THE PHILADELPHIA EAGLES ARE YOUR 2019 NFC EAST CHAMPIONS!!!
Once again, I predicted score wrong, but I was pretty on-point about the spread. (I predicted 18 points, the margin turned out to be 17.) At no point this week, did I think this game would be close. Turns out, I nailed it.
The story many will tell, will be of RB Boston Scott (19 – 54 – 2.8 – 3 – 0 / 4 – 84 – 21.0 – 0), taking over after Rookie RB Miles Sanders (9 – 52 – 5.7 – 0 – 0) went down with an ankle injury. The REAL story is of how QB Carson Wentz (23/40 – 57.5 – 289 – 1 – 0), continues to make everyone around him better, regardless of their Draft pedigree.
While Boston Scott led the Eagles in receiving yards, it was WR Greg Ward (6 – 43 – 7.1 – 0) who paced the roster in receptions, TE Dallas Goedert (4 – 65 – 16.2 – 0) who led in targets with 10, and TE Josh Perkins (4 – 50 – 12.5 – 1) who caught Wentz’s lone scoring strike. The point is, Wentz spread the ball around. Perfectly conducting the Offense, to make us more than the sum of our parts.
We made plenty of noise on Defense as well, with DE Derek Barnett (2 – 2.0 – 0 – 0) playing this game of the other side of the line of scrimmage, as both of his tackles were for losses. The same could be said of DE Brandon Graham (3 – 1.0 – 0 – 0) who also made all of his tackles in the backfield.
There’ll be no media coverage of how the Eagles defensive interior pissed all over the line of scrimmage, and marked it as their own territory. DT Timmy Jernigan (2 – 1.0 – 0 – 0) played like a someone was holding his family hostage. He absolutely wrecked any semblance of a blocking scheme, and he seemed to always be caving in the point of attack. DT Anthony Rush (1 – 0 – 0 – 0) strong-armed his way into a TFL as well.
DT Fletcher Cox (1 fumble recovery) doesn’t make much of an appearance on a stat sheet, but his 4th quarter recovery of a fumble forced by SS Malcolm Jenkins (7 – 0 – 0 – 0), put the game out of New York’s reach, for good. And Sidney Jones (3 – 0 – 1 – 0)! Did you see that step for step coverage of giants WR Darius Slayton (4 – 50 – 12.5 – 0)? Slayton fell cleanly on the play, and Jones plucked the ball out the air, driving a dagger into the face of the giants hopes. Slayton had a very different day in this game, than he did when CB Ronald Darby (IR) was playing human turnstile, in the last match-up.
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) Protect the QB: The Eagles did decent (not great), job of getting Wentz outside of the pocket. However, the coaching staff left most of his protection up to the clock in his head. Wentz didn’t disappoint, as he made a point of either quickly vacating the pocket or throwing the ball away.
In fact, my second favorite pass of the day was an incompletion. On the third play of the 2nd quarter, Wentz spotted pass interference, and threw to WR Robert Davis (no stats), to draw the officials attention to the penalty. That’s an Aaron Rodgers, Jim Kelly, Peyton Manning kind of tactic. It worked, and we got 13 yards out a pass that never stood a chance of being completed. Nothing protects a QB like his own saavy, and Carson Wentz’s saavy magnified his physical protection in this game. (DONE)
2) Take away Barkley: RB Saquon Barkley (17 – 92 – 5.4 – 1 – 0 / 3 – 25 – 8.3 – 0) did what he always does. He spends most of a game under wraps, and then makes noise with one big play. This week it was a 68 yard rushing touchdown. Before that he had 11 carries for 10 yards (0.9 yards per carry), then the 68 yarder, and afterwards 5 carries for 14 yards (2.8 ypc). We made him not matter. We took him away from being able to help his team, on all but one down, and made his team play around him for the rest of the game. (DONE)
3) Vary our attack: Boy did we ever! HC Doug Pederson emptied the attic this week. Strikes to WR’s on the outside. A 28 yard laser down the middle to Dallas Goedert, 14 yards worth of toe drag swag to Goedert on a clutch 3rd and 8, a cross body throw to a third string TE for a 24 yard score… And then when Sanders went out, Scott came in and we continued to pound the rock inside. That is, when we weren’t running Jet Sweeps, and throwing 39 yard screens… We threw a little bit of everything at the giants. I’d hate to be the team that has to watch tape and figure out what, or whom they need to stop. (DONE)
4) Hold auditions: This was done, but not the way I envisioned it. Due to CB Jalen Mills being out, and Darby being just placed on IR, both Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas (3 – 0 – 0 – 0) had to start, and play the whole game. There was no way to play one off of the other. Instead of two half game auditions, we got two full game auditions, for Darby’s spot in 2020. During which both players defensed three passes each, and allowed no WR more than 68 yards (68, 50, 39, and 12). (DONE)
That brings the week to a perfect 4 of 4, and the REGULAR season total to 38 of 64 (.593), which is just about commensurate with our record of 9 – 7 (.562). To have gotten it to match exactly, our record would had to have been 9 – 6 – 1.
Given that over the last 4 weeks we’re 15 of 16 (.937) in Four Things, and are undefeated during that span, it would seem that the team is peaking at just the right time, because we’re taking care of exactly the right things.
On The Whole:
This was an excellent victory. It was a slugfest that more or less became a blowout, on the road, in inclement weather, while still losing key players. I defy you to ask for better character building on the doorstep of the playoffs.
Now we begin our journey to the Super Bowl.