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Eagles vs. Vikings snap count analysis: Philadelphia tweaks the running back rotation

Playing time tracker.

NFC Championship - Minnesota Vikings v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Here’s a breakdown of the snap counts from the Philadelphia Eagles’ 38-7 win over the Minnesota Vikings in the 2018 NFC Championship Game.

OFFENSE

The starting offensive line played the entire game yet again and did a great job.

Nick Foles came out for the final three kneeldowns of the game. Nice move by Doug Pederson to replace him with Nate Sudfeld so that Foles could get some applause for a great performance.

Alshon Jeffery and Zach Ertz were the main options in the passing attack. Ertz caught all eight of his targets for 93 yards. Jeffery caught all five of his targets for 85 yards and two touchdowns. Really big games from those two. Torrey Smith dropped a pass early on but he redeemed himself later with a 41-yard touchdown on the flea flicker play. Nelson Agholor also contributed with three receptions for 59 yards.

Jay Ajayi was the Eagles’ main running back once again. He finished with 99 total yards from scrimmage; 18 carries for 73 yards (4.1 average) and three receptions for 26 yards.

Corey Clement finished with more snaps played than LeGarrette Blount. That’s a little interesting. Last week, Blount played 30% of the snaps while Clement was at 24%. This week, Clement was at 32% while Blount was at 17%. This is a good change, in my view. Prior to this game, Blount was only averaging 2.8 yards per carry in his last six games and it’s not like he contributes as a receiver. I don’t dislike Blount; he’s been good for the Eagles this year and his touchdown run against the Vikings where he barrelled over Andrew Sendejo was fantastic. But it’s probably for the best if Blount is limited to just short-yardage and red zone situations at this point. Let Ajayi and Clement take the majority of the snaps. Blount had six carries for 21 yards on Sunday night compared to Clement’s two carries for 20. Clement also had a nice 8-yard reception where he made a defender miss on 3rd-and-6 to move the chains.

The Eagles went heavy on the offensive line a few times by bringing in Isaac Seumalo as an extra blocker.

DEFENSE

Along with Nigel Bradham, Philly’s starting secondary played the entire game, save for one missed snap by Ronald Darby.

The Eagles played a lot of nickel and dime defense in this game, which is evidenced by Patrick Robinson’s playing time. P-Rob’s pick six really turned the game around for the Eagles after that first touchdown drive by the Vikings. Veteran safety Corey Graham also got a good chunk of playing time.

Jim Schwartz continues to (correctly) rely heavily upon Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham instead of utilizing the regular season d-line rotation. The good news is Cox and Graham played 11% fewer snaps than last week since the Eagles were up big late in the game.

The Eagles dropped Curry’s snaps by 21% from last week and gave them to Derek Barnett instead. Barnett responded with a strip sack on Case Keenum.

Tim Jernigan and Beau Allen are curiously playing a similar amount of snaps despite the fact Jernigan received a big contract extension during the season. Jernigan’s been dealing with a nagging foot injury this year so maybe that explains things? Stats don’t always tell the entire story, but in the last two games combined, Jernigan only has one tackle.

Najee Goode got the “start” at middle linebacker in Philadelphia’s base defense due to Dannell Ellerbe being inactive with a hamstring issue. Goode got beat by Kyle Rudolph early in the game when the defense was having communication issues. The Eagles didn’t play him much more from there.

After being a healthy scratch against the Falcons, Destiny Vaeao got some snaps in the defensive tackle rotation this week.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Nothing noteworthy here.

Not listed in this graphic: Kenjon Barner played five special teams snaps.

DID NOT PLAY

The following players were ruled inactive prior to the game: Sidney Jones, Dannell Ellerbe, Will Beatty, Wendell Smallwood, Marcus Johnson, Elijah Qualls, Steven Means.

The following player(s) were active but did not play: Chance Warmack.