Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Eagles vs. Raiders: Behind the Numbers 2013

I'm at a loss for words after this game, but for a different, better reason than last week. The Philadelphia Eagles destroyed (not dominated - more on that later) the Oakland Raiders on their home turf, 49-20. And it wasn't even as close as the 29 point margin, either. Nick Foles clearly bounced back in a big way, throwing for over 400 yards and an NFL record-tying 7 touchdown performance. Peyton who? Nah, he's not on that level, but Eagles fans have to be at least somewhat excited to have him start at QB for the foreseeable future (with Michael Vick's status being unknown). Before we look at the numbers, keep in mind that a blowout in score may not be a blowout in stats:

Like I said, just because the Eagles dominated the scoreboard doesn't mean they dominated the game. I'll talk more about garbage time, which clearly played a part in the seemingly even (or even skewed towards the Raiders) statistics between Oakland and Philadelphia. However, let's look at them as is for now.

Aside from the massive difference in score, the first thing that stands out is the discrepancy between offensive plays, and average gain. "Holy shit" is the phrase that comes to mind: The Raiders ran a whopping 92 plays, a ridiculous 35 more than the Eagles, but Philadelphia gained an excellent 9.5 yards per gain to a very good 6.1 by Oakland. Despite outscoring their opponent by 29, the Eagles gained less net yards, somehow less rushing yards, and less first downs. Basically, they capitalized much better than Oakland on the chances they had, while also fairing better on third downs (40% to 33%), committing less penalties for less yards, and managing 2 takeaways. Enough numbers, let's get to the commentary...

I'll definitely start with the offense this week, though there isn't much to criticize when you have 7 offensive touchdowns. Hell, they had more touchdowns in the first half (4) than they did the previous 2 full games (0). You can contribute some of their success to poor Raiders defense, but you can't deny that Nick Foles looked sharper and made better decisions in this game. He had 1 less incompletion (6) than he did touchdown passes, so clearly he was doing something right. DeSean Jackson and Riley Cooper both had monster games, so hopefully that continues. Another thing I hope continues is the play of the offensive line, especially the pass block. Foles had all day to throw, and he certainly made the most of that. All in all, a perfect 158.3 passer rating for Foles, and a great offensive game.

Can you even say the defense played well if they gave up over 500 yards of total offense? In this case, believe it or not, I'd say yes. Here is where garbage time comes in. The game was basically over at the half, with Philadelphia up by 15. But for the sake of argument, I'll say the game was truly over after the third quarter, with the score 49-13. Until that point, the Eagles defense had let up a mere 13 points, and allowed 348 net yards. After that quarter? 7 more points, and another 187 net yards. That 4th quarter output from the Raiders accounted for 54% of their points, and 35% percent of their net yards. So with that information in mind, I'd say another great effort by the defense. 4th game in a row allowing 20 points or less, which will win you games more often than not. Pass rush was slightly better than previous weeks, but still needs improvement. Secondary played well again, allowing only one play over 27 yards. They were able to cover well throughout the game, not giving Terrelle Pryor many options to target. Run defense can also use improvement. Solid B effort all around.

If both offense and defense are clicking like they did this week, then this team actually has a chance at the division.

-Time of possession failed miserably to "predict" this week's game. 7-2 overall.
-Speaking of TOP, the longest Eagles drive was only 3:58. However, this is OK if the offense is scoring and the defense is holding the opposition. TOP is the least of a team's worries when they score 49 points.
-With Foles' performance on Sunday, I wouldn't be surprised if Vick was "injured" for at least a few more weeks. He certainly deserves to start, as he gives the best chance for the Birds to win for now.
-Riley Cooper had a career day, and is clearly Nick Foles' favorite target.
-Glad to see DeSean Jackson back there returning punts. He at least provides some threat.
-What has happened to LeSean McCoy? Third week in a row that he has failed to rush for 100 yards.
-With Aaron Rodgers out for possibly 4-6 weeks (a big FU to the fantasy football gods), this week's game at Green Bay suddenly looks winnable. Why? Green Bay isn't the same team with Seneca Wallace at QB, and the improved Philly defense stands a fighting chance.

(Eagles vs. Raiders PDF)

Last week vs. New York Giants: L, 15-7
Next week at Green Bay: Sunday, 1pm

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