Last year, the Saints gave up more yards – 7,042 – than any team in NFL history. But guess who’s on pace to shatter that mark?
Yep, that’s right. The Eagles.
Through the first four games, they’ve given up a league-worst 1,787 yards. At that pace, they will finish with 7,148 yards, or 106 more than the ’12 Saints.
And there are lots of other records out there with their name on them if they continue to show quarterbacks the kind of generosity they showed Peyton Manning on Sunday.
Like the Saints’ record for most passing yards allowed in a season (4,875). The Eagles are on pace to give up 5,432.
Like the Baltimore Colts’ 32-year-old record for most first downs allowed in a season (406). With 112 given up in the first four games, the Eagles are on pace to allow 448.
Is this gonna be a fun season or what?
BY THE NUMBERS
--In the Eagles’ first two games, the offense averaged an impressive 6.67 points per 100 yards. In their last two games, they’ve averaged just 3.88.
--The Eagles are second in the league in total offense, averaging 458.8 yards per game. But they’re only 11th in scoring. The main reason: red zone ineptness. They were 2-for-5 in the red zone against the Broncos and have converted just 5 of 12 red-zone opportunities into touchdown in the first four games. Their 41.7 percent conversion rate inside the 20 is lower than last year’s (44 percent). Mike Vick completed just 1 of 5 attempts inside the 20 Sunday and is 3-for-15 in the first four games.
--Trent Cole played 53 snaps against the Broncos and dropped into coverage just nine times. In 250 snaps in the first four games, he’s dropped into coverage just 26 times.
--Vick attempted just two passes of 20 yards or longer against the Broncos, completing one. That was a 20-yard completion to DeSean Jackson. Just 18 of Vick’s 118 attempts this season have traveled 20 yards or more.
--Eagles receivers had just two drops in the first three games, but had four Sunday. LeSean McCoy had two, and DeSean Jackson and Brent Celek each had one.
--Peyton Manning had just six incompletions in 34 attempts against the Eagles, and one of those six was a throwaway.
--When the Eagles blitzed, which wasn’t very often, Manning was 5-for-6 for 35 yards and a touchdown. Manning was under pressure on just five of his 35 dropbacks. He was 4-for-4 on throws under pressure and was sacked once.
--The Eagles are 10th in the league in plays run. They’re averaging just 66.7 per game. Last year, they averaged 67.4. The Houston Texans lead the league in offensive plays. They’re averaging 75.5 per game.
SPOTLIGHT ON. . . LANE JOHNSON
For the second straight game, the rookie right tackle struggled. His problems started early when Broncos defensive end Derek Wolfe beat Johnson on the Eagles’ third play of the game, forcing Vick to flee the pocket.
On the Eagles’ second possession, he got away with a clear hold against another Broncos’ defensive end, Shaun Phillips. He wasn’t so lucky later in the first quarter, though, when he got flagged for a hold in the red zone on a second-down play at the Denver 13. The penalty effectively killed the drive, and the Eagles ended up settling for an Alex Henery field goal. On a third-and-nine play in the third quarter, Johnson again got beat to the outside, this time by Phillips, who sacked Vick for a four-yard loss.
Besides the sack, Johnson allowed a team-high five of the Eagles’ 15 hurries.
The Eagles didn’t run much to Johnson’s side Sunday. When they did, it wasn’t very productive. LeSean McCoy, Bryce Brown and Chris Polk ran to the right a total of six times and gained 20 yards. Nine of those 20 came on a third-quarter run by McCoy.
. . . AND EARL WOLFF
The rookie safety got his first career start in place of injured Patrick Chung. He played 64 snaps. Did some good things. Did some not so good things.
His fingerprints were on Manning’s first touchdown pass, a six-yard pass to Wes Welker early in the first quarter. On a third-and-one at the Philadelphia six, the Broncos put three wide receivers – Welker, Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker – all to the right side, with Welker and Decker flanking Thomas.
The Eagles blitzed on the play, sending seven rushers, including slot corner Brandon Boykin, who would normally be responsible for Welker.
With Boykin blitzing, Wolff became responsible for Welker, who ran a simple flat route. Decker took cornerback Bradley Fletcher into the end zone, but Thomas came off the line right at the Eagles’ other safety, Nate Allen, and successfully screened Wolff. If the rookie had recognized what was going on a second faster, he would have been able to cut behind Thomas and pick up Welker. But he had to go around him, giving the veteran slot receiver an easy touchdown.
The Eagles had seven missed tackles in the game, including two by Wolff. One of them came on a 13-yard catch and run by tight end Julius Thomas in the third quarter. Again, Wolff was just slow in reacting. As Chip Kelly correctly pointed out Monday, Wolff still is learning on the job.
He also was slow in reacting on a bubble screen to tight end Julius Thomas that turned into a 15-yard third-quarter touchdown. Wolff got taken out of the play by Broncos left tackle Chris Clark.
--Bryce Brown’s lack of college experience shows in his running. He wants to take everything to the outside, which is only natural given his 4.37 speed. But he needs to be willing to cut it inside more.
--The Eagles have run very few wide receiver or tight end screens in the first four games.
--The Eagles used a little more “12’’ personnel (1 back, 2 tight ends, 2 wide receivers) Sunday than they did in the first three games. Ten of their first 21 plays were with 12 personnel. James Casey, who had played just eight snaps in the first three games, played 10 snaps Sunday. Zach Ertz played a season-high 31 snaps.
--Vick’s protection wasn’t great Sunday, but he continues to have little patience for staying in the pocket. Perfect example was the third play of the game. He got outside pressure from Broncos ends Derek Wolfe and Shaun Phillips. But his guards and center had kept the inside secure. All he had to do was step up in the pocket and continue looking for an open receiver. Instead he just bolted, running for a four-yard gain.
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