How Rivers, Chargers Decoded the Eagles’ Defense

0V3J8652Philip Rivers completed 77 percent of his throws Sunday. Threw for 419 yards and three touchdowns in the Chargers’  33-30  win over the Eagles. Took just one hit in the pocket, per the stat sheet.

If it looked like Rivers knew exactly what was coming, well, he did, according to several of the Eagles’ defensive players.

“Phillip Rivers just seemed to know everything that we were trying to throw at him,” said Cary Williams.

“They understood some of our calls or whatever was going on, it looked like he knew exactly what DeMeco [Ryans] was calling to a degree. He knew exactly what we were in to a degree. It was unfortunate. Sometimes you get outwitted, sometimes you get outplayed and I think today was one of those days.”

Rivers was able to get the better of the Eagles pre-snap. Connor Barwin explained that the no-huddle attack that the Chargers deployed wasn’t in the name of getting the snap off quickly. Instead, San Diego just sat at the line of scrimmage, allowed time to tick off the clock, and waited until the defense showed its hand. Once it did, the veteran quarterback made his adjustment and exploited the vulnerable area.

“We fell into it, showed our hand early, which I’m sure we’ll look back on tape and say we should have figured it out earlier and stopped showing what we were coming with,” said Barwin.

The Eagles yielded  539 yards in all. Rivers’ 36 completions were the second most ever against the Eagles in a single game, while the 22 passing first downs allowed tied a franchise mark set back in 1964. After a solid outing against Washington on Monday night, this performance served as a reminder that the unit has a ways to go.

“It was a totally different offense. [The Redskins] were a running offense, we shut them down. We had to kind of switch gears and we didn’t do as well stopping this west coast offense,” said Barwin. “The first time we faced it all year. I’m sure we’ll see it again and hopefully be better.”

Some of the struggles can be attributed to the massive scheme change the Eagles are undergoing on defense, and some of it can be purely placed on personnel. Safe to say the safeties will be written about quite a bit over the coming days and weeks.

But strategy was definitely a factor as well Sunday. Take the Antonio Gates-Mychal Kendricks matchup. The second-year linebacker had a very strong showing against Washington but had a rougher outing versus San Diego, particularly when it came to keeping up with the tight end.

“The routes I practiced [defending], I didn’t get any of those,” Kendricks allowed. “They came out with a different scheme than I even originally thought they were going to do.”

Gates finished with eight catches for 124 yards.

Billy Davis‘ group got the better of RGIII, Kyle Shanahan and company for a good portion of Monday’s game. (Granted, RGIII was coming in cold.) This week belonged to Chargers head coach Mike McCoy and his signal-caller.

“Three-man rush, four-man rush, five-man rush, six — we threw everything at them,” said Davis. “We tried to change it up, bluff blitzes and fall back. Phillip had a better day than we did.”

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  • Tyler Phillips

    11 win offense, 4 win defense.

    • BleedGreenJames

      4 wins if your opponents are Jacksonville, Cleveland, Oakland and the Jets.

    • SeaDucks

      You’re too Optipessimistic,

      14 win Offense, 2 win defense.

  • SeaDucks

    30 points in 20 minutes of possession. That’s 1.5 points/minute of having the ball. I’d be curious to know what some of the other prolific offenses are at?

    • A Big Butt and a Smile

      Pretty impressive.

  • dislikedisqus

    Other than Cole and Boykin, everyone sucked.

    But as I said in a pregame comment, a possession focused passing offense is the obvious way to attack the Eagles D,so they better figure out how to combat it. Tackling would be a start.

    • BleedGreenJames

      Removing Nate Allen from the roster would go a long way as well.

  • Ken Raining

    The Chargers also did a great job in picking up the blitzes. But the secondary was just brutal.

    • ftotheyu

      The Chargers were supposed to have a bad offensive line coming in (with Dunlap at LT), and they just morphed into 5 Larry Allen’s against the Eagles. Unbelievable. And the secondary… why not get Kerry Rhodes who is still a FA? According to PFF, Rhodes was the 4th best safety in the NFL last year. Why do we keep running Nate Allen out there? WHY?!

      • #7

        5 Larry Allen’s lol

  • Chargersthebest

    All you eagles fans stfu yall team is TOTAL ASS and we smacked yall AGAIN ! Hahhaha bums 2-14?????

    • Eaglehaslanded

      What hole did you crawl out of? Never seen you on here before. Especially prior to the game. Go away. Back to your dung pile pest!!!

  • The R

    sign kerry rhodes put in vinny and graham done 100 percent better defense

    • All In Eagles

      I hear ya, I bet he regrets having Curry inactive. Our D has zero, yes zero, pressure all day except for the 1 sack. Nothing was working, needed some fresh blood in there to see what happens.

  • ClydeSide

    Could King Dunlap have helped in decoding the defensive plays?

    • Justin

      Doubt it. We aren’t a wide 9 4-3 team any more.

  • #7

    Wow…the safety position. Nate Allen was terrible and I wish that we would attempt to do something in the Safety market. We could have had Mikell as he’s having an impact over there in Carolina. Kerry Rhodes, no one cares that he’s gay and we have over 20 mil in cap space. They say that he’s asking for too much money…it can’t be THAT much money.

    Cmon Howie. We have fire power on offense. We need SOMETHING in the back end of our defense.

    Have to give Rivers credit. He picked up apart today.

    This is why I hate when writers start predictions after one game. I hope that our team isn’t overlooking any team. We can’t.

    And Chip, you have to take the foot off the gas…and I’m sure that he’ll get better at doing that as we go along

  • Token

    So in week 2 of a new defense the other team already knows what you are doing? Not a good sign. Eagles didnt disguise anything very well today. After a few series they should have been smart enough to know what Rivers was doing. He took all the time at the line to make them show their hand. Yet, no adjustments were ever made. Thats just on the brains of the defensive coaches and players.

    • theycallmerob

      I think it’s your last sentence, but it can’t be overstated just how poorly the Secondary Not Named Boykin played. scheme and adjustments only matter so much if you don’t have a safety better than you or I. I’m still amazed at just how little pressure we got as well- Dunlap looked All-Pro.

      I sure hope the all-22 reveals what went wrong up front (too much 2-gapping?), but fact is we have the worst secondary in the NFL.

  • GayleSaunders

    If Philip Rivers knows what they’re doing just imagine What Peyton Manning knows…6 foot bat in gotham city…wait till they get a load of him!

  • Tyler Phillips

    What use is a 2 Gap 3-4 if you are getting thrown on 50 times a game? Just wondering

  • morgan c

    “Three-man rush, four-man rush, five-man rush, six — we threw everything at them,” said Davis. “We tried to change it up, bluff blitzes and fall back. Phillip had a better day than we did.”

    Hmmm… looked to me Billy like you sure as hell were blitzing basically every play in the second and third quarters, and consistently not getting home. Calling similar blitzes as well. And you sat one of your best pass-rushers on a day where a pass-rush was completely anemic.

    I have faith in Chip, even though he was poor today. Billy Davis, however, will not win a playoff game as a defensive coordinator for the Eagles. I am quite confident in saying that, and no, I wasn’t one that was praising him last week. The guy is a failed disciple from the LeBeau school, and had the 28th, 31st, and 30th ranked defenses when he was a coordinator. He seems relatively unintelligent and simple in press conferences, and executes a predictable defense that fails to adjust. Jim Johnsons don’t grow on trees, we all know by now.

    • RIP illa

      I can’t wait for Rex to get fired and hopefully we make a play on him for D-Coord. Always hated the Davis signing!!! At least Rex has a better D scheme and would definitely push for better players to be on that side of the ball than just working w/ the crap Howie gave the team this year.

  • RIP illa

    The D got stuffed by Brown and Woodhead on the blitz all game. It kinda helps them when the blitzes were being shown “10 secs” before the ball was snapped too! And had no idea why our D-Linemen were dancing w/ there O-line and standing up waiting for something to happen instead of attacking them and rushing them!!! This happened whether we blitzed or not. I thought this D was being coached to ‘Play fast and if they’re gonna make mistakes, make them at 100 mph!’.

    The front 7 smacked nobody on the pass rush!!! Hell jus one time I wanted to see some just fly in there and blow up a O-Lineman…we got nothing of the sort! They played soft!

    And for everybody that wanted to Lord Trent Cole over his naysayers last week, and I am a naysayer, what exactly did he do vs the pass?! Yes he’s playing the run great, and that is great. But when it comes to the pass, whether it be dropping back or rushing, he’s yet to show anything!!! He had one meaningful pressure this week and no sacks. One meaningful pressure last week and no sacks. We run a 3-4. OLBs in a 3-4 need to be able to rush the passer or the D is screwed. Our best pass rushing OLB does nothing for us as a pass rusher. Not good!!! And no this is not to place all the blame on Cole…the collective effort of that group was garbage!!!

    How hard is it for Davis to activate Curry and run a traditional nickel, 4-2-5??? Are Logan or Square giving anything for us to be proud of??? Curry may not even be the answer but he definitely won’t make things any worse. And this is not a knee jerk reaction. The D did the same thing in the 4th against the Skins. Only difference is we had the lead and played zone, yet the line still blitzed a hell of a lot and Hardly nothing, if anything got home.

  • anon

    Nmandi getting owned again. makes me feel better.

  • Will

    Hey Chip Kelly tough loss beat Kansas City and all is forgiven….

  • Will

    Defenses Win Championships!

  • Will

    What happened Eagles? To busy clubbing and reading your press clippings, doing interviews? Bear down and have a winning season!

    • Media Mike

      This means you Kendricks.

  • guest1

    When is the Nate Allen experience coming to an end? Worst safety ever, let cut our losses today…there’s got to be at least 100 players out there better than Nate Allen.

  • Mark Rojas

    I’m just going to leave this right here

  • Max Lightfoot

    Rivers kept the ball away by using up the clock, even on the last field-goal winning drive. Their D-line stopped the run, hence the Eags couldn’t burn up the clock when they had the ball. If not for Boykin’s efforts, it could have been even worse.

    So that’s one way to beat Chip: burn the clock (a la Peyton Manning), bully our safeties, conmplete third downs, nickle-and-dime the defense.

    But am I the only one who thinks we underestimated the Chargers? They are better than their first game, where they completely blew that lead. Personally, I don’t think our D is good enough to underestimate any NFL team. What say ye?

  • ojdiddoit

    Billy Davis was out coached and out foxed by one Phillip Rivers

  • William

    Poor Nate?….he seems like such a nice guy……

  • Dutch

    I hope a defense coming off a 4-12 season didn’t underestimate Phillip Rivers and Antonio Gates, if so they were supposed to be drilled for 33 points. Davis as a professional in the NFL should be fired if he made the mistake of taking Rivers, Royal and Gates lightly

  • morgan c

    Curry? Our defensive line was abominable. Thornton Square Geathers and Soapoaga were completely invisible today. We got run all over and couldn’t generate any rush, blitz or not.

  • Token

    Its a crime if Curry doesnt play Thursday. IM not sold that he is a good player, but based on what the other guys are doing, he cant be worse.

    They are dressing all these lineman and getting little to nothing out of a bunch of them. You could take your pick on who to sit in favor of Curry.

  • Tyler Phillips

    That was kinda what I meant. If they aren’t running or trying to on us what is the point?

    A lot has been made about how Curry might not be following his assignments. I get that but how can our 6th best ST be more important than pass rusher if we force 1 punt the entire game?

    I like the ST being better, but I like getting after the passer more.

    Troubled by the lack of any working adjustments as well. Didn’t like Davis hire initially, still don’t like it

  • Token

    But 2 gap scheme doesnt mean get physically manhandled all day.

    They have neutered our only legit defensive star in Cox.

  • Dutch

    Expect mistakes from offense until they develop a chemistry it’s a natural progression. The execution is going to get better, and the rookie mistakes will take care of themselves with work. It’s not Johnson or Ertz’s fault we loss this game. They will be ok.

    This is an acceptable loss. What is unacceptable is the lack of in game adjustments from the coordinator and it’s obvious his hands were tied. We all seen Rivers milking the clock it was obviously the strategy to keep the Eagles offense off the field because they had accepted before getting off the plane that they could not stop Vick, Jackson and Shady.

    these 3 games in 11 days builds grit in the team, we will know what we have in how they rebound. I don’t think wins and losses at this point is important. and I still think we are a 9 win team strictly based on our offense.

  • RIP illa

    Agreed but don’t get confused. We ran and run a lot of 3-3-5 nickel. And we blitz from it a lot too. So sometimes it looks like a 3-4. Basically this D is not really set up for linemen to wreak Havoc and be a significant disruptive force in the pass game. It relies way too much on our blitzers/LBs. this is another reason why so many believed and wanted us to run a 4-3U or a 1 gap 3-4.

  • jay

    Dude can PLAY!

  • Tom w

    Just stop genius. You don’t stop playing an unstoppable to keep your defense off the field. You play freaking better defense and score easily more on offense. God I hate the people in this bangwagoning city

  • Warhound

    I really wanted to see the NT 2-gap and the ends play 1-gap.

  • Fink

    No point worrying about the past. A win against KC will be huge for the morale of this team. Losing to Reid at home and starting 1-2 would be terrible.

  • GayleSaunders

    Exactly! This is a game I did not have us winning. Manning is just too good and with his weapons it’s almost unfair.