The Eagles win and I break it down. Let’s do this.
This was an exciting game because the Rams have quite a unique defensive structure. They play a lot of 5-man fronts, and 2-high shells, and remind me of the Eagles from last year in some ways. The way to counter this is with RPOs and quick throws to the outside, and that’s what the Eagles did! This led to a lot of Dallas Goedert targets, and he made them count, as you can see below! Look at him run through that safety!
Eagles Offense All22 vs. Rams. 1) Eagles took advantage of the Rams 5-man fronts & 2-high safeties with some quick throws on RPOs, such as this one. This led to a lot of Goedert, who just runs straight through the Rams safety here! pic.twitter.com/UdibEf2gge— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 9, 2023
If you read my Eagles-Rams stats preview, you may have remembered that I said this...
This is a two-high light box defense. If the Eagles do want to get the QB run game going, this would be the week to do so. With 2-high safeties, the Eagles should outnumber the Rams in the box if you count the QB as a runner.
Well, I got that one right. The Eagles QB run game was back in this one! I got way too excited when I saw QB Counter Bash this week. The Eagles ran more gap scheme because it’s normally more successful against 5-man fronts, as it’s really difficult to get to the 2nd level in the zone running game. This is just beautiful, and Hurts legs made a massive difference in this game.
2) Oh baby, we finally saw the return of QB Counter Bash! I've been waiting, but this was the week we saw more of a QB run game and some more gap scheme which is what you want against a 5-man front. Hurts looked electric running the football all game and this made me happy! pic.twitter.com/L6jlkXkH5j— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 9, 2023
The Eagles’ redzone offense was pretty terrible once again, and I’ll get to that again later, but this play was a beauty. This is my favorite route in the redzone because I just remember Zach Ertz consistently scoring with it a few years ago. Greg Olsen called it the Nod 9 route and Goedert runs it perfectly here. This is a great concept and a fantastic throw by Jalen Hurts too. This is outstanding quarterback play.
3) This is what I call the Zach Ertz play in the RZ. Greg Olsen called it a 'Nod 9' route by Goedert, and it's a beauty of a throw. The stick route holds the LB and Hurts fit it into a tight window. Watch how Hurts holds the safety by looking left first too. This is high level QB… pic.twitter.com/WMindA0g8O— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 9, 2023
In the past few weeks, this comeback to AJ Brown has been money. It’s just so easy. Cornerbacks are terrified of Brown beating them deep and they are giving up so much cushion, and Hurts ball placement and timing on these throws are exceptional. AJ Brown is a truly elite wide receiver, and he has been fantastic these past few weeks.
4) This comeback to AJ Brown is becoming an 'easy button' for this Eagles offense (stealing a @robertmays phrase). Hurts/AJB are in sync and CBs have to respect AJB's vertical speed. Huge credit to Gainwell for his pass pro here which enables the throw. pic.twitter.com/b2s5fAArMu— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 9, 2023
The Eagles added a new element to their offense this week that I have been waiting for... throwing to the running back! Miles Sanders had 20 receptions in 17 games last year. DeAndre Swift had 6 this week and 4 last week. He may not have many receiving yards, but Swift’s hands out of the backfield are becoming a vital part of this offense. In my season preview, I said I wanted to see the Eagles add some choice routes to Swift out of the backfield like the 49ers do with Christian McCaffrey. This just looks like an angle route to me, but if the Eagles can start building some true choice routes into their offense, it just gives them another way to win. This offense can win in so many different ways.
5) Although this throw does lead Swift into a hit... I love this. This is something the offense just did not have last year. Swift is excellent on these short routes and his 6 receptions were valuable to this offense. I'm guessing this is an angle route but would love to see some… pic.twitter.com/bYMDsvox1R— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 9, 2023
Hurts was absolutely balling throughout this game. His decision-making and ball placement were outstanding. This is just a beauty. You won’t hear me mention Aaron Donald much in this thread, and it’s because he did nothing. The Eagles doubled him a lot and Sua Opeta and Jason Kelce just consistently won over and over again. The Eagles’ offensive line is as good as it gets. Add Opeta to the list of players that Jeff Stoutland has turned into good football players.
6) The ball placement on this one is beautiful. Hurts was feeling it. The 2nd angle is just perfect. Eagles doubled Donald a lot with Opeta/Kelce and they totally neutralised him. It was a fantastic game plan and huge credit to Opeta who came in and looked good. pic.twitter.com/FKz97Ykhzo— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 9, 2023
I’ll be honest, I have no idea if this play is actually by design. Let me know what you all think. If it is just a sort of out-of-structure play, then this is awesome. J.T. O’Sullivan calls this kind of play ‘buddy ball’ and that’s what it felt like to me. It’s incredible to think that the Eagles haven’t even had to ask Goedert to do much in the passing game this year. This offense is just so talented.
7) Do we think this is meant to be a wheel? I'm thinking Goedert is supposed to run a stick route and just sees the space and goes for it? It's pretty cool if it's just out of structure and credit Hurts for delivering the ball down the field. pic.twitter.com/xnWlzZ9XdO— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 9, 2023
I am not sure who to blame for this one, but I think I’m leaning slightly towards blaming AJ Brown. I think the play and the decision to throw it is fine. Either Hurts makes a terrible throw, or there’s a miscommunication. Based on the leverage of the cornerback, I think this probably should be a back-shoulder throw. However, without being in the room, there is absolutely no way of knowing what happened here. Either way, it was one of the only mistakes that the Eagles’ offense made in this game.
8) This play was the only real disaster but even here I like the decision. Going to AJ Brown one-on-one here is totally fine. I'm unsure if it's a terrible throw or a miscommunication and AJ Brown is supposed to comeback to the ball like a back shoulder. No idea! pic.twitter.com/27Mf78B0Sv— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 9, 2023
I cannot say enough good things about D’Andre Swift. He is becoming a huge part of this offense and he looks fantastic out there. The explosiveness he brings to the offense just gives them another playmaker on offense. I had my questions about Swift, and I wondered why a fantastic coaching staff over in Detroit gave up on him, but I think Howie ended up being right. This guy is explosive and can play. He’s already added another dimension to this offense.
9) Swift is easily the most explosive back I've seen on the Eagles for a long time. The acceleration over 5 yards is pretty insane. Standard IZ and he spots a lane to the outside and then moves like he's been sped up! He's flying here... pic.twitter.com/cBbX2Xdr2e— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 9, 2023
Hurts was incredibly good at extending drives with his legs in this game. He had 3 huge rushes on 3rd and long where he picked up the 1st down. The Eagles’ offense is very good without Hurts as a rushing threat, but it’s elite with his rushing. I think this offense is basically impossible to stop when you have Hurts making plays like this. He had some ridiculous runs in this game. I’m biased because I’m an Eagles fan but I’m going to say it anyway... I watch plays like this and just can’t understand how people can rank QBs like Dak Prescott or Matthew Stafford above Hurts when he is capable of doing this with his legs. You cannot underestimate the value of Hurts' mobility.
10) Hurts had 3 huge runs on 3rd down where he picked up the 1st. There's not many QBs who can do this. His legs had a huge impact. I had to post this play to show Lane Johnson following Donald too... that's hilarious. Another great job by Gainwell in pass pro, this time helping… pic.twitter.com/1QHzoOAfUm— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 9, 2023
Honestly, the pass protection was so good in this game, that you have to assume that the Rams were trying to contain Hurts rather than rush him at times. The other value of a mobile quarterback is you impact the defense's pass rush too. Credit to @SyedSchemes for pointing out that this is a ‘Shanahan’ play known as HEAT. I’ll post the diagram from Shawn below.
11) The pass pro here is as good as it gets. It's so good, I assume the Rams rushers must be told to contain Hurts here or this is embarrassing for them. Donald gets totally stonewalled by Opeta/Kelce again! This is HEAT (per @SyedSchemes) & it's a sit/curl by Smith and AJB runs… pic.twitter.com/VXkUjtvZYw— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 9, 2023
The Eagles were good against pressure in this game, except for when they got to the redzone and Hurts bailed from the pocket a few times. This may seem like nothing, but I think this type of play is another area where the Eagles have improved from last year.
12) It may look like a nothing play, but I thought the Eagles had some easy answers to pressure once again. Rams rush 6 here and Eagles leave 5 into block so Hurts knows he has to be hot and gets it straight out to Goedert. Just easy, simple football. Also, Dickerson takes Donald… pic.twitter.com/yFsxaQESaH— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 9, 2023
The Eagles run game was much more multiple in this game than it has been so far this year. We saw inside zone, outside zone (pin/pull), QB draw, counter, and QB counter bash. It was fun. This play is blocked perfectly and Swift reads it perfectly. This is just good offensive football. Coaches would call this teach tape...
13) Let's finish with a bit of pin/pull... because it's been a while! This was after Kelce's blowup on the sideline, and look at him go and hit the EDGE defender hard and create a lane! Swifts footwork is fantastic here and just watch every single OL win. The OL is simply elite. pic.twitter.com/nNBI933kLV— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) October 9, 2023
- Let’s talk redzone. The Eagles are bad at the moment. I’ll be honest, I can’t really figure out why so I don’t have too much to say here right now. But I think the Eagles should commit to running it more and grinding out some tough yards. Maybe, even consider using someone like Rashaad Penny who can get an extra yard or two after contact? Hurts just looks a bit unsure in the redzone right now and it’s something the Eagles need to sort out because it will matter at some point this year.
- There’s a lot of talk about Quez Watkins again, and whilst I do think his speed has its use and he can be a good decoy, it feels like an area this team can upgrade. The issue is, it’s not going to be easy to justify giving up much for a player who will end up as the 5th option on the majority of plays. It might be time to give Olamide Zaccheaus a run.
- Swift is significantly better than Kenny Gainwell, but Gainwell’s pass protection was really good in this game. He’s going to get playing time if he continues to pass protect like that every week, and I think he deserves it!
- I know the Eagles only scored 23 points, but this felt like a dominant performance. The film was really fun. If the Eagles had to score more, I think they absolutely could have.
This was fun. This season is fun and I appreciate all of you as always!