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Film Room, Week 16: The Eagles' pass rush showed up!

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

I get to talk about a win, finally! The win happened a week ago now, but I thought I'd write something anyway. Better late than never. This one probably won't be as long as I'm a little short on time, but I'll look at some things I found interesting.


Passing Attack

I thought Carson Wentz had a pretty good game overall. His pocket movement was excellent as it was last week and I thought he made smart decisions for the most part and was pretty accurate. The offense actually opened up this week with Lane Johnson back at right tackle. The Eagles had a lot of deeper drops and longer developing route combinations, sadly the Eagles receivers can't beat man coverage so they didn't connect on many of these plays. They did connect on this one however.

The Giants are in quarters coverage and the Eagles have the perfect route combination called to beat this defense. Ertz drags away one of the deep safeties and Agholor can freely run into the space vacated by him. I'm really happy for Agholor, but I wouldn't say this catch changes anything. He has a free release and runs into an empty space, his issue is beating the press and getting open against man coverage. This is a great play by Wentz too, he reads the coverage perfectly, stands tall in the pocket and delivers a strike.

Let's talk about Jordan Matthews again. Last week I said I was concerned. This week I'm just assuming he's hurt. I can't believe he was 100% out there because he was shut down so easily by the Giants cornerbacks. I did look at his stats though and this surprised me. He hasn't had a 100 yard game since week 1 against the Browns. He hasn't been hurt for that long. For a guy who gets a lot of targets, that isn't good enough.

I know you've all seen this play, but I think it looks even more special from the all22 angle.

It looks like he means to do it. I can't confirm that he did actually mean to make this little duck move but regardless, what an athlete Wentz is. If the Eagles really wanted to this year, they could have a built a read-option, 1 read offense revolving around Wentz' ability to move because he's an incredible athlete. The coaching staff have done the right thing though, they haven't used his athleticism much and they're focusing on developing his game from the pocket. Which is the right thing to do in the long term.

One last thing on Wentz, the interception wasn't great and the second throw that was nearly picked off in identical fashion wasn't ideal either. But he doesn't deserve too much blame. No ones getting open and he's trying to make a play. Also, on the interception, Bryce Treggs literally doesn't come back to the ball at all. On the near pick, Agholor cut up field, making it a further throw. He should have come back to the ball too.

Offensive line in pass protection were okay for the most part. Jason Peters struggled with Oliver Vernon at times but was mainly fine. Brandon Brooks as always had a nice day and Lane Johnson played well. The Eagles gave up some pressures to stunts from the Giants, especially from the left side, which surprised me a little but those things happen.

Running Game

After running really hard last week, Ryan Mathews didn't have a great game. He didn't run with the same explosion or speed, last weeks stats seem an outlier rather than what you expect sadly. He got hurt too and that will probably end his Eagles career. I imagine the Eagles will look to add a feature back in the offseason.

Lane Johnson was back though. That was fun.

It's easy to forget how ridiculously athletic Lane is. If he ever perfects his technique, he'll be a top 3 tackle in the league. He was already the best right tackle before getting suspended this year. On play 1 here, he uses pure strength to kick out the defensive end to create a huge lane for the draw play and then carries on charging downfield giving Mathews some extra room. On play 2, he shows what he can do in space and creates a nice lane for Sproles by blocking Landon Collins who has been superb this year. Also, check out Zach Ertz' block on the edge on this play. I told you he can block! Riley Agholor made a great block on this play too. Nelson Cooper really is a good blocker. (Get it? Nelson Agholor really reminds me of Riley Cooper in his final year with the Eagles...)


Pass Defense

This was a really interesting game schematically. The Eagles treated Odell Beckham similarly to how they treated Antonio Brown in Week 3. They doubled him a lot and kept 2 safeties deep almost permanently. Keeping two safeties deep meant the linebackers had a lot to handle in zone too as quarters was called frequently, I thought Jordan Hicks and Nigel Bradham were excellent in zone. The front 7 also had to handle the run. The Eagles cornerbacks all had decent games and they held Odell Beckham in check for the most part.

Yes, his stats were impressive. But Beckham is like a video game character. He's a freak. Comparing him to our wide receivers almost isn't fair. He's playing a different sport. Eli Manning has been awful this year, Beckham has single-handedly carried an entire offense.

Malcolm Jenkins was incredible this game and made a number of big plays. (When he was the deep safety, shock! When he was the slot cornerback he gave up a touchdown of course!)

The first play here is a rookie level throw by Manning but Jenkins deserves credit for reading it and making the play. Manning tries to throw a slot fade against cover 2. Not his best decision. Jenkins reads the throw all the way and gets his 2nd interception of the game. On play 2, the Eagles are in quarters coverage and Jenkins reads this throw and gets across really quickly. The Eagles weren't in cover 2 here, so Jenkins isn't solely looking out for Odell Beckham deep. That makes this play really impressive.

The Eagles got a reasonable pass rush from their front 4 throughout the game. Connor Barwin done very little (despite playing more snaps than both Brandon Graham and Vinny Curry). Curry did show some flashes again like he did the previous week. Cox was good rushing the quarterback but Graham was flat out dominant this week. he had a great game.

Graham made the most important play of the game in my opinion. Play 1 is on the final drive. The Eagles rush 3 and drop everyone else into coverage. The Giants route combination beats the defense though. Will Tye is open and all alone running up the sideline. The Eagles 3 man rush and Brandon Graham specifically get to Eli Manning though and force him to throw it quickly. What a huge play by Graham this is. It would have been harder if Cox didn't get triple teamed though. On play 2, Graham uses a move I don't see him make regularly. I like looking out for a variety of pass rush moves and I haven't seen Graham rush from the defensive tackle position much this year so I thought it was interesting. I don't see him use a spin move much either, so it's good to see him still developing and improving.

Someone else really flashed as a pass rusher this game. It's not someone I expected to either... Beau Allen!

I don't even know what to say here. I have no idea where this came from. But look at him! He looks like Fletcher Cox on these plays! On play 1 he dominates the left guard with ease. He uses his hands and feet in sync, uses pure strength to toss the guard aside and gets to the quarterback. I know Justin Pugh has just come back from injury but the announcers kept saying he looked as good as ever this game. Well Beau Allen beat him bad. Twice. On play 2 it's a similar thing, his hand and feet and in sync and he moves Pugh with his hands. Really impressive stuff.

Run Defense

Not much to talk about with the run defense considering the Giants didn't run it a lot. The Eagles had a few breakdowns but it was nothing major and you also have to consider they played with 2 deep safeties for the majority of the game so that stuff will happen. Brandon Graham stood out as always as the backside defender. Lets end with a great play by a stud player, known as Fletcher Cox. Or Man Dog.

Cox uses pure strength to take on the double team, he uses his hands well and keeps his legs moving to throw off both blockers. Even better though, while doing all this, he keeps his eyes on the prize at all times. The second he's free from the blocks he knows exactly where the running back will be and tackles him behind the line of scrimmage. What a great play.

Just for one more game for me to break down this season then. I hope you've enjoyed these posts and as always, hit me up with any feedback. Also my screen capture broke again (hooray for Windows 10) so I used Bandicam which I'm not sure is as good quality for this post. I can zoom in on things though, so if you think the quality is okay that could be a bonus.

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