Thursday, September 18, 2014
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Week 6: What about Kolb?

Here's a breakdown of Kevin Kolb's impressive performance Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons.

Week 6: What about Kolb?

Eagles quarterback Kevin Kolb earned his second-ever NFC Offensive Player of the Week Award today. (David Maialetti / Staff File Photo)
Eagles quarterback Kevin Kolb earned his second-ever NFC Offensive Player of the Week Award today. (David Maialetti / Staff File Photo)

Kevin Kolb got his third start of the season Sunday, completing 23 of 29 passes for 326 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.

The performance earned him NFC offensive player of the week honors for the second time in his career.

Here's the weekly breakdown of how Kolb performed. As always, let's start with the pass distribution.

  Targets Catches Yards YAC Drops
Jeremy Maclin 7 7 159 55 0
Brent Celek 7 4 46 25 1
Jason Avant 5 5 62 21 0
LeSean McCoy 4 4 21 21 0
Chad Hall 3 1 5 0 1
DeSean Jackson 1 1 34 0 0
Owen Schmitt 1 1 -1 0 0
TOTALS 28 23 326 122 2

Note that Kolb officially had 29 attempts. One ball was batted at the line of scrimmage so I didn't count that as a target.

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The Kolb-to-Maclin connection has been prolific the last two weeks. Kolb has targeted Maclin 14 times, and those throws have resulted in 13 completions for 254 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

On throws to Maclin, Avant and Jackson, Kolb went 13-for-13 for 255 yards. Of his six incompletions, two were dropped (by Hall and Celek) and was batted down at the line. Kolb was intercepted once and had another attempt to Hall nearly picked off. He was off-target on a short throw to Celek.

Only five of Kolb's 28 attempts were to running backs. Sixteen of his targets were to wide receivers.

The YAC number is up, largely in part to the 43 yards after the catch Maclin picked up on the 83-yard touchdown. But don't be fooled. This is not an offense that relies on intermediate throws and receivers making plays after the catch. This is a big-play offense that works when the quarterback can get the ball downfield.

Seven different receivers had catches - the same number as the last two weeks.

THE BLITZ, PRESSURE, SHOTGUN, ETC.

The Falcons blitzed more than the 49ers and Redskins, but they still relied on the front four for much of the game.

Against the blitz, Kolb was 6-for-8 for 48 yards. He was 3-for-3 for 24 yards on throws to Avant against the blitz.

Kolb was sacked just once and was rarely under pressure. Credit for that goes to the gameplan, the offensive line and Kolb. He got rid of the ball quickly when he needed to, and stayed patient to allow plays to develop downfield when he could.

He looks more comfortable every week sensing pressure and moving around the pocket. Kolb didn't have to do as much of that this week, though.

Most of his damage came on throws in the pocket. He was 20-for-25 for 311 yards on those throws. Outside of the pocket, he was 3-for-4 for 15 yards.

From the shotgun, Kolb was 10-for-14 for 103 yards. Under center, he was 13-for-15 for 223 yards. 

Play-action has become a huge weapon for the Eagles. On play-action throws, Kolb was 10-for-11 for 200 yards. In the past two weeks on play-action throws, he is 18 for 21 for 335 yards.

THIRD DOWN, RED ZONE

As a team, the Eagles were much better on third down, converting seven of 14 opportunities. The previous week against San Francisco, they were just 3-for-12. Kolb was 6-for-7 for 74 yards on third down. He dropped back to pass nine times on third down and converted five of those. Two attempts were complete, but short of the first down. One was incomplete; and the other was a sack. 

Maclin, Celek and McCoy caught two balls apiece on third down.

The Eagles had two red-zone chances. On the first opportunity, King Dunlap was whistled for a personal foul penalty, which knocked them out of the red zone.

On the second one, he completed two of three passes for 11 yards, including the 8-yard touchdown to Maclin, which might have been his most impressive throw of the day. The other completion was a 3-yarder to Celek.

SUCCESS BY DISTANCE

Here's a chart of Kolb's throws by distance. I used the same ranges that Football Outsiders uses so we'd have a point of reference. Short is 5 yards or less. Mid is 6 to 15 yards. Deep is 16 to 25 yards. And Bomb is more than 25 yards. These are measured from the line of scrimmage to the point where the ball is touched, hits the ground or goes out of bounds.

  Completions Attempts Yards
Short 11 15 53
Mid 6 8 75
Deep 4 4 81
Bomb 2 2 117

What immediately stands out from these numbers is how good Kolb was at getting the ball down the field. On Deep and Bomb throws combined, he was 6-for-6 for 198 yards. That's impressive. Two of the Deep throws went to Avant, and the other two to Maclin.

The Bombs went to Maclin and Jackson, respectively.

In the past two weeks, Kolb is 6-for-7 on throws between 16 and 25 yards and 3-for-4 on attempts of more than 25 yards.

OVERALL

As the above breakdown shows, Kolb played a tremendous game Sunday. More than at any other time this season, he fit passes into tight windows. There were multiple plays where Kolb had to put the ball in an exact place so the receiver would have a chance and the defender wouldn't be able to get a hand on it. He made those plays.

Kolb showed that when he has protection, he can get the ball downfield just fine. He and Maclin have developed a great chemistry. And keep in mind, Kolb's performance was with three backup offensive linemen playing in front of him and Jackson sidelined for three quarters of the game.

There are still questions that will need to be answered. Can Kolb still produce when protection is shaky and he's getting hit? How will he fare in the fourth quarter of a close game? Will he be able to adjust if the Titans focus on taking Maclin away next week?

But the important thing right now is that Kolb is improving every week and looks the part of a quarterback who can play at a high level.

Sheil Kapadia Philly.com
About this blog
Sheil Kapadia is in his fifth season writing about the Eagles and the NFL for philly.com. 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 skapadia@philly.com or by clicking here

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