THEY smacked us in the mouth, and then got knocked out. In their home.
EAGLES 38 – Lions 35
Categories include an EXCLUSIVE weekly Offensive Line Report (Rushing TD’s (6 points) + 3rd downs converted by rushes (1 point) + sacks allowed (-2 points) = score); as well as Drive Killer (Int – FR – 4th down Tackles – FF – TD).
New Category Ace is for Kick return TD’s, Returners run-down, kicks blocked, etc.
Passing : (S) QB Jalen Hurts (18/32 – 56.2% – 243 – 0 – 0)
Rushing : (S) RB Miles Sanders (13 – 96 – 7.3 – 1 – 0)
Receiving : (S) WR A.J. Brown (11 – 10 – 155 – 15.5 – 0)
Offensive Line Report/Enforcer : (4 (24) + 2 (2) – 1 (-2) = 24 pts) / RT Lane Johnson
Drive Killer : (S) CB James Bradberry (1 – 0 – 0 – 0 – 1)
Sack Leader : (S) DT Fletcher Cox (1 – 0.5 – 0 – 0)
Ace : (B) CB Zech MacPhearson (Heads up recovery of onside kick)
I hear you asking, “What about all the stuff that stats don’t reveal?” Well, that’s the reason for these 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: Lions did the Eagles actually get around to doing? Well let’s see:
1) Run the Ball: Mixed bag here. This time we’ll say that technically the Eagles did this one, because I didn’t specify hand-offs. (But just this time!) We had 39 runs, against 32 pass attempts, but 17 of those runs were from QB Jalen Hurts, who led the team in carries. Some on designed runs, some on scrambles (often too early) from the pocket.
Listen, it’s real hard to argue with 216 rushing yards, a 5.5 team-wide per carry average, and 4 rushing touchdowns from four different players. That said, Hurts can’t be this big a part of it, if he’s going to be the long-term answer at Quarterback. He’s on a 289 carry pace for this season. It’s unsustainable. It’s ill-advised. Credit for this week, but going forward, “Run the ball” means HAND-OFFS. (DONE)
2) Make Goff Run: I came into this season thinking the Eagles had solved not being able to get pressure, with a four man rush. Well, that problem seems to persist. We didn’t make QB Jared Goff (21/37 – 56.7% – 215 – 2 – 1) run much. We didn’t make him feel unsafe. In fact, despite being behind a makeshift o-line, Goff was largely a statue in the pocket. It was embarrassing. (NOT DONE)
3) Challenge Their Receivers: The mission was to hold WR D.J. Chark (8 – 4 – 52 – 13.0 – 1) and WR Amon-Ra St. Brown (12 – 8 – 64 – 8.0 – 1) to fewer than 100 yards each. The result was that despite each scoring, they had just 116 yards between them. Neither could claim to have had a good game.
As the cherry on top, CB James Bradberry (2 – 0 – 1 – 0) got us a pick six. He sat on an outside route, and was able to get to a ball tipped by OLB Kyzir White (5 – 0 – 0 – 0). (DONE)
4) Get ‘im!: I said at least 8 passes have to be thrown to whomever CB Jeff Okuda (10 – 0 – 0 – 0) was covering. I counted just 5. While Hurts seems to have a good connection with WR A.J. Brown, getting the ball effectively to anyone else, seems to be a challenge. His under-usage of TE Dallas Goedert (4 – 3 – 60 – 20.0 – 0) is practically criminal. Especially when a blitz is telegraphing itself. (NOT DONE)
So we open the season at 2 of the Four Things. That’s a .500 marker. Let’s not let that, nor this close score, be an indicator of the sort of year we’ll have.
We’ll look to bounce back next week, vs the 1 – 0 Minnesota Vikings. Ever since we molly-whopped them in the 2017 playoffs, they’ve had our number, with wins in 2018 and 2019. Next week in our home-opener, we’ll be looking to have a stop put to that.
On The Whole:
I’m glad and grateful for the “W”. Let’s say that up-front. The Lions came out jacked up on adrenaline, and had a standing room only sized crowd making noise for them. They punched the Eagles in the mouth, right out of the gate. We didn’t panic. Didn’t point fingers or whine for flags or calls. (More on that in a couple minutes.)
What we did was respond, slow the game down, quiet their adrenaline, take the crowd out of the equation, and prove that once again, this game, the season, all of it, every part of it, is a marathon, not a sprint.
There are however, some things to work on! The effects of Starters not playing during the preseason, showed up in this game. Poor tackling, the Defensive Line sticking to blocks, this is what happens when you don’t tackle to the ground in drills, and you don’t play through blocks in drills. Teaching a technique without the finish, isn’t teaching the technique. This needs to get worked on this week.
Hurts not being able to handle the blitz, is an indictment on this coaching staff. His inability to work out of anything besides the Shotgun, is an indictment on this coaching staff. Running RPO’s would be far more effective if he started out from under Center. Think of how effective it was with a non-running QB like Nick Foles. Coaching staffs should fear Hurts. Instead, they run undisguised blitzes at him, because they know he hasn’t figured them out. This must be worked on.
Lastly, all of the hits Hurts took after slides today, should have been penalties. Any player in a slide has “given himself up”, and therefore falls under the “defenseless player”umbrella. Head Coach Nick Sirianni has to go to Owner Jeffrey Lurie and get him to write/call/email the referees, and also make an on-air public statement, saying that Hurts should receive proper protections, and not be the victim of “running QB” bias.