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Film Room, Week 11: Zach Ertz flashes brilliance

Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

I'm going to be honest here, this was the first all22 of the season I didn't enjoy watching. I didn't feel like this was a proper game after the illegal formation penalty and Agholor's drop. I don't want to continue to complain about Agholor; the guy isn't mentally right at the moment and he shouldn't be playing.

There's no doubt in my mind though those plays changed the game. I said this on Twitter (why aren't you following me?! @JonnyPage9) but I'll post it here for those who missed it. Before the illegal formation penalty, Wentz was 9/13 for 88 yards and a touchdown. The running game had 14 attempts for 59 yards. The next 7 drives went for 47 yards.

So yeah, I didn't take away much from the second half this week. Coming back against Seattle, on the road, without Sproles, Mathews or any good wide receivers is pretty much impossible. We need to keep that in perspective when judging Wentz: any quarterback would have likely struggled. There isn't as much to break down this week so I mainly focus on Wentz and the passing game in the first half but let's get to the film nonetheless!


Passing Game

So this clearly wasn't Wentz's best game. He looked really good early on though, but when he had to come back he started to force it and it was a really bad situation for him to be in. I thought the best player on the offense this week was Zach Ertz.

I want to show this play for two reasons. 1) Check out the chip block by Ertz at the beginning of the play, not bad! 2) The Eagles receivers are not good in scramble situations when the play breaks down. Wentz does a great job buying some time here and you can just about see the receivers all sort of in a bunch in the corner and no one comes back to the ball or find some space for Wentz.

Here's a simple short throw to Ertz but it's a really nice route by him. He showed good route running, hands and blocking the entire game. It was a really complete game by him and it's good to see after a slow start to the season. He even showed some great YAC on the long touchdown that was called back, but... I can't show that play. It's too depressing. I can't watch it ever again.

I love this play by Wentz. The Eagles have a 3-level stretch play called to the left but no one gets open. Wentz does a great job avoiding both rushers by showing some really good pocket mobility while keeping both hands on the the ball. He then checks back to his last read and makes a quick throw before getting hit. I love how Celek doesn't go down too.

Let's look at some of the negatives.

Oh, the drop. Let's not even talk about Agholor though despite it being a good route. Look at Wentz use his eyes to move the deep safety to the other side of the field and then come back and hit Agholor perfectly in stride. Pete Carroll was talking about how advanced Wentz is for a rookie with his eye manipulation and this is a great example.

Wentz threw deep twice to Treggs, one was picked, one was nearly picked. Everyone's reaction was obviously, 'what the hell are you doing throwing at Earl Thomas down the middle of the field?' However, if you watch the route, it's a really nice route by Treggs and he does actually have half a step on the corner and Thomas. Now, it needs to be a perfect throw right to the back of the end zone, but I'd say it wasn't a terrible decision, it just wasn't a great throw. Treggs runs a lovely route.

On the second deep shot: once again, I can understand the reasoning despite not agreeing with the decision. I have two angles here of the same play as you can see. It's not good by Wentz and it's just as bad by Treggs.

Wentz takes the shot against Sherman and Thomas, which is a risk, obviously. But as you can see, once again Thomas is caught on his heels a little and Treggs does actually have a step on Thomas. However, he simply can't get away from Sherman. Remember how I said Wentz will get in trouble this year because he has faith in his guys making a play? Here's another example.

Look at the second angle. Who is the wide receiver, Treggs or Sherman? Treggs doesn't track the ball at all. He needs to get better at that if he wants to be a receiver who goes down the field. This isn't a good throw, but it shouldn't be a pick if Treggs can track it and at the very least knock it away. Wentz also gets crushed as he releases it, he shows great arm strength to even get the ball where he does. Maybe next time don't throw to Treggs against Sherman though.

Right, I found this interception really fascinating play to watch so I'm going to break it down. I've watched this play at least 40 times, no joke. The Seahawks look like they are playing their standard cover 3 coverage (which they could be). The Eagles are running the dagger concept (deep dig by outside WR, go route from slot, drag route from the TE) that they have ran successfully all season. This concept can work against cover 3.

Wentz has a hi-lo read at this point on the linebacker. The linebacker plays up and takes away Ertz which leaves the deep dig free. But, he doesn't see Chancellor coming. Two things could have happened here. Chancellor was either playing like a robber (free role) or he bails from his middle of the field coverage because he sees what's coming. I think if you watch Chancellor the whole play, he looks to his right hand side and I think he recognizes the play. He knows that's coming, the Eagles have run this play quite a lot. He slowly drifts across the field and baits Wentz into the throw and makes a great play.

I'm not taking criticism away from Wentz. He doesn't see Chancellor coming and he obviously should. I don't believe he 'stared' down the dig as some say, I think he's looking at Matthews in the slot and then comes off him to the dig. Yes it's a bad throw, but sometimes a defender just makes an incredible play. One other thing I noticed, to help out Big V, Barner chips the defensive end before releasing into the middle of the field. I doubt this would have changed anything, but I wonder if Chancellor would have been able to ignore Barner and still jump the route? It's an interesting thought!

Running Game

The Eagles' running game was working well early on, just like the passing game. I thought Ryan Mathews looked really fast, like he did last week. Losing both him and Sproles in this game was a disaster. Smallwood ran hard but being the feature back against Seattle is not easy and I'm not sure he's powerful enough to handle the load. Here are two of my favorite plays. I numbered them like some of you asked; I haven't had time to find a good video editing software that allows me to highlight players but I'll keep looking when I get some time.

On play 1, Big V makes a fantastic block on chancellor, coming all the way across the formation to seal the edge. The left side of the line do a good job crashing down to create a massive lane for Barner who shows some juice too. On play 2, Jason Kelce makes a great block to get around and create a hole for Barner. Brandon Brooks and Jason Peters also make some key blocks. The offensive line played pretty well all game and I thought Kelce had another good game.

The Eagles were running the ball well but once they went behind it forced them to throw the ball a little more which was annoying. I would have been interested to see if the Eagles could have continued to have success with the running game in a close game.


Pass Defense

This was a tough game for the secondary. I thought Malcolm Jenkins had his worst game of the year, he really struggled with Baldwin who is an incredible route runner. Jalen Mills struggled and I didn't think Rodney McLeod had a good game either. Nolan Carroll stood out again, he played well. The pass rush couldn't really get there when they rushed 4 but it can be difficult when facing Russell Wilson because you have to try and stop him from getting outside the pocket. Some of the plays Wilson made this game are sort of impossible to defend. The Seahawks are stacked with weapons now too unlike the Eagles.

I thought some of the front 7 still played well. Cox had a good game and Graham got some pressure at times. I loved this rush from Curry too.

When Curry can do things like this, I don't get why he's disappeared this season. Look at the burst, the power, the speed here. He is like a wrecking ball. He gets chipped, runs into the tackle and the guard, then runs into Thomas Rawls and he still gets to one of the most mobile quarterbacks in the league. Marcus Smith made a great play here too, despite stumbling he gets up incredibly quickly and shows some great athleticism.

Run Defense

Except for the one long run by CJ Prosise, the Eagles run defense was very solid. Cox was very good against the run and I thought Hicks and Bradham had a good game. Sadly though, the long run was a disastrous play for the Eagles so we need to look at it.

I feel for Mills slightly here, because the late motion means he suddenly is the last line of defense. I think this is a terrible play by Mills, but Prosise deserves some credit. Because of the great blocking, Prosise has his choice of two holes which confuses Mills. Mills should stick to the outside and let McLeod come down into the inside zone but Mills bites on Prosise's fake inside and can't recover quick enough. I also think McLeod is a little too aggressive here and should just hang back a yard or two in order to prevent the touchdown from going all the way. Also, Cox chased this play down all the way. As I said last week you can't criticize his effort.

Let's end with Marcus Smith, for the second time this year! Yes he doesn't make the tackle but he does a great job shedding the block and forcing Prosise to the outside which causes him to lose a few yards.

That's all for this week. Let's hope next week is a little more fun!

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