A Look at the Eagles' Dominant 1st Quarter Offense in '09

How many of you knew the Eagles scored the most points in the 1st Quarter in the NFL last year?  I know I didn't.  122 points, to be exact, which is an impressive number considering the 1st Quarter has always traditionally been the quarter in which the fewest points are scored in the NFL.  They also tied with the Saints for the league lead in scoring on opening drives.  (Hat tip to JLMax09, who provided the inspiration for this piece over on bloggingtheboys.com, as well as One.Cool.Customer, who sent me some additional data - Thanks guys). 

The Eagles were also very good in the 2nd Quarter last year, where they put 151 points up on the board, good for 6th in the NFL.  Unfortunately, they were not nearly as lethal in the 2nd half, where they ranked 20th in scoring.  Here's how they compared with the rest of league...

Rank Team 1Q 2Q 1st Half 3Q 4Q 2nd Half Total
1 Eagles 122 151 273 72 84 156 429
2 Packers 115 154 269 58 134 192 461
3 Chargers 103 120 223 107 124 231 454
4 Patriots 99 183 282 70 75 145 427
5 Colts 96 147 243 58 115 173 416
6 Texans 89 131 220 75 93 168 388
7 Saints 85 176 261 107 139 246 507
8 Steelers 81 126 207 61 97 158 365
9 Jets 81 108 189 79 80 159 348
10 Lions 80 63 143 51 68 119 262
11 Falcons 78 116 194 60 109 169 363
12 Ravens 77 81 158 123 107 230 388
13 Titans 77 103 180 67 104 171 351
14 Cardinals 76 132 208 82 85 167 375
15 Bills 74 67 141 37 77 114 255
16 Cowboys 71 98 169 80 106 186 355
17 Vikings 69 156 225 111 134 245 470
18 Panthers 68 109 177 43 95 138 315
19 Browns 66 70 136 46 63 109 245
20 49ers 62 93 155 72 103 175 330
21 Bengals 61 118 179 49 74 123 302
22 Dolphins 57 106 163 81 116 197 360
23 Giants 57 159 216 77 106 183 399
24 Broncos 57 80 137 101 85 186 323
25 Jaguars 48 113 161 46 80 126 287
26 Redskins 41 74 115 84 67 151 266
27 Seahawks 37 118 155 46 79 125 280
28 Bears 36 106 142 85 94 179 321
29 Raiders 36 78 114 22 61 83 197
30 Buccaneers 34 73 107 38 96 134 241
31 Chiefs 29 83 112 61 118 179 291
32 Rams 16 74 90 25 60 85 175










Eagles Rank 1 6 2 14 21 20 5

 

After the jump, we'll look at video of each Eagles opening scoring drive last season, as well as some more nerd-friendly charts...

Let's first start with the Eagles' opening drives.  As noted above, the Eagles tied the Saints for the most opening drive points in the NFL, with 51.  They both scored on 9 of their opening drives, which is excellent.  The aforementioned JLMax09 did the heavy lifting, as he manually compiled the data of the opening drives of every team in the NFL, listed here...


NFC East


NFC North











Week PHI DAL NYG WAS CHI DET GB MIN
1 0 3 3 0 0 0 0 0
2 7 0 3 0 0 3 0 0
3 0 0 7 0 0 0 3 0
4 X 0 7 0 7 7 0 7
5 7 0 7 7 X 3 X 7
6 0 X 0 0 0 0 7 7
7 7 0 0 0 0 X 0 0
8 7 0 0 X 0 0 0 0
9 0 0 0 0 7 0 7 X
10 0 0 X 7 0 0 0 3
11 3 0 0 0 0 3 3 0
12 3 0 0 7 0 7 0 0
13 3 0 0 7 0 0 3 7
14 7 3 0 0 0 0 7 0
15 7 7 7 0 0 0 0 0
16 0 7 0 0 0 3 0 0
17 0 7 0 0 3 0 7 7
Total 51 27 34 28 17 26 37 38
Rank 1 (tied) 19 (tied) 11 (tied) 18 26 (tied) 22 (tied) 7 (tied) 5 (tied)

 

 


NFC South


NFC West











Week ATL CAR NO TB ARZ SEA SF STL
1 0 7 7 0 0 0 0 0
2 0 3 7 0 7 0 3 0
3 3 0 7 0 0 7 0 0
4 X X 3 7 X 0 0 0
5 0 0 X 0 7 0 0 0
6 0 0 7 7 7 0 X 7
7 7 0 0 0 0 X 0 3
8 7 7 7 X 7 3 0 3
9 7 7 0 0 7 0 3 X
10 3 0 0 3 0 0 0 0
11 0 3 0 7 0 0 3 3
12 0 0 3 0 0 0 3 0
13 0 7 0 0 0 0 0 0
14 3 0 3 0 0 0 0 0
15 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0
16 7 3 7 0 0 0 0 0
17 0 7 0 3 0 0 0 0
Total 37 44 51 27 35 10 15 16
Rank 7 (tied) 3 1 (tied) 19 (tied) 10 31 (tied) 29 28

 


AFC East


AFC North











Week BUF MIA NE NYJ BAL CIN CLE PIT
1 0 0 0 0 3 0 3 0
2 7 7 0 0 0 7 3 7
3 0 0 3 7 7 0 0 3
4 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 7
5 0 7 7 7 0 0 0 0
6 3 X 0 0 0 0 0 0
7 0 0 7 7 X 7 0 0
8 0 0 X 0 0 X 0 X
9 X 3 0 X 0 7 X 0
10 7 6 0 0 0 0 0 3
11 0 0 0 0 3 7 3 0
12 0 0 7 7 7 3 0 0
13 3 0 7 0 0 0 7 3
14 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 0
15 3 3 0 0 7 3 3 7
16 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 0
17 0 7 0 7 0 0 3 7
Total 23 33 34 38 27 34 29 37
Rank 25 15 11 (tied) 5 (tied) 19 (tied) 11 (tied) 17 7 (tied)

 


AFC South


AFC West











Week HOU IND JAX TEN DEN KC OAK SD
1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 0 7 3 7 0 0 0 0
3 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 0
4 0 7 3 0 0 0 0 0
5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 X
6 0 X 6 0 0 0 0 0
7 0 7 X X X 0 0 0
8 0 0 0 3 0 X 0 7
9 0 0 0 0 3 3 X 0
10 X 0 7 0 7 0 7 0
11 0 7 3 0 0 7 0 7
12 7 0 0 3 0 0 0 0
13 0 7 3 3 0 0 3 3
14 7 7 0 0 0 0 0 7
15 0 0 3 0 3 0 0 7
16 3 0 0 3 0 0 0 0
17 7 0 0 7 0 7 0 3
Total 24 42 31 26 13 17 10 34
Rank 24 4 16 22 (tied) 30 26 (tied) 31 (tied) 11 (tied)

 

Rank Team Times Scored Points
1 Eagles 9 51
1 Saints 9 51
3 Panthers 8 44
4 Colts 6 42
5 Vikings 6 38
5 Jets 6 38
7 Packers 7 37
7 Falcons 7 37
7 Steelers 7 37
10 Cardinals 5 35
11 Patriots 6 34
11 Bengals 6 34
11 Chargers 6 34
11 Giants 6 34
15 Dolphins 6 33
16 Jaguars 8 31
17 Browns 7 29
18 Redskins 4 28
19 Ravens 5 27
19 Cowboys 5 27
19 Buccaneers 5 27
22 Titans 6 26
22 Lions 6 26
24 Texans 4 24
25 Bills 5 23
26 Chiefs 3 17
26 Bears 3 17
28 Rams 4 16
29 49ers 5 15
30 Broncos 3 13
31 Raiders 2 10
31 Seahawks 2 10

  *Playoff teams

 

So what did those scoring drives look like?  For the most part, they were big plays.  A look at each opening scoring drive...

Vs. the Saints, Bucs, and Redskins...

All 3 of those scores were 50+ yard plays.

 

OK, going out of order chronologically here, but since the Eagles scored TD's against the Giants in both games last year, I figured I'd give it its own video...

Vs. the Giants x2...


 

A couple golf claps (FG's) vs. the Bears and Redskins...

Note - The 3 the Eagles got against the Redskins really should have been 7, had the referees not flagged Brent Celek for offensive pass interference for doing nothing more than getting jammed at the line by a Redskin defender.

 

A golf clap (FG) against the Falcons, and another DeSean Jackson TD against the 49ers...


 

So how important was it for the Eagles to get an early lead?  In a word... very.  Here's a look at the Eagles' box scores last year which shows whether or not they had a lead at the end of the 1st Quarter, and if they won.  As you can see, the Eagles won all 10 games in which they had a lead at the end of the 1st quarter, and only won 1 out of 6 in which they didn't.  Strangely, they were never tied after the 1st Quarter...


1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final TOP 1st Q lead? Result









Philadelphia  3 28 7 0 38 31:37:00 N W
Carolina  7 3 0 0 10 28:23:00










New Orleans  10 7 17 14 48 30:26:00 N L
Philadelphia  7 6 7 2 22 29:34:00










Kansas City  0 7 0 7 14 29:25:00

Philadelphia  14 10 3 7 34 30:35:00 Y W









Tampa Bay  0 7 0 7 14 34:33:00

Philadelphia  7 14 7 5 33 25:27:00 Y W









Philadelphia  3 3 0 3 9 26:58:00 N L
Oakland  7 3 0 3 13 33:02:00










Philadelphia  14 13 0 0 27 28:18:00 Y W
Washington  0 10 0 7 17 31:42:00










NY Giants  0 7 10 0 17 35:33:00

Philadelphia  13 17 3 7 40 24:27:00 Y W









Dallas  7 3 0 10 20 31:44:00

Philadelphia  0 6 7 3 16 28:16:00 N L









Philadelphia  0 6 3 14 23 29:37:00 N L
San Diego  7 7 14 3 31 30:23:00










Philadelphia  10 0 7 7 24 30:57:00 Y W
Chicago  0 9 11 0 20 29:03:00










Washington  7 7 7 3 24 29:42:00

Philadelphia  10 6 0 11 27 30:18:00 Y W









Philadelphia  10 3 14 7 34 29:11:00 Y W
Atlanta  0 0 0 7 7 30:49:00










Philadelphia  14 16 7 8 45 25:14:00 Y W
NY Giants  3 14 14 7 38 34:46:00










San Francisco  3 0 10 0 13 28:57:00

Philadelphia  7 13 0 7 27 31:03:00 Y W









Denver  0 7 17 3 27 29:17:00

Philadelphia  10 10 7 3 30 30:43:00 Y W









Philadelphia  0 0 0 0 0 19:37:00 N L
Dallas  7 10 7 0 24 40:23:00

 

So what's to make of all this?  Why was the Eagles offense so good in the first half, but not so great in the 2nd?  Was their success on opening drives a result of Andy Reid's "15 scripted plays," or just kind of a flukey thing?  Is there anything to the fact that the Eagles won all 10 games they led after the 1st Quarter, and lost all but one of the 6 they didn't?  Did anyone happen to notice the play calling run/pass balance in the videos of the scoring drives - Is there anything to that?


Cop-out alert - I have some not-completely fully-formed thoughts on these and other questions, but rather than pollute your minds with my interpretation, I'm interested in hearing your thoughts after digesting all of this.

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