FROM first to worst.
(S) QB Jalen Hurts: (24/44 – 54.5% – 338 – 3 – 0)
(S) RB Miles Sanders: (17 – 64 – 3.7 – 0 – 0)
(S) TE Zach Ertz: (7 – 2 – 69 – 34.5 – 0)
(S) CB Nickell Robey-Coleman: (7 – 0.5 – 0 – 1)
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: Cardinals did the Eagles get around to doing? Well let’s see:
1) Keep running: Well, well, well. Would you look at that. This game featured 44 pass attempts, 11 QB runs, and just 18 plays where the ball was handed off. Seems the Eagles can’t win with that formula, regardless of who the QB is. (NOT DONE)
2) Contain our mirror image: The Eagles did a good job of keeping the Cardinal QB in the pocket, and he beat us from there. While Hurts was very athletic in this game, their QB beat us by actually playing QB. Still, what’s done is done. (DONE)
3) Pray for diarrhea: There was no food poisoning, so WR DeAndre Hopkins played. Pray harder next time! Get a sweat going! (NOT DONE)
4) Control the clock: We had the ball for 32 minutes, compared to the Cardinals 27. I said we needed a 36 to 24 minute split. We we were close to that mark, and we were close in the game. Horseshoes and hand grenades. (NOT DONE)
We did 1 out of 4, Four Things. Next week we get the division rival that everybody loves to hate: The Dallas Cowboys. A win will perpetuate Jalen Hurts’ legend with the fan base. But losing and having the season officially murdered? By the Cowboys?? On his watch!?! Nope. Losing is not an option next week. Can’t do it. Can’t, do it!
On The Whole:
Amid all the high fives and handjobs that the Eagles fan base is handing out for Christmas, is the fact that we are now dead last in the division. This comes after losing what Head Coach Doug Pederson called a “must win” game, which would have allowed the Eagles to make the playoffs just by winning the next two games.
We would have controlled our own fate.
So what did we see:
Well, the sacks are back. We gave up 6. Perhaps Hurts was holding the ball too long? Or, maybe his line missed blocks. Maybe we can stop blaming the guys trying not to get hit, for getting hit, when the people paid to protect them, let people hit them instead.
Having a QB willing to run RPO’s, will open up the run game! Miles Sanders averaged just 3.76 yards per carry (many publications round it up to 3.8), in this game. Interestingly enough, Sanders had 12 carries in the first half, and just 5 in the second. Perhaps what would really open up the run game, would be actually calling runs.
Remember how QB Carson Wentz was a bum for not completing 60% of his passes in most games? Well, for the third straight week Hurts has also failed to hit that mark. Those percentages, respectively, have been 41.6, 56.6, and 54.5. Maybe there is something inherently wrong with our system, that’s making it difficult for our QB’s to be more accurate.
WR Travis Fulgham is still on a milk carton. In fact, Hurts is having trouble pushing the ball down the field to WR’s, period. I hear you ask about Jalen Reagor (2 games, 12 targets, 7 catches, 95 yards, 13.5, 0TD) and WR Greg Ward (2 games, 10 targets, 6 catches, 35 yards, 5.8, 2 TD). Before the numbers become confusing, let me state this plain: That’s 5.9 yards per target, overall. Is this a glimpse of the Eagles future?
We lost a shootout to a team that isn’t anywhere near as good as their record. Anybody heartened by this, is looking at all the wrong indicators.