6:44

Posted: October 1st, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 241 Comments »

The Eagles defense played the entire game with a lead, but struggled in the 2nd half and let the Chargers get with 26-24 with 6:44 left. That’s when the offense came back on the field.

They never left.

The Big Boys up front took control and the RBs pounded the rock, play after play. The Eagles ate up the final 6:44. The Chargers burned through all three timeouts and the 2-minute warning, but the Eagles just kept driving the ball. When is the last time you remember the Eagles eating up that much clock to seal a game?

Rookie Corey Clement started the drive and helped move the chains initially. Then it was time for the Hammer and LeGarrette Blount came in. He ran for 3, 6 and 14 yards to put the game away.

The Eagles ran for 240 214 yards. They won time of possession 39:18 to 20:42.

When I wrote my preview for this week, I focused on the Eagles need to stay grounded, both in terms of the offense running the ball and the team being focused and getting past last week’s huge win. The coaches did both. They had the players focused and ready. And they fed the ball to the RBs. Blount, Smallwood and Clement all had 10 or more carries. Smallwood and Blount added receptions that covered more than 20 yards.

The other huge part of this game was Jake Elliott. He was 4 for 4 on FGs, and none of them were short. The longest was 53 yards. Those were no-doubt kicks. The ball exploded off his foot and went right down the middle.

Great job all around.

The Eagles are 3-1. They lead the NFC East. They are 2-1 on the road and 2-0 in the division. And they did all of this with all kinds of injury issues.

There are plenty of things for the coaches to correct and this team has a long way to go, but right now there is a lot to be happy about with this team.

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Gameday – PHI at LAC

Posted: October 1st, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 922 Comments »

Kickoff in about 30 mins.

No real shockers. Seumalo was active last week, but that was a fluke. There were so many injuries the Eagles kept 8 OL active. Under Doug Pederson, they normally keep 7 guys active on gameday.

Looks like a home game based on the crowd.

I’m really interested to see how both teams play today. Chargers are desperate to avoid 0-4. Eagles are anxious to get a win on the west coast and advance to 3-1. The last win in California came when it was a territory, not a state. Or at least it seems like that.

Run the ball on offense.

Hit Rivers on defense.

Good things should happen.

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Chargers Preview

Posted: October 1st, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 55 Comments »

I like to break the NFL season into quarters. Sunday is the fourth game of the season and the Eagles can be sitting at 3-1. That would be especially impressive for a team that played three road games and had to deal with serious injury issues. It may not seem like it, but this is a big game on Sunday.

I wrote a preview for PE.com.

The Eagles need to run the ball. That’s not just me trying to be old school. The Chargers struggle at stopping the run. They have outstanding pass rushers. This is a team you want to pound on. Move the ball and wear down their pass rushers.

Melvin Ingram is one of those pass rushers. He’s off to a kinda decent start.

The Eagles have good OTs, but you don’t want Ingram flying off the edge all afternoon. Let the big guys mash on him and try to wear him down.

As for the Eagles DL…

Hamilton had a terrific summer and could have easily made the roster. That turned out to be one of the deepest parts of the team. With Fletcher Cox and Destiny Vaeao both out, adding Hamilton made sense. I hope he gets to play and has some success. Would be good to see him rewarded after a strong summer.

I’m really curious about the atmosphere.

With enough Eagles fans in the stands we know it won’t be quiet. They will be cheering or booing, but they will make noise.

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Off to San Diego

Posted: September 30th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 73 Comments »

Did you think I forgot?

When I see “LAC”, I think of the Los Angeles Clippers, not the Los Angeles Chargers. No doubt about it, Sunday is going to be strange.

I don’t have a good feel for this game and I certainly don’t have a good feel for the Chargers. They’re 0-3, but that team has serious talent at multiple spots. This is not the same thing as facing the 0-3 Browns or Niners, two teams that are clearly building for the future. When you have Antonio Gates and Philip Rivers, you are trying to win now.

I mentioned San Diego in the title because this is going to be an odd trip for the Eagles. They are going to play in a stadium that holds 27,000 fans. That’s not a stadium, it’s a shoe box. The field is regulation size, obviously, but playing in a tiny stadium can be a distraction. Making things even more confusing, there will be a lot of Eagles fans in the stands. This place may seem like The Linc Jr. on Sunday.

The best road teams treat away games as business trips. They stay focused on and off the field. They are disciplined. They don’t make mistakes.

We didn’t see that from the Eagles last year. They went 1-7 on the road and played very sloppy football. Their first road loss was at Detroit. The Eagles had 14 penalties and a fumble late in the game helped to cause them to blow a lead.

The next week against the Skins, the Eagles had 13 penalties and allowed five sacks. That was just too much for the team to overcome.

The next week was the meltdown in Dallas. The most overlooked play in that game was a fake punt that went for 30 yards. The Eagles were leading 20-10 and had control of the game. If the Eagles stop that play, they are in scoring position and who knows how things turn out.

The Eagles got really creative with how they were going to lose on the road. That has to change this year if the team is going to take the next step and become a winning team. Instead of making critical mistakes, they need to start making critical plays. The team did that in D.C., but not in KC.

That’s what makes this Chargers game so interesting. This is a long trip, but there won’t be significant crowd noise to overcome. The Chargers don’t have any home field mystique at the new venue. This is a road game, but isn’t like any game the Eagles have played in a long time.

The Eagles do have some injuries to deal with.

This isn’t going to be easy.

Winning this week wouldn’t mean the Eagles are now a good road team, but it would be a sign the team is headed in the right direction. Remember that they’ve already matched last year’s road win total. Playing on the west coast is never easy and not having Fletcher Cox is a huge loss. Good road teams get past issues like these and find a way to win.

*****

Jimmy Bama did a good piece on Wendell Smallwood and his blocking.

RBs aren’t getting on the field if they can’t pass protect. Smallwood has shown real progress in that area. With Darren Sproles out for the season (hurts to write that), the Eagles need Smallwood to earn some of his play time.

So far, so good.

*****

Great clip here of Duce Staley breaking down a LeGarrette Blount run.

https://twitter.com/Eagles/status/913766581146185729

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Game Review – PHI 27, NYG 24

Posted: September 29th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 92 Comments »

The Kick.

I’ve followed the Eagles for a long time and I’ve seen some amazing things, especially with the Giants on the other side of the field. Seeing rookie Jake Elliott, an injury replacement in just his second game with the Eagles, nail a 61-yard field goal to beat the Giants goes right up near the top of craziest finishes.

David Akers, the best kicker in franchise history, had a long field goal of 57 yards. Elliott’s kick wasn’t just longer than that, it won the game. A rivalry game. That makes Elliott’s kick all the more impressive.

The Eagles were the better team on Sunday and that showed as they led 14-0 going into the 4th quarter. Then Eli Manning got hot. Odell Beckham remembered he was an elite player. And the Eagles helped out by making some critical mistakes, highlighted by a Zach Ertz fumble. Next thing you know…21-14 with the Giants on top.

I was worried the team might fold when they found themselves suddenly trailing in the game. Confidence can be a fragile thing and the Giants had wiped out a 14-0 deficit in the blink of an eye. The Eagles let the game in KC get away from them, but they didn’t repeat that mistake. They started making plays and tied the game back up, before going on to win. The Eagles finished the game on a 13-3 run.

It wasn’t pretty, but missing Fletcher Cox, Jordan Hicks, Darren Sproles, Ronald Darby, Rodney McLeod, Caleb Sturgis and Corey Graham is not the easiest thing to overcome. The Eagles found a way to win. When you’re missing that much firepower, results are far more important than style points.

COACHING

The hot topic is Doug Pederson going for it on 4th downs. I covered that here.

Give Pederson credit for going for the win on that final drive. He could have taken a knee or tried throwing a Hail Mary. Instead, the Eagles executed a play they had practiced on Friday. They expected it to take 5 to 6 seconds. It took 6, which was fine with :07 on the clock at the snap of the ball. That gave them a chance to hit a miracle FG.

The coaches got the run game going in a variety of ways. They made a lineup change at LG. They mixed in multiples schemes and also used RPOs effectively. The coaches got LeGarrette Blount fired up and then fed him the ball.

The defensive strategy was to play off and then tackle. With the exception of one huge pass play, the strategy worked pretty well. The Giants were forced to play small ball and put together long, methodical drives. The Eagles kept them out of the end zone until the 4th quarter.

PLAYERS

Carson Wentz protected the ball and that was a huge part of the Eagles winning. He threw 3 picks against the Giants last year. He didn’t turn the ball over at all on Sunday. His stats weren’t compelling (21-31-176 with a TD). Wentz had some great moments in the game. His pass to Jeffery to set up the FG wasn’t an easy throw. Wentz took a chance on his guy being able to make a play. His TD throw to Ertz was impressive. That ball went through traffic and was on the money. Wentz had a key scramble on the first TD drive. He moved the chains to keep the drive alive. There were a pair of QB sneaks that each kept alive scoring drives. Wentz isn’t as dynamic as Michael Vick as a runner, but his legs are becoming a valuable weapon.

There were some problems as well. Wentz took a sack on 4th and 8. Argue the call if you want, but the one thing you can’t do is take a sack. Even worse, he had two receivers open on the play and failed to pull the trigger. There was a RZ pass play where Wentz locked on to Agholor out wide and the underneath receiver looked to be wide open. Deep accuracy continues to be an issue. Wentz missed a wide open Jeffery on what should have been an easy 50-yard TD. He threw two other deep balls that led to PI calls. One was a pretty good throw. The other one was borderline uncatchable. The refs called the penalty and that helped the drive in a big way.

The Giants have some talented CBs and good pass rushers so moving the ball on them isn’t easy. Wentz made key plays and helped the Eagles go 3-3 in the RZ.

RB

Welcome to Philly, LeGarrette Blount. He had 14 carries in the opener and then barely played in KC. If the coaches were sending him a message, it worked. Blount came out and ran his butt off. He attacked the line of scrimmage and the guys in the blue helmets. They had him for no gain or a loss a few times, but he fought through for gains. Blount ran with real purpose. He was 12-67-1 for the game. This was the guy the Eagles expected when they signed him.

Darren Sproles broke his arm and tore his ACL on a run and he’s done for the year. That opened the door for Wendell Smallwood to play more. He was 12-71 on the ground and had some impressive runs. He showed good burst on a couple of plays. There were other runs where he showed real strength and toughness. There was a run near the goal line where he had to twist and turn and really battle to get a first down. Smallwood caught one pass and had some very good pass blocks. he took out the legs of a blitzer on one play and that let Wentz get wide to complete a pass.    Read the rest of this entry »