The Eagles won… again! It wasn’t the prettiest game of all time but a win is a win. There was a lot of complaining on Twitter (especially about the run D) so let’s get straight into this one.
Before we get into the passing and running game, I wanted to show these 2 plays side by side. They sum up perfectly why the Eagles are so hard to stop. This was the Eagles’ first touchdown…
Eagles TD number 1, RPO with Smith/AJ Brown outside. Goedert runs the flat but they cover it really well with 4 to one side. Fantastic double team with Stoll & Mailata, Dickerson wins one and one and Sanders walks it in. Easy! pic.twitter.com/UcplG7LFwc— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 7, 2022
And this was the Eagles’ 2nd touchdown…
And TD number 4... It's the same play with the exact same personnel and alignment! After the Eagles running it in earlier on in the game, this time Goedert is wide open. I love this offense. Simple but incredibly efficient. Texans play this well but AJ Brown's route picks the LB. pic.twitter.com/65sQiB2D2J— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 7, 2022
It’s the exact same play from the exact same alignment! The Eagles have run these RPOs and thrown it to the flat so frequently that the Texans cover it perfectly on play 1, so the Eagles choose to run it. Then later in the game, the Eagles run it again and this time the Eagles do throw it to the flat. This is the same play from the same formation and personnel and both plays work. Sometimes football really isn’t that hard!
This was another excellent Jalen Hurts game. His improvement as a pocket pass this year has been phenomenal. In particular, his ability to throw the ball under pressure with defenders in his face was highlighted in this game and that’s not something he’s done well previously. Every week it feels like he is ticking off another box and all Eagles fans should be extremely excited about what they are watching.
Let’s start with this play because I think Hurts does something really well here that I haven’t seen him do a lot. The Eagles are running a double curl with a flat route from Sanders. If you watch the linebacker closest to Jack Stoll (who catches the ball) he moves toward Sanders in the flat as Hurts opens up his body as if he is going to throw it to the flat and looks at Sanders. This play shows Hurts going through his reads, resetting his feet, and using his body/eyes to manipulate zone defenders. This is the kind of play that gets me excited because we know Hurts can do incredible things but this is the kind of high-level quarterback play we haven’t seen before this season.
Eagles all22 thread vs. Texans. Hurts was so good from the pocket in this game. Here he moves off his first read, moves the LB with his eyes as if he is throwing to Sanders in the flat, and then hits Stoll on the curl. The pass pro is fantastic as well. pic.twitter.com/D3o3PZ7ZmO— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 7, 2022
The Eagles’ game-planning was exceptional this week and they seemed to always have the perfect call for the Texans’ cover 2 defense. You have to give huge credit to the Eagles’ offensive coaching staff who, despite a short week, seemed to know exactly what the Texans were going to throw at them and when. This is just so clean from Hurts. He doesn’t stare it down, his footwork and timing of the throw are perfect and it’s a fantastic ball. I say it every week but this is the kind of play that I simply love to see from Hurts.
Eagles game plan against Texans cover 2 was spot on. They seemed to call the right play for that coverage consistently. It's still an accurate read and touch throw by Hurts. He just wasn't doing this stuff consistently until this year. The improvement is so clear & obvious. pic.twitter.com/AG5mX9yeuW— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 7, 2022
As I mentioned above, I thought this was one of Hurts best games throwing whilst under pressure. There are a few things that stand out to me on this throw. Firstly, the Texans look like they are in cover 2 and the Texans linebackers just completely vacate the middle of the field because one of the linebackers blitzes, and it looks to me like the other linebacker is keying off Jack Stoll and thinks that could be another RPO with the tight end running to the flat. Although Hurts doesn’t get hit, there is an unblocked linebacker running directly at him, and Hurts shows absolutely no fear and stands there and delivers a perfect strike to AJ Brown. This play shows more improvement from Hurts.
Hurts ability to throw under pressure was the best I've ever seen from him. Stands here and delivers a strike with a LB running towards him. The movement from the TE draws one linebacker up and he vacates a huge gap in behind him. Quez over route also acts as a downfield blocker. pic.twitter.com/63OHyPK02l— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 7, 2022
This was another fantastic throw by Hurts while under pressure. This is brilliant pocket management and this is an area that Hurts has really struggled with. The Texans blitz a linebacker and Sanders completely messes up his pass protection (as he did all day, this was not a good Sanders game in pass pro) but Hurts does an outstanding job to slightly drift to the left in order to give himself an extra half a second to make a throw. Hurts knows based on the coverage that the intermediate route to DeVonta Smith will come open because of the clearout route from AJ Brown. However, these over routes coming across the formation take time to develop, and Hurts knows this and buys himself a little bit of extra time with his pocket management. Guess what… this is high-level quarterback play! Again!
This is high level QB play. Sanders totally whiffs so there's a free rusher. Hurts drifts ever so slightly to his left to buy himself an extra half a second in order to hit DeVonta on the over route. This is so good! pic.twitter.com/QoqMZuLhMj— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 7, 2022
Hurts did make some plays under pressure in this one, but how good is the pass protection on this one! The Eagles seemed to predict the Texans’ coverage frequently and this is a perfect call against the cover 3 here. The short curl to Goedert holds the cornerback and then AJ Brown comes wide-open on the over route. Just like the previous play, this route takes time and the pass protection is simply fantastic. My favorite part is Goedert holding up the touchdown sign when Hurts throws it, he knows this is going to be a touchdown!
The route concepts seemed to be perfect so often. Eagles predict single-high, Goedert's short curl holds the CB & AJ Brown sneaks in behind. This is a slow developing play so the pass pro has to be outstanding, and it is! Goedert putting up the hands after the throw is amazing! pic.twitter.com/6lk1l7SO5a— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 7, 2022
Here’s another example of the Eagles coaching staff having a fantastic game plan. They just seemed to know exactly what the Texans' defense would run and when they would run it. They had the answers to the test on a consistent basis and on a short week, which is incredibly impressive.
Eagles just seemed to have the answers to the test. The offensive game planning was really good and on a short week is really impressive. Eagles predict a blitz on this down & distance and run the perfect screen to Goedert. pic.twitter.com/wagWrZVEHH— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 7, 2022
Despite the fantastic job by the coaching staff, sometimes your plans don’t work! The Eagles ran a lot from under center in order to set up the shot play and it didn’t work. Luckily, when a play doesn’t work, they have a quarterback who can somehow get out of trouble and still turn the play into a positive. This is just nuts. What else can you say?!
Eagles ran from under center which means you knew the downfield shot was coming. The Texans play this perfectly and then Hurts just does this... Sometimes players just do incredible things and Hurts certainly has that ability. This play is uncoachable. pic.twitter.com/f08x0ibB0K— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 7, 2022
The Eagles running game was really good in this one. I thought the run blocking was excellent and Miles Sanders had one of his best years. What I love about the Eagles’ run game is the versatility. They have a different game plan every week and there is obviously a reason why they do this from a game-planning perspective. This week they ran a lot from under-center and they were really effective.
Eagles ran more from under center in this one. There was less read option and more straight downhill runs. Sanders had another excellent game & this was easily one of his best runs. It was good to see some power with the stiff arm at the end! pic.twitter.com/QGpXCpAbvw— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 7, 2022
We used to see a lot of trap blocks from the Eagles' offense but we haven’t seen many this year. It was good to see the Eagles show they can still do it. I assume there was something they saw from the Texans pre-game that made the coaching staff think they were more vulnerable to under-center runs.
Another under center run, we haven't seen many trap blocks this year but you know the Eagles can do it. The run game is just so versatile. Watch the quickness of Dickerson here and how quickly he gets to the second level. Sanders is so explosive in space. pic.twitter.com/WmGFAYmzWj— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 7, 2022
We still got the usual dose of pin/pull! This has been an Eagles classic for years under Stoutland now and it seems to be effective a lot of the time.
Then we saw the standard pin/pull runs. Mailata/Dickerson/Quez have fantastic blocks. Rookie year Sanders bounces this outside and doesn't try and hit this hole. This is an excellent job of getting skinny and getting downfield quickly from Sanders. pic.twitter.com/Y7lcZNicEE— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 7, 2022
We’ve seen some RPO, under-center, trap blocks, pin/pull, so why not throw in some inside zone from the pistol too? The Eagles' run game remains very multiple and they ran the ball really well in this game.
Once again, rookie year Sanders doesn't make this run in my opinion. This is a really good play. Sander shows good vision by hesitating slightly to let the blocks develop but then accelerates quickly to avoid the oncoming linebacker. pic.twitter.com/eLP1oe7LNr— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 7, 2022
I normally like to separate these into passing/rushing but I am going to combine the defense this week. I wanted to do it differently because there has been so much talk about the Eagles defense and how bad they were. Firstly, let’s just look at the drive charts from the game. All stats below are via Sports Info Solutions.
Now, you can see that the Eagles' defense actually had a good game except for 3 drives that resulted in a touchdown x2 and a field goal. On those 2 touchdown drives, there were 2 big plays that led to the touchdown and on the field goal drive, I will speak about why I think it happened below.
Firstly, this was the first big play. Sometimes this just happens. The Eagles play single-high and Bradberry just gets beaten deep. It rarely happens to the Eagles but it did here! You can’t blame the ‘scheme’ here and if anything, more single-high is what fans have wanted. The Eagles actually have 8 men in the box here which is ‘aggressive’ against the run as well.
Then the Eagles stacked the box, played single-high and Bradberry got burned. Sometimes it happens! He's been outstanding this year but just got done here. This play was the cause of the first TD more than the few decent runs from the Texans. pic.twitter.com/2IjWIf1NYz— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 7, 2022
Then later on in the game, the Texans had another huge play that caused a touchdown. This was just poor run defense. The Eagles have a 5-man front. Marvin Wilson gets completely done by the center (not a double team) which cannot happen in this scheme. Sweat and Edwards take bad angles, then Epps takes a poor angle, and CGJ completely whiffs. This is just bad defense all around.
The 2nd TD drive was caused by this one. 5 man front, Marvin Wilson gets absolutely moved by the center (he was not good) & Sweat/Edwards dont play it well. This was a case where the Eagles felt outnumbered in the box again and without Davis the impact was clear to see. pic.twitter.com/ZTES1vTC56— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 7, 2022
There was so much talk about the scheme being passive and Gannon’s unit not being able to stop the run and I do not agree with it this week. I have been critical of Gannon (go and read the week 1 review if you don’t believe me!) but I don’t think you can be too harsh after this week. Firstly, just look at the total EPA numbers. The Texans did not run the ball that effectively. The idea the Eagles' defense was ‘dominated’ on the ground is simply not true.
All rush plays had an EPA per play of 0.02, that’s hardly domination on the ground. For comparison, look at Miles Sanders EPA per rush.
Finally, I have a theory about why the Eagles' defense struggles against the run at times. Some of it is a scheme issue but a lot of it is personnel. You may not believe these charts but look at the EPA numbers from this week when Marlon Tuipulotu and Marvin Wilson were on the field. They were incredibly bad.
Here is Marvin Wilson...
And here is Marlon Tuipulotu...
Look at the difference between when these two were on the field and when they were off the field! It is incredible. I don’t want to pick on these 2 players only, but the Eagles' defense seems to play them together in one personnel package and then play Cox/Hargrave together. I mentioned this last week, but the Eagles need to look at their personnel packages and they simply cannot have an inside trio of Milton Williams, Marlon Tuipulotu, and Marvin Wilson in a 5-man front.
Let's get to some more plays.
The first play of the game is where I am slightly ‘critical’ of the scheme the Eagles run. The Eagles ask Darius Slay to make up the numbers in the box and he is just bad in run defense. The late safety rotation actually forces Epps to go back too which means he can’t get to the running back for a while. Personally, I’d have an extra man in the box but we did see the Eagles get burned in single-high so, you can’t have it all!
Eagles defense all22 vs Texans. A lot more detail on this game in this week's article... It was a combination of scheme and bad play. The Eagles want to sit in 2-high pre-snap but we know it can leave you short in the box. The run defense had some issues (not all the time though) pic.twitter.com/gUkGcQKGxy— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 7, 2022
The Eagles' run defense was pretty aggressive after the first drive of the game. This is a very simple generalization, but I preferred the Eagles in a 4-man front this week. In simple terms, when the Eagles go with a 4-man front, they are more likely to add a safety into the box as a run defender. When they go with a 5-man front, they almost count the nose tackle as 2 players (which Jordan Davis can do) and need to leave both safeties back or they will not have enough men in coverage. Here is a good example of excellent run defense.
The Eagles had snaps where they absolutely stacked the box and went after the run. I thought they had success with a 4 man front at times but they needed the extra safety in the box. pic.twitter.com/d047Zu1NCU— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 7, 2022
I also get a bit annoyed when I see people purely blame the Eagles' nickel personnel (2 linebackers) for their poor run defense. Personnel is important, but having numbers in the box is still the most important thing. Football can be simple and if you have an extra man in the box, you are more likely to stop the run. The Eagles simply do not want to play 3 linebackers because it limits what they can do from a pass-defense perspective. They had plays in this game where they went nickel personnel against 13 personnel (3 tight ends) and still were solid against the run on those plays!
Nickel personnel vs 13 personnel so it will be an easy run, right? Obviously not! Fitting the run is more important than personnel but the numbers in the box absolutely matter. Great play by Quinn on the edge and White does a great job shooting the gap quickly. pic.twitter.com/wE2zV8z8Ta— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 7, 2022
It is important to remember that winning in the NFL is not easy (just ask all the other 31 teams). Sometimes we look at our own players too much and forget that the other team also has talented players and can sometimes just produce an excellent play. This is an example of one of them.
It's easy to always blame the scheme or players but sometimes you gotta say fair play! This is the NFL and even bad teams can make awesome plays like this. This is a hell of a throw and catch... Mills can really sling it. pic.twitter.com/vptCLdTGFm— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 7, 2022
Some of the Eagles' defenders just didn’t play very well this week either. It was only one game so I don’t want to be too harsh as I have already mentioned him above, but I do not see it with Marvin Wilson as the nose tackle in a 5-man front. He just gets moved around too easily.
I don't think we will see too much more of Wilson at NT in the 5 man front. I just didn't think he looked strong enough at the point of attack in this one. Didn't think Edwards or White had their best games either personally but overall the run defense was honestly not 'that' bad pic.twitter.com/cpvAuZI2UU— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 7, 2022
Let’s finish this one by just talking about Javon Hargrave. My goodness, he is playing well. I spoke about him quite a lot last week but I just had to share a few of these plays. One-on-one he was basically unblockable this week and he is playing at an elite level for the past 2 weeks.
Hargrave was out of his mind in this one, the Texans could not handle him one-on-one. His combination of speed, hand usage and power is pretty absurd. The last 2 weeks he's been at his very best which is an excellent sign! pic.twitter.com/QaQzcxLKdp— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 7, 2022
Fletcher Cox is playing nowhere as well as Hargrave right now, but it is fair to point out that he does still get doubled team at times when Hargrave gets one-on-one matchups!
Just look at the speed to power of Hargrave here. My goodness. It's also a good rush by Cox who gets doubled whilst Hargrave gets the one-on-one. The pass rushing talent is really good and you will always get players in favourable matchups. pic.twitter.com/53mKZkm3l0— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 7, 2022
Let’s end on a high... Hargrave had a day.
End with one more from Hargrave because, why not? I love him as the NT in a 5 man front when rushing the quarterback because it feels almost unfair if he gets a one-on-one matchup. They could not handle him. This is as good as it gets. Look at where the center ends up! pic.twitter.com/6S61uh4ja7— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) November 7, 2022
Thanks for reading as always. Any questions or feedback feel free to comment below and I’ll answer!