Monday, September 22, 2014

Eagles vs Redskins: Behind the Numbers 2014

Well, looks like the Eagles finally decided to show up for a full game! Unfortunately no one informed the defense, which was essentially non-existent the entire game. The offense picked up the slack though, as the Philadelphia Eagles beat their divisional rivals Washington Redskins in exciting fashion 37-34. 3-0 for the first time since 2004! It was certainly an exciting offensive shootout (I think both teams are still scoring touchdowns), so let's see how the numbers support what we saw:

Pros: Score and penalties I guess? Cons: Nearly everything else! While the numbers here certainly support the shoot-out we all watched, one may think the Redskins were the victors.  They out gained the Eagles in total, passing, and rushing yards, outdoing them by an average of 1 yard per gain (a good 6.7 to a respectable but low (for the Birds) 5.7). Philly was unable to get Washington off the field, allowing them to convert 53% of their third downs. They were only able to convert 36% of their own, which is a huge discrepancy. First downs were 27-22 in favor of the Redskins. Perhaps most surprisingly was the fact that Washington only accumulated 84 yards on the ground, yet the Eagles had even less (54). I would not have believed you if you told me that before the game. Both teams committed way too many penalties (19 total) but the dirty Redskins fared worse with 131 penalty yards to a mere 70 yards in comparison. Both teams capitalized equally from the one turnover they each had, notching a field goal as a result.


When McCoy and Sproles aren't running the ball too well -you can blame the offense line for that- you hope somebody steps up on the Eagles offense. Luckily they had plenty of volunteers as Nick Foles put in a solid character building effort (no turnovers, 114.4 rating), with Jeremy Maclin and Jordan Matthews each catching 8 throws. Maclin finished with 154 yards and a TD for a 19.3 average, with a long of 50. I've said it after both games so far, but he is really becoming a great deep threat to replace the one we lost (see below). Not to be outdone was Jordan Matthews, as this was his "coming out party" so to speak. He caught all but one ball thrown his way, making some great grabs along the way to his 59 yard, 2 TD performance.

The Philadelphia offensive line may not have done much for the running game, but they also allowed no sacks to Washington's pass rush. Nick Foles got banged around a little bit, but managed to get up everytime. The O-line certainly has room for improvement, but the task is even tougher now with Jason Kelce going down for an extended period of time. Despite being pressured, hit, and knocked down, Foles looked quite good. He made better decisions and better throws this game, and really seems to have a hold on this offense (though still room for improvement). When he's making plays, the Eagles offense is smooth, quick, and nearly unstoppable. They put up 30+ points in 3 straight games to start the season, and it's scary to imagine what they can do with a little fine tuning. Now if we can only get the defense to step up a bit more...


Yes, the Eagles did play a defense yesterday despite what you saw. I don't really need to say much more aside from pointing out that they gave up over 500 yards of total offense, with 427 of them through the air. Obvious room for improvement is obvious. How did a pass defense that held Andrew Luck in check manage to make Kirk Cousins look like the next Peyton Manning? For the second week in a row, the pass rush wasn't helping things. They managed no sacks again, and other than a couple knockdowns never really pressured Cousins. I was nervously waiting for Philly to give up the big play, and they finally did with 2:13 left in the third on an 81 yard TD to DeSean Jackson. They would go on to let up passes of 55 and 43 yards in the 4th, dashing any hopes I had at redemption. Oh by the way, those 3 plays accounted for 35% of their total passing yards.

The run defense seemed to switch roles with the pass defense this week, allowing only 84 yards on the ground with a long run of only 12. They seemed to wrap up a little bit better, but still allowed some extra yards after contact. Not much else to say here, but the absence of Mychal Kendricks was evident.

Malcolm Jenkins (3 combined tackles, 2 passes defensed) had another late interception (I can get used to this!) that wound up putting the Eagles up by 10 with just under 6 minutes left to play. He's as clutch as can get, and again looks to be worth the pickup. Other standouts included Bradley Fletcher who was basically involved in every play. He finished with 9 solo tackles and 2 passes defensed, though he was burned on a play and called for a penalty (that I don't agree with). The secondary was busy with Nate Allen (7 combined tackles), Cary Williams (5 solo tackles, 1 pass defensed), and Brandon Boykin (3 tackles, 1 pass defensed) all chipping in.

There were several times throughout the game where I said the Birds D needed to step up after the offense scored, but failed to do so most of the time. I'll leave on a positive though; they really stepped up once Washington got the ball on the Eagles 41, needing only 10 yards for a potential game tying field goal. They allowed none, as the Redskins turned the ball over on downs to seal the game.

Special Teams

Guys, I think Cody Parkey is the real deal. He notched another 3 field goals this week, including a booming 51 yarder (now 2-2 from 50+) for the game winner. He was awesome again on kickoffs, with 7 of 8 in the endzone and 5 touchbacks. The coverage team performed well too, as they allowed only 46 yards on 3 returns.

I listed him first for special teams, despite another obvious MVP of the game: Chris Polk. He returned Washington's first kickoff for an amazing 102 yard touchdown, which was the Eagles first since 2008 (!). He returned his other attempt for a decent 35 yards, and looks to be a great choice for the rest of the season.

Donnie Jones didn't have a chance to punt until the second half, and he may have been a bit rusty. After 2 punts inside the 20, he completely botched one (31 yards) after a 3-and-out late in the 4th quarter (he had a 59 yarder right before that called back on a terrible holding call). Luckily the Eagles defense held tight, and made it irrelevant. Sproles was close to breaking another punt return, and did well again on his 2 returns.


-The Eagles scored on 6 of 11 real possessions, which was essentially the same as last week (6 of 12). They punted 4 times, but 2 were after 3-and-outs. 17-37 on the season.
-I think the red zone playcalling was a little better than last week, but Chip Kelly still made some bad calls on Philly's second drive of the 3rd quarter.
-I appreciate nothing more than a great defensive back play, whether it be an interception or even a knocked down or tipped pass. Of course this happens less and less since every play is flagged. Let them play a little!
-Everyone saw the brawl, so I won't say much about it. It was a dirty hit, but Jason Peters showed a lot of pride by going after Chris Baker. Fuck that guy.
-Redskins played dirty the whole game. There were plenty of head first hits and almost late tackles.
-I asked last week how often a game with no sack happens. Often enough to happen 2 weeks in a row apparently! And this anomaly happened only a week after Washington recorded 10 sacks.
-TOP as the indicator of the winner was wrong again. 1-2 on the season. The Eagles made it respectable in the 2nd half, but before halftime the Redskins had the ball for nearly 23 of 30 minutes.
-Does Cary Williams ever shut his mouth?
-Fact of the week: The Eagles are now the only team in NFL history to win their first 3 games after being down by 10 or more points.

(Eagles vs Redskins PDF)

Last week @ Indianapolis: W 30-27
Next week @ San Francisco 49ers (1-2): Sunday 4:25pm

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