FanPost

Red Zone Offensive Ineptitude

 

The last few weeks there has been a lot of talk about how bad both the red zone offense and defense has been.  During the game Sunday, there was a graphic that if I recall correctly, showed that the Eagles led the league in trips into the red zone, but were 23rd in the league in touchdown percentage.  This, to me, is possibly the most frustrating part of the season because by not scoring touchdowns in the red zone, the Eagles are leaving points on the field.  So, I decided to go on the ESPN web site, and look at the play-by-play descriptions of each game, which can be found here:

St. Louis

Atlanta

New York Giants

San Francisco

Buffalo

From there, I found each possession in which the Eagles had a first down inside the opponents' red zone.  Keep in mind that this does not include every trip into the opponents' red zone, as I believe a touchdown can be expected much more on a drive when the Eagles have a 1st and 10 at the opponents' 18, rather than 3rd and 7 at the opponents' 18.  I tracked where the Eagles' deepest 1st down in opponents' territory was, as well as where the Eagles ended up, the result of the play (TD, FG, missed FG, fumble, etc.), and figured out how many potential points the Eagles missed out on by not being able to score a touchdown.  On a drive where the Eagles scored a touchdown, I counted 0 points left on the field, 4 for a drive that resulted in a field goal, and 7 for a drive that did not result in points.

Here are the results for each game:

St. Louis

Deepest 1st and 10

End of drive

Result

Points

Points Left

STL 10

TD

TD

7

0

STL 15

STL 12

Vick fumble

0

7

STL 11

STL 16

FG

3

4

STL 4

TD

TD

7

0

 

In total, the Eagles had 4 drives where they had a first down inside the Rams' red zone.  Out of those 4 drives, the Eagles scored 2 touchdowns, made 1 field goal, and lost a fumble, resulting in 17 points for the Eagles, but potentially leaving 11 points on the field.  If the Eagles capitalize on each possession, the score goes from 31-13 Eagles to possibly 42-13 Eagles.

Atlanta

Deepest 1st and 10

End of drive

Result

Points

Points Left

ATL 4

TD

TD

7

0

ATL 12

ATL 3

FG

3

4

ATL 4

ATL 4

Vick fumble

0

7

ATL 8

TD

TD

7

0

ATL 2

TD

TD

7

0

 

Against the Falcons, the Eagles have a first down in the red zone on five occasions, scoring points on four, for a total of 24 points.  However, by losing a fumble on either a very poorly drawn up play or a terribly missed block and settling for a field goal, the Eagles once again leave 11 points on the field.  Those 11 points would have given the Eagles 42 points, and arguably could have taken away points from the Falcons as well, as the Falcons scored on the possession gained from the Vick fumble.

New York Giants

Deepest 1st and 10

End of drive

Result

Points

Points Left

NYG 3

NYG 3

FG

3

4

NYG 11

TD

TD

7

0

NYG 2

NYG 2

FG

3

4

 

Two very alarming drives from the Eagles, as they have 1st and Goal inside the Giants' 5 yard line twice, and can't score a touchdown either time.  With 8 points left on the field, the Eagles theoretically still lose 29-24, but questionable play calling also leads to Vick's hand injury, causing Mike Kafka to play the 4th quarter of the game.

San Francisco

Deepest 1st and 10

End of drive

Result

Points

Points Left

SF 16

TD

TD

7

0

SF 4

SF 1

Brown fumble

0

7

SF 14

SF 13

FG

3

4

SF 10

TD

TD

7

0

SF 13

SF 15

Missed FG

0

7

 

Eagles leave more points on the field than they score from the red zone, leaving 18 and scoring 17.  Note this does not include Henery's other missed field goal, as the Eagles did not have a 1st down inside the red zone on that drive.  Including both missed field goals, the Eagles potentially leave 21 points on the field in a game lost by 1.

Buffalo

Deepest 1st and 10

End of drive

Result

Points

Points Left

BUF 2

TD

TD

7

0

BUF 10

TD

TD

7

0

BUF 8

BUF 17

FG

3

4

 

Another game where the red zone statistics don't completely tell the whole story.  Eagles leave 4 points on the field in 1st down in the red zone situations, but combining those 4 points with the 3 the Eagles left on the field at the end of the first half, the Eagles are conceivably tied.  Add in at least 3 more on the Avant interception, and the Eagles arguably win the game.

In total, the Eagles have had 19 drives where they have had at least one first down inside the red zone, scoring 88 points on such drives, but leaving a potential 52 points on the field.  That averages out to the Eagles having 3.8 drives with a red zone first down, scoring 17.6 points each game, and leaving 10.6 on the field 

Now, I know there are some flaws in my theory here.  For example, we can't expect the offense to score touchdowns on every red zone possession.  (What would be an acceptable TD percentage to have on red zone possessions?)  However, I think this does show a bit of the Eagles' problems on offense, having directly led to at least 2 Eagles losses this year.  By not capitalizing in the red zone, the Eagles are wasting offensive possessions, and also wasting time they need at the end of the game to come back from deficits partly caused by red zone ineffectiveness.  With better red zone play on offense alone, the Eagles could conceivably be at 3-2, rather than 1-4.

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