In the first 4 weeks of the season (analyzed in Part 1 of this series), the Eagles had a lot of protection and communication issues along the offensive line, which led to 14 sacks, or 3.5 sacks per game. In the 2nd quarter of the season, communication seemed to be much better, as many of the 9 sacks the Eagles allowed in Weeks 5-8 were a matter of poor decisions by the quarterback, or simply good coverage down the field.
As we continue on this 4 part series, we'll detail each sack allowed against the Giants (first meeting), Buccaneers, Cowboys (first meeting), and the Giants (second meeting). Here's the running tally of sack responsibility after 8 games:
In chronological order, picking up in Week 5 against the Giants:
Evan Mathis (1)
Mathis is initially one-on-one with Cullen Jenkins (99).
Jenkins is able to shove Mathis off balance with his left arm. This is actually really impressive power by Jenkins.
Kelce tries to come over and help out (ineffectively), but Jenkins already has nice momentum on his way to QB, and he splits Mathis and Kelce for the sack.
That's just a really impressive play by Jenkins, who did that from time to time (but not as consistently as you'd like) when he was with the Eagles.
Jason Peters (1.5)
In Part 1 of this series, we pointed out a number of miscommunications that led to sacks. In the 2nd quarter of the season, the Eagles began to cut down on those, but they didn't stop completely. Here's a play where Peters didn't account for a blitzing linebacker.
The Bucs are only bringing 4 on this play. The DE lined up over Peters will slant inside. Lavonte David (lined up across from Brent Celek) is disguising coverage pre-snap, but he'll be blitzing off the edge. The DE on the other side of the formation in a two point stance, Adrian Clayborne (94), will be hustling over to cover David's vacated zone.
At the snap, Peters follows the DE, never sees David coming, and 5 guys are blocking 3. David comes completely free and Foles has no chance.
Coverage (1.5) and Lane Johnson (4)
If you only watch this play once, it's very easy to give Lane Johnson full blame, but I don't think that's fair. Johnson is eventually beaten by George Selvie, but the OL gave Nick Foles adequate time to throw. The Cowboys simply had it covered well down the field. The safety took away DeSean Jackson on the screen option, Jason Avant got jammed up at the line, Riley Cooper has a corner right on him, and a LB hovering in front, while Brent Celek was blanketed on the other side.
If you watch Foles' head, you'll see him go through several reads.
2 and 3... (Avant and Cooper were in the same neighborhood)...
And then back to the right, before Selvie and Jason Hatcher are finally closing in...
The OL gave Foles 3.3 seconds to throw, or perhaps more accurately in this case, 3.3 seconds for the receivers to get open, which they didn't do. Johnson was beaten on the play, but he held his block reasonably long enough where I can't charge him for a full sack on the play. We'll give Johnson half a sack here, and attribute the other half to good coverage.
Todd Herremans (4.5)
Herremans is beaten cleanly to the outside by Hatcher.
This was the play where Nick Foles got injured. From the time Foles received the snap to the time he was sacked, 9 seconds elapsed. At no time was there clearly a great option to throw to. His best look during the 9 seconds was probably to hit Riley Cooper on his in route, here:
However, the defender circled in blue would have been all over Riley as he was making the grab. If it's 1st or 2nd down, I think you fire away. But since it was 3rd and G and that throw isn't likely to get you into the end zone, I can see why Foles didn't take it and looked for something better.
Foles had a chance to throw the ball away near the sideline after he was flushed from the pocket. However, since it was 3rd and G from the 9, he was buying as much time as possible for something to develop. A loss of yardage on the play was fairly meaningless, as the Eagles would be kicking a FG on 4th down anyway.
Can't fault the OL or QB on this one, in my opinion.
Michael Vick (5)
This is the kind of play by Michael Vick that would make me mental. The Eagles are faking the ball to the right to the RB, and they're going to have boot action to the left. It appears as though the Eagles want to take a shot deep to DeSean Jackson who will be running all the way across across the field from right to left. It's a variation of a play the Eagles had great success with under Andy Reid.
Riley Cooper will be running a 12 yard comeback, likely to try to draw the safety up on that side of the field so that DeSean slip behind him from the back side. James Casey, meanwhile, will be leaking out into the flat as a safety valve. Here's the look:
Vick executes his fake and rolls to his left, where he has Antrel Rolle (circled in yellow) attacking him unblocked. At this point, forget about DeSean's route developing. That's out the window. You'll never have enough time for him to get vertical, much less set your feet and make an accurate throw 30 yards down the field. However, hey look! James Casey is WIDE OPEN leaking into the flat and is going to get you a nice gain on 1st and 10.
Take that. But nope, Vick has his eyes down the field on DeSean, and Rolle forces a fumble that Vick is lucky to get back.
Matt Barkley (1)
After Vick left the Giants game, the Eagles tried more misdirection stuff, this time from the Giants' 2 on 1st down. They're running a fake jet sweep to Cooper and really selling it with the entire OL moving to the right. The idea is to get the Giants' D to flow that way, and hit Zach Ertz coming across to the left against the traffic.
Unfortunately, the Giants' Terrell Thomas isn't fooled and he's in Barkley's face. Abort! Throw it away and live to see 2nd down.
Barkley instead gets Thomas airborne, and tries to make a play, but Thomas recovers, hits Barkley's arm as he tries to throw, Barkley fumbles, and the Giants recover. Disaster. That's a rookie mistake Barkley will learn from.
Matt Barkley (2)
This is another play, where the guy that Lane Johnson was blocking eventually got the sack, but this play is clearly on Barkley. The Eagles are running crossing routes, and Barkley has Cooper wide open with a chance to get some yards after the catch.
Barkley doesn't see it, holds onto the ball for a while, and is eventually sacked 4.7 seconds after the snap by Mathias Kiwanuka. I find it hard to give any blame ever to an offensive lineman if they give the QB 4.7 seconds, unless it's a 3-man rush.
Matt Barkley (2.5) and Todd Herremans (5)
Here's another missed opportunity by Barkley that ended up being a sack. Two Giants players are going to chase after DeSean Jackson on the bubble screen look. This is a blown assignment by the Giants.
By the time the Giants player realizes he should be on Avant, it's too late. Avant is already 5 yards behind him. Hit that, Matt!
Barkley likely doesn't see it, or doesn't trust it, and he's sacked by Linval Joseph. To show what happened on the interior, it appears that Lane Johnson is beaten, but that's not the case, in my opinion.
Linval Joseph (97) is going to be slanting inside at the snap, and he'll be doubled by Johnson and Herremans.
Joseph slams into Herremans and knocks him off balance right here:
Joseph now has the leverage advantage on Johnson, who is trying to come all the way down from his OT spot to block an interior D lineman, who has an inside track to the QB. His only recourse here is to hold him, which he doesn't, and Barkley is sacked after not seeing the wide open Avant.
This is yet another play where Johnson got hit with a sack allowed, but it's pretty unfair to give him blame. At this point in the season, ProFootballFocus had Johnson down for 7 sacks. I have him down for 4.
Next up: Games 9-12 (all wins!)