Zone Read: Eagles-Saints, the Day After
CAN SOMEONE PLEASE EXPLAIN…
What happened to the Eagles’ screen game?
For much of the year, the screen game had been prolific. But in the last two games, it was non-existent. Against Dallas and New Orleans, the Eagles tried three screens, and none made it past the line of scrimmage. At the end of the first quarter, the Eagles moved all the way down to the Saints’ 15, but Brent Celek took an 8-yard loss on a screen. Nick Foles then took a sack, and Alex Henery ended up missing a 48-yard field goal that the Eagles obviously could have used in the end.
THE NUMBER THAT MATTERS
11 – That’s the number of yards of LeSean McCoy’s longest run. The NFL’s leading rusher finished the regular season averaging 5.1 YPC, but he managed just 77 yards on 21 carries vs. the Saints (3.7 YPC).
“Early on, the first couple drives, there was some communication stuff where guys weren’t going to the right guys,” said Jason Kelce. “And then other than that, there was a guy here, a guy there. It felt like we had lanes and then they would close all of a sudden. I could have done a better job on the nose in some situations.”
Added McCoy: “I don’t know if it’s a learning experience. I have been here before. You can only pick up so much from this. We just have to get better. I think we have to execute when we need to. We needed to keep riding that hot streak. I thought we were hot. Obviously, we weren’t.”
GAME BALL OFFENSE: DESEAN JACKSON
There really weren’t a lot of options here as the offense put together a choppy performance and couldn’t get going until the second half. But Jackson provided a spark after Saints cornerback Keenan Lewis left the game with a head injury.
He made a terrific play on the ball, hauling in a 40-yard catch that set up a McCoy TD run in the second half. On the next possession, Jackson had a 29-yard punt return that gave the offense field position at the Saints’ 40.
And on the drive where the Eagles scored the go-ahead touchdown, Jackson drew a 40-yard pass interference penalty.
In all, three catches for 53 yards, but that number jumps to 93 if you include the PI call. Again, not a ton of options here.
GAME BALL DEFENSE: BRADLEY FLETCHER
In the first quarter, Fletcher had excellent coverage on Kenny Stills deep. Brees overthrew his receiver, and Fletcher made a great play on the ball to come up with the interception.
Overall, Brees completed 20 of 30 passes for 250 yards, a touchdown and two picks. There were some coverage busts in the second half, but as far as I could tell, Fletcher held up pretty well throughout.
THAT’S WHAT HE SAID
“I’m gonna let that sit within the locker room. That’s one of the things that stays in-house.” – JASON KELCE
That was his response when I asked if Chip Kelly got emotional when addressing the team in the locker room. Kelce, who is usually very open, didn’t want to say one way or another.
“Chip said he’s proud of the way we fought all season, proud of the way we were as a team,” Kelce said. “You could tell on everybody’s faces everyone was very disappointed in the outcome. But I’ll leave it at that.”
Asked what Kelly’s message was, Evan Mathis said: “Just that we’ve got a good group of guys. That we’re gonna be emotional about getting knocked off right now, but that we’ve got a good group of guys that work really well together. A bunch of mature players. He’s thankful for us, we’re thankful for him.”
And Jason Peters: “Just stay together. It’s a start. He thanked us for the season we had this year for him, his first year. And we told him it ain’t over. It’s the beginning.”