Monday, October 8, 2012

Eagles vs. Steelers: Behind the Numbers

We're now in week 5 of "BTN" and the stats are perhaps the most telling they've been all season. No surprises really, but we'll take a look:


Like I said, based strictly on the stats, this game turned out exactly how'd you expect for the Eagles. The Steelers beat the Eagles in every stat (including penalties) except turnovers. Surprise!  Michael Vick fumbled 3 times and lost 2 of those, while the Steelers did not turn the ball over. Guess who won? However despite being out-gained by about 100 net yards (and 50+ rush yards) this game came down to a last second field goal just like last week's game against the Giants. This time though, the Birds weren't so lucky and lost by 2 in the final seconds. In the end, the Eagles offense and defense failed to make a big play.

While the 2 fumbles by Vick didn't lead to any Pittsburgh points, it still cost the team. One of the fumbles was lost on the goal line, which easily would have been at least 3 points; even this would have forced Pittsburgh to go for a touchdown as time expired, and who knows how that would have turned out. It also stalled a Philadelphia offense that looked pretty good on their first 2 drives. The next possession resulted in another fumble, but the defense came up big on a 4th down play. The next 2 drives lasted barely over 2 minutes, and resulted in punts. Sure would have been nice to have some points on the board early instead of waiting until the second half, no?

The Eagles fared much better in the second half (thanks to some penalties from Pittsburgh), scoring on 2 of their 3 drives. If 3 drives seems like a small amount for an entire half, just take a look at the time of possession chart above. The Steelers clearly controlled the ball better, taking up the last 6:33 of the game before they kicked a field goal. How is that possible? Easy! You challenge a play you shouldn't challenge and call a BS timeout shortly after, leaving you with only 1 timeout left with 10:35 left in the 4th quarter. Yes, I'm talking about time management from Andy Reid, shocking I know.

Speaking of something actually shocking, can we talk about how the Eagles haven't had a sack in over 2 whole games? That's right, no sacks for the second straight week. Did they replace Jason Babin and Trent Cole with high school players? They're getting pressure, but it's not enough. Ben Roethlisberger snaked in and out of tackles when he had to, but looked waaaaaaaay too comfortable on most drives, especially the last couple. Kudos to the Eagles defense for only allowing 16 points (1 touchdown and 3 field goals) but like I mentioned above, they were unable to force a turnover or get a stop late in the game. I'm not going to pin this on the defense though, as the offense needs to score more often. 14 points does not win a lot of games, and neither does gaining less than 200 yards passing and less than 100 rushing. This offense is capable of doubling both those figures, which they have already done.  This team is becoming frustrating to watch. Next week better be a blowout against the Lions so I can shut up.

-Timeout use was awful in the second half of a close game, and the challenge was awful considering they went for it on 4th down anyway.
-Speaking of that 4th down call: gutsy, but proved to be necessary.
-The defense is playing well still, and has kept the Eagles in every game thus far. I think it's safe to say we can pin the 2 losses on turnovers and lack of scoring.
-Run defense looked suspect yesterday, but I'm gonna assume it was a fluke.
-I'm not going to say to get rid of Vick, because I don't think it's time for that yet. However, he needs to take a class on securing the ball.
-Minus the fumbles, Vick played an excellent game as QB, with a rating in the 100s. He wasn't able to produce a deep pass play like we've grown accustomed to. Credit the Steelers defense for that.
-Like I bolded above, frustration is the main emotion when watching this team.

(Eagles at Steelers PDF)

Last week vs. Giants: W, 19-17
Next week vs. Lions: Sunday 1pm

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