Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Eagles-Bears: Second Take

Numbers Crunching

Eagles-Bears: Second Take

Numbers Crunching

* The Eagles’ most popular formation once again Sunday featured three wide receivers, one tight end and one running back. They lined up in that set on 30 of their 66 offensive plays. While the formation is mainly a passing formation, it also was their most successful running formation against the Bears. They ran out of the set 13 times and gained 100 of their 157 rushing yards. That’s an average of 7.7 yards per carry. LeSean McCoy, who rushed for 99 yards on 20 carries, had 57 yards on 8 carries out of the 3-1-1 set. His 10-yard touchdown run came out of a two-wide receiver, two-back, one-tight end set. Michael Vick’s 34-yard Wildcat run also came out of the 3-1-1 formation.

* The Eagles’ 157 rushing yards against the Bears was their third highest rushing total of the season. They rushed for 185 yards in their Week 1 win over Carolina and rushed for 180 in their Week 8 win over the Giants.

* In their back-to-back losses to the Giants and Chargers, the Eagles had major third-and-short-yardage problems. They converted just one of 7 third downs of two yards or less in those two games after converting 12 of 15 in their first 7 games. On Sunday, they were confronted with four third-and-one situations and converted all of them. Two of those four third-and-one conversions came out of the Wildcat. Michael Vick’s 34-yard run came on third-and-one. On another, Vick handed off to LeSean McCoy, who gained two yards and a first down. They converted the other two third-and-1s on a quarterback sneak by Donovan McNabb and a one-yard run by fullback Leonard Weaver.

Did You Notice?

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* The Bears wasted little time going after injured Sheldon Brown Sunday. Jay Cutler’s first pass was to Johnny Knox, who Brown was covering. The third-and-8 completion went for 9 yards.

* The nice block by right tackle Winston Justice on Michael Vick’s 34-yard first-quarter run. Justice also had a nice block on the Eagles’ other successful third-down Wildcat play, a 2-yard run by LeSean McCoy on a third-and-1 late in the third quarter.

* Asante Samuel saved a touchdown in the second quarter when he pushed Kahlil Bell out of bounds at the 10-yard line on his 72-yard run. If Samuel didn’t knock him out of bounds, Bell would’ve scored. The Eagles ended up stopping the Bears and forcing the second of Robbie Gould’s 4 field goals.

* McNabb’s second-quarter interception was more DeSean Jackson’s fault than the quarterback’s. Jackson ran a slant, but let cornerback Zack Bowman get inside position on him.

* Quintin Mikell blitzed on Cutler’s 15-yard touchdown pass to Greg Olsen in the fourth quarter. He got to Cutler a hair too late.

* The Eagles attacked the Bears with a lot of short and intermediate passes – slants, crossing routes, wide-receiver screens, et al.

* On LeSean McCoy’s fourth-quarter fumble, he had been carrying the ball away from his body on the 17-yard run, but didn’t lose it until after he tucked it away. Bears cornerback Charles Tillman, who forced the fumble, is one of the best in the league at stripping and punching the ball out.

* On DeSean Jackson’s 11-yard third-and-6 reception that preceded McCoy’s 10-yard touchdown run, he lined up in the left slot in a three-wide receiver set and ran a slant on Bears nickel corner Corey Graham. Graham tried to jam Jackson, but to no avail. He offsets his lack of size with his amazing quickness against press coverage.

The Best of Donovan McNabb

* His 21-yard completion to Brent Celek on a seam route on the Eagles’ second possession.

* His flat-footed, right-on-the-money 20-yard completion to DeSean Jackson on the Eagles’ third possession after dodging a couple of pass-rushers and making the throw.

* His third-and-15 slant pass to Maclin in the second quarter. Not a tough throw, but one McNabb too often doesn’t put on the mark. Maclin picked up 16 and the first down.

The Worst of Jay Cutler

* Those terrible, and I do mean terrible, back-to-back overthrows to wide-open Greg Olsen and Devin Hester early in the second quarter. On the first, strong safety Quintin Mikell had blitzed and strongside linebacker Chris Gocong, who was supposed to cover Olsen, bit on the play-action. On the second, Hester beat cornerback Asante Samuel with a double move.

* His third-and-10 pass into the endzone for Greg Olsen in the second quarter. Olsen was covered by Quintin Mikell and Macho Harris, but still tried to force the ball in to Olsen. He was lucky it wasn’t intercepted.

* His poor throw to Earl Bennett on a third-and-4 at the Chicago 30 early in the fourth quarter. Bennett was open and would’ve picked up a first down. Instead, the Bears had to punt.

* His fourth-quarter overthrow of Johnny Knox on a third-down play. Knox had gotten behind Sheldon Brown and would’ve had a touchdown if the ball had been catchable.

Daily News NFL Columnist
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