Time to break down another Eagles win. Remember when these film reviews used to be negative?! I prefer these ones. I have some takes from this one after watching the film that I think may be slightly different from what I heard from some people postgame, so let’s get straight into it.
This week was all about the run game so I’m going to spend more time on it than usual this week.
This game was almost too easy from a passing perspective. Jalen Hurts had a couple of nice ‘standard’ dropbacks (a throw to Jack Stoll on a crossing route and AJ Brown on an in-route come to mind) but except for that the passing game was basically just a ton of RPOs.
Some may say this style of offense is too basic or limited to win later in the season (I agree slightly) but at the end of the day, the running game is outstanding and the defense is playing great. If you can score 27 points on one of the best defenses in the NFL, what more do you want? I think the Eagles will have games where they absolutely have to be more aggressive and throw more down the field but they currently do not need to do this in order to win games so, I’m not going to complain right now!
The Eagles run the same stuff over and over but they use different alignments and formations and with a top offensive line and mobile QB, it’s so difficult to stop. They ran this play a couple of times and it is such an easy yet effective design against man coverage. It’s great game-planning by Nick Sirianni/Shane Steichen who predicted the Cowboys would use man coverage in these situations. This is easy money.
Eagles all22 offense thread vs. Cowboys. This felt like the easiest/most effective gameplan I've seen in a long time. This is so simple but AJ Brown in motion shows man coverage and there's just too much traffic for Diggs to sort through. It's a lovely design. pic.twitter.com/KGAmpCcUHy— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 18, 2022
The exact same play against man coverage again...
Love seeing how annoyed Parsons is when he realizes it's the exact same play as earlier! The tight splits create so much traffic and the CB loses AJ Brown once again. AJ Brown must love this offense because he excels with the ball in his hands too. It just felt so easy at times! pic.twitter.com/KOGnaGkJg6— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 18, 2022
Once the defense started making a conscious effort to defend the flat route on these RPOs, the Eagles started to throw it to the curl instead. Hurts has been outstanding at reading these plays all year and I think he absolutely deserves credit for this. These throws seem easy but you do have to make the correct decision in order for them to be effective.
If you cover the flat... There's always the curl instead! This looks so easy but huge credit must go to Hurts and how quickly he is reading these. He seems to get the majority of these reads spot on at the moment and it's not always easy to make these split second decisions. pic.twitter.com/GyXoSCf55l— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 18, 2022
Then later in the game, the Eagles came back to a very similar call but this time out of the pistol formation which they had run out of all game. The Cowboys expect the run, then overcompensate to the flat when they realize it is an RPO and DeVonta Smith runs a perfect fake pick in order to uncover in the end zone. It’s so easy!
This is so easy it's beautiful. Cowboys expect the RPO with the throw to the flat again. DeVonta Smith sells the fake pick route perfectly and just drifts into the end zone with nobody watching him. Pistol formation signals run based off the rest of the game too. pic.twitter.com/1wJO2nvPjS— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 18, 2022
The passing game at times did almost feel too easy this week. There really was not a lot to break down because it was so simple yet so effective. The Eagles run the same thing from different formations and alignments and teams can’t stop it at the moment because they are executing at a high level. Football doesn’t have to be complicated! The Eagles offense is extremely talented and they are beating whoever is in front of them right now on a consistent basis.
This play also got me excited. The Eagles ran more from under center this week and they capitalized on this success by running some boot action. This is easy money and I’m looking forward to the Eagles continuing to use some under-center looks in the passing game.
When the run game is really kicking, go under center again and this time run some boot action and throw to Goedert. Easy but effective. We have not seen a lot of under center this year but I was happy to see the Eagles use it more this game. It just makes them more versatile! pic.twitter.com/RCT0ozwu2f— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 18, 2022
I will not spend all week talking about this again because it’s boring and you all saw the play and had the same thought. The Eagles simply have to get better in 3rd and long situations against the blitz. There’s just no option at all for Hurts here and the protection is messy as well.
It wouldn't be an Eagles game this year without an awful 3rd and long call against a blitz. Tight splits mean hard to know who is coming, Gainwell/Mailata get confused and a defender is unblocked. No hot route of course and 3 vertical routes against a clear blitz. Not ideal... pic.twitter.com/Xegn51SsPy— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 18, 2022
Watching the running game was so fun this week. There are so many teams in the NFL who run the same concepts over and over and the Eagles run game feels as multiple as anyone’s right now.
We saw the Eagles run from under center this week and this is something we haven’t seen much of this year. The Cowboys didn’t seem prepared for all of the Eagles under-center stuff and this play was a great example. Two defenders cover the WR in motion and they are absolutely terrified of Hurts rolling outside and two defenders freeze until they can see the ball in the running back's hand. It’s a great run by Miles Sanders too who had a really good game.
The run game was SO multiple this week. We saw some under center too. Cowboys screw up covering the WR in motion and double him. Then look at the impact Hurts has on the backside defenders!! 4 defenders are taken out by two players. Good finish by Sanders too! pic.twitter.com/iOQIcPjaQn— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 18, 2022
The Eagles also ran a lot from 2TE sets which I mentioned as a possibility in my stats preview because the Cowboys (like the Eagles) don’t like to play base much at all. They ran it well with 2TE’s and Sanders looked really confident running downhill this game. It sounds counter-intuitive, but Sanders played with an outstanding combination of patience and decisiveness. He didn’t bounce it outside and always let his blocks develop but when he found an opening he burst through it.
There was a lot of 2TE sets in this one. The Eagles wanted to dominate the LOS. Sanders played with an outstanding combination of patience & decisiveness. There's little wasted movement here and I thought he played extremely well overall. pic.twitter.com/ThLWiyIMKx— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 18, 2022
We also saw the Eagles use the pistol a lot again. I spoke about the pistol last week and said that I expect it to continue so I was glad to see it again. Sanders looked good running out of the pistol again as it allows him to get downhill quickly.
Mailata on this one... Saw a lot of pistol with 2 TE sets. Cowboys have no idea where the run will go and Eagles can target the weaker side (3v3 on the left after Kelce fantastic reach block). Sanders made a lot of guys miss in this game too. pic.twitter.com/r5Wq6a5fBV— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 18, 2022
The Eagles ran a lot of stuff in this one and when it didn’t work (just like this draw play), Sanders bailed them out by making someone miss. This is a really good play.
The sign of a good back who makes a difference is one who can create something out of nothing. This play doesn't work immediately but Sanders doesn't waste time and never stops his feel which enables him to turn this into a positive play. pic.twitter.com/wv9RTPeZjJ— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 18, 2022
As well as the zone stuff, the Eagles ran some counter too because why not! Getting Jordan Mailata and Landon Dickerson on the move always seems like a good idea to me and it was fun to watch Mailata dominate Micah Parsons on this one. The great thing about this concept is that Hurts can easily keep it too and we have seen this in the past and I expect to see it again soon!
A little bit of counter too, because why not! Dickerson dominates Parsons and Mailata is excellent on the move. Hurts can easily keep this (and has done in the past) which makes it a lovely concept. The Eagles do SO much in the run game under Stoutland. pic.twitter.com/M3etRmY46L— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 18, 2022
We also saw some outside zone toss from 13 personnel too. The Eagles just did so much different stuff in this one. This is another example of leaving Parsons unblocked. I have to give a huge shoutout to Dallas Goedert in this game too. As a run blocker, I thought he was absolutely fantastic!
We even saw some outside zone toss from 13 personnel too! This run game is fun!! All these tight ends can block (Goedert was excellent in this game). Once again, just leave Parsons alone and run away from him. Simple but effective gameplanning. pic.twitter.com/PbqmfwylvW— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 18, 2022
One final note on the run game - I do not think the Eagles can run the RPO stuff at such a high level without having a really dominant run game. The numbers weren’t outstanding this week, but at times the Cowboys knew the Eagles would run it and simply couldn’t stop it. This was a really impressive running performance and I was happy to see a lot of different concepts and Sanders ran really well in this one.
I cannot say enough about how good the Eagles secondary was in this one. I thought James Bradberry and Darius Slay played about as well as a cornerback duo can. They both had so many good plays on the backend. Bradberry in particular was really good and it seems insane in hindsight that the Giants released him and teams passed on him. His closing speed on the first interception was awesome, just watch him on this one.
The first INT is bad by Rush who is late to the throw, but Bradberry's route recognition and ability to jump the route quickly is exceptional. Bradberry and Slay both do this SO well. pic.twitter.com/mJgXXApqj4— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 18, 2022
Bradberry made another fantastic play on the ball here but I want to talk about the overall defense here. The Cowboys audibled here and snapped the ball quickly and the Eagles secondary didn’t have long to adjust. You can see Bradberry and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson still communicating as the ball is snapped and the Eagles defense still covered every single route perfectly. This is the sign of a good defense that is well coached that knows exactly what they are doing at all times.
This is fantastic by Bradberry (who was so good overall) but also the whole defense. Cowboys change the play and you can see the Eagles communicating quickly to change up what they are doing too. This is a sign of a good defense! pic.twitter.com/QQNVVu6JmQ— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 18, 2022
Bradberry also showed he can play press-man too and not just zone coverage. Also, check out CGJ pressing the receiver in the slot on this one. Not bad for a safety!
Bradberry's not just a zone corner either, here he does a great job pressing the WR to the sideline and making it pretty much impossible to catch. Check out CGJ in the slot pressing here too - this is the advantage of having two safeties who can cover. pic.twitter.com/2kLSTXDtbi— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 18, 2022
Another Bradberry clip? Why not! This is probably my favorite of the lot. Bradberry understands depth as well as any cornerback I have watched in a while. He recognizes this hi-lo early and I am convinced he is baiting Rush into this throw. It’s just really good cornerback play.
It's basically a Bradberry film thread now. Cowboys call a classic Hi-Lo concept. Bradberry starts breaking on the short route so Rush throws it, but Bradberry has the awareness to recognize the corner route and quickly gets back to take away the throw. Just really good CB play. pic.twitter.com/qCjiAvptyK— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 18, 2022
It wasn’t just Bradberry who impressed in the secondary. I thought everyone made plays consistently and the zone coverage was really tight. Cooper Rush had no idea where to go with the ball frequently and as I predicted in the stats preview, the Eagles didn’t blitz him a great deal as they didn’t need to! He faced problems when he had to hold the ball and the Eagles took away his first read. This Slay interception was another great example of a cornerback understanding the coverage he is playing and taking advantage of it!
The Eagles coverage on vertical/intermediate routes has been so so tight all year. The secondary is playing so well and it seems so well coached. This is almost too easy for Slay who just mirrors the route the entire way knowing he has help over the top. pic.twitter.com/qfNCl8Sxbe— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 18, 2022
It wouldn’t be a film review without a Marcus Epps shoutout either! It’s not just the cornerbacks that impress me currently, the two safeties are also playing at a really high level. This is just outstanding coverage and he was really good coming downhill in the run game at times too.
Not entirely sure of the coverage here, especially with the pre-snap disguise of MOFO to MOFC but this is as good as it gets from Marcus Epps. Rush makes the right decision and it's a good ball too. This is just fantastic coverage. pic.twitter.com/npwNFzbAOO— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 18, 2022
Overall, I thought the Eagles pass coverage was outstanding throughout the whole game. When Kyzir White is covering CeeDee Lamb early on in the game in man coverage, you just know it’s going to be a good game!
Eagles all22 defense thread vs. Cowboys. Football is a funny sport. Cowboys align perfectly to get Lamb on Kyzir White. Gameplanning wise it is perfect from them. Then White goes and covers Lamb and knocks the ball away. Players > scheme... pic.twitter.com/veg3y2pjgL— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 18, 2022
However, the Eagles did have some issues in the second half and I don’t like picking on individuals here but it felt like trouble followed around K’Von Wallace when he came on. He just looked out of position a lot and the secondary seemed a bit disjointed for the first time all game. I have no way of being certain he is at fault for these two plays, it just feels like he should be there and we didn’t see plays like this when CGJ and Epps were in the game together.
Without picking too much on individuals as I don't know the call, a few problems occurred when CGJ left and Wallace came in (he hasn't played much to be fair). Based on his reaction here I am guessing he is supposed to cover the flat here and leave the vertical route to the CB. pic.twitter.com/ZwbhmDGsQI— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 18, 2022
Here again, I don't know the exact call but I wonder if he is supposed to pass the crossing route off to Slay/Maddox and get back to help cover the TE coming into his zone. It's a great call/design by the Cowboys regardless. pic.twitter.com/973o4a1yqp— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 18, 2022
This is not an easy scheme to pick up and coming into the game when you haven’t played in a while is not easy. However, I am really concerned about the depth at safety and if Epps or CGJ ever had to miss some time it would be pretty concerning. This defense relies on good communication and chemistry and even just one playing missing could be costly.
After the game, I saw quite a few people concerned about the Eagles run defense. I am nowhere near as worried about the Eagles run defense personally. The Cowboys had some success running in the second half. However, some of this was natural as the Eagles were winning and more concerned about giving up the big play. This doesn’t concern me too much. Also, I thought scheme wise the Eagles were fine against the run. The biggest problem was that Zeke played really well and Eagles tackling wasn’t very good in the second half. I didn’t come away particularly concerned if I am being honest.
In the first half, the run defense was really good. I questioned in my stats preview whether the Eagles would play any ‘base’ defense as the Cowboys want to run so much. The Eagles didn’t play any traditional ‘base’ defense but they did play more 5 man fronts with both TJ Edwards on the field and Kyzir White and only 4 in the secondary. In the second half as the Eagles got more conservative, I feel like Maddox was on the field more and White was off the field more (but I didn’t count these snaps so I may be wrong).
This play in particular stood out as it was weird to watch after watching the Eagles offense in comparison. When you watch the Eagles, the defensive end can never come crashing down on the backside as Sweat does here. The benefit of a mobile quarterback!
After watching the Eagles offense, it is crazy seeing a defensive end coming downhill this quickly. The Eagles left the EDGE unblocked like this all game! The impact a mobile QB has on a running game cannot be overstated. This was on 3rd and short early in the game too. pic.twitter.com/sJX1ausMRq— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 18, 2022
I also saw quite a few comments about how the Eagles are predictable with their 5 man fronts when Jordan Davis is on the field. This is obviously true. But the Eagles did mix it up at times in this one. For example, this was a look with Haason Reddick and Josh Sweat next to each other that I have not seen before and Davis is not lined up as a strict nose tackle in this one.
I think the Eagles were a bit more creative with their fronts than I've seen some mention on here. This is a cool look. Reddick starts off the ball then lines up next to Sweat which leaves Cox as the EDGE to the right. Sweat blows this run up quickly by darting inside pic.twitter.com/b674gBmC5g— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 18, 2022
Here is another example. This is not the first time this year we have seen this look at it’s good as it shows that the Eagles can still run 5 man fronts without the use of Jordan Davis.
Another switch up by the Eagles front, White goes to EDGE, Sweat moves inside and Hargrave becomes the nose tackle. This is a way of getting to a 5 man front without being predictable (no Jordan Davis on the field). The Eagles showed a couple of different looks in this game. pic.twitter.com/ZAGShviqwN— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 18, 2022
Sorry to end on a bad note, but I had to mention this play. It was the worst play of the game and it was just one of those plays where no one looked good. I saw Cox come under a lot of criticism online but I didn’t think he was bad overall, I just thought this was one of those plays that stands out because he really gets moved. Sorry to mention K’Von Wallace again too but, it’s not good.
The TD run was the worst play by the defense. Cox gets moved badly, Maddox is coming across the formation but gets lost, Wallace takes an awful angle and Bradberry gets run by far too easily. pic.twitter.com/dNmYculJVt— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 18, 2022
Overall, this was a really good win against a good team and you can’t help but feel the Eagles offense has another gear if the game was closer too. This team is really good and it’s really fun watching them annoy opposing defenders each week!