Aug 212010

The Eagles' LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson

August 21 Philadelphia Inquirer

“The Red Zone derailed the Eagles yet again Friday night.

The first-team offense moved the ball well for the second straight week – until it got inside the Bengals’ 30-yard line – and the Bengals beat the Eagles, 22-9. The loss evened the Eagles’ preseason record to 1-1.

“If you have opportunities in the red zone you can’t have penalties,” Eagles coach Andy Reid said, “and you have to make plays down there and score touchdowns instead of field goals.”

“It sucks that we didn’t get in there,” running back LeSean McCoy said. “We’ve been practicing and focusing on that.”

Relying, as usual, on the passing game, two drives stalled deep in Bengals territory. Quarterback Kevin Kolb and the starting offense produced just six points from David Akers, matching the red-zone problems that showed up in the Eagles’ first preseason game against the Jaguars.

Also worrisome was a left shoulder contusion suffered by Jeremy Maclin, who left the game in the second quarter. But X-rays on Maclin were negative, and Reid said, “He should be OK.”

One potential touchdown was wiped out by an illegal formation penalty on tackle Jason Peters.

“We just have to execute in the red zone. I missed a throw there in the end zone, and we also had that penalty cost us,” Kolb said in comments distributed by the Eagles. “I think we did some good things. It was a positive day, but we have to start fine-tuning those details.”

The Eagles’ best chance came late in the second quarter, when they advanced to the 7-yard line. The lack of a traditional running game, though, was apparent. On first down, McCoy took a direct snap and was stopped for no gain. The next three plays were passes. One that went to Jason Avant would have been a score if not for the Peters penalty. The other two were to receivers outside the end zone as the Bengals sat back in coverage.

In the middle of the field, Kolb and the offense advanced the ball well but almost exclusively through the air. DeSean Jackson had four catches for 74 yards, and Kolb was 11 for 17 for 126 yards passing.

But Kolb’s accuracy dipped when he approached the end zone. On one drive, he missed three consecutive passes from the Bengals‘ 22, overthrowing an open Avant in the end zone on second down and throwing into traffic on third, allowing Bengals safety Rico Murray to get two hands on the ball.

“First of all, they have a good defense. Our running game needs to get going a little bit earlier,” Kolb said. “We were able to move the ball and got into the red zone and should have had some scores there.””

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