Looking back at the Eagles’ 31-13 win over the Rams while wondering what Jay Paterno would be doing for a living right now if his father wasn’t Penn State’s head coach:
BY THE NUMBERS
* Because of the problems they had against the run, particularly early on, the Eagles stayed in their base defense much of the game Sunday. They used their nickel sub-package (two linebackers, five defensive backs) just five times in the first half and a total of 11 times in the first three quarters.
* The Rams piled up 90 rushing yards on their first two possessions Sunday, including 47 on Steven Jackson’s touchdown run. But the Eagles did a pretty good job of stopping the run after that. It helped that Jackson injured his quad after his second carry and never returned to the game. Regardless, in the Rams’ final nine possessions, they managed just 64 rushing yards on 19 carries (3.4 yards per carry).
* Michael Vick completed just 14 passes, but seven of them came on third down, including six for first downs. He was 7-for-8 for 70 yards and 1 touchdown on third down. He also had a 19-yard run on a third-and-10.
* Ninety-five of LeSean McCoy’s 122 rushing yards came in the fourth quarter, on just four carries, including a 49-yard touchdown.
* The 41-yard pass interference penalty called on Nnamdi Asomugha Sunday was just the ninth time he’s been flagged for pass interference in the last six years.
The Eagles ran 66 offensive plays Sunday. Thirty of those 66 plays were out of three- or four-wide receiver sets. Actually, they only ran two plays out of a four-wide receiver set. Both were pass plays. Both were incompletions.
They ran 28 plays out of their signature three-wide receiver, one-back, one-tight end set. Michael Vick completed 10 of 16 passes for 156 yards and one touchdown out of a three-wide set. Sixty-five of his 98 rushing yards also came out of a three-wide set. So too did two of his three sacks.
The Eagles employed two-tight end sets 21 times against the Rams. But eight of those came late in the fourth quarter after the Eagles took a 31-13 lead. LeSean McCoy’s 49-yard touchdown run came on a draw out of a two-wide, one-back, two-tight end set.
The Eagles used a two-back set just 16 times in the game, which meant fullback Owen Schmitt didn’t play all that much. Vick targeted Schmitt three times in the first half, but he didn’t have any receptions.
Considering the short time they’ve been playing together, and considering where they were playing, the Eagles’ offensive line did a pretty good job Sunday. Michael Vick was sacked three times by the Rams. All three of those sacks came on blitzes, but none were the fault of the offensive line. Let’s break each one down:
No. 1—It came on a third-and-18 play on the Eagles’ first possession. They were in a three-wide receiver set with Jason Avant in the slot. Rams cornerbacks Bradley Fletcher and Ron Bartell blitzed off the corners. LeSean McCoy picked up Bartell. Avant should have picked up Fletcher, but didn’t realize Fletcher was blitzing until after he went to help right tackle Todd Herremans with defensive end Chris Long. Fletcher came in unblocked and dropped Vick for a five-yard loss.
No. 2—A second-and-7 play in the second quarter on the Rams’ 12-yard line. The Eagles again were in a three-wide, one-back, one-tight set. This time, the Rams blitzed both of their safeties – Quintin Mikell and Craig Dahl – from opposite sides. They disguised it well and didn’t really show blitz until just before the ball was snapped. McCoy picked up Dahl. But there was no one to pick up Mikell, who was rushing from Vick’s blind side. Vick never saw him and fumbled the ball away when he was hit, costing the Eagles a scoring opportunity.
No. 3—A third-and-8 play early in the fourth quarter. The Rams showed seven rushers, but backed two out. Cornerback Justin King came on a blitz from Vick’s blind side. McCoy probably should have picked him up, but he went inside after safety Darian Stewart, who also was blitzing. But right tackle Todd Herremans already had Stewart. That left King unblocked and he sacked Vick for a six-yard loss.
DID YOU NOTICE
* Vick’s 17-yard run late in the third quarter was his best Houdini act since that memorable Week 15 comeback win over the Giants last season. The Rams brought seven rushers on the play, including linebacker Ben Leber and cornerback Bradley Fletcher. Leber got away from a block by LeSean McCoy and had Vick in his sights. At the same time, Fletcher was coming unblocked from the quarterback’s blindside. Somehow, Vick eluded both of them with a nifty spin move. Two other defenders – defensive end Chris Long and tackle Gary Gibson – also had shots at Vick and missed him.
* On a second-and-12 on the Eagles’ first possession, Rams defensive end James Hall got inside left tackle Jason Peters and dropped LeSean McCoy for a six-yard loss. Peters rebounded nicely later in the game with a nice block, along with tight end Brent Celek, on McCoy’s 49-yard touchdown run.
* Sam Bradford tripped over center Jason Brown’s foot, which led to the first-quarter fumble that Juqua Parker returned 56 yards for a touchdown. Bradford lost his balance, then, as he was trying to get up, had the ball knocked out of his hand by defensive end Darryl Tapp.
* Tapp injured his left pectoral muscle on the third-quarter play in which he sacked Sam Bradford. He beat Rams tight end Bill Bajema to get to Bradford, but appeared to hurt himself as he used his left arm to get around Bajema.
* The Rams brought seven rushers after Vick on a first-down play in the second quarter. But they left open an alley for him to run through and he gained 19 yards.
* DeSean Jackson had six catches for 102 yards and a touchdown against the Rams. But those numbers probably should’ve been seven catches for 189 yards and two touchdowns. In the second quarter, with the Rams in a cover-2 coverage, he beat both cornerback Ron Bartell and safety Craig Dahl down the left sideline. Vick threw him a perfect pass, but Jackson couldn’t hang on to it.
To read our earlier posts from today, click here.