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Eagles All-22 Film Review: Takeaways from the win over the Texans

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Houston Texans Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

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…

And this was the Eagles’ 2nd touchdown…

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!

Passing Game

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.

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.

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.

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!

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!

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.

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?!

Running Game

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.

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.

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.

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.


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 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.

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!

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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!

Let’s end on a high... Hargrave had a day.

Thanks for reading as always. Any questions or feedback feel free to comment below and I’ll answer!

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