Game Review: Eagles Offense Vs. Washington
Here’s a player-by-player breakdown of what we saw from the Eagles’ offense in the team’s 37-34 win over Washington after having re-watched.
Nick Foles – I came away thinking this was one of the signature performances of his career so far. FOX could put together a long montage of plays where Foles just got crushed. There were several close-ups of him falling to the ground and yelling in pain. Yet he got up snap after snap and ended up completing 27 of 41 passes for 325 yards and three touchdowns. He didn’t turn the ball over and somehow didn’t take a sack despite being under constant pressure.
Some plays that stood out… Nice job letting Riley Cooper go up and get the ball on a 21-yard completion on third down in the second. Great play-fake on the first touchdown to Jordan Matthews. Foles got the linebackers to creep up and then had plenty of room to make the throw (I also liked that he went to the end zone to retrieve the ball for the rookie’s first career score). Foles was fantastic moving to his left all game long. He went that way and put the ball on the money to Matthews for a first down in the second. Foles then threw a laser to Jeremy Maclin for 26 yards on the same possession. And his second touchdown to Matthews capped off the drive. In terms of degree of difficulty, that was one of the best completions of his career. Foles threw into traffic and whizzed it right past the linebacker’s helmet.
In the second half, with the backups in, the Eagles focused on helping Foles get rid of the ball quickly. Foles threw with anticipation to Matthews for a 13-yard pickup. He made a great throw to Zach Ertz on the fade that drew a pass interference penalty. Tremendous throw to Maclin for 17 yards in the fourth as he was getting crushed by Ryan Kerrigan. I’m not sure how he got that pass off. Foles threw a strike to Maclin for the 27-yard TD. And he made an excellent throw to James Casey to end the game. Casey had a defender closing from the outside, and Foles put the ball exactly where it needed to be.
Were there some misses? Sure. Bad throw to Cooper in the red zone in the third that could have been picked off. Foles threw behind Matthews on a screen on third down. He later tried to avoid a sack and made a dangerous pass that very easily could have been intercepted. He missed Maclin downfield and overthrew Brent Celek on the play that sparked the melee. Later, he missed Celek on a corner route on third down.
But overall, a really good game. Foles worked from a muddied pocket all game long. He stood tall, withstood a bunch of hits and made a lot of nice throws. Easily his best performance of the season.
LeSean McCoy – The Eagles could not get him going. McCoy carried 19 times for 22 yards and did not have a catch. He was hit in the head by cornerback David Amerson on a helmet to helmet blow in the first, but passed concussion protocol and returned. Sidenote: Washington defensive backs constantly led with their helmets in this game.
To be clear, McCoy often had nowhere to go. Washington was stout up front, game-planned for McCoy, and the Eagles were playing with backups. But it looked like when McCoy had chances to make plays, he had trouble making guys miss and left yards on the field. A lot of credit goes to Washington linebacker Keenan Robinson, who was fantastic.
One more problem: I’m not sure how much longer the Eagles can use the zone read. There were multiple occasions where defenders crashed down on McCoy and didn’t respect Foles as a runner.
The bottom line is it’s tough to evaluate McCoy with this offensive line, but he’s probably getting greedy at times and wanting to hit home runs.
Darren Sproles – Two carries for 20 yards and three catches for 30. Sproles had a nice 18-yard scamper in the first, but was stripped at the end of the play and lost a fumble. On third down in the third, he beat the linebacker for a 22-yard catch and run.
Jeremy Maclin – Trying to avoid hyperbole, but this was one of the signature games of his career too. Maclin finished with eight catches for 154 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets. He had opportunities in the first two games, but Maclin and Foles couldn’t get on the same page. That changed on Sunday.
Maclin took a screen 80 yards in the first, but Jason Kelce was called for an illegal block in the back that turned it into a 50-yard gain. Good job on a comeback route that picked up 26 late in the first half. He drew an illegal contact penalty in the third. The catch of the game was his 17-yarder near the sideline on third down in fourth. The game was tied, Foles was under pressure, and Maclin got his fingertips on the ball before hauling it in and touching his knee down. Just a huge play.
His touchdown came on a four verticals play. Maclin could have had another big gain on four verticals, but Foles missed him.
Just an outstanding game overall. It clearly meant something to him to go up against DeSean Jackson on the other side, and Maclin came up big.
Riley Cooper – Not eye-popping numbers (four for 34), but Cooper seemed to play better. Nice job going up for the ball on the 21-yard completion on third down in the second. He made a man miss and picked up 7 in the third. And Cooper threw the key block on the screen to Maclin.
Jordan Matthews – Both his touchdowns came on four verticals too, based on what we saw off TV copy. Matthews split the two safeties on the first touchdown and ran pretty much the same route on the second one. Great job by Matthews to get his head turned around, secure the ball and land in bounds. Matthews also made a nice catch by the sideline for 10 yards in the second quarter. He drew a 40-yard pass interference penalty down the seam in the third. Overall, eight catches for 59 yards on nine targets. Really good game.
Jeff Maehl – Nice catch from his knees for 15 yards in the fourth.
Brad Smith – Was not targeted in limited action.
Brent Celek – He had a couple opportunities in the passing game. Foles missed him down the seam and again on a corner route. Otherwise, this could have been a two-catch, 50-yard day for Celek. But he ended up without a grab. No standout moments as a blocker as far as I could tell.
Zach Ertz – Two catches for 14 yards. Ertz also drew a 21-yard pass interference penalty that looked questionable to me. He drew a tough blocking assignment in the first against Kerrigan and gave up a pressure on Foles.
James Casey – He came up with the big 19-yard grab to ice the game.
Jason Peters – Fans and teammates lauded him for sticking up for his quarterback (full story here). In terms of blocking, Peters was OK. Great job on the 50-yard screen to Maclin. He gave up some pressure on Foles’ 21-yard completion to Cooper in the second. Peters missed with his cut block on a screen to the other side in the third and ended up giving up a big hit on Foles. But it was ruled a late hit by the officials. He was beaten by Kerrigan in the third and gave up a hit on Foles, although it looked like the snap was late and timing was off. Of course, all anyone will think about when it comes to Peters and this game is how he went after Chris Baker.
Dennis Kelly – Up and down performance. He had trouble controlling Baker on a 2-yard Sproles run in the second. Kelly gave up pressure on the final drive of the first half, but Foles escaped and completed a pass to Matthews. He had some trouble on McCoy’s run that lost 3 in the third. Kelly moved over to right guard, gave up penetration and was called for holding on a fourth quarter play. He gave up pressure on the next play. The bright spots? Good in pass pro on the 27-yard TD to Maclin. And it looked like he made a good block on Sproles’ 18-yard run in the second.
Jason Kelce – This is the most devastating injury the Eagles have suffered so far this season. Kelce suffered a sports hernia injury and will have surgery. While he was in the game, Kelce was playing well aside from two miscues. He was called for holding on Sproles’ 18-yard run in the second. And while his athleticism was on full display on the 80-yard TD to Maclin that was called back, Kelce should have kept his hands to himself. He was hit with an illegal block in the back penalty.
Todd Herremans – He started the game at right guard and then moved over to right tackle in the fourth quarter. Herremans was beaten badly for a sack in the third, but there were offsetting penalties. He did a poor job of picking up a twist on the completion to Maclin on third down in the fourth, and Kerrigan crushed Foles. Overall, tough spot for Herremans and an OK performance.
Andrew Gardner – He’ll try to survive for one more game before Lane Johnson comes back. Gardner had his fair share of issues and started at right tackle before moving to left tackle. He was beaten around the edge in the first, allowing Kerrigan to get a hand on Foles. He was called for a false start in the second. Gardner was pushed back into Foles’ face on third down in the third. And he was beaten badly by Brian Orakpo in the third as Foles got hit. Gardner gave up another hit on Foles against Orakpo on the next possession. He did not pick up a twist well in the fourth on the completion to Maclin on third down. He was beaten by Orakpo on the McCoy run that gained 1 in the fourth. And Gardner probably got away with a holding call on third down in the fourth.
David Molk – He was another guy who was put in a tough spot coming in for Kelce at center, and Molk had his share of issues. He was beaten badly by Baker on a McCoy run that picked up 2 in the third. Beaten badly on the next play when the Eagles were trying to set up a screen. Baker got past him in the third, and Foles was forced to flee the pocket. Molk couldn’t handle Baker on another play in the third where Foles got hit. He and Wade Smith had trouble with a stunt on the pass interference call to Ertz. And Molk was beaten on the McCoy run that was stopped for no gain in the fourth. Molk was good in pass pro on 27-yard TD to Maclin. We’ll see if he’s pegged as Kelce’s replacement in the coming weeks.
Wade Smith – He came into the game in the fourth at left guard. I can’t say I noticed him a ton. On the last drive, he was beaten inside on a McCoy run that lost a yard.