Yet another loss for me to break down. This one had loads of good tape, though, to look at. Last week, I said the Eagles were the better team but they lost because they gave up too many big plays, and didn't have enough themselves. Someone questioned me. Well, how does that work? Big plays are a part of the game. I understand what you're saying entirely. What I mean, though is, sometimes I watch the game back and I feel the Eagles were able to control the game and do what they intended to do.
This week I didn't think that. Once again, the Eagles lost because they gave up too many big plays and didn't have enough themselves. I don't think they were the better team this week though. I just didn't feel that way watching the tape.
Anyway, enough of that, let's get to the film!
Carson Wentz was very bad early on. He started slow as he always does on the road and the interception was awful. I don't really get why he starts so poorly on the road, but it's something the coaching staff will have to look at after the season. The good news is, he's shown time and time again that he can come back from a terrible start and have a fine second half. This wasn't his best game obviously, but he wasn't terrible. He led the team back and had some nice throws towards the end.
I'm actually not going to show any clips of Wentz in this weeks post. I've done a lot of that all year and to be honest I don't think we learnt anything new at this point. I would rather focus on some different things this week. He a had a few really nice throws and a few really bad ones. Most of the plays were boring though, there was a lot of screens and short throws. I don't blame Doug in the slightest: whenever they try open the playbook up, the wide receivers don't get open.
Isaac Seumalo was okay in pass protection, but Doug still had to use a running back or tight end to chip the opposing pass rusher on that side on most passing plays. That limits the offense slightly too. Jason Peters was an absolute stud in this one, he looked like 2013 Jason Peters out there honestly. Brandon Brooks was also very good in pass protection as he has been all season.
The Eagles are going to have to have a serious chat about Jordan Matthews in the offseason. His stats are pretty good once again this year but he has some major issues. He really struggles to get any YAC which in this offense is not a good thing. He still struggles to beat man coverage and I think we need to talk about this play. It's not an All-22 shot, it's actually taken from twitter so thanks to Kyle (@IgglesNest).
I mean what is that release? Is that for real? He literally, jumps in the air, lands on both feet and in the mean time swings his arms around like a madman. He's a 3rd year wide receiver now. That's unacceptable. I asked Fran Duffy if he had any insight in case I was going mad and missing anything. He simply replied 'Certainly something he's got to work on.' That basically means, yeah it's an awful release. If it's an absolutely perfect throw and it isn't tipped, maybe Matthews still makes the catch. But I don't care, for a 3rd year receiver I can't get over how bad that release is. Rant over!
The only guy in the passing game who deserves real credit is Zach Ertz. Everyone can laugh about the season being over and it being December and whatever but that wasn't a Ravens team who had nothing to play for. That was a proper game, just like the others have been recently, and Zach Ertz played really well again.
The Eagles running game took off this week. The offensive line played really well, that's for sure. Jason Kelce was awesome in space. Brandon Brooks and Isaac Seumalo both played well. Jason Peters was incredible and Wiz at left guard had a pretty good game too. Look at Peters and Kelce on this play.
Look at Jason Peters move! The Eagles had a lot of success running these draw plays Sunday, we haven't run them that much this year either. I honestly don't think there's a debate anymore about Peters coming back. Yes he's old, yes he's injury prone but he's playing like a star right now.
However, the real reason the running game clicked wasn't because of the offensive line. In this league, I'm a big believer that unless the offensive line is simply incredible, you need a running back that can create yards by himself and make plays. The Eagles had that this week in Ryan Mathews.
Here on play 1 the Eagles are running to the 3 tight end side like they did a lot last week. They block it up pretty well, but Mathews turns this play from a small gain into a decent gain. Watch the little fake early on, he fakes like he is going to cut inside which draws number 57 up. He then cuts it to the outside and cuts inside at the second hole which means he can avoid number 57. Just a really nice play. On play 2, once again the play is blocked pretty well, but Mathews turns a small gain into a nice gain. This is tough, hard running. Check out Brandon Brooks on the move here too.
We also got to see Byron Marshall for the first time. I said on twitter, it's not crazy to think that he has more natural ability than Smallwood does. He's a better pass blocker right now. Marshall's vision isn't great right now but he's clearly a very talented back.
On play 1, Marshall shows he can run tough and he gains a few extra yards. Brooks and Seumalo do a great job blocking and sealing the edge on this play. On play 2, is that Shady out there? I'm kidding, but that is a big time jump cut. I hope we see more of him in the next 2 weeks. Maybe he can have a role next year if he plays really well.
I wasn't going to show this play with Agholor at first but I sort of feel like I have to. Firstly, watch Agholor run straight past the massive hole. Then watch Treggs do the correct thing.
If you look on Agholor's run at the way Peters and Ertz block, it seems pretty obvious that the run is supposed to go through that massive hole. It seems even more certain to me considering there's no outside wide receiver blocking the outside cornerback. I doubt the Eagles draw a play up where Agholor has to run around a cornerback. Ironically Agholor does get around him but decides to step out of bounds. On the next play you can see Treggs do the right thing.
Yes, this play doesn't relate to being a good wide receiver. But it says something about Agholor and his football IQ if he's not doing the things he's supposed to be doing. Or if he's too pumped and is desperate to make a play so he's not thinking the straight. It's a bad play and it's not good enough.
It was an odd game for the defense. They played well overall but gave up way too many big plays and it's something Schwartz needs to fix in the offseason. Fletcher Cox had another awesome game and I enjoyed him shoving back the guard here and getting the sack.
There's nothing fancy for me to say here. I just like watching Cox getting sacks.
I said last week that I refuse to give up on Vinny Curry because he's flashed too much over the past few seasons. He came to play on Sunday... Finally! He didn't have a monster game or anything but he showed real burst and power. I'll mention him again when looking at run defense but these plays are just rushing the quarterback.
On play 1, Curry is lined up as the left defensive end and he goes at the right tackle and pushes him backwards which makes Flacco uncomfortable and forces an incompletion. On play 2, he's lined up inside and he makes a great rush around the guard and uses his hands really well to get pressure and again help to force an incompletion. When I broke down Curry in the offseason, this is what I said about him - 'To be a great pass rusher, you need to be relentless. Vinny Curry is exactly that. He rushes the quarterback every snap like his life depends on him getting to the quarterback which is exactly the mentality you need to have'. I don't know where that guy has gone this year but he flashed it on Sunday.
Jalen Mills also deserves credit. The deep touchdown wasn't his fault as I'll explain later but he had a good game. Yes his straight line speed is an issue there's no doubt. But he showed good foot quickness and burst on a few plays.
On play 1, Mils is at the top of the screen as the left cornerback. Yes the wide receiver slips and the throw is out of bounds but Mills shows good burst and looks like he is breaking on this ball fast. Flacco is lucky he threw this out of reach because I think Mills was getting to that ball even if the receiver doesn't fall down. On play 2 Mills is at right cornerback and he makes a wonderful play. He stays with the receiver and breaks on the ball perfectly. I'm not sure what the Eagles will do with Mills but I think he deserves a chance to fight for a position next year.
Onto the deep touchdown.
This is awful by Jaylen Watkins. Last week I was happy Jenkins moved back to safety. For some reason Schwartz decided to put Watkins back at safety and it cost the Eagles big time. I mean, you need to understand the situation to understand how bad this play is. There's 16 seconds left, Ravens have no timeouts. The Eagles are expecting a short throw to the outside to get closer for a field goal. That's why Mills and Carroll are playing so far to the outside. The Eagles fake cover 1 and then play cover 2 man. Watkins for some reason, decides to think he needs to help cover the inside crossing route. That route is firstly going straight into the other safety. Secondly, it's not a deep route so leave it alone. Thirdly, they probably won't throw it to him because he would still be in bounds. Watkins cannot let Smith get by him deep. It's an awful, awful play by Watkins and he shouldn't be on the field right now to be honest. Plays like this really annoy me.
Put Jenkins back at safety. Please Schwartz, please.
The Eagles have given up way too many big plays against the run. Rodney McLeod had an awful game and I don't know what he's doing on these two plays as the deep safety.
On play 1, the Ravens block really well and West makes a few nice moves to get through front 7. McLeod has a chance to come up and make the tackle and tackle West at about the 30 yard line. He lets him run to the outside and he goes all the way to the Eagles 35 yard line. That's a huge difference. Yes as the deep safety you have to be careful not to get beat, but that's why its a tough position. You have to make a play. If you get beat, at least slow him down so someone else can get him. On play 2, McLeod backs away all the way into the end zone. I mean I don't know what he's doing. He should tackle him on the 10 yard line. This can't happen from your deep safety. He whiffed on a big running play a few weeks ago against the Seahawks too.
Here's another big play that shouldn't happen. Jenkins is runing with the receiver because he's playing the slot but he gets deceived by the fake. Not making any excuses for Jenkins, it's a bad play, but worth noting as a safety he's not used to doing this. Bradham also gets deceived badly and Barwin doesn't react in the slightest. Again though, the safety Watkins has to do better. He gets totally beat and in the end Jenkins recovers and makes the tackle. On offense, you rarely block safeties in the run game. If there's a long run, you always have to look at the safety play. The Eagles safeties have sort of become a weakness again because Jenkins is playing slot cornerback too much. Who knew Ron Brooks' injury would derail the secondary?
Right let's end with Vinny Curry again.
On play 1, he's the left defensive end. Yes he misses the tackle but he forces him outside and look at the initial quickness from him. Where has this guy been all season? He uses his hands and speed so well here. On play 2, again he's at left defensive end and again he misses the tackle at first. But when you get into the backfield that quickly you can totally blow up running plays. Logan and Watkins do a good job forcing the runner back inside and Curry actually gets back up and makes the tackle. Curry is going to be here next year and he needs to play more. I really hope we see more of this the next two weeks, it would make be feel better going into the offseason.
Right, this was a really long post. As always feel free to ask any questions. Thanks guys!