Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Eagles vs. Redskins: Behind the Numbers 2013

Well, one way for the Eagles to sucker me in to doing another season of Behind the Numbers is to start the year with a excellent win over the Washington Redskins (even though they started last year 2-0). If you don't know what Behind the Numbers is already, check out last year's installments by clicking the tag below this post. Without further ado, let's start the first entry of the 2013 season:

Right off the bat, I'll let everyone know that I added a new category this year: Points Off Turnovers. I felt like this was an important stat to keep track of; obviously turnovers are a huge indication of the quality of a team, but if the other team can't capitalize on said turnovers then it doesn't matter as much. Right? Right. Let's analyze! 

The first thing that sticks out is obviously the discrepancy in rushing yards. The Eagles amassed a ridiculous 263 yards on the ground, to just 74 for the Redskins (yes, even with RG3 and Alfred Morris). This is partly due to the Eagles building a 26-7 lead by halftime, but mainly due to the absurd running skills displayed by LeSean McCoy. Did you see those cuts and jukes? Holy crap, he made the Redskins defense look like a high school team, averaging 5.8 yards per carry. Moving away from the run game, the Eagles came out on top for offensive plays, net yards, average gain (which matched McCoy's), first downs, third down conversions, and points off turnovers. They even did better than the 'Skins in the "bad" categories: penalties (8 vs 10), penalty yards (75 vs 65), and turnovers (2 vs 3). The only advantage that Washington had? Passing yards, which makes sense given that the Redskins tried to overcome a huge 26 point deficit. I was most impressed with the Birds 3rd down conversions, which at 47% is a huge improvement from last year's average (37%).  More after the jump!

As a whole, I thought the offense played great. I would have liked to see a few more points on the board, but they were clearly playing (almost too) conservative in the second half. It really was a tale of two halves, as the Eagles dominated the first half in every facet but were overshadowed by the Redskins in the second half (or at least the final quarter). Good news for Philadelphia is that Michael Vick, McCoy, and DeSean Jackson were able to put enough points on the board and waste enough clock to get the W. They also won the time of possession battle as seen above, which is usually a good indicator of the winning team. Despite 2 turnovers none were interceptions, which reflects Vick's good decision making in this game. The new offense under new head coach Chip Kelly seemed to gel immediately and looked good throughout the game. Take away that bizarre fumble to start the Eagles' first drive, and this match-up could have been very lopsided. 

On the defensive side; wow. That sums it up for the most part. I can say that I did not expect the Birds defense to play so well, and I'd guess that plenty others would share that sentiment. It was expected that the defense would be the weak point for this team, but they surprised everyone in Week 1 by playing tough against the Redskins' numerous weapons, only allowing 20 points whilst containing RG3 and intercepting him twice, recovering a fumble, and recording a safety. I do think they faded a little bit down the stretch and allowed a lot of yards through the air, but hopefully this was due to playing conservative and not a sign of things to come (remember the 2011 season? No? Good, you've erased it from your memory too). Jury is still out on this defense, but if their surprise shocking performance on Monday night was any indication, then things may be on the upswing for the 2013 Philadelphia Eagles.

-What a catch by Cary Williams! His interception of RG3 in the third quarter was a great read, and a great overall play.
-I'm not sure who the safety was defending the last touchdown pass by Washington, but learn to time your jump! He was in position to easily intercept that pass.
-Jason Avant, who usually has great hands, fumbled the ball while trying to stretch for a few more yards. He's the type of player who will learn from that, and I bet it won't happen again.
-RG3 almost redeemed himself in the second half, but played like shit in the first half. He may have rushed back too soon.
-The Redskins average start on kickoffs was their own 17 yard line. The Eagles made a few good plays to stop any kind of lengthy return by the 'Skins.
-The Eagles scored on 5 of 13 real drives, but 4 of those were in the first half. Second half improvement needs to be made, as 1 for 5 won't cut it.
-I'm cautiously optimistic for this season now... After being fairly disinterested this summer to excited the last couple of weeks, I can say I'm looking forward to what this season brings. But like I said, cautiously optimistic.
-Next week brings San Diego into Philadelphia, who showed that they can't close out a game last Monday vs. Houston. I'm predicting an Eagles win.

Last year: 4-12
Next week vs. Chargers: Sunday 1pm

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