Game Review: Eagles Offense Vs. Packers

foles_400_111113Here’s a position-by-position look at what we saw from the Eagles’ offense against the Packers.

QUARTERBACKS

* I thought Nick Foles played great against Oakland. This was a bit of an uneven performance. I know that seems crazy to say, considering he posted a 149.3 passer rating, but I’ll try to explain.

* There were a couple decisions that could have been costly. In the second quarter, Foles was being pressured and just launched a pass up for grabs. It was in the direction of DeSean Jackson, but there were defenders nearby. The ball landed incomplete as Jackson couldn’t find it in the sun, but it was a dangerous throw. In the third, Foles made an awkward throw to Jason Avant, stepping into it with his right foot. It ended up being a 23-yard completion, but just as easily could have been picked off.

* The first touchdown to Jackson was obviously flukey. Jackson had the corner beat, and the Packers had a single high safety, but Foles underthrew him. Chip Kelly said today that the wind played a factor on the pass.

* To be honest, I don’t know what to make of the 45-yard TD to Riley Cooper. It certainly wasn’t pretty, and Foles probably should have gotten the pass deeper into the end zone, but I don’t have a problem with him chucking it up every so often and seeing if his receivers will make a play.

* On the first drive, Foles made a good throw to Cooper over the middle, but he dropped it. He connected with Jackson for 21 yards on a comeback route in the second. Foles escaped pressure and found Cooper for 25 yards on third down in the second. And he found a wide-open Cooper for a 32-yard touchdown off play-action in the third. On the final drive, Foles did a good job letting the screen develop and then delivering the pass to James Casey, who picked up a first down.

* Foles did a good job with his legs throughout. On 3rd-and-2 in the first, the unblocked defender crashed hard, and he took off for 4 yards. Foles took for 9 yards on a scramble in the second and picked up 16 in a similar situation in the third. On the final drive, the unblocked defender crashed, and he kept the ball for 9 yards and a first down to end the game. Stats say eight carries for 38 yards, but that includes three kneel-downs. It was really five for 41.

* Foles looked a little hesitant early on, but it’s tough to tell if he had receivers open without seeing the All-22. On the first drive, he initially did a good job of avoiding pressure, scrambled to his left, but held the ball and was sacked. On another third-down sack in the first, Troy Aikman seemed to think Foles held on to the ball too long. I actually didn’t have a problem with the fumble. Foles tried to protect the ball but just got crushed. Didn’t seem like a careless error to me. Just something that’s going to happen once in awhile.

* Overall, I thought it was a solid performance, but not as spectacular as the numbers indicated. I know both Foles and Michael Vick supporters can get a tad sensitive around these parts, but I’m just telling you how I saw it.

RUNNING BACKS

* LeSean McCoy was brilliant in this game. It was easily as good as he’s looked in over a month: 25 carries for 155 yards. He constantly turned nothing into something. Early on, he bounced a run outside for 9. He did the same thing later, getting to the sideline for 20. McCoy had a big 30-yard scamper in the third and an 18-yarder up the middle. He put a great move on the unblocked defender on a zone read play in the fourth, picking up 14. And he later dragged a defender 7 yards on the same drive. The refs missed two blatant face-masks against McCoy.

* McCoy made a defender miss and picked up 6 on a catch in the first. He did an OK job in blitz pickup in the second, getting driven back, but keeping the defender off Foles and allowing the QB to have room to maneuver. Again, just an outstanding game overall.

* Bryce Brown finished with 11 yards on four carries. He got around the corner in the first, but Allen Barbre was called for holding. Good job by Brown on the final drive. He turned the corner for an 8-yard gain on one play. And later, he broke a tackle or two to pick up 3 on 2nd-and-2. Good job securing the ball on that run as Packers defenders were trying to strip him.

WIDE RECEIVERS

* Riley Cooper had a great game. He had a drop on the first drive and said afterwards he should have continued his route and made the grab. But he more than made up for it with catches of 25, 45 and 32 yards. The 45-yarder was especially impressive as Cooper did a tremendous job of tracking down the ball near the goal line before rolling into the end zone. He got wide open on a double move for the second score.

* DeSean Jackson showed good concentration on the 55-yard TD. He had the corner beat on the post on the play. He later had a 21-yard grab. Overall, four catches for 80 yards.

* Jason Avant had two catches for 25 yards. It looked like the refs missed a pass interference call on a Foles throw intended for Avant in the second.

TIGHT ENDS

* Brent Celek’s blocking in the run game has really stood out over the past couple weeks. Nice seal on McCoy’s 8-yard run in the first and good job on McCoy’s 9-yard run in the third. He took care of the one-handed Clay Matthews on McCoy’s 18-yard run in the third and got the linebacker on McCoy’s 7-yard run on the final drive. There were a couple miscues, but overall, really good job as a blocker. Celek had one grab for 7 yards on the first drive.

* Zach Ertz was not targeted. He seems to be improving as a blocker, but is not nearly as effective as Celek.

* Not sure why Casey cut it inside on the screen during the final drive. It looked like the play was designed to go outside, and he had blockers set up. But he broke a tackle and picked up a key first down. I also enjoyed how he sprinted to the sideline like a madman right after the play was over.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN

* It was a bit of an inconsistent performance by the offensive line. Jason Peters suffered a head injury early on, returned to the game, gave up a sack and then left with a quad injury.

* Allen Barbre replaced him and played well. Barbre did a great job in blitz pickup on the 55-yard TD to Jackson. He got the job done on the 45-yarder to Cooper too. I only noticed him have trouble in pass pro on one occasion. In the run game, he showed he can really move, getting out in front on the safety on McCoy’s 20-yard run in the first. Barbre did a good job on B.J. Raji on McCoy’s 18-yard run in the third. He took care of the DB on McCoy’s 7-yard run on the final drive and knocked an LB to the ground on Brown’s 8-yard run. Barbre and Lane Johnson executed a nice double team on McCoy’s 9-yard run. Barbre was called for holding on a run early on, but overall played really well.

* Evan Mathis was OK. Really nice block early on McCoy’s 3-yard scamper early on. And good job on McCoy’s 6-yard run on the final drive. He got shoved back on McCoy’s 20-yard run in the first and couldn’t square up the linebacker on McCoy’s run that lost 3 in the second. Mathis was slow to come off his double team and pick up a blitzing Matthews in the third.

* Jason Kelce was up and down. The Packers employed some of the same tactics we saw from the Giants earlier this season. Raji slanted on Kelce on McCoy’s 3-yard run in the first. And he allowed penetration on McCoy’s 20-yard run. Kelce had some issues in pass protection too. He got beat on third down on the first drive as Foles was forced to escape the pocket. And he got beat badly on the sack/forced fumble in the third. Kelce had bright spots too. He did a nice job on McCoy’s 8-yard run in the first and pulled on McCoy’s 30-yard scamper in the third.

* You may sense a theme here. Herremans was up and down as well. He couldn’t maintain his block on the linebacker at the second level on McCoy’s early 3-yard run. He had trouble on McCoy’s 9-yard run and was tossed aside on Brown’s 1-yard run on the final drive. In pass protection, Herremans got beat in the second and gave up a hit on Foles. He got beat again in the second on the play where Matthews was called for a personal foul. Herremans had some really good moments in the run game. He did a good job on the linebacker on McCoy’s 8-yard run in the first and got out in front on McCoy’s 30-yard scamper in the third. Heremans did a nice job on McCoy’s 6-yard run on the final drive.

* Johnson played his best game of the season against Oakland, but was unable o keep the momentum going against Green Bay. The Eagles split him out wide on 3rd-and-2 in the first, but Johnson did a poor job on the cornerback. Same setup in the third, and Johnson let the DB go right past him. Johnson got beat on a McCoy run that lost 3 in the second. He got beat to the inside on a McCoy run that gained 1 later in the quarter. In pass protection, Johnson was caught off-balance and tossed to the ground on the first-quarter play where Peters gave up a sack. But he helped up well in pass pro for the most part. Johnson was called for a false start on 3rd-and-2 on the final drive. There were some good moments, but Johnson was too inconsistent in this one.

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