10 Observations: An Eagles Slant To the Playoffs

NFL: Divisional Round-New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks

The Eagles did not play this weekend, but like many of you, I spent 12-plus hours in front of the TV watching the divisional-round games. Keeping that in mind, here are 10 observations with an Eagles slant.

1. The four winning quarterbacks – Russell Wilson, Tom Brady, Colin Kaepernick and Peyton Manning – completed, on average, 15.5 passes in their victories. And no quarterback threw for more than 230 yards. Wilson went 9-for-18 for 103 yards, completing just two passes in the second half. Brady went 13-for-25 for 198 yards; the 13 completions were his fewest ever in a playoff win he started/finished.

The talking heads like to remind us constantly that “it’s a passing league.” And in many ways, there’s truth to that statement. All four teams still alive finished in the top eight in passing during the regular season, according to Football Outsiders. But it’s also true that teams that can find different ways to win give themselves the best chance to advance in the postseason. Read more »

All-22: Why the Eagles’ Offense Stalled

splitzone1b_all22_010914

With 3:54 left in the third quarter of last week’s playoff game against the Saints, the Eagles’ offense took the field for the ninth time.

The results of the first eight drives were ugly: six punts, one missed field goal and a touchdown. The Saints finished fourth in the regular season in scoring defense, and for much of Saturday’s game, Rob Ryan’s group got the better of the Eagles.

Nick Foles and company scored on their final three possessions to give the Eagles a 24-23 lead, but ultimately, it wasn’t enough.

Defense and special teams certainly shared responsibility for the 26-24 loss, but given the way the offense had played all season, it’s worth exploring why that side of the ball struggled for the first 41 minutes of the game. Read more »

Zone Read: Eagles-Saints, the Day After

Jan 4, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) prepares to throw the ball as Philadelphia Eagles outside linebacker Trent Cole (58) and Eagles defensive end Fletcher Cox (91) chase in the first quarter during the 2013 NFC wild card playoff football game at Lincoln Financial Field. Photo |  Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 4, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) prepares to throw the ball as Philadelphia Eagles outside linebacker Trent Cole (58) and Eagles defensive end Fletcher Cox (91) chase in the first quarter during the 2013 NFC wild card playoff football game at Lincoln Financial Field. Photo | Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Going into Saturday night’s matchup with the Saints, the Eagles’ defensive gameplan focused on daring Sean Payton to take the football out of Drew Brees’ hands.

New Orleans has been a pass-first offense and was playing without its leading rusher in Pierre Thomas. Unlike most weeks, Davis figured he could pay less attention to the run game and instead scheme to limit big plays in the passing game. Payton responded by handing the ball off over and over again to the tune of 36 carries and 185 yards.

“That’s on me,” Davis said. “I made the calls for the passing game to make sure we keep the big plays off us. It was a lot more split safety and a lot more pass-oriented calls, so some of the runs leaked out. I could have called more of a run-based defensive game, shut that down, but we were trying to keep the points down and the big plays off us. So that run game comes down to me, not the players.” Read more »

Observations: Saints 26, Eagles 24

Jan 4, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) prepares to throw the ball as Philadelphia Eagles outside linebacker Trent Cole (58) and Eagles defensive end Fletcher Cox (91) chase in the first quarter during the 2013 NFC wild card playoff football game at Lincoln Financial Field. Photo |  Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s what we saw during tonight’s Eagles-Saints game.

OFFENSE

* The Eagles’ offense got going in the second half, but it wasn’t enough as their season ended in a 26-24 loss to the Saints.

* Nick Foles went 23-for-33 for 195 yards and two touchdowns. In the second, he found Riley Cooper for a 10-yard score. And in the fourth, Foles hit Zach Ertz for a 3-yard TD.

* DeSean Jackson was shut out in the first half and targeted just once. It looked like Saints cornerback Keenan Lewis was on him most of the time. But in the third quarter, Lewis went out with a head injury, and with the offense needing a spark, Jackson made a great play on a 50/50 ball for 40 yards. McCoy ended up scoring from 1 yard out on the drive. On the Eagles’ next possession, Jackson had a 29-yard punt return to help set up an Eagles field goal. And in the fourth, he drew a 40-yard pass interference penalty to set up a Foles TD pass.

* LeSean McCoy had trouble getting going with 77 yards on 21 carries.

* Riley Cooper had six catches for 68 yards, but had a costly drop in the third quarter. Cooper was wide open on a crossing route on third down, but couldn’t hang on to a perfectly-placed Foles pass. The Eagles ended up punting.

Read more »

Wolff Questionable For Saturday

Eagles Safety Earl Wolff defends against Chargers

Eagles safety Earl Wolff is listed as questionable for the team’s Saturday night playoff matchup against the New Orleans Saints.

Wolff told Birds 24/7 Thursday that his knee was improving.

“I just know that it felt a lot better today than it did before. They kind of recorded me moving around a little bit, doing some functional stuff, and it didn’t bother me,” he said.

“It was football activity, basically like what I would go through in a game, and it didn’t really bother me. Of course I felt it a little bit –I’m going to feel it a little bit — but it’s nothing that’s going to hold me back.” Read more »

Inside Voices: Wolff Says He’s Ready

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Oakland Raiders
Earl Wolff
says he feels good enough to play on Saturday night. Now it’s just a matter of whether the training staff and coaches give him the green light.

The rookie safety sat out practice the past two days but tested the injured right knee on the side during the Eagles’ walkthrough on Thursday, and came away feeling confident that he is ready to re-enter the fray.

“I just know that it felt a lot better today than it did before. They kind of recorded me moving around a little bit, doing some functional stuff, and it didn’t bother me,” he said.

“It was football activitity, basically like what I would go through in a game, and it didn’t really bother me. Of course I felt it a little bit –I’m going to feel it a little bit — but it’s nothing that’s going to hold me back.” Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: ‘We’re Hot Right Now’

USATSI_mccoy-eagles-cowboys_940x540

As far as LeSean McCoy is concerned, it all makes sense.

The way he sees it is pretty simple: The Eagles are talented, they put in the work all season long, they stayed healthy, and now they are in position to make some noise in the postseason.

“We’re made for the playoffs,” McCoy said. “Everybody’s so excited for us to be here, but we should be here. Everybody’s so excited about us being division champs, but I think we should be. We prepared hard each game. We have so much talent on this team. And the way we prepare, we prepare to be the champs of this division. And we prepare to win this game. The Saints are a good team for sure. They have a very explosive offense and a solid defense, but I think the guys in this locker room, the coaches we have, we can get the job done.” Read more »

All-22: Kelly, Offense Turn To Sweep

sweep1b_all22

The Eagles’ offense took the field with 11:46 left against the Cowboys in need of a serious boost.

Chip Kelly’s squad had come up empty on six of its previous seven possessions and clung to a 17-16 lead with the division on the line. So Kelly leaned on what the offense does best: running the football.

The Eagles put together an 11-play, 60-yard drive that resulted in a 6-yard Bryce Brown touchdown. Nine of the 11 plays were runs. And one run in particular gave the Eagles a boost: a new sweep play from an unbalanced line that was just installed during the week, according to players. Read more »

« Older Posts  |  Newer Posts »