Archive: October, 2011
Sheil Kapadia, Philly.com
Here are 10 things to know about the Eagles-49ers matchup after having watched San Francisco's Week 2 win against the Bengals:
1. Eli Manning averaged 11.0 yards per attempt the Eagles last week. I'd be surprised if Alex Smith comes anywhere close to that number on Sunday. On the season, Smith is averaging 6.8 yards per attempt (22nd), and his career average (6.2 YPA) is even worse. It's not an offense that is going to hit on a lot of big plays or throw the ball downfield. Smith has attempted only three passes (out of 74) that have traveled more than 20 yards from the line of scrimmage.
2. So will the Eagles blitz? They probably don't need to. Last week against the Giants, the Eagles blitzed about 26.9 percent of the time on passing plays. They got burned by Victor Cruz and Ahmad Bradshaw for touchdowns on two of those occasions. According to STATS.com, Smith has a QB rating of 143.1 against the blitz through three games. Meanwhile, he's been sacked a total of 11 times, fourth-most in the league. Last week, the Bengals sacked Smith five times and hit him a total of eight times. That tells me the Eagles will likely hold off on blitzing and rely on their front four. Ten of the Birds' 12 sacks on the season have come when they didn't blitz. The one exception could be Brian Rolle, who will get the start at weakside linebacker and has been called on to blitz quite a bit in the first three games when he's been on the field.