This was a big win. I enjoyed the win a lot. But this was not a great offensive performance, especially by the Eagles’ coaching staff.
Those of you who have read this piece for a while or followed me on Twitter will know I do not like criticizing coaches for certain things. I never really talk about specific decisions on here as it doesn’t interest me. But some of the decisions in this game from an offensive performance were really difficult for me to rationally understand. Not going for it on 4th and goal but then going for it on 4th and 10 later confused me. I don’t understand why the Eagles didn’t call timeouts at the end of the first half. The timeout at the 2-minute warning at the end of the game made no sense to me either. Overall, I think the Eagles' offense coached like they were scared in this game and that scares me because we see around the league that good offenses are normally aggressive and always believe they are going to score.
The EPA numbers show a relatively poor offensive problem which does not surprise me. The success rates are better because a few big plays (such as the AJ Brown fumble) really impacted EPA. The entire Eagles offense never really got in a groove and it was plagued by mistakes throughout the game. Penalties also caused a big issue this week and that resulted in the failure of a few drives.
I thought this was actually a pretty good Jalen Hurts performance despite the poor offense. I think he is consistently throwing the ball really well. This was a beauty at the start of the game. I love the design and the touch on the throw to get it over the linebacker is perfect.
Eagles Offense all22 vs Colts. Interesting game to watch this one! Absolutely love this touch throw from Hurts. Great design with AJ Brown in a nasty split against man coverage. Colts played a lot of man coverage in this game. pic.twitter.com/T5dnMqbuKk— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 22, 2022
Some of the good throws Hurts made in this game were exceptional. This is a proper pocket quarterback throw. The progress Hurts has made in these timing throws from the pocket is huge from his rookie year now. He continues to work on his weaknesses and seems to always get better. He’s having an excellent year.
This is such a good throw. The improvement Hurts has shown this year is really good. This is thrown perfectly to a spot and the timing between Hurts and DeVonta is excellent. It's also a great route. This is just an excellent play with great execution all around. pic.twitter.com/9wibZvkfUV— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 22, 2022
This was another huge play which is where you need a quarterback who can make plays out of structure. There is nothing he can do here as a passer. Everyone is perfectly covered by the Colts' defense. This is just a playmaker making a massive play.
Hurts looked a little lost here but this is a fantastic play. Colts coverage was outstanding at times and everything is locked up here. This is when the playmakers transcend scheme because the defense wins and Hurts still picks up 20+ yards with a ridiculous scramble. Playmaker. pic.twitter.com/t9z0dm6PDi— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 22, 2022
This was my favorite throw of the game. I love the design with cross country dagger to the right (deep dig from outside WR, deep over from the slot) and it’s a fantastic route from Quez Watkins who I thought played really well in this game. Putting Quez in the slot is perfect for this route as his speed allows him to run away from man coverage and it’s a beauty of a throw from Hurts.
This is a dime. Cross country dagger to the right with Quez Watkins and AJ Brown. Quez wins against man coverage and Hurts delivers a strike. I thought Quez played really well this game and stepped up as the 3rd receiving option. This is another excellent timing throw. pic.twitter.com/xjPrtsxlLO— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 22, 2022
Hurts wasn’t perfect as a passer and did miss a few, this was the one I thought he really missed and could have had a touchdown if he throws it with anticipation.
Would love to have seen Hurts rip this to the corner to Pascal. It's a small window but in the red zone the windows are small and this is open. Especially on 3rd down. Hurts is an elite runner in the red zone but is slightly cautious when it comes to these tight window throws pic.twitter.com/2uWIWZ8uKF— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 22, 2022
This was also one I thought was a poor play. Hurts still has the tendency to drop his eyes and try to make a play (which is understandable because he’s an elite athlete) but sometimes you want him to stand in the pocket and make the throw, even if it’s short of the sticks.
We did see some bad Hurts where he dropped his eyes too early. There's a balance between being a playmaker and getting the ball out on time. On 4th down, he should hit his back foot and throw this to AJ Brown and give him a chance on the shallow crossing route. pic.twitter.com/T45A4f9Oem— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 22, 2022
This was another ‘bad’ play by Hurts but I hate the design. Hurts should step up here and give Sanders more time, but even if he steps up, I absolutely hate the idea of having Sanders block an edge defender. It’s a fantastic route by Quez Watkins and it does come open but this is a slow-developing play and you can’t have Sanders block an edge defender for that long. I would blame Hurts but mainly the coaching staff for this one.
From a scheme point of view, we saw the Eagles run a lot of plays from empty and they loved using the ‘4 strong’ concept in this game (4 routes to the same side). We haven’t seen that much of that this year. We also saw a lot of motion in the passing game. This is obviously something the Eagles thought would work based on game planning. The benefit of ‘4 strong’ when you have a WR2 like DeVonta Smith is you can basically guarantee he will get one-on-one coverage and he normally wins in the short game!
Eagles ran quite a few '4 strong' looks in this game, they get DeVonta Smith lined up one-on-one and he wins on this lovely little route. DeVonta is really good on these short routes. Eagles used a lot of empty in this one too. pic.twitter.com/JmxxpksxC2— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 22, 2022
This is a weird play. Hurts arm doesn’t have enough to get the ball in front of Sanders but I was actually glad to see him stay in the pocket and make a throw rather than try and escape.
This is a weird one. No one is open at all. Sanders sneaks down the sideline and Hurts doesn't put anywhere near enough juice on the throw but I was really happy to see him stay in the pocket and try to make a throw rather than bailing. Not a great ball but some progress imo. pic.twitter.com/JD3CjdKYHe— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 22, 2022
I wrote this last week about Hurts’ lack of running the past few weeks...
‘The Eagles didn’t run Hurts that much but I can’t help but feel they are trying to conserve him and when we get to the crunch time in the season, we are going to see more Hurts runs’. This week felt like crunch time to me and the Eagles used Hurts’ legs a lot.
I think this week showed that in clutch moments, they trust Hurts to convert with his legs. Sometimes, the Colts' defense played the ball perfectly, and Hurts still won. He is a real elite athlete and his legs are a difference-maker every single week.
Eagles loved using Hurts as a runner from empty. You can't evaluate him without taking this part of his game into account. The Colts get a linebacker with a chance to stop Hurts and he just makes him miss. As a defense this must be so so frustrating. pic.twitter.com/F4g34Mi7w6— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 22, 2022
Hurts even ended up keeping a few runs when the Colts' edge defenders were creeping to close to the handoff. This edge defender is supposed to have Hurts on this play but Hurts keeps it and still picks up some good yardage.
Hurts eventually gave up handing it off and tested the edge defender in order to stop him creeping closer to the LOS. Here the edge is on Hurts but he still has the athleticism to beat him. The run game was massive down the stretch. pic.twitter.com/rZwtbkJbMH— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 22, 2022
And of course, the most important play of the game came from Hurts running. I love this play. The Eagles make it look like Kelce is pulling which confuses the Colts' linebacker and then Isaac Seuamlo just absolutely dominates his man inside and creates a huge rushing lane.
Let's end with the big one. Kelce movement confuses the hell out of 58 who thinks it's a run play as the Eagles love to get Kelce moving like this. Isaac Seumalo absolutely dominates the DTs and creates a huge opening for Hurts. Fantastic gameplanning and execution in a big spot. pic.twitter.com/eyOlkTLhBv— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 22, 2022
The Eagles had some good runs down the stretch too, especially when they went under-center. I’ll get to some of the issues next.
Eagles mixed up the run game later and had more success. Sometimes some old fashioned under center is needed. Sanders has been excellent this year but I'd love him to make the safety miss in the hole here. Could have been a massive play if he breaks this tackle. pic.twitter.com/WCmDhRHc1e— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 22, 2022
Now, with the exception of Hurts, the running game was not good this week. So what went wrong? I thought it was a combination of scheme, bad plays, and bad decisions. The Eagles had some success early on running on the edge of the Colts' defense and I’m surprised they went away from this.
The Eagles had some success getting to the edge in the run game so I'd love to know why we saw so many inside runs that went nowhere. They went back to the edge on the last drive but felt like they ignored it at times and couldn't get any push inside. pic.twitter.com/YH2VS4dwxM— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 22, 2022
Again, the Colts takeaway Hurts and theres no just room to run inside. I laugh when people say teams have 'figured' out the offense because you can know it's coming but defending it is still difficult. Credit to the Colts DT's who were excellent and bossed the Eagles inside pic.twitter.com/anjhg9mMiL— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 22, 2022
The other issue was that the Eagles' offensive line got absolutely no push down the middle. Time after time the Colts' defenders blocked their inside gaps with ease. I do find it really funny the narrative that the offense has been ‘found out’. You can do lots of things against RPO plays and force Hurts to hand it off... but you still have to win inside! There’s no magic trick to stopping RPOs except to consistently win inside on the defensive line and that’s what the Colts did. Fair play. In other games, the Eagles' offensive line will win inside and Sanders will find holes. You can do lots of things to stop the running game but at the end of the day, if the Eagles block really well for Sanders, they will be able to run the ball. I do think this idea the Eagles scheme has been ‘found out’ is massively overblown. They just didn’t block well against a really good Colts run defense.
Sometimes, Hurts made bad decisions (which he hasn’t done much this year) which cost the Eagles in the run game too.
Hurts was also at fault for a couple of bad decisions in the RPO game. Sometimes he could have kept it when he handed it off. He did improve this later on in the game but the Colts edge defenders did a good job of making it a difficult read for Hurts throughout. pic.twitter.com/UsIeDyieZT— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 22, 2022
Overall, this wasn’t a great performance but it was against a tough defense and I left feeling pretty good about Hurts. I thought this was a game where the Eagles coaches made some questionable decisions and the Eagles had too many self-inflicted errors. I still think this should be a very good offense moving forward.