Game Review: Eagles Offense Vs. Rams
Here’s a player-by-player breakdown of the Eagles’ offense after having re-watched Sunday’s game against the Rams.
Nick Foles – He’s not playing well. Foles is missing throws, making questionable decisions and looks jittery in the pocket. Overall, he went 24-for-37 for 207 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Foles turned the ball over a second time on a fumble while scrambling.
The game plan was different this week. Through the first four games, Foles was throwing downfield at a high rate – 23.5 percent of his passes traveled at least 20 yards past the line of scrimmage, according to Pro Football Focus. On Sunday, just three of his 37 attempts, or 8.1 percent, went that distance. There were a lot of screens and a lot of packaged plays where Foles would pull the ball out of unfavorable running looks and fire off passes quickly.
On second down of the second drive, Foles shuffled to the right into pressure before nearly throwing an interception over the middle. He later chucked up a dangerous ball that luckily drew a pass interference penalty vs. Zach Ertz. The interception to Jeremy Maclin should have been out of his hand quicker and aimed deeper and towards the sideline, according to Chip Kelly. Foles had a clean pocket on the play. He failed to step up against edge pressure and missed Ertz on a corner route in the second. Foles later threw into traffic on 3rd-and-13 and was nearly picked off. His worst pass of the day was one that came up short to a wide open Matthews in the red zone in the third.
The good plays: Foles stayed on his feet and found Ertz for 19 yards on first down of the first drive. He found Riley Cooper on a fade for a touchdown in the second. Foles stood tall and delivered on-target to Ertz on 3rd-and-7 in the third. On the same drive, he made another good throw to Ertz for 12 yards on 3rd-and-9. The touchdown pass to Maclin was a gimme as the Rams blew the coverage.
Either we’re seeing a young quarterback work through some things, or we’re seeing the flaws in Foles’ game be revealed to a certain extent. It seems somewhat telling that with the offense facing a 3rd-and-6 ahead of the two-minute warning, Kelly did not put the ball in his quarterback’s hands. There’s just not a lot of confidence in the passing game right now. Against a lot of man coverage, single-high safety looks Sunday, the Eagles did not make enough plays downfield.
LeSean McCoy – The run game definitely looked better. McCoy carried 24 times for 81 yards. He had the bad play where he tried to do too much on the screen and ended up fumbling. McCoy has always carried the ball loose, but that play was on another level:
McCoy made a defender miss and picked up 4 in the red zone in the first. Good blitz pickup on 3rd-and-3 in the second. Nice 19-yard gain on a split zone run in the second. McCoy made a 6-yard catch for a first down late in the second. Nice individual effort on the 10-yard outside zone run in the third. McCoy somehow squeezed in between David Molk and Lane Johnson. Nice 7-yard run off a split zone in the third. He had two more good-looking 7-yard runs as well. It’s unclear whether McCoy took himself out of the game on the final drive because he was gassed or if running backs coach Duce Staley wanted Darren Sproles in there.
Darren Sproles – He continues to come up with big plays. Sproles had seven carries for 51 yards. Three of those carries went for 10+. Late in the game on third down, Sproles broke a run for 25 yards, the Eagles’ longest scamper of the day. He also had a nice 23-yard punt return earlier in the game. Sproles played 27 percent of the snaps.
Jeremy Maclin – Solid game. Maclin had five grabs for 76 yards and a touchdown. He had a 23-yard gain on a deep crosser in the second. The Eagles used play-action against the run-focused defense and sprung Maclin free. He looked good on a bubble screen in the second that picked up 19. Maclin had the ball knocked out of his hands on a target near the sideline in the third. The Rams blew the coverage on the vertical concept where he scored from 24 yards out.
Riley Cooper – He used his size to go up and get the ball on the 9-yard fade in the end zone in the second. Overall, Cooper had four catches for 33 yards, but he also had a pair of penalties. One was an illegal motion call in the second. The other was a false start on 3rd-and-2 in the third. The announcers ripped him for running out of bounds and stopping the clock with about 8:58 left in the game, but the clock doesn’t stop anyway until there are five minutes or fewer left. He has been unable to do any damage downfield. Cooper’s averaging 8.3 YPR, less than half of what he notched a year ago (17.8).
Jordan Matthews – He had four catches for 35 yards on seven targets. Matthews picked up 11 yards on a WR screen on the first play. I’d like to see him used on more of those. Nice 12-yard catch and run on third down in the second. Matthews stiff-armed Lamarcus Joyner as he fought for more yards. He ran a good route to get open in the third, but Foles threw the ball into the ground. Matthews had a drop on third down in the fourth. It wouldn’t have moved the chains, but would have kept the clock moving. Matthews played 45 percent of the snaps as the Eagles went to more 12 personnel (one RB, two TEs).
Josh Huff – He played 10 snaps and was targeted once on a 4-yard gain.
Brent Celek – One of his best games this season as a blocker. Celek blocked the CB on the 11-yard screen to Matthews to start the game. Nice down block on the TE on Sproles’ 10-yard run in the first. Nice block on McCoy’s 7-yard run in the third. And good job blocking the safety on Sproles’ 25-yard run in the fourth. Celek had three catches for 15 yards, including an 8-yard pickup on a screen in the third. He played 79 percent of the snaps.
Zach Ertz – He only played 40 percent of the snaps as the Eagles tried to run the ball a lot out of 12 personnel with Celek and James Casey. Ertz had three catches for 39 yards. An underrated part of his game is that he always comes back to the ball when the QB’s in trouble. That led to a 19-yard gain in the first. Ertz had a drop on what looked like a packaged play in the red zone in the first. He ran an in-breaking route, got hit and couldn’t hang on. Ertz drew a pass interference penalty in the first. Good block on the bubble screen to Maclin in the second that picked up 19. Ertz converted a 3rd-and-7 near the sideline in the third, and he made a nice grab vs. the safety for 12 yards on 3rd-and-9 on the same drive. Solid game overall.
James Casey – He played 34 percent of the snaps as the Eagles ran a lot of split zone with Casey coming across the formation on those sift blocks. Casey did a good job on the McCoy run that picked up 19 yards in the second. Another nice block on Sproles’ 10-yard run in the second. And Casey made a good block on McCoy’s 8-yard run in the third. He also came up with the punt block that led to the touchdown. Overall, this was probably his best game as an Eagle.
Jason Peters – Good game from Peters. Foles was getting rid of the ball quickly, but I only noticed one instance where he allowed a hurry to Robert Quinn. And Peters did a lot of good things in the run game. He showed off his athleticism and crushed a defender on the screen to Huff that picked up 4 yards. Peters came up limping, but played through it. He manhandled a linebacker on Sproles’ 10-yard run in the second. McCoy ran right behind him on a 3rd-and-1 conversion. Good kick-out block on McCoy’s 7-yard run in the third. The Eagles used some unbalanced line in this game. Peters and Lane Johnson paved the way for McCoy’s 5-yard run in the fourth. The negative plays? Peters got beaten on his down block on a McCoy sweep that was stopped for no gain. Quinn sliced right past him and dropped McCoy for a 3-yard loss in the third. He gave up some edge pressure to Quinn later in the drive, but Foles could have stepped up.
Matt Tobin – He had some issues. Poor job by Tobin of handling a stunt on the first possession. He nearly gave up a sack, but Foles found Ertz. Tobin completely whiffed on his block on a packaged play in the second, and Foles got hit. Tobin was beaten in pass pro on third down in the first, but the Rams were whistled for a pass interference penalty. Tobin was chucked to the ground (or tripped) on a third-quarter pass play, but Foles got rid of the ball quickly. He was beaten on a 1-yard McCoy run in the third and gave up a hit in pass pro on third down in the third. It looked like Tobin blew his assignment on a third-down play in the fourth, but the Eagles got an illegal contact penalty. The good? Nice block on Sproles’ 10-yard run. Excellent job in protection on Quinn on Foles’ deep crosser to Maclin for 23 yards. Good job on Sproles’ 10-yard run in the second. And nice job on McCoy’s 7-yard run.
David Molk – He was OK. Molk’s size is going to be an issue, and there are times when he just gets shoved into the backfield, but he played better. Molk pulled and helped spring Sproles for a 10-yard run in the first. Really nice job on the LB on Sproles’ 10-yard run in the second. Good block on the defensive tackle on McCoy’s 7-yard run. And nice block on McCoy’s 7-yard run in the fourth. Molk ended up on the ground on third down in the red zone in the first. He was pushed into McCoy’s lap on a 4-yard run in the fourth. Not bad in pass protection.
Todd Herremans – He was solid for the most part. I didn’t see Herremans get beaten in pass protection. In the run game, he threw the key block on Sproles’ 25-yard run on third down in the fourth. Herremans got beaten on a first-quarter run where McCoy was dropped for a loss. He was beaten again on a fourth-quarter run that was stopped for no gain.
Lane Johnson – There were times when he looked rusty and other instances where it was easy to remember why Johnson was the No. 4 overall pick. Overall, I’d label the performance as encouraging.
The first play went to Johnson’s side. He got in the linebacker’s way, but couldn’t sustain his block. The result was still an 11-yard gain. Johnson manhandled the LB on McCoy’s 19-yard split zone run in the second. Good job on the edge defender on McCoy’s 10-yard run in the third. Johnson drove his man off the ball on an 8-yard McCoy run in the third. And he did an excellent job on McCoy’s 5-yard run in the fourth.
The negatives? Johnson couldn’t sustain his block on the LB on McCoy’s run that lost a yard in the first. He got pushed back into Foles’ face on third down in the red zone in the first. Johnson gave up some edge pressure late in the first half, but Foles could have stepped up. He gave up some pressure on next play, but again, Foles had a chance to step up. I remember last year, Johnson talked about over-setting – getting high in his pass set, which made him vulnerable to inside moves. It looked like he didn’t want that to happen on Sunday, which resulted in some edge pressure. Johnson was beaten badly on McCoy’s 3-yard loss in the third. He got walked back into Foles on third down in the third and was pushed back on a fourth-quarter McCoy run that was stopped for no gain.
Again, definitely some rust, but it’s easy to envision Johnson as a major upgrade at right tackle in a couple weeks.