FOR all those who say “Pederson can’t coach!” or “Pederson’s lost the team!” or “We should tank!” The Eagles have a message for you:
This was one of those wins which shows the character of a team. Most teams staring down the barrel of an early 3 – 19 deficit, would just mail in the rest of the game. Given the extent of our injuries, the Eagles had a “ready-made excuse” to wrap themselves in. But that’s not what they did. They instead elected to fight. They gave themselves a punchers chance, and in the end, our guys stood victorious.
EAGLES 25 – giants 22
Rookie RB Josh Adams (22 – 84 – 3.8 – 1 – 0 ) and RB Corey Clement (5 – 45 – 9.0 – 0 – 0) gave the Eagles the running game that we’ve all been craving, since RB Wendell Smallwood (no carries) took over as the starter. Adding 3 sacks to the 28 attempts by QB Carson Wentz (20/28 – 236 – 71.4% – 1 – 0), there were 31 passing plays to 27 called runs. Our play selection was 53% pass and 47% run. You know what that is? It’s BALANCE! We achieved actual offensive balance.
Watching SS Malcolm Jenkins (5 – 0 – 0 – 0) wrap his mitts around a pass intended for giants WR Odell Beckham (5 – 85 – 17.0 – 0) got me onto my feet, and doing the world’s most uncoordinated Floss. Even worse than these people. (I hit me in my pee-pee. But I didn’t care! INTERCEPTION!!). The return of our pass rush, and our OLB’s ability to make tackles for losses, spoke volumes about how much we’d been missing the presence of DT Timmy Jernigan (no stats).
For the first time this year, Special Teams makes an appearance in one of these articles. The punting was phenomenal. P Cam Johnston (4 – 201 – 50.2 – 2 – 59L) averaged 50 per boot, while pinning the giants inside the 20, twice. He nearly managed to get a third punt downed inside the 5, but slightly out-kicked his coverage. K Jake Elliott (3/3 – 100% – 43L) for a second year in a row used his big toe to doom the giants, prompting Eagles announcer Merrill Reese to dub him the “Giants Killer”.
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) Feed the pig! Feed the pig!: Let’s get RB Josh Adams 18 handoffs, is what I said. He got 22. Running is important. Even when a run ends up for a loss. Actual handoffs lead to opponents showing a lot more respect to play-action. This helps the Offensive Linemen block, which helps the QB keep the offense running on schedule. DONE.
2) Box that boy: In two games this year, giants WR Odell Beckham has a total stat line of 11 – 129 – 11.7 – 0 vs. Philly. Keep in mind that we’ve been struggling with our Secondary all year. WOW, right? Here’s some more WOW. This last game showed the world that the Eagles can contain Beckham with guys off the street. DONE.
3) Charge the ‘A’ gaps: We did none of that in the first half. I guess Head Coach Doug Pederson must have read Four Things to the locker room, during half-time. We came out, got on it, erased a deficit, took a lead, and won the game. DONE.
4) Fuck the crumbs: We didn’t make a big deal of going deep. (Maybe next week?) Instead we focused on a ball-control form of passing. The result was leading in time of possession 32 minute to the giants 27. That gave our Defense enough of a breather to play fast, while limiting the exposure of our inexperienced Secondary. NOT DONE.
This weeks score is 3 of 4 things done. The season score of 17 of 44 is still atrocious, but this week’s 3 of 4, beats the hell out of 0 of 8 for the prior two weeks. Baby steps. Next week we get a Redskins which currently sits at #2 in the division.
On The Whole:
Yes, it was sloppy. Yes, we had some self-inflicted wounds. That said, this was a great character win. It was a comeback, defending home turf, against a hated rival. We won with poise, balance and a little bit of grit for a change.
Injuries are a circumstance, not an excuse. So if we’re going to be relying on these inexperienced players, then our defensive coaches may want to drill players on things like run-fits, and route re-directs. We made some things harder than they needed to be out there, and it will kill us if we don’t get them fixed.
It’s so nice to add a new killer to our roster. Jake “giant Killer” Elliott, to go along with Jordan “Cowboy Killer” Hicks. Now we need to find a guy who habitually murders Redksins. Do we have any players named Andrew Jackson?