THE Eagles were out-coached. AGAIN.
(S) QB Carson Wentz: (20/35 – 57.1% – 258 – 2 – 2)
(S) RB Miles Sanders: (11 – 80 – 7.2 – 2 – 0)
(B) WR Travis Fulgham: (13 – 10 – 152 – 15.2 – 1)
(B) DT Javon Hargraves: (1 – 0.5 – 0 – 0)
I hear you asking, “What about all the stuff that stats don’t reveal?” Well, that’s the reason for the Four Things articles. It’s to point out what we need to address BEFORE the game. Then AFTER the game, there’s a no-bullshit assessment of whether or not the Eagles did any of what they needed to do, to ensure the win.
So how much of what I mentioned in Four Things: Pittsburgh did the Eagles get around to doing? Well let’s see:
1) Jump short routes: Aside from one miss by CB Cre’Von LeBlanc, nobody really tried to do this. Three times, on 3rd down, the Steeler’s QB was able to complete a quick short pass inside and to his right, while Eagles defenders just watched the play happen. He should have never been able to do that twice, let alone three times. Especially without getting his receiver blown up. (NOT DONE)
2) Trim their edges: We didn’t run any RB Screens, but we did make the Out routes come alive today! Fulgham created space, boxed out, and high-pointed the ball, giving Wentz an easy target to go to all day long. WR Greg Ward ran a similar route for his easy 8 yard TD reception. TE Zach Ertz continues to dog it out there. I gave him the benefit of the doubt for 4 weeks, but after watching him let that TE Screen fall incomplete, I have to call him on it. With what he’s putting on tape, no one is giving him George Kittle money. (DONE)
3) Set the edge vs the run: I said that Pittsburgh doesn’t do a lot of WR rushing and coming into this game they hadn’t. Today they took 5 whacks at it, and made us look silly in the process. However, that’s a hard thing to charge to the Defensive Linemen. It’s really something that has to be adjusted for with an alignment that doesn’t pack all the LB’s inside of the DE’s. We took away the interior run game, but our scheme and lack of adjusting it, allowed them options they usually ignore. (NOT DONE)
4) Fight for catches: Right before the Half, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside made a nice 37 yard grab. Other than that, Fulgham didn’t really have to win any contested balls, he found ways to create separation, and give Wentz a clean target. Maybe he can teach his team mates? (NOT DONE)
That gives us a score of 1 of 4 this week (6 of 20 on the year.) Thank goodness we get to face Baltimore next week. NO! You know what? We’ll re-group, get a couple guys back next week, and look at this with fresh eyes.
On The Whole:
We went in shorthanded vs a 3 – 0 team, and made a real game out of it. Silver lining, it looks like Carson Wentz has found a young WR that he trusts. That can only pay dividends going forward. This week Whiteside and WR John Hightower got the start. Next week, if WR’s Alshon Jeffrey and DeSean Jackson are still shelved, then expect Fulgham and Hightower to get the nod.
There were several things that annoyed me: The play selection was ass, again. There were just 12 handoffs in this game, 2 called QB runs, and 38 passes called (2 resulted in QB scrambles). That’s 73% pass to 27%run. Why is it okay that our Defensive Coordinator isn’t capable of making adjustments? How is it that we had no answer for a rookie playing in just his 4th pro game?
We got embarrassed by a rookie. And we got out-coached. The Steelers were flat-out smarter than us. Especially our Defense. We ate Jet Sweeps from a team that hardly runs them! We’ve been so bad at defending those, that opponents include them, just to run them against us. And if it wasn’t bad enough that in-game adjustments aren’t being made, week-to-week adjustments aren’t being made either. I feel like the game was never as close as the score.