead to 14-0 after a rushing touchdown by Darren Sproles. But the biggest story this game was another Philadelphia running back. LeSean McCoy finally got things going and by the end of the day, accumulated 130 yards over 21 carries and 1 touchdown, including one electrifying 53-yard run.

What made the difference in the Eagles’ ground game? Shady said that everything just finally clicked.

“We just stuck to it… everybody focused in and had a terrific week of practice and we just stuck to it. I think everybody executed, they got the backs in one-on-one situations. The guys up front really, really blocked well. Even the guys outside, the wide receivers, they blocked well too so it was just all together.”

While beating the Titans by a margin of 19 points, there remains a number of concerns about the Birds on both sides of the ball. Leading Philadelphia to its second win in his three starts, Mark Sanchez demonstrated that there is still reason for concern with his propensity for turning over the ball. He finished the day 20/37 for 332 yards and a touchdown, but also hit a pair of interceptions. Heading into Dallas for NFC East supremacy on Thanksgiving Day, handing out the early holiday gifts in the form of turnovers by the Eagles has got to stop.

The defense allowed a team averaging just under 17 points a game to score 24. They allowed Zach Mettenberger, a rookie quarterback and the backup of a backup, to rack up numbers better than the Eagles’ own signal caller: Mettenberger was 20 for 39, totaling 345 yards on the day with two touchdowns and an interception. That, very simply, is not okay.

In positive play on defense, Connor Barwin continues to be a sack-racking beast, adding two more to his count on Sunday, as did Trent Cole. And kudos to the D for forcing three turnovers by the Titans, a needed counterbalance to an offense that truly needs some help for it’s addiction to giving the ball away.

While he missed a field goal, Cody Parkey continues to be an incredible pickup by the Eagles. On the season he is 23 of 25 FGs, and yesterday made 5 of 6 attempts, including a 50-yarder.

There have been no write-ups of this Eagles team this season, now 8-3, that hasn’t commented on the various areas of concern for the team. But all of it said, discussed and analyzed, you still have a team with a great record. They find ways to win, even when it appears that they are looking for every way they can to undermine that. But for this Philadelphia team to go the distance, they’ve got to start doing it against winning teams, a test that they’ll face over the next three games.

Next stop for the Eagles is Dallas on Thanksgiving Day. Chants of “We want Dallas” were heard throughout the Linc on Sunday. Those chants will grow ever-louder across the Philadelphia region as the big game on the big day gets closer.

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Brandyn Campbell of Philly Sports Muse, for War Room Sports

WATCH: Darren Sproles’ punt return for touchdown against Panthers

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

by Brandyn Campbell

Brandyn Blog





Cam. Woah Cam. The turf at the Linc is what Cam Newton will remember most from his trip to Philadelphia for Monday Night Football.

Cam. Woah Cam. The turf at the Linc is what Cam Newton will remember most from his trip to Philadelphia for Monday Night Football.

It was a game with many, many Philadelphia Eagles highlights, as the team extended its record to 7-2 with the 45-21 victory over the Carolina Panthers on Monday night. Blowout games tend to serve as highlight reels for the team doing the blowing out.

The Panthers, on the other hand, were so bad that you felt for them. You knew how awful quarterback Cam Newton must have felt after suffering sack after sack after sack by Eagles defenders, particularly LB Connor Barwin, who played like a man possessed with 3.5 sacks on Newton. Cam was sacked a total of 9 times in the game. Ouch. But he kept getting up, only to receive more punishment.

So many highlights from the Birds this game that it’s hard to pick one – there were the multiple, steady, and productive Mark Sanchez-to-Jordan Matthew’s connections that resulted in two touchdowns. For his part, Sanchez, in his first full game leading the Eagles offense, finished the game with an impressive 20 of 37 for 332 yards and two touchdowns.

Let’s go to an old favorite this season. RB Darren Sproles, the man so foolishly given up by the New Orleans Saints. He just won’t quit, and he has always delivered for this Eagles team.

The Eagles scored in all phases on Monday night – on offense, on defense, and on special teams. Watch Sproles deliver a 65-yard punt return for a touchdown, his second TD of the game – all while still in the first quarter.


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Brandyn Campbell of Philly Sports Muse, for War Room Sports

All eyes on Mark Sanchez as Philadelphia Eagles face Carolina Panthers

Monday, November 10th, 2014

by Brandyn Campbell

Brandyn Blog






As with any game, there are many important aspects of the Philadelphia Eagles on which to focus this Monday night. But who are we kidding?: Tonight’s game against the Carolina Panthers is all about Mark Sanchez.

Every step he takes, every move he makes, we’ll be watching him. Every throw. Every decision. Can Sanchez ably lead the Birds for the six to eight weeks that Nick Foles is expected to be out with a broken collarbone? If so, is he the quarterback on which we should hitch our trailers for an even longer stretch of time? If Sanchez can avoid the turnovers that became an all-too prevalent part of Foles’ performance this season and turn in a series of consistent performances, the answer could be yes. But those are big “ifs”. Sanchez has his own history of turning the ball over to overcome. Since entering the league in 2009, the former USC quarterback has thrown for more interceptions (71) than touchdowns (70) in his career.

Evan Mathis’will return to the o-line just as Todd Herremans exits for the season due to torn biceps. The Eagles have finally found some footing with their running game and would do well to take advantage of the 131.9 yards the Panthers have allowed on the ground each game. With a healthy Chris Polk added to the already powerful mix of LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles, the Birds could have a dynamic game on the ground tonight. The run needs to be a prevalent part of tonight’s game to allow Sanchez time to adjust to the role of signal caller for Philadelphia.

There is another important story to watch as the Eagles take the field at the Linc tonight and for the remainder of the season. How will Philadelphia fill in for the loss of DeMeco Ryans? Defensive coordinator Bill Davis plans for Casey Matthews and Emmanuel Acho to take over Ryans’ middle linebacker responsibility as far as making calls. On the field, the defense will use a combination of Acho, Matthews, and Mychal Kendricks to make up for the loss of Ryans. It’s a similar solution as to when Kendricks was sidelined for several weeks, Davis said last week.

“[Linebackers] Coach Rick Minter does a great job of teaching the concepts of both so we can move multiple guys to the MIKE or the WIL depending on what we need”, Davis said. “Whether we’re in dime or nickel or anything like that. Right now it’s the same rotation as when Mychal [Kendricks] was down. It’ll be [Emmanuel] Acho and Casey [Matthews] handling first and second down duties at the DeMeco spot instead of the Mychal spot. They’re cross-trained and they’ll be fine.”

While the Panthers defense features Luke Kuechly, last year’s Defensive Player of the Year at MLB, it is struggling this season. They have already given up 236 points this season. They gave up only 241 in all of 2013. They are missing Pro Bowl DE Greg Hardy. Their struggles will be a nice complement to an Eagles team adjusting to key losses on both sides of the ball.

Cam Newton and the Panthers’ offense aren’t doing well on any front this year, putting up just 19.7 points per game, 25th in the league. By comparison, the Eagles average 29.2 points per game (5th in the NFL). Newton is completing just 57% of his passes, and Carolina’s receiving corps’ top producers are Greg Olsen, Kelvin Benjamin and former Eagle Jason Avant. Love Avant as we do, that is hardly a stellar lineup. The Panthers are also putting together just 94.7 rushing yards per game, which leaves them with no clear answers for getting points on the board.

A Panthers team with significant issues facing an Eagles team adjusting to key losses on both sides of the ball may make for a more competitive Monday night matchup than we’d like to see. But the Eagles will still prevail.

Prediction: Eagles 24, Panthers 14

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Brandyn Campbell of Philly Sports Muse, for War Room Sports

Philadelphia Eagles flying high after total shutout of New York Giants

Monday, October 13th, 2014

by Brandyn Campbell

Brandyn Blog





BSThe Philadelphia Eagles head into their bye week flying on the highest note possible: On the heels of total shutout of those New York football Giants 27-0. 27-zip. 27-to-nada.

However you say it, the score is beautiful.

This is the game when LeSean McCoy finally got going, notching 149 rushing yards. The tight ends got into the act, with Zach Ertz and James Casey both getting in the endzone. Nick Foles finished the game with 21 for 34 with 248 yards for 2 touchdowns, but also threw two interceptions.

The Eagles defense showed up big time, completely stifling an offense that had averaged 35 points its last few games. But the streaking Giants simply had no answers for the Eagles, who got eight sacks (6 on Eli Manning and 2 on backup Ryan Nassib), limiting the two-time Super Bowl MVP to 13 for 23, 154 yards for exactly 0 touchdowns.

Connor Barwin was an absolute beast, getting to Manning for three sacks. Vinny Curry had a blast getting to the quarterback and sacking the Giants’ QB twice. Brandon Graham, Trent Cole and Brandon Blair also got into the each, notching a sack each.  Much as the New York media wanting to claim dismay at the portrayal of “Lil Eli Manning” in the Eagles cartoons, that’s exactly what he looked like on the field Sunday night.

It’s the first shutout for the Birds since 1996, and the first at Lincoln Financial Field.  Oh, the previous shutout, which took place in December of ’96. Against the Giants. In that game the Eagles won 24-0.

Darren Sproles, who added to the team’s touchdowns on Sunday night, left the game in the fourth quarter with a knee injury. We’ll wait for news and hope that everything is okay with the most dynamic Eagles player this season.

It was the most complete win the Eagles have put together all season. The victory becomes all the more important as the Dallas Cowboys improved to 5 -1 earlier in the day, beating the Seattle Seahawks. Philadelphia retains its lead in the NFC East and has shown just how good–and dangerous–they can look when everyone is on their game. It’s a wonderful sight to behold for Eagles fans, and something that hopefully makes their next several opponents very nervous as they study the Birds’ Week 6 game film.

Cary Williams is a talker, but his line following the game was great:

“Who said we were a soft 4-1? We’re 5-1 now. Is that soft, too?”

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Brandyn Campbell of Philly Sports Muse, for War Room Sports

Total failing by the Philadelphia Eagles’ offense costs game against the San Francisco 49ers (VIDEO)

Monday, September 29th, 2014

by Brandyn Campbell

Brandyn Blog





With the many questions surrounding what this Philadelphia Eagles team is and what it isn’t heading into the fourth game of the season, there was never a question about the offense. The 3-0 start showed that, regardless of the start, the

Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles offense could get nothing going against the San Francisco 49ers.

Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles offense could get nothing going against the San Francisco 49ers.

Birds would and could generate points in a variety of ways. Of course they can–that’s Chip Kelly’s hallmark.

Enter the trip across country to San Francisco to face the 49ers on Sunday, a game that flipped the script of the Eagles’ season so far. Yes, there were highlights, one of which you’ll see below. Even with the offense’s inability to get anything going, the game was within grasp until the last moments of the game. But Philadelphia just couldn’t finish. A 91-yard drive starting at 6:35 in the fourth quarter could have gotten the lead and probably the game for Philadelphia. They got within in 1-yard of the goal line, but they couldn’t seal the deal and fell 21-26.

Ironically, the Eagles didn’t wait until the second half to put points on the board against San Francisco. They got to a quick start and lead the Niners 21-10 at the half, but generated a grand total of 0 points in the second.

Nick Foles’ stat line for the day wasn’t pretty: He was 21 for 43 and 195 with no TDs and two interceptions. Ouch. The Eagles could have used some help from their running game, except it didn’t exist and is going to continue to struggle with the battered offensive line. LeSean ran the ball 10 times for a paltry 17 yards. After the game he called the performance “embarrassing” and said he didn’t want to talk about anything having to do with the run game. Makes sense, but, you’re the running back…

The offense’s implosion came on a day when the defense was stout. They showed that they could contain a potent offense and finally got some pass rush going. Safety Malcolm Jenkins returned an interception 51-yards to account for 6 of the Eagles total 21 points, making him the first in that position since Brian Dawkins to garner an interception in three straight games.

Special teams was amazing and accounted for the other two Eagles touchdowns, both of which occurred in the first half: Brad Smith recovered a blocked punt for a touchdown, then our boy Darren Sproles ran in an 82-yard punt return. 

Quick aside: Please tell me that someone from the Eagles has at least sent flowers to the Saints organization for the acquisition of Jenkins and Sproles, as both seem to be gifts that keep on giving.

The Eagles now fall to 3-1 with a lot of reason for hope, but a number of concerns as well. A performance just as this–for the defense and special teams to step up when the offense falters–illustrates exactly why football is a team sport. But when the offense doesn’t just sputter but totally fails, you have what we witnessed on Sunday. Amazingly, though, the Eagles almost won it.

When we have a week when all phases of the team are firing on all cylinders for the majority of the game, we are going to have something wonderful to behold. It will happen. Having the o-line back to health, when it happens, will help. Until then, keep those Tums nearby.

The first Monday of the season when we’re dealing with a loss. No Dunkin Donuts coffee. The hits just keep coming. Think about this play to make your day a little bit less brutal–Jeremy Maclin’s incredible diving one-handed catch in the drive that almost pulled the Eagles through.

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Brandyn Campbell of Philly Sports Muse, for War Room Sports

Darren Sproles electrifies, ignites Philadelphia Eagles to comeback victory over Indianapolis Colts (GIFs)

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

by Brandyn Campbell

Brandyn Blog





Two words say almost everything you need to know about the Philadelphia Eagles’ 30-27 comeback victory to defeat the Indianapolis Colts on Monday Night Football: Darren. Sproles.DS

Can we talk about what an incredible pickup the former Saints running back was for the Eagles? Not only have Sproles’ performances been outstanding in and of themselves, he has provided a spark at just the right moment in back-to-back games. Sproles has put his team on his back, showed a toughness and done what needs to be done to come out with a W. It’s so Philly. Sproles was Philadelphia’s top receiver with seven catches for 152 yards, with 26 more on the ground and  a touchdown.

Sproles wasn’t the only player to come through big at key moments. Safety Malcolm Jenkins came up with a huge interception of Andrew Luck deep in Eagles territory on 3rd-and-9, a score that would have buried the Eagles for good should the Colts have finished the drive. The pick set up Sproles for his 51-yard screen pass, which ultimately led to the game-tying touchdown by Jeremy Maclin late in the fourth. Cody Parkey then nailed a 36-yard field goal to seal the come from behind victory for the Birds at Lucas Oil Stadium as time ran out on the clock.

The Eagles certainly don’t believe in making things easy. In two games, they have been outscored 34-6 in the first half, then gone on to outscore their opponents 58-10 in the second half. The Birds never make it easy, but 2-0 with some of the most electrifying comebacks in recent history isn’t a bad way to start the season.

Want to rewatch some of Sproles’ great plays from the night in the form of some amazing GIFs? Why, I thought you’d never ask.


Wild ride sees Philadelphia Eagles land on top in opener against Jacksonville Jaguars

Monday, September 8th, 2014

by Brandyn Campbell

Brandyn Blog





It was truly a tale of two halves. The first half was a nightmare; the second, a revelation. Seriously, weren’t they playing Jacksonville? Why were the Philadelphia Eagles such a mess?

In the opening quarters of the game, Foles was unsteady, holding the ball too long. The confidence of last season seemed to elude him. His first half achievements included throwing a red-zone interception and fumbling the ball twice. Much of the offseason chatter revolved around whether Foles could continue his consistent performances. The opening minutes of the 2014 season appeared to tell us that, perhaps, it wouldn’t be as certain as we anticipated.

But not so fast. It’s a 60-minute game, and in case we had forgotten, things change in an instant in the NFL.

Was it, somehow, the way Chip Kelly had drawn up the game plan? “Oh, God no,” said Kelly.

Whatever occurred in the locker room at halftime to right the many, many wrongs of the first half in Sunday’s game worked. Suddenly, the 17-0 shutout became a 34-point run by the Eagles for which the Jaguars had no answer, with Philadelphia securing a convincing 34-17 win.

Thank goodness for special teams, who kept the opening half carnage less than it would have been otherwise. Jacksonville kicker Josh Scobee did the Eagles a solid by missing a 50-yard field goal attempt. Then, when the Jags had an opportunity to extend their lead to 21-0, special teams did the damn thing and DE Brandon Bair blocked a 36-yard FG attempt.

After an awful opening quarter, the defense came back to put in a solid performance. Safety Malcolm Jenkins thought the Eagles being tested early was ideal.

“A team that hasn’t been tested can’t be trusted,” Jenkins said. “This was our opportunity to show what we’re made of, to show what we’re going to do when we face some adversity. I think we responded well.”

Part of the impressive response came at the end of the game to sign, seal and deliver an Eagles win, with big man Fletcher Cox recovering a fumble and taking it in for a 17-yard TD.

The turnaround began with a 49-yard touchdown run by Darren Sproles in the third quarter.  Can you say, great offseason pickup? The run was the longest of his career, and helped ignite an Eagles offense in desperate need of a spark.

Jeremy Maclin was in fine form for his regular season return, with Foles hitting the wide open receiver for a 68-yard TD in the fourth. He finished the day with 97 yards on four catches.

Even on a bad day, Foles threw for 322 yards and two touchdowns. Foles recovery from a bad performance in many ways may have given us more confidence in him than a perfect outing with no issues. You need to know that, even when rattled, your QB can still come back and win the game.

Unfortunately, the second-half comeback couldn’t right all of the wrongs that occurred in the first two quarters of the game. Left guard Evan Mathis was carted off the field with an injury to his left leg. An MRI on Monday to shed light on the extent of his injury, thought to be a sprained MCL. One play after the injury to Mathis, right tackle Allen Barbre, filling in for the suspended Lane Johnson, left the field with an apparent injury to his right leg.

The way this Eagles team was able to settle down and regain focus at the half, then come back to put together a 34-point streak shows what you want to see in a football team. They kept their cool and worked together to dig out of a deficit. Then, once they regained balance, they showed what they can do to get and retain the lead.

What more could you ask for from a Philadelphia season opener? There were boos, then wild cheers, and all while we gave our hearts an amazing workout as it all unfolded.

It’s great to have you back, Eagles football.

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