Game Review: Eagles Offense Vs. 49ers
Here’s a player-by-player breakdown of what we saw from the Eagles’ offense after having re-watched.
Nick Foles – He followed up a tremendous performance in Week 3 with another uneven outing in Week 4. Foles went 21-for-43 for 195 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. He again took some big hits, but when Foles had opportunities to hit on plays downfield, he didn’t capitalize. The Eagles managed just one completion of 20+ yards all game long.
It looked like the gameplan early was to go with the quick game. Foles completed his first pass to Jeremy Maclin and then went right back to him and misfired. Later on the drive, he overthrew Brent Celek on a corner route that could have resulted in a 25+ yard play. He then overthrew Zach Ertz on the same route to the other side of the field, although it looked like Ertz might have been held on the play. Chip Kelly referred to four overthrows. The third was to Maclin on a deep post in the second. FOX analyst Troy Aikman mentioned that Foles could have probably maneuvered in the pocket before delivering. Foles’ fourth overthrow was to Riley Cooper on another deep post.
Earlier, Foles underthrew Maclin on a deep ball, but he was getting crushed by Justin Smith on the play. On a 3rd-and-16 play, he held the ball forever, likely waiting for something to open up downfield, but Foles ended up throwing incomplete. He was nearly picked off on a deep out to Maclin near the end of the first half. Foles was hit as he threw on a third-quarter INT. Kelly said he should have probably just tucked the ball and run. Horrible job by Matt Tobin in pass protection on the play. On the third-and-goal play, Foles took a very deep drop and threw from an uncomfortable platform as Antoine Bethea pressured him. I know some are criticizing him for the 4th-and-goal throw that he sailed to Maclin, but that seemed like extremely high degree of difficulty to me. He could have dumped it off to James Casey, but Casey might have been stopped short of the goal line.
The good? Nice job of climbing the pocket and finding Ertz for 14 yards early on. Foles handled a high snap and delivered on-target to Jordan Matthews for 8 yards and a third-down conversion. He ripped one to Matthews for another third-down conversion in the second. On the final drive, Foles got hot. He rolled to his right and made a great throw to Maclin for 15 yards. He connected with Ertz for 14 yards. The throw to Cooper in the end zone was dangerous, but right on the money in between defenders. Cooper couldn’t hang on. Foles escaped pressure and rifled one to Matthews for 11 yards.
Overall, inconsistent performance. The Eagles need him to play better, especially when the run game’s not working.
LeSean McCoy – He can’t get anything going. What struck me in this game was that it appeared Kelly realized that the Eagles were going to have trouble running the ball. They get some looks with two deep safeties. Normally, those are automatic runs in this offense. That was not the case Sunday. Most of the time, McCoy has nowhere to go. And when he does have one-on-one opportunities, he’s not making as many guys miss. The Eagles tried to hit him on a bubble screen on the second drive, but McCoy couldn’t make Bethea miss. He bounced an inside zone run outside for 1 yard on the next play. McCoy had a 4-yard run in the third. His 5-yard run got them down to the 1 on the 90-yard drive.
Not a good game blocking. McCoy had a tough time with the linebacker in blitz pickup on the first play of the 90-yard drive. He gave up a hit on Foles. Poor job blocking Bethea on the 3rd-and-goal play, but Foles took a very deep drop. Overall, 10 carries for 17 yards and no receptions.
The reason I’m not convinced McCoy is dealing with an undisclosed injury? Kelly keeps going back to him. In the past, the head coach has called McCoy out when he felt like the running back wasn’t hitting the right holes. He’s staunchly defended McCoy up to this point. And Kelly has yet to give Darren Sproles or Chris Polk much of a chance. That tells me he’s convinced no one would be able to find room behind this offensive line.
Darren Sproles – He only played 16 snaps. Sproles picked up 4 yards in the first. A screen to him in the second had no chance. And the Eagles ran another botched screen to him on the 90-yard drive. Overall, two catches for 2 yards. Sproles found a way to still impact the game with the 82-yard punt return. He’s been fantastic this season.
Jeremy Maclin – He’s probably not getting the credit he deserves. With better quarterback play and better line play, Maclin would be putting up monster numbers. On Sunday, he had four catches for 57 yards, but actually played really well.
Maclin might have had a chance for a big play in the first half, but Foles underthrew him down the sideline as he was getting crushed in the pocket. He was open on what looked like a deep post down the middle of the field, but Foles overthrew him. On the replay, it looked like Maclin might have had a shot had he laid out, but he wasn’t tracking the ball well. Excellent grab for 15 yards near the sideline on the final drive. And Maclin came up huge with the 22-yard grab on 3rd-and-14 late in the fourth. Maclin hauled it in with one hand and somehow stayed in bounds. Just an incredibly clutch play when the Eagles needed one. Maclin is on pace for an 80-catch, 1,412-yard season.
Riley Cooper – He is not playing well. Six catches for 54 yards on eight targets. His longest reception netted 12 yards. Cooper was called for offensive pass interference for blocking too early on a Matthews screen that picked up 15 in the second. He took a hit and fumbled on a downfield screen at the end of the first half. NFL wide receivers are paid to make catches like the one he dropped in the end zone in the fourth. It wasn’t easy and required great concentration, but replays showed 49ers defenders didn’t get a hand on it.
Cooper picked up 11 on a catch and run in the second. He gained 8 on a tunnel screen in the third. And Cooper had a chance on a deep post on the final drive, but Foles overthrew him.
Jordan Matthews – Four catches on seven targets for 28 yards. I finished the re-watch thinking: We need to see more of him. Matthews looked good picking up 15 on a screen in the second, but Cooper was flagged on the play. Not sure why the Eagles didn’t go back to him on that play. He made an 8-yard grab on 3rd-and-5 in the second. Matthews caught a 5-yard pass for a first down near the end of the first half. Matthews’ size came in handy on final drive. Foles found him near the sideline for an 11-yard gain. Really good job of coming back to the football after Foles was forced to scramble.
Jeff Maehl – Played four snaps. Wasn’t targeted.
Brad Smith – Cooper asked out of the game on the 90-yard drive after running a deep post. Smith got in and had his number called on a WR screen that picked up 11. It was the only snap he played.
Zach Ertz – Not his best performance. He played 72 percent of the snaps and finished with four catches for 43 yards. It looked like he might have been held on a corner route that could have been a big gainer on third down of the first drive. Ertz had a 14-yard grab on third down later in the first. Poor job as a blocker in the second as Ertz was called for holding on a Sproles run. He picked up 12 on a screen late in the first half, but had a costly fumble in the third that gave San Francisco the ball at the Eagles’ 23. The 49ers ended up scoring a touchdown on the ensuing drive.
Good initial block, but had trouble sustaining it on McCoy’s 5-yard run in the third. Good block on the tunnel screen to Cooper that picked up 8 in the third. Ertz could not handle the LB on a McCoy run that lost 4 yards in the fourth. He picked up 14 on an out on the 90-yard drive.
Brent Celek – He played fewer snaps than Ertz and wasn’t much of a factor. Foles overthrew Celek on a corner route vs. the nickel in the first. It could have been a big play. Tough assignment, but couldn’t block Ray McDonald on a McCoy run that gained 1 in the first. Good job on McCoy’s 4-yard run in the third. Good block on the screen to Smith that picked up 11. Celek said the Niners had good coverage called for the 3rd-and-goal play that was incomplete. Perhaps it would have had a shot if Foles could have waited for the route to develop, but he was under pressure.
James Casey – He played three snaps and was not targeted.
Jason Peters – Usual solid game out of him. Good block out in front on a screen to Ertz late in the first half. Nice job on McCoy’s 4-yard run in the third, but hurt his foot or ankle on the play and came out for a snap. Good job on McCoy’s 5-yard run in the third. Good block on the tunnel screen to Cooper that picked up 8 in the third. Justin Smith got past him and Tobin on a third-quarter sweep and blew it up for no gain. Peters was called for holding on first down of the final drive.
Matt Tobin – Disappointing performance. Tobin had a great summer, but really struggled in his first NFL start. Kelly said he suffered an injury early, but played through it. Perhaps that was a factor. Let’s see if he gets another shot this week.
In the first half, Tobin let Smith go right past him. It looked like he thought Peters would pick him up. Instead, Smith crushed Foles as he underthrew a deep ball to Maclin. Tobin was slow to pick up a stunt on a third-down incompletion in the first. I don’t know what he was doing on the Foles INT. Tobin let his man go through and didn’t finish the play. Tobin was blown up by Demarcus Dobbs on a fourth-quarter McCoy run that lost 4 yards. Good block on McCoy’s 5-yard run that got the Eagles to the 1. Good job on the tunnel screen to Cooper that picked up 8 in the third. Overall, way too many miscues.
David Molk – Beacuse of his size, there are plays where Molk is going to get blown up. He had plenty of issues, but was OK overall, all things considered. The guess here is that he’ll continue to start until Jason Kelce is healthy. Molk and Dennis Kelly did an OK job of passing off a stunt in the first. He was bull-rushed back into Foles’ face and called for holding in pass pro in the second. Molk could not handle McDonald on an outside zone run that was stopped for no gain. He and Kelly had trouble with a stunt on the final drive of the first half. Molk got out in front but didn’t block anyone on a screen to Ertz at the end of the first half. He got bull-rushed on the final drive on Foles’ incompletion to Cooper. Beaten badly by nose tackle Ian Williams on the final drive, but great job of playing to the whistle and knocking Williams to the ground before he could hit Foles. Good job on McCoy’s 5-yard run late in the fourth.
Dennis Kelly – He had issues as well, but was OK. Again, it’s a matter of expectations with the backups. Kelly was a little late picking up a stunt in the first, but still gave Foles room to step up. Good job out in front on a screen to Matthews that picked up 15 but was called back. Kelly tripped as he tried to get to the linebacker, took out Todd Herremans in the process, and McCoy was stopped for no gain on a run play. Nice job on the screen to Smith that picked up 11 in the fourth. It looked like he did not sell run like everyone else on the 4th-and-goal play. Chip Kelly referred to this miscue during his press conference Monday.
Todd Herremans – Not a bad showing by Herremans at right tackle. He gave up some pressure on third down in the first, but Foles was able to step up. Herremans had some trouble with the LB off the edge on third down in the third. It looked like the defender jumped offsides. Herremans was still able to shove him upfield and give Foles room to maneuver. He was beaten badly by Aaron Lynch with an inside move in the fourth. Foles got rid of the ball at the last second or it would have been a sack. Great job blocking out in front on the screen to Smith that picked up 11. We’ll see if he moves back to right guard immediately or if the Eagles give Lane Johnson a week to get up to speed.
Andrew Gardner – He played one snap for Peters at left tackle.