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The former Steelers first round pick has taken plenty of criticism, and he may not have the overall ability of Eagles RB LeSean McCoy, but Mendenhall showed all naysayers why he's the feature back of this team. He ran with balance, quickness and purpose. He avoided tackles in the hole, and either broke in one direction to gain more yards, or continued on his path and eluded tackles to gain other yards.
His five first downs in his one-game return to the field is exactly half of what Isaac Redman has gained in four games. and his 81 yards is more than three times Redman's average for the season (28.3).
Offensive line coach Sean Kugler
As a group, the offensive line run-blocked better than they have all season, by a noticeable margin. Mendenhall deserves much of the credit, but the blocking created opportunities for him. Outside of a sloppy game all-around in terms of penalties (left guard Willie Colon in particular), this group looked prepared to play - pissed off, even.
Give credit to the five (plus) players who were on the field, but clearly, Kugler demanded improved performance from them this week. And he got it. Zero sacks allowed. Say it again to yourself. It's fun.
Just a sensational game by the middling linebacker. He saw the play develop before the Eagles executed it, and was a pain in their collective posteriors all game.
As RB LeSean McCoy said after the game, "I don't know how I can say this humble ... we felt like we could drive on them," McCoy said.
I don't know how I can say this (sic) humble, but they couldn't. Timmons was a big part of that.
Perhaps "losers" is too strong a word, but between the three receivers, there were five drops - three by Wallace and two by Brown - and two blown touchdown opportunities - a drop by Brown and Cotchery tripping over his feet in front of the end zone. Brown made up for it with a huge catch on a 3rd-and-12 pass solidifying any doubt he may have created. Not a good game for Wallace, however, and Cotchery has to be steamed about blowing his chance to make a play.
The last of four holding penalties called against Colon may have been more of a "if you've gotten flagged three times, the fourth time probably isn't going to be in your favor" situation, but Colon did not impress in pass protection. Tempering the criticism a little bit, the Eagles are strong, aggressive and chippy up front, and it's not the easiest assignment. He's also part of an offensive line that yielded zero sacks for the first time this season.
Center-to-Quarterback Shotgun Exchange
A lot of the no-huddle is run out of the shotgun. It's hard to run the no-huddle when the center and quarterback are not on the same page as far as when the ball will be snapped or the velocity at which the ball will be delivered. Center Maurkice Pouncey and Ben Roethlisberger looked like they'd never worked out of the shotgun before, leading to two blown plays early in the game. It stalled an offense that hadn't been stalled in that fashion this season.