2016 has been a rollercoaster for the Philadelphia Eagles, but through all the high’s and lows, one thing has remained the same, the intensity the Eagles bring to their home games. The birds are still undefeated at the Linc this season following their hard-fought victory over Atlanta, which means Carson Wentz is now 4-0 at home as a rookie quarterback. The success at Lincoln Financial Field is no fluke however.
There have been some big changes to the Eagles franchise over the last few months..from coaching staff to players, front office-personell and even subtle changes to practice. But some of the more discrete changes made..have been to the Linc itself.
The Eagles recently bought back player introductions, bringing back memories of the days where Brian Dawkins would electrify the thousands in attendance and Donovan McNabb would spark a chorus of cheers around the stadium. Of course, fans don’t want to miss this..so the stadium fills much faster and the players come out of the tunnel to a Lincoln Financial Field brimming with excitement and anticipation.
Not only that, but the fans naturally have a reason to be excited. The Chip Kelly era seemed to lack the heart and passion that fans resonated with so dearly. There’s a feeling of promise and potential flowing around the city now..and it all started in preseason. Fans were cheering “We Want Wentz” adamantly during the first half against the Buccaneers and when he finally stepped out onto the field, he was met with a chorus of cheers.
The birds have even gone to the effort of refining the efforts on their Jumbotrons, with video instructions not only designed to amp up the crowd but also settle them down. Even watching the game on television, there was a clear difference in noise between when the Eagles Offense was on the field..and the Falcons Offense. Some of this could be down to mic placement, but the same pattern can be seen in the win over Minnesota. Signs such as “Quiet, Offense at work!” being displayed can add tremendous help to the Offense.
One of the huge parts of Doug Pederson’s Offense, is the control given to Carson Wentz and the ability to audible. On the road, especially in domes..calling audibles is near impossible because of the amount of noise from the home fans. At home..with the aid of the Philly faithful, Carson Wentz is able to settle down, analyze the situation and adapt if he needs to.
It would be no coincidence then that not only is Wentz 4-0, but his form at home has been sensational in comparison to games on the road. Away from the numbers, Wentz settles in to the game much faster when at home. Questionable decisions, poor throws and mistakes are all seemingly absent from Wentz at the start of home games..meaning that the Eagles are often able to get off to a good start and dominate the time of possession as intended.
But if you do look at the numbers, they speak for themselves.
What’s even more impressive about these stats, is that the Eagles have played one more game on the road than they have at home.
It’s not just Carson Wentz that’s benefitting from the atmosphere that the Linc provides. The Eagles have rushed for 64 more yards at home than they have on the road, average 0.3 yards more per carry and have scored one more touchdown, despite playing one less game. Ryan Mathews rushed for his first 100-yard game since week 3 of 2015 on Sunday..and it’s the third time in four home games that the Eagles posted over 100 yards on the ground.
As for the pass rush? The birds have racked up 15 sacks in 4 home games, five more than they’ve tallied on the road..but if that wasn’t impressive enough, they’ve accounted for 2 more forced fumbles too.
According to Bob Grotz, the advantage doesn’t end there. Prior to yesterday’s win, the Eagles led the league in fewest points allowed, sacks, forced fumbles and point differential in home games.
The league average for home wins stands at 57%..and if the Eagles can continue to soar as they have all season long when at home, then there’s no reason why they can’t sustain a 100% winning record at home. In fact, four of the Eagles remaining seven games take place in the City Of Brotherly Love..and three of those are against divisional opponents.
There is no doubt that the Eagles finally have a home field advantage once again..and as a result, it’s becoming an incredibly tough venue for teams to play. The Steelers, Vikings and Falcons have all buckled under the pressure of the Philadelphia faithful..so who next will fall victim to the Eagles inside of the intimidating fortress that Doug built?
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports