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By the Numbers: The Eagles’ Bye Week Edition

Nick Sirianni threw a well-placed curveball against the New York Jets. Paul Domowitch explains it here.


Gardner Minshew celebrates the team’s win against the New York Jets with fans at MetLife Stadium on December 05, 2021. / Photograph by Steven Ryan / Contributor via Getty Images

Before the Jets game last week, we used part of this space to discuss Nick Sirianni’s preference for three-wide receiver 11-personnel. So, what does the shrewd first-year Eagles coach do? He throws the Jets defense a curveball and attacks them with a heavy dose of 12- (two tight ends) and 13- (three tight ends) personnel packages.

The Eagles used 12/13P on 37 of 68 plays (54.4%) in their 33-18 win. That’s the second-highest percentage of 12/13P in a game by the Eagles this season. They used the two personnel groupings 56.4% of the time (35 of 62 plays) in their 44-6 Week 8 ground-and-pound win over Detroit (56.4%).

They used 13P (1RB, 3TE, 1WR) a season-high 16 times against the Jets after using it a total of 56 times in the first 12 games. Five of those 16 plays were pass plays. Gardner Minshew was 4-for-5 for 31 yards with 13P. The Eagles had passed out of 13P just 12 times in their first 12 games.

The Eagles ran 21 plays with 12P, also their most since the Lions game (25). Minshew was 5-for-6 for 84 yards and a touchdown with 12P.

Tight end Dallas Goedert had his best day as a pro against the Jets, catching six passes for 105 yards and two touchdowns. The 105 yards were a career-high. It also was his first two-TD game.

Four of Goedert’s six catches and 68 of his 105 receiving yards Sunday came with 12P. In the Eagles’ first 12 games, 24 of Goedert’s 35 receptions came in one-tight end, three-wide receiver 11P. In the previous eight games, he had just five catches with 12/13P. His 36-yard first-quarter touchdown pass against the Jets was with 12P.

The Eagles rushed for 185 yards against the Jets on 41 attempts. They had 60 yards on 15 carries with 11P, 93 yards on 15 carries with 12P, and 32 on 11 runs with 13P. Miles Sanders, who had 120 of the Eagles’ 185 rushing yards, gained 24 yards on 8 attempts with 11P, 63 on 7 runs with 12P, and 33 on 9 runs with 13P.

The Eagles are first in the league in rushing (160.0 yards per game) and third in rush average (5.0 yards per carry) heading into the bye. A breakdown of their ground game by personnel grouping: 11P – 230-1,296 (5.6), 12P – 122-594 (4.9), 13P – 55-167 (3.0), other – 5-23 (4.6).

Sirianni had another surprise for the Jets besides the 12/13-personnel assault. The Eagles also ran 26 of their 68 offensive plays (38.2%) from under center. Their under-center percentage in the previous four games: Giants (15.4), Saints (23.4), Broncos (14.1) and Chargers (29.8).

Four of the Eagles’ six plays on their first touchdown drive were from under center, including Minshew’s 36-yard touchdown pass to Goedert. Thirteen of their first 24 plays were under center.

Twenty-one of their 41 rushing attempts (for 91 yards) were from under center, including 11 of Miles Sanders’ career-high 24 runs and Kenny Gainwell’s 18-yard second-quarter touchdown run. Sanders averaged 4.1 yards per carry from under center and 5.8 out of shotgun. Minshew attempted five passes from under center. He completed four for 76 yards, including Goedert’s 36-yard first-quarter TD catch.

MINSHEW MANIA

  • Minshew, who started for injured Jalen Hurts, completed 20 of 25 passes for 242 yards and two touchdowns. His 133.7 passer rating was the highest by an Eagles quarterback in a regular-season game since Nick Foles’ 149.3 rating against Green Bay on November 10, 2013. That was one week after St. Nick’s seven-touchdown game against the Raiders. More recently, Foles also had a 141.7 passer rating in the Eagles’ 2017 NFC Championship Game win over the Vikings.
  • It was Minshew’s highest passer rating since Week 1 of last season when he put up a 142.3 rating in Jacksonville’s 27-20 win over Indianapolis. He completed 19 of 20 passes for 173 yards and three TDs in that game.
  • Three of Minshew’s 25 attempts against the Jets were throwaways. Fifteen of his 22 “aimed” passes traveled no more than five yards beyond the line of scrimmage. Twelve of his 20 completions were on passes of two yards or less, including six behind the line of scrimmage.
  • Four of those six completions behind the LOS were screens – two to Goedert (for 28 yards) and two to running back Kenny Gainwell (for 3 yards). Goedert has 41 catches for 596 yards this season. Eight of his receptions (for 68 yards) have been on screens.
  • Minshew was 10-for-10 for 90 yards on 0-10 yard throws against the Jets. Just one of those 10, a seven-yard completion to Goedert, traveled more than five yards. In the Eagles’ loss to the Giants a week earlier, Hurts was a disappointing 10-for-17 on 0-10 yard throws, including an interception.
  • Minshew was 2-for-3 for 47 yards and one touchdown on 11-19 yard throws, and 2-for-3 for 64 yards on 20-plus yard throws. The deep-ball completions were Goedert’s 36-yard touchdown (27 yards in the air) and a 28-yard completion to Quez Watkins (22 yards in the air).

HURTS REPORT

  • Hurts, who is expected to return next week, has thrown just three TD passes in his last five starts. In his first seven starts this season, he averaged a TD pass every 24.2 attempts. In his last five games, he’s averaged one every 36.3.
  • Before throwing three interceptions against the Giants two weeks ago, Hurts had just five interceptions in 320 attempts.
  • One of the keys for Hurts going forward is going to be improving his passing production on third down. The Eagles have the fourth-best third-down success rate in the league (45.5%). Hurts has been a big part of that, but mostly with his legs, not his arm.
  • He has a 79.6 third-down passer rating and is 33rd in third-down completion percentage (51.2) among quarterbacks with at least 40 third-down attempts. Just 31 of his 82 third-down passes (37.8%) have produced first downs. Eleven of his 21 sacks have come on third down.
  • But he has 21 rushing first downs on third down, which is the most in the league, four ahead of Bills quarterback Josh Allen and six ahead of NFL rushing leader Jonathan Taylor of the Colts. Hurts is averaging 6.2 yards per carry on third down.
  • Hurts is tied for fourth in total rushing first downs with 50. He’s behind only Taylor (86), Washington’s Antonio Gibson (53) and the Vikings’ Dalvin Cook (52).
  • The Eagles are a respectable ninth in red-zone production, converting 63.6% of their red-zone opportunities into touchdowns. But they have struggled inside the 20 lately. They have converted just five of 12 red-zone opps (41.7%) in the last four games, compared to 23 of 32 (71.9%) in their first nine games.
  • Hurts has just one red-zone touchdown pass in his last five starts and zero red-zone passing yards in three of those five games.
  • He has thrown 10 touchdown passes to six different receivers in the red zone, but none of them have more than two. Successful red-zone quarterbacks typically have a go-to guy in the red zone. Carson Wentz had Zach Ertz. Aaron Rodgers has Davante Adams (19 red-zone TD catches in the last two years), Kirk Cousins has Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson (a combined 13 TD catches this season), Matt Stafford has Cooper Kupp (league-high nine). Justin Herbert has Austin Ekeler (seven).

MORE GOOD STAT STUFF

  • The Eagles have averaged a league-best 210.5 rushing yards per game in their last six games. They have compiled a league-high 78 rushing first downs in those six games.
  • They have averaged 41.3 rushing attempts per game in the last six games and have a return-to-the-three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust-days 63.1 run-play percentage in those six games.
  • In their first seven games this season, the Eagles ran the ball on just 82 of 203 plays on first down (40.4%). In the last six games, they’ve run it on 130 of 182 first-down plays (71.4%).
  • Jonathan Gannon’s defense fell back into their nasty early-season habit of sleeping through the early portion of games against the Jets. They gave up consecutive touchdowns to the Jets on their first three drives. The only other team to score three game-opening TDs against the Eagles this season was the Chiefs in Week 4. There is zero resemblance between the Jets offense and Andy Reid’s. The Jets had 164 total yards and 14 first downs on those first three drives. On their other six possessions, they gained just 117 yards and had nine first downs.

Paul Domowitch has covered pro football for five decades and has been a Hall of Fame selector since 2001. You can reach Paul at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @pdomo.

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