NOBODY got injured. That’s the important part. The starters were rumored to play the first half, but they played less than a quarter. Now we’ll get a chance to heal up, get refreshed, and prep for whoever falls to us in the Divisional round of the playoffs.
EAGLES 0 – Cowboys 6
The Eagles ran for just 70 yards on 18 carries, and as bad as that looks, it was even worse. Third string QB Nate Sudfeld (19/23 – 82.6% – 134 – 0 – 0) picked up 22 of those yards on one carry. Our RB’s amassed 15 carries for 41 yards (2.7 ypc). The play-calling was once again pass -heavy, with 37 passes to just 16 called runs (Agholor had a 7 yard rush).
The back-up defense did a wonderful job of holding the Cowboys to just 6 points, despite the fact that their starters played the entire game. It was the fourth quarter before even those points were scored.
I hear you asking, “What about all the stuff that stats don’t reveal?” Well, that’s the reason for these “Four Things” articles. We introduce an idea of what needs addressing BEFORE the game, so that fans have to honestly answer questions about those things, AFTER the game. This helps to get us, and keep us, all on the same page.
So, of the Four Things we were looking for in this last game, what exactly did we see?
1) No key injuries: Nobody key got hurt because Doug Pederson gave the starters a pretty early hook. (DONE)
2) QB crash course: We needed to get a good, long look at Sudfeld and we saw him for most of the game. (DONE)
3) Stay deep: Gave up a 20 yard score selling out on a blitz, and a couple of other key completions. (NOT DONE)
4) Cooler heads prevail: For a moment it seemed like the teams might have had a brawl, but cooler heads prevailed and the game went on with no fights, so no one getting tossed and no one getting a suspension. (DONE)
Despite hitting 3 of the 4 marks this week, we still ate the loss. However, if you watched the game, you get why we lost. On the year, our Four Things total tally: 47 of 64 (.734)
On The Whole:
Given the weather conditions, I’m somewhat perplexed by the play-calling over these last two weeks. The line we’re being fed is, the coach wants to develop chemistry with his passing game. I’m not really buying that though.
Both our Head Coach and our Offensive Coordinator, were NFL Quarterbacks. Moreover, both were career back-up QB’s. So they both have a nuanced understanding of how important a run game is, for establishing a rhythm and supporting a back-up QB. Loading the Offense onto that back-up QB’s shoulders, in freezing weather, runs absolutely counter to NFL wisdom for supporting a back-up QB.
More mysterious, is just how vanilla the Offense has been now for THREE weeks. In the first quarter WR Torrey Smith dropped a pass on 3rd and 7 where two routes cleared space for him. It was well designed, well called, and well executed, except for the drop itself. However, we haven’t seen much of that stuff even being called since QB Nick Foles (4/11 – 36.3 – 39 0 0 – 1) took over, and it has me wondering why.
My hunch is that the Eagles didn’t want to expose Foles’s tendencies in this system to film study. Especially not in games (giants, Raiders, Cowboys) that we could afford to lose. If teams don’t know what to look for on tape, it’s hard to practice for those scenarios. Keep in mind, Pederson is an Andy Reid disciple, and starving an opponent of information is exactly the sort of move Andy was known for.
Otherwise there’s no explanation for why the passing routes seem so pedestrian now.