Zone Read: Eagles-Redskins, the Day After
CAN SOMEONE PLEASE EXPLAIN…
1. Why the Eagles called timeout and then ran the ball at the end of the first half?
Nick Foles had just been sacked. There were 17 seconds left, and the offense had a 3rd-and-15 from its own 38.
In that situation, either you call timeout and try to throw it downfield to pick up a first down, or you don’t call timeout and just run the ball.
But Kelly called timeout, and then the Eagles handed it off to Bryce Brown for a 2-yard gain. It didn’t end up mattering, but not sure what the strategy was in that spot.
2. Why LeSean McCoy didn’t get either of the short-yardage chances in the second half?
Twice the offense had chances to extend drives, but the Eagles failed to convert in short yardage. On 3rd-and-1 in the third, Brown was stopped for a 1-yard loss. On 4th-and-1 in the fourth, he was stuffed for no gain.
McCoy is known as a home run hitter, but he’s been great in short-yardage situations. Going into Sunday, he had converted 14 of 17 opportunities on third or fourth down with 2 yards or less to go.
Maybe Kelly’s decision had something to do with McCoy being a little banged-up. Or maybe Duce Staley was in charge of putting Brown out there. But McCoy probably should have gotten the ball in one of those two spots.
The Redskins’ plan on defense was clear in the first quarter: stack the box against the run, and challenge Foles to win the game. It’s been the plan of opposing defenses all season long.
On this first-quarter play, you can see the Redskins have 10 of 11 defenders within 3 yards of the line of scrimmage.
It’s man coverage across the board with a single high safety. That means Foles’ job is to find a favorable matchup and exploit it. In this case, it’s outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan against McCoy.
McCoy starts out in the backfield and runs the wheel route down the right sideline. Foles recognizes the mismatch right away and knows where he’s going with the football.
He lofts a beautiful ball to McCoy and allows the running back to pick up yards after the catch.
The result was a 49-yard completion that set up the team’s first score.
“They tried to stop the run,” McCoy said. “We gave them a run look and the defensive end played with me which I guess they thought was a good idea. And Nick found me and threw it. It was a great read.”
McCoy has been making huge plays in the passing game all season long. Before this year, he had never averaged better than 7.7 yards per reception. Through 11 games in 2013, he’s averaged 11.7.
THE NUMBER THAT MATTERS
7 – The number of consecutive games in which the Eagles’ defense has limited the opponent to 21 points or fewer.
On the season, only two teams – the Eagles and Chiefs – have had streaks that long.
Since giving up 52 points to the Broncos in Week 4, the Eagles have limited opponents to 17.4 points per game. The performance against the Redskins might have been the most impressive of the year. Washington’s offense had been on a roll, averaging 30.8 points per game in its previous four. The Eagles were without Bradley Fletcher, Earl Wolff and Mychal Kendricks.
There were obviously issues in the fourth quarter, and Griffin missed some open receivers, but the defense got a stop at the end when it mattered.
GAME BALL OFFENSE: NICK FOLES
Those who read B247 regularly know I like numbers. But it’s important to put them in the proper context.
And the reality is Foles played better Sunday against Washington than he did the previous week against Green Bay when he posted a 149.3 passer rating. He had three completions against the Redskins that easily could have been touchdowns, but all three were stopped inside the 5-yard-line.
The pass shown above to McCoy was stopped at the 4. Foles had a screen to Brent Celek that was stopped at the 1. And he completed a pass to Riley Cooper that was also stopped at the 1. Had those three gone for touchdowns, Foles would have had a 143.8 passer rating.
The second-year QB was decisive, looked comfortable in the pocket, made plays with his legs and continued to take care of the football (no turnovers).
There have been six times this season that a QB has completed at least 65 percent of his passes and averaged at least 11.5 yards per attempt in a game. Two of the six have been Foles (Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Cam Newton and Tony Romo each have done it once).