We have three games left in what has turned into yet another interminable Eagles season. I decided to take a look at the first 14 weeks of the season, in terms of some numbers. Here are a few interesting ones I found.
Through 14 weeks, the Eagles have the fifth-fewest passing touchdowns in the league with 13. Combining a rookie quarterback still getting acclimated to the NFL with a wide receiver corps so devoid of playmakers that slot receiver Jordan Matthews is far and away Carson Wentz’s best option on any given down? Not great, Bob.
And it’s a little jarring, considering the Eagles have so frequently been a pass-happy team in the past two decades.
The last time the Eagles ranked in the bottom five in the league in passing touchdowns? The year 1998, the final season of the Ray Rhodes era. Three different quarterbacks started at least four games and threw at least 125 passes. All three were bad.
Bobby Hoying threw no touchdowns and nine interceptions in 224 attempts that year. He started seven games. Koy Detmer threw five touchdowns and five interceptions in 181 attempts that year. He started five games. And Rodney Peete threw two touchdowns and four interceptions in 129 attempts. He started four games.
The Eagles ranked 30th in the NFL in touchdown passes that year, good for dead last. They were the only team with fewer than 11 touchdown passes.
In the 18 years since 1998, only two teams — the 2006 Raiders (7) and the 2000 Bengals (6) — have thrown seven or fewer touchdowns in a season.
So, yeah, the Eagles should probably focus on getting Carson Wentz some weapons.
The Eagles have allowed four straight teams to score at least 25 points. That hasn’t happened since the first four games of the Chip Kelly era, when Washington scored 27, San Diego scored 33, the Chiefs scored 26, and the Broncos scored (gulp) 52. It was the only such occurrence during the Kelly era.
Billy Davis’s defenses were much maligned over the past two seasons, and rightfully so, but the distinction for under-performing belongs to Jim Schwartz’s unit this season. After a red-hot start, allowing just 27 points in the team’s first three games, the Eagles’ defense has allowed at least 24 points in eight of its last 10 games, and is allowing an average of 24.5 points per game over the 10-game stretch. (At least they’re consistent?)
On the other end, the Eagles’ offense has scored 24 points just once in that 10-game stretch, notching 24 points in their Week 10 win over the Falcons.
When your offense is floundering the way the Eagles’ offense has been for the past two-plus months, and your defense is the side of the ball with the big-money investment (Fletcher Cox), the free-agent signings (Rodney McLeod and Leodis McKelvin), and the leader of the team (Malcolm Jenkins), you certainly start to hope the defense can steal a few games.
The season is effectively over at this point, but it’d be nice to see the defense step it up a bit more and truly win a game for this team down the stretch.
Through 13 games, the Eagles have been penalized 105 times, or 8.1 times per game. They’re tied with the Dolphins for the second-most penalized team in the league; only the Raiders, with 122, have more.
One interesting thing is that the number 105 is only the number of penalties accepted against the Eagles. The total number of flags thrown against them is 114; eight were declined, and one was an offsetting penalty. That’s an inordinately high number of accepted penalties: 92 percent of penalties called against the Eagles have been accepted this season.
Of the other nine most penalized teams in the league, no team had an accepted penalty percentage of 90 percent. The second-highest was the Titans, who were penalized 95 times out of 106 opportunities, or 89.6 percent.
With three games left, the Eagles are on pace for a pretty high number of penalties accepted against them. The current pace has them heading for 129 penalties, the most they’ve had since 2010, when they also were penalized 129 times. The most before 2010? 2005, when they were penalized 134 times and won just six games in their post-Super Bowl funk.
What’s contributing to the number of penalties, and especially the number of penalties accepted against the Eagles? For one, they have young guys like Nelson Agholor and Dorial Green-Beckham making boneheaded procedural mistakes like not lining up before a play starts.
When the referees are trying to help you, you’re probably the one at fault here.
But they’re also committing a startling amount of false starts this season, something that comes with a constantly-rotating offensive line. The Eagles are tied for the league lead in false starts this season with 24 in 13 games; only Washington has false started as frequently as the Eagles.
Some discipline, and some health on the offensive line, would probably correct some of these penalty problems.