Game Review: Eagles Offense Vs. the Cowboys
Here’s a player-by-player review of the Eagles’ offense after having re-watched their win over the Cowboys.
Mark Sanchez – He played a smart, clean game, completing 20 of 29 passes for 217 yards and a touchdown. Sanchez fumbled once, but the Eagles recovered. I didn’t see a near-INT on any of his pass attempts.
Early on, the Cowboys rushed a safety unblocked, but Sanchez got rid of the ball and found Jeremy Maclin for 8 yards. Later on the same drive, he got rid of it to Riley Cooper for 8 yards before taking a hit from an unblocked defender. He pulled the ball and ran it in on the 2-yard touchdown. On the replay, it looked like LeSean McCoy would have scored too had he handed it off. Nice throw on the move off the play-fake in the first. Sanchez rolled to his right and found Jordan Matthews for 15 yards. He connected with Maclin on an out for 13 yards on the next play. Excellent throw in a tight window to Cooper for 7 yards on 3rd-and-3 in the first. The Eagles came back to the play-fake on the touchdown to Matthews. Great throw by Sanchez rolling to his left and finding Matthews for the 27-yard score. He’s been outstanding on the move all season long.
On the fumble in the second, I’m pretty sure he wanted to go to Josh Huff on the corner route, but Huff was covered. Sanchez held onto the ball and lost it. On the very next play, he found Maclin for a 58-yard gain, making a good pass in between the corner and safety against Cover 2. He had Brad Smith wide open, but receiver and QB weren’t on the same page and missed out on a potential TD. On third down in the red zone, Sanchez made a good throw to Zach Ertz, but the safety made a nice play to knock it away. He could have probably dumped it off to McCoy for a first down (it was 3rd-and-3).
Bad throw on the fade to Cooper in the end zone. Didn’t give him a chance (although I didn’t like the call). Sanchez put too much on the screen to Maclin in the third that went incomplete. Good decision to take off and pick up 8 in the third on 3rd-and-3. He kept the ball for 5 yards on a zone read play in the third. Sanchez kept the ball again for a 13-yard gain on a zone read play in the fourth.
Per Pro Football Focus, Sanchez attempted only two passes that traveled 20+ yards past the line of scrimmage. He was only blitzed twice on 32 dropbacks.
LeSean McCoy – Great game – 25 carries for 159 yards. McCoy picked up 36 on the counter play on the first drive. He gained 19 on a sweep later in the quarter. Good patience and vision on a sweep that picked up 9 in the second. McCoy gained 7 in the red zone in the second and picked up 9 on a sweep in the third. The fumble came when he was going to the ground and collided with Lane Johnson. He broke a tackle and picked up 7 in the third. McCoy shook off one defensive lineman near the line of scrimmage and then broke a tackle in space on the 38-yard touchdown. He has averaged 6.3 YPC in the past two games.
Chris Polk – He’s a really nice option to come in when the defense is worn down. Polk had 49 yards on 11 carries. He came in near the end of the third and picked up 11 on his first carry. Later, Polk ran through contact and gained 6.
Darren Sproles – He finished with one run for 13 and three three catches for 19. Not eye-popping numbers, but Sproles really made an impact early. He ran behind Jason Peters and picked up 13 on 3rd-and-1 on the first series. The Eagles put him in motion on third down on the first series. The Cowboys were slow to react, and Sanchez threw a swing pass to him for 4 yards on 3rd-and-2. He beat the linebacker for 6 yards on 3rd-and-4 in the second.
Jeremy Maclin – Another monster game. Maclin had eight grabs for 108 yards on 10 targets. He came down with a catch near the sideline, reversed field and picked up 58 yards in the second. Maclin picked up 11 on the snag concept in the second. On 3rd-and-4 in the third, he made a catch on a low ball and lunged forward for the first down. Maclin has had a huge year with 71 grabs for 1,088 yards and nine touchdowns.
Riley Cooper – He had four grabs for 32 yards on seven targets. Good job blocking downfield on Sproles’ 13-yard run in the first. Bobbled a pass, but then came down with it for 7 yards. Nice job blocking on a sweep to McCoy that picked up 9 in the second. As I mentioned, I did not like the call to go to the fade to Cooper on third down in the red zone. So many other weapons to go to in that spot. Cooper got into it with Sanchez in the fourth. It looked like Sanchez said “Listen to me!” as the Eagles were forced to use a timeout. No idea why Cooper didn’t have his head around on the next play that resulted in an incompletion.
Jordan Matthews – He had four catches for 51 yards and a touchdown. Matthews pushed off and created space on the corner route in the end zone in the first, but couldn’t make the grab. He made a 15-yard catch off a play-fake in the first. Got open for a 27-yard touchdown later on what looked like a similar play.
Josh Huff – Good hustle, downing the ball at the 4 in punt coverage after two Cowboys ran into each other. He had a 7-yard run on third down late in the game, but did not have a catch.
Brad Smith – Should have been an easy touchdown to him in the second. Sanchez faked to Sproles in the flat, fooled the Dallas defense, but the QB and receiver were not on the same page, and the result was an incompletion.
Brent Celek – Outstanding game as a blocker. Celek sealed the defender on McCoy’s 36-yard run. He handled the safety on the 19-yard sweep to McCoy in the first. Nice job on McCoy’s 7-yard run in the second. Sealed the edge defender, allowing McCoy to pick up 9 on a sweep in the second. Good block on McCoy’s 5-yard run in the third. One catch for 7 yards, but great game by Celek.
Zach Ertz – He jacked up the safety at the line of scrimmage and then drew a holding penalty on third down near the end of the second quarter. Ertz had a chance on the corner route in the end zone, but the Cowboys safety made a nice play to knock it away. Other than that, quiet game.
James Casey – No targets.
Jason Peters – Tremendous game. I didn’t notice him give up a single pressure, and Peters was effective, as always, in the run game. He cleared the way for Sproles’ 13-yard run on 3rd-and-1 in the first. Great job on a sweep to McCoy that picked up 9 in the second. Nice kick-out on McCoy’s 6-yard run in the fourth.
Evan Mathis – It wasn’t his cleanest game, but Mathis was a beast in the run game – specifically in the second half. Strange play in the second. Jeremy Mincey got tripped up, making it tough for Mathis to block him, and then he got up to drop McCoy for a loss. Mathis couldn’t get to his defender on the sweep to McCoy that lost a yard in the second. He had trouble with a stunt on third down in the second and gave up some pressure on Sanchez. Nice job on McCoy’s 4-yard run in the red zone in the second. He had trouble with a stunt again on third down in the red zone in the second, allowing pressure on Sanchez. Mathis threw the key block at the second level on McCoy’s 38-yard TD run. Nice job on Polk’s 11-yard run in the third. Nice block on McCoy’s 6-yard run on 3rd-and-2 in the fourth.
Jason Kelce – He was effective for the most part as well. Kelce got to the second level on McCoy’s 7-yard run in the second. He gave up a hit on Sanchez in pass pro late in the second. The LB sidestepped him and tackled McCoy after a 1-yard run in the red zone in the second. Kelce was beaten in pass pro and gave up pressure on Sanchez on third down in the red zone in the second. Good job on Polk’s 11-yard run in the third.
Andrew Gardner – He still has his share of issues, but Gardner had a lot of really good moments in this one. Good block on the sweep to McCoy that picked up 19 in the first. Got beaten for a sack/forced fumble in the second (although Sanchez held onto the ball). Allowed penetration on a McCoy run that lost 6 in the second. Fantastic job at the second level on McCoy’s 38-yard TD run. Gave up penetration on a TFL in the fourth. Good block on McCoy’s 6-yard run in the fourth. Some have asked about Matt Tobin, but I don’t think Gardner’s going anywhere.
Lane Johnson – I thought this was probably his best game of the season. Johnson did not allow any pressure in pass pro and was effective in the run game. Good down block on McCoy’s 7-yard run in the second. He drove his man to the ground on Polk’s 11-yard run in the third. Johnson took out a pair of defenders on McCoy’s 9-yard run in the fourth. Good job on McCoy’s 6-yard run in the fourth. Really good game for the second-year player.