1. Jake Elliott hates the Giants
Despite the fact that he came under some heat following a rough stretch earlier int he season, Jake Elliott remains super clutch — especially from distance. A year after putting the Giants away with a walk-off and record-setting game winner, Elliott came up impossibly clutch, completing a 22-3 run with under a minute left to give the Eagles a crucial win.
Elliott is still Top-15 in the league in field goal percentage and perfect kicking extra points. He’s only 1 outta 3 from 50+, which is supposed to be his forte — but he doesn’t necessarily get a ton of opportunity there, because of how often Pederson goes for it on fourth down in that range. (And one of his 50+ attempts was on a super windy day against the Panthers)
It’s better to never get on the kicker carousel, if you ask me — it becomes a revolving door. Elliott may not be perfect, but he’s a quality NFL kicker and the Eagles clearly trust him in late game situations — that’s more than a lot of teams can say.
And hey! If he’s gonna be his best against the Giants, at least it’s a team the Eagles play twice a year.
2. The Eagles season isn’t over at all
The Eagles are currently 5-6 overall, and 2-1 in the division. The Cowboys are 6-5, and 3-1 in the division. The Redskins are 6-5, and 2-1 in the division.
- Cowboys (6-5, 3-1)
- Redskins (6-5, 2-1)
- Eagles (5-6, 2-1)
Now, the Cowboys face the Saints (who are very good!) on Thursday night. They are probably going to lose that game, because the Cowboys aren’t actually very good, and the Saints are actually very good.
On Monday night, the Eagles face the Redskins. Now, the Eagles have yet to win two games in a row this season — but with Colt McCoy at the helm and the Redskins reeling with injuries and the Eagles coming off an emotional comeback and so much riding on the result of the game...let’s say they win.
The division would then look like this:
- Cowboys (6-6, 3-1)
- Eagles (6-6, 3-1)
- Redskins (6-6, 2-2)
Dallas ahead because of head-to-head record v. Philadelphia (1-0)
And that’s with an upcoming Eagles v. Cowboys game in Week 14. That game will decide who’s in the driver’s seat for the division.
If we take an Eagles perspective, it’s as simple as this: if they can win their next two divisional games, against very beatable opponents, they can still lose to the Rams and win the division. If Philadelphia wins their remaining divisional games, they can split the Rams/Texans games and win the division.
Obviously, it’s not as easy as that. Philadelphia needs to get healthy in the secondary, and a four-quarter offense would be very welcome instead of the current hot-and-cold product. But Philadelphia should beat the ‘Skins (6 1⁄2 point favorite) and New Orleans should beat the Cowboys (7 1⁄2 point favorite). Those results will hang the entire season on the results of the Cowboys Week 14 game. Clear your afternoon, folks.
3. Doug Pederson gonna be alright
This wasn’t something we ever really doubted (if you did, you played yourself), but Doug coached a great game against the Giants with a lot on the line. Gotta give it up for that.
He caught some flak for a 4th down conversion he didn’t attempt, but his offensive game planning was strong. The Eagles came out and attacked the Giants between the 30s with running plays that forced corners into the box; in the red zone with TE/Wing sets to create downhill lanes for Josh Adams; with a heavy usage of curl routes and RPOs to keep Carson Wentz’s depth of target in the intermediate area (a lot of his INTs have been deep). Everything was as it should be.
PHI found a lot of success running out of 3x1 sets with nub TE to the boundary, esp. around the 50. Forces NYG to bring DBs into box as run defenders.— Benjamin Solak (@BenjaminSolak) November 26, 2018
Play 1: Tackle Trap
3: Tackle Trap (Great play by K. Martin)
5. Inside Zone
Good coaching/execution! pic.twitter.com/kMbMLBGsXx
Throw on top of that the fact that Pederson was able to rally his team, down for three quarters of the game, to a key victory when they were absolutely reeling from multiple losses. Things coulda really gotten out of hand at 19-3. (I thought they were going to.) This team showed excellent fight, and thank goodness for that.
4. Golden Tate integration remains stale
I liked the way Philadelphia used Tate on orbit motion and WR screen ideas to set up misdirection plays — good! I liked the way Philadelphia was willing to throw quick screens to Tate when they had numbers into the boundary (even though 3rd and 10 is a long down for that approach). That’s also good.
But so many of Tate’s targets and plays are isolation routes; one-read ideas; manufactured touches. While Tate’s value is as a YAC player, and you want to get the ball in his hands, it’s important to remember that he’s just another wide receiver! He can run routes, catch the ball, and pick up first downs just like anybody else. It seems like Carson exclusively targets Alshon and Ertz on full-field ideas, and Tate and Goedert on one-read/manufactured ideas.
As Groh noted, integrating Tate has been ‘challenging.’ It’s because he basically represents a subset of the offense. He hasn’t been integrated, he’s just a guy who takes touches from everyone else at this point. He reminds me of Tavon Austin in the Jeff Fisher-Rams offense — he’s just force-fed the ball despite the fact that it adds little to the offense.
5. Nate Gerry isn’t good
Gerry played a significant amount of reps in respite of the injured Jordan Hicks, and wheew buddy it did not go great. Gerry was regularly lost with his middle of the field coverage responsibilities, lacked sufficient power in the trenches, and was a step behind in running play recognition.
Gerry represents another late-round pick who hasn’t really panned out for Philadelphia in the past few years: Blake Countess, Alex McAlister, Joe Walker, Wendell Smallwood, Donnel Pumphrey, Shelton Gibson, Elijah Qualls. While you shouldn’t expect much from late rounders, and it’s worthy to recognize the contributions of Jalen Mills and Big V, Philadelphia hasn’t really developed back-ups or depth pieces well over the Doug Pederson era.
With Nigel Bradham taking a step back in 2018 and Jordan Hicks potentially hitting the free agent market this year, it would be nice to have Gerry ready to potentially win a starting role. Kamu Grugier-Hill had a strong game against New York, and may be that guy — but Gerry’s struggles are mightily disappointing. He can’t be trusted as a back-up, at this point in his career.
6. Referees suck
I ain’t complainin’.
7. This Eagles OL can still be dominant
It was one of the best games of the year for the Eagles offensive line, which thankfully didn’t incur another gut-wrenching injury as Brandon Brooks returned to the game.
Josh Adams gets a lot of buzz from beats and fans, and he’s running well — but the offensive line deserves the majority of the love. With a heavier focus on power over zone concepts with Adams in the backfield, Lane Johnson and Jason Peters particularly impressed when they attacked the second level.
Philadelphia ran inside zone behind Johnson often, especially in the red zone, as his ability to wash down (along with TE Dallas Goedert) let Adams put his head down and just drive north instead of reading multiple blocks. Peters was the puller often on the trap and dart plays Philadelphia used as substitutes for their typical inside traps that the Giants were keying on.
Isaac Seumalo remains a bit of a liability, especially in pass protection — but he’s the worst player on a generally very strong line, and he’d be a starter on a fair number of NFL lines. Philadelphia’s offensive line, with improved play, will lift both the run and the pass game for the Eagles offense. With all the focus on Carson’s play, Tate’s integration, and the running back room, the OL might be the solution to the rough season.