Thursday, November 27, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Vick, offense producing in red zone

With Michael Vick at quarterback, the Eagles have been the best red-zone team in the NFL. The defense, however, is another story.

Vick, offense producing in red zone

Michael Vick threw four touchdowns and ran for two in the Eagles´ win over Washington. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)
Michael Vick threw four touchdowns and ran for two in the Eagles' win over Washington. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)

When evaluating the Eagles' offense this season, there are several impressive numbers to point to.

The Birds are third in yards per game (400.2); second in scoring (28.6 PPG); and have the fewest turnovers (9).

But the one worth examining today is red-zone production.

There's no question that the Eagles are a big-play offense. In the run game, they're third in the league with 11 runs of 20-plus yards. In the pass game, they're sixth in the league with 32 plays of 20-plus yards. And Michael Vick is second in yards per attempt (8.8).

But the Eagles have shown they can sustain drives (44 percent on third downs is fourth-best in the league) and produce touchdowns instead of field goals inside the 20. Perhaps that's the most impressive part about the offense. It can do damage in a variety of ways.

Overall, the Eagles rank eighth in the league in red-zone scoring at 58.6 percent. That's the percentage of touchdowns the Eagles have converted. Here's how their 29 red-zone trips break down:

RZ Chances TDs FGs Missed FGs TOs
29 17 8 3 1

But on chances with Michael Vick, the Eagles are even more impressive. In 17 red-zone trips into the red zone with Vick, the Eagles have scored 13 touchdowns and kicked four field goals for a scoring percentage of 76.5. That number would rank first in the league - by a longshot. Buffalo (go figure) is currently No. 1 in red-zone scoring percentage at 68.4 percent.

It's a huge difference from a year ago for the Eagles. In '09, the offense ranked 20th at 49.06 percent.

And there really hasn't been one go-to guy or go-to play, either. Here's a breakdown of the Eagles' 17 red-zone touchdowns:

Player Red-zone TDs
Vick (running) 4
Jeremy Maclin 4
LeSean McCoy (running) 3
Brent Celek 2
DeSean Jackson 1
Jason Avant 1
LeSean McCoy (receiving) 1
Riley Cooper 1
Total 17
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They've passed for nine and run for eight.

In the last two weeks, Vick has run for three touchdowns in the red zone, tying him for team-high RZ scores with Maclin. However, Maclin has not had a red-zone score since Week 6.

McCoy has four total - three running and one receiving. But all three of his rushing TDs in the red zone came in the season's first two weeks.

Seven different players have scored in the red zone.

Both Kevin Kolb and Vick have passed the ball well in the red zone. Kolb's QB rating inside the opponents' 20 is 116.9, and Vick's is 102.0.

Conversely, the Eagles' red zone defense has been horrible. Opposing offenses have converted 78.26 percent of their red-zone chances into touchdowns against the Birds. That puts the Eagles at dead-last in the NFL. Last year, they ranked 23rd at 56.14 percent.

Looking ahead to this weekend's matchup with the Giants, New York's defense is 18th, allowing opponents to score touchdowns 52 percent of the time.

And the Giants' offense has been good in the red zone, converting 60 percent of its opportunities into touchdowns, good enough for seventh-best in the league.

Just one more thing that could end up being a deciding factor in the outcome of Sunday night's game.

Sheil Kapadia
About this blog
Sheil Kapadia is in his fifth season writing about the Eagles and the NFL for His earliest memories as a sports fan include several trips to Veterans Stadium with his Dad. He's not a beat writer or an Insider, but is here to discuss the NFL 365 days a year. E-mail him at or by clicking here

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Sheil Kapadia
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