The Eagles now have 425 or more yards in all 6 games this year. They have scored 30 or more points in 4 of 6 games this year. The offense is working.
Michael Vick was the QB for 4.5 games. Nick Foles was the QB for 1.5 games. On Sunday, Foles showed he can run Chip Kelly’s attack and deliver big results. Did the offense look totally different to you?
I think many of the plays are the same. It is the execution that is different. Foles is more used to the spread offense so throwing short, quick passes comes more naturally to him. He also mixed in deep throws. For the first time in a few games, the Eagles faced a team that used lots of zone coverage. This allowed them to actually mix in WR screens.
The team executed well in the Red Zone, scoring 2 TDs in 3 tries. The Eagles went down and scored a TD on the opening drive for the first time all year. This let the team get out to a lead. It felt like the offense was very crisp early on. I like the play-calling. The Eagles spread the ball around. Damaris Johnson and Jeff Maehl were on the field on the opening drive. The Eagles had a great call on Foles QB draw for the TD.
I thought the coaches had a pretty good plan for dealing with the Bucs defense. They mixed in screen passes. They ran the ball upfield most of the time, but mixed in a couple of outside plays to keep the D honest. The coaches were creative with getting the ball to DeSean Jackson. 6 for 64 yards doesn’t sound great, but it does when you know that Darrelle Revis was on the field, mostly covering DeSean. The Eagles lined him up all over to try and get DJax away from Revis.
You hear coaches all the time talk about the four-minute offense. This is when the team has a lead late in the game and the goal is to move the ball and eat up the clock. First downs are the priority, not points. The Eagles took over possession with 8:03 left in the game while holding an 8-point lead. The Bucs desperately needed a stop. The Eagles ran their four-minute offense. The Eagles ran the ball 11 straight times and moved the ball from midfield down inside the 10-yard line. They kicked a field goal to seal the win. They also ate up almost six minutes of game time. Kelly will be thrilled with that. Great job by Celek and the offensive line on the drive. It was also good to see McCoy and Brown run hard and aggressive. There was no dancing.
* 1st/10. Opening play of the game was a screen. DJax lined up in the backfield and then went in motion. The Bucs were completely confused. Revis didn’t know who to cover and the other DBs/LBs were shifting as the ball was snapped. The play was a screen pass to Shady, away from the side where DJax was. There weren’t defenders to that side and Shady had 2 OL lead him upfield for a gain of 44. The Eagles ran same play in the early 2nd Qtr. Got 11 yds on that screen.
* 1st/GL. Went with 3 x 2 set. Cooper, Ertz and Celek were to the left. DJax was way right. Shady was in the backfield, but more like a wing on the right side. Tampa then had 3 DL down. One DE was upright and way outside. One LB was inside the other outside. It was like 4.5 defenders in the box. Insane. Foles took the shotgun snap and then ran up the middle for an easy TD. Kelce had the key block and sealed the NT.
* 2nd/8 from the 12-yd line. 2 WRs, TE to the left. DJax to the right. Celek ran an underneath crossing route. Foles pump-faked to him and the S bit up. DJax ran a deeper crossing route and was wide open because of the pump fake. Foles made a good throw for the TD.
* 2nd/11 in the early 4th. Foles faked to Shady, with Kelce and Todd pulling to the right. Foles then fired a short pass to Cooper on the left side. Chris Brown of SmartFootball.com said this is an option play where Foles can hand-off or throw. Cooper made the CB miss and raced down the field for a gain of 44.
* 1st/10. Next play after Cooper’s long gain. DeSean was in the right slot, Coop out wide. Both TEs to the left. Foles was under Center. Foles faked to Shady. Ertz moved to the right and blocked that DE. Celek ran a downfield route and drew the attention of the Safety. DJax wasn’t covered by a CB. He had a LB over him and then a S behind that. DeSean flew by the LB and then went by the S to his side. Celek had the other S occupied so DeSean was wide open for a 36-yd TD.
* The Eagles ended the game with a shotgun snap. That was because Tampa is famous for having their DL launch into the OL to try and knock the ball loose when the other team is in the victory formation.
* 7 of 14 on 3rd downs
* 2 for 3 in the RZ
* 5 possessions in the 2nd half: TD, punt, TD, FG, kneel down
FOLES - Terrific game. 22-31-296. 3 TDs. No turnovers. This wasn’t a game where everything came easy to Foles. The Bucs were 8th in scoring defense and 13th in yards against going into the contest. The Bucs had already faced Drew Brees and Tom Brady.
Brees – 26-46-322, 1 TD, 2 INTs … Saints won the game 16-14
Brady – 25-36-225, 2 TDs, 1 INT … Pats won the game 23-3
Compared to that, Foles lit them up.
The numbers were good, but I also think Foles passed the eye test. He was accurate with his passes. He got the ball out quickly at times, but also mixed in deep throws. That was one area that had all Eagles fans/media curious. Could Foles get the ball to DeSean Jackson down the field? Could he stretch the defense?
Foles hit Riley Cooper for a 47-yd TD. He hit DJax for a 36-yd TD. The pass to Cooper was underthrown, but in a reasonable way. Cooper was able to stay on the move and make the catch. He did have to slow down for the ball. DJax had to throttle down on his route as well, but not as much.
My favorite little thing that Foles did was using the pump-fake. He had an 8-yard scoring pass to Jackson. Foles pump-faked and that made the safety bite up, which then left Jackson wide open as he crossed the field. Easy touchdown after that. The Eagles faced a third-and-15 at one point. Foles pump-faked to an underneath target and the safety moved up. Cooper was left wide open over the deep middle for a gain of 17 and an impressive first down. That is good quarterback play.
What about decision-making? I thought Foles mainly did a good job. He only took one sack. He didn’t force the ball into coverage. He was willing to use his check down receivers. My one bit of frustration with Foles is something he’s done since his days in college. Like Eli Manning, he holds the ball as long as possible on some plays and waits for someone to come open. This didn’t hurt the Eagles on Sunday, but I think it is a bad habit to get into. Throw the ball away rather than risk something bad happening.
Foles was 3-4-26 yds with a TD on his passes in the Red Zone. The Eagles were 2 for 2 on trips where they tried to score. Late in the game they were more concerned with running the ball and working the clock than scoring a TD.
We also can’t leave out Foles running skills. He ran a QB draw for a 4-yd TD. He also kept the ball on an option play and got 3 yds. Pretty much Nick Vick.
From a game management standpoint, Foles did a good job. There weren’t any wasted timeouts. There wasn’t confusion at the line of scrimmage about who was supposed to be where. Foles used a hard count late in the game that helped the Eagles get a first down and eat up some clock. Foles looked like a veteran quarterback, not a player making his first start of the season.
Raw notes …. Went sidearm on a throw to Ertz on the opening series. The pass was broken up by a DB, but that was a pretty good throw and it was interesting that Nick made the decision to go sidearm in the middle of a play. Then made a good read that TB was blitzing and then fired a quick pass to Damaris for a short gain. Made an errant throw to Cooper in the early 2nd Qtr. Ball was too far outside. Made real impressive throw at 13:10 of the 2nd Qtr. Had 3rd/15 play. Bucs rushed 4 and got some pressure. Foles stood tall in the pocket. He pump-faked to the left and then hit Cooper over the deep middle for 17 yds. Made an errant throw to Ertz on the right side on that drive. Just put the ball too wide. Hit Cooper for a 47-yd TD in the early 3rd Qtr. Made a good throw. Ball was a bit underthrown, but was in a spot where Cooper could adjust to it and make the catch. Made a good throw to DJax for his long TD. DeSean had to slow down a bit, but the pass was pretty accurate.
SHADY - 25-116 on the ground. 2-55 as a receiver. I don’t know if this was something the coaches focused on or just how things worked, but Shady didn’t dance much. He attacked up the field. Tampa loves to blitz. If you get a crease, you’re better off running north-south. Shady did that and had a good game. Went for 44 yds on the opening play, a pass. Caught a screen to the right and the defense was completely fooled. Shady had blockers in front and lots of room to work with. Got up-ended by Revis on the 2nd series and fumbled as he was about to hit the ground. Ran up the middle on 3rd/1 in the mid-2nd and got 8 yds. Really attacked upfield on the play. Love when Shady runs like that. Got 19 yds on quick hitter up the middle in the mid-3rd. TB only had 5 defenders in the box and Shady flew right up the middle. Good 7-yd run on 2nd/8 late in the game. Hard yards. Got 8 yds on 3rd/12 at the end of the game. Good run.
B BROWN - 5-20 on the ground. Better than last year’s 12 for 6 showing vs Tampa. Had 2 runs on the opening drive. Got a 1st down and set up 1st/GL. Had a run near the 10-yd line in the mid-2nd. Gained 2 yds to the outside. I loved the fact he finished his run. Lowered his shoulder and hit the DB, instead of taking the hit. Ran hard late in the game. Got 9 yds on a run to the outside.
POLK - Injured his shoulder and left the game.
CELEK - Good game. Only 1-10 as a receiver, but did an excellent job as a blocker. Had good block of LB on Brown’s run to the right side on the opening series. That let Brown get to the edge cleanly. Drove Teo-Nesheim 4 yds off the ball on early run play. Excellent block. Caught TE screen in the early 2nd. Got 10 yds on the play. Took an awkward shot on that play. Had a great block of Clayborn on a run by Shady in the mid-4th. Sealed him and let Shady get wide for a gain of 8. On the next play Brent drove the backup DE off the ball and gave Brown a free shot at the outside.
ERTZ - 3-13. Not flashy numbers. Caught short pass over middle on 3rd/5. Got 6 yds. Got pushed back on WR screen. Was blocking CB, but the guy had leverage and Ertz couldn’t move him. Caught 5-yd pass as dump-off receiver on 3rd/long in the mid-3rd. Blocked DE just enough on Foles deep TD to Jackson.
CASEY - DNP. Had been injured in practice last week.
IGWENAGU - DNP
D JACKSON - Good game. 6-64. Targeted 6 times and caught all 6 passes. Had 2 TDs. This was the first game of his NFL career with 2 TD receptions, which I find to be mind-blowing. I mentioned in my game preview that the Eagles could be creative with DJax and sure enough they opened the game with him in the backfield. He then motioned to the left and they threw a screen to the right. Jackson was a great decoy as the play went for 44. First catch came a few plays later. Lined up in the left slot and ran a short route over the middle on 3rd/2. Caught pass for a gain of 5. Didn’t have a good block of Revis on 2nd series and that led to tackle that made Shady fumble. Caught screen pass in the late 1st Qtr and got a few yds. Caught quick screen for a gain of 4 in the early 2nd Qtr. Caught a short pass before the half. Made one dumb move. Ran out of bounds. That stopped the clock at :08 and forced the Eagles to punt. The 36-yd TD involved a good route. Jack was in the right slot. He used his speed to get up the field and just overwhelm the S. Jackson vs Revis wasn’t a true battle since it wasn’t mostly man coverage, but you’d have to give DJax the advantage.
AVANT - 4-21 as a receiver.Had a really strong day as a blocker, both in the run and pass game. Caught a short pass in the left flat and fought upfield for a 1st down. Caught short pass over the middle on the opening series of the 2nd half.
COOPER - Best game of his young career. 4-120-1. Caught pass on the second play of the game. Short crossing route. Riley got it and went upfield for a gain of 14. I love the fact that Riley lowered his shoulder and attacked the DB. Big guys need to play big. Had the 47-yd TD. Was fast enough to get by the CB initially and then used his size to fight off the CB and make the catch. Again, played big. Caught short pass on the left side and made the CB miss. Took off upfield and got 44 yds on the play. You could see his lack of speed. LB caught him from behind.
D JOHNSON - Caught short pass on opening drive. Got 8 yds. S made a quick tackle.
MAEHL - Caught pass on WR screen in the early 2nd Qtr. Got upfield for a gain of 5. Got mixed into the game a decent amount.
* The Bucs blitz a lot. They also use more DL stunts, slants and loops than any other team in the league right now. That really challenges the OL and QB to know what is coming and to stop it.
* Foles had pass deflected on 3rd series. RT and Shady went to block same guy and left #59 unblocked so he hit the ball.
* Only sack came early on. LB flew off the edge, unblocked. Brent and Shady were to that side, but both released into pass routes. Seems like some kind of play or blocking audible should have been called. One replay made it look like Peters was at fault, but the protection seemed to be sliding right. Not sure who is to blame.
* Bucs almost got a sack in the late 1st Qtr. Blitzed 2 DBs off the OL’s right side. Shady got the inside rusher. Outside guy came free. Looked like Avant might have been open, but will need to see the All-22 to know. Foles held the ball even as the DB tried to tackle him. Finally threw it away late. Riskier than I like.
* Bucs got TFL when RDE fired through the G/T gap and hit Shady in the backfield.
* Foles had to throw the ball away in the early 2nd Qtr when a LB came free off the edge. Another play where the TE and RB both released and there was no one to block the blitzer.
* Bucs used a LB twist to almost get a sack in the mid-3rd.
PETERS - Good game. There was some confusion on blitzes/stunts, but did a good job when blocking a guy 1-on-1. Watching Peters run block Daniel Teo-Nesheim wasn’t exactly fair. Peters hurt his shoulder on the opening drive of the 3rd Qtr. Came back into the game either late 3rd or early 4th. Lined up on the right side for a run play. Drove the LDE off the ball a few yds and gave Shady lots of room to run. That was on 3rd/2.
MATHIS - Generally did a good job of blocking McCoy. Kept him under control. Had a good subtle block of LB on TE screen in the early 2nd Qtr. Just hit the guy from the side and kept him out of the play. Wasn’t “wow” hit, but key block on the play. Got beat by McCoy just before the half. He pressured Foles and forced a bad throw. Did a good job vs the NT anytime he faced him. Not a flashy day, but a good one.
KELCE - Good block on the opening play. Hustled downfield on a screen pass and took out the first defender that came close to Shady. Picked up McCoy when he got by Todd on the 2nd play. That gave Nick time to throw. Totally controlled the NT when facing him 1-on-1. Did a good job on plays when he got out in space (screens, outside runs).
HERREMANS - Another good showing. Had good block on 2nd Qtr screen pass to the right side. Caved in the NT on inside run where Shady got 19 yds up the middle. Called for holding in the mid-3rd. Did have his hand on the back of a LB, but seemed like a ticky-tack call. To be fair, looked like Barbre did hold. Todd got beat by McCoy on the next play. That flushed Foles. Helped keep McCoy under control most of the game. Had some good blocks as the team ran to the right side a lot on the final drive.
JOHNSON - Good game. Lined up to the left side on early inside run play and drove the NT off the ball, giving room for Brown to run for a 1st down. Wasn’t able to sustain block of McCoy and he hit Shady at the LOS in the early 3rd Qtr. Caved in DTN on run play to that side in the early 3rd Qtr. I didn’t see him getting beat in pass pro. The team ran to the right side quite a bit in the game and Johnson was able to seal on some plays and get movement on others.
BARBRE - Came into the game when Peters got hurt. First assignment was to block McCoy. Did that on inside run play. Had a good block of Clayborn on Cooper’s long TD catch. Clayborn got off his block and stuffed run play in the mid-3rd.
TOBIN - DNP
VANDERVELDE - DNP
KELLY - DNP