Off the back of a shock loss to the Lions at home, the Eagles were staring at a 1-3 start. Particularly after another slow start, in which they fell to an early ten point deficit, prospects looked bleak. But if there’s one thing we’ve learnt about this current Eagles crop, it’s that they’re incredibly resilient. The offensive line enjoyed it’s best game of the season, opening up some gigantic holes in the run game, and keeping Carson Wentz incredibly clean. Jim Schwartz also called a good game, opting for a conservative 2-deep safety approach against Aaron Rodgers.
Run game tempo has been a big discussion over recent weeks. One reason Jordan Howard saw so few carries over the first few weeks was because the Eagles coaches wanted to stretch defenses horizontally in the run game, especially early. That all changed against the Packers, with Howard featuring early and often. The coaches produced a gameplan heavy on interior runs, pounding Green Bay’s front consistently. Pederson’s best play was an adapted power run, where instead of pulling the backside guard, Jason Kelce led the way instead. Howard had a huge lane run free into the secondary, isolating the safety 1:1 without being touched. The Eagles used their two tightend sets more frequently, bullying the Packers in the trenches. Dallas Goedert enjoyed an excellent game, dominating some matches in the run game and scoring a touchdown through the air.
A week ago, Pederson opted to go no huddle to open the game against the Lions. The Eagles did the same thing coming out of half-time, seizing the momentum that they never relinquished. Carson Wentz clearly enjoys the responsibility of calling plays at the line, and the approach meshes well with the simplicity of RPOs (run/pass options). Wentz can use hand signals to easily communicate one thing to his wideouts, while verbally commanding the offensive line into the premier run play. Green Bay were unprepared after the adrenaline flatline of half-time, and the Eagles took full advantage.
Little appeared to have changed in Jim Schwartz’s mind entering Lambeau. Initially, the defense stuck to the base scheme of cover-3 and cover-1. Soon however, that option illustrated itself to be misguided. The Packers lit up the Eagles’ secondary early, generating big plays consistently to Davante Adams. Rather, we saw Jim Schwartz do something he hasn’t done in his time in Philadelphia, switch to a 2-deep safety look for the majority of a game. Perhaps personnel played a part, considering the secondary was down to the bare bones at corner, but there have been plenty of occasions with three safeties on the field when Schwartz has stuck to single-high safety looks.
The Eagles’ defensive coordinator made one glaring mistake. He brought the all-out blitz as the half was winding down and the Packers were out of timeouts, allowing them to claw the way back to within a point. Situationally, it simply made no sense; a tackle in bounds was almost certain to leave Philadelphia with an eight point lead going into the tunnel. In contrast, he made a fantastic call later in the game using the same blitz look before dropping Nigel Bradham into coverage. Rodgers was totally bamboozled, with only the linebacker’s poor hands preventing a pick-six.
- The offensive line; lazy analysis but after a terrible game against the Lions, the big guys up front were outstanding
- Dallas Goedert; some huge blocks by the backup tightend, and a touchdown to boot
- Rasul Douglas; a shining light in a struggling secondary, Douglas is getting better every week