The Eagles returned to the Linc in explosive fashion with a huge 39-17 win over the New Orleans Saints, but why was the winning margin so large? We examine the biggest Offensive factors in the Eagles’ first home win of the season.
The statistics simply speak for themselves when it comes to describing how impressive the overall performance of the Offense was. The Eagles had 34 first downs out of 79 plays. To put that into perspective, they only achieved 14 in 51 total plays against the Redskins. The efficiency of the Offense was also highlighted in the possession time. After a dismal 18:52 Offensive possession in week 4, the Eagles come out of week 5 with 34:02 on the ball…you can’t score if you don’t have the ball and a large part of the Eagles success is down to being able to finally sustain drives.
A large part in being able to sustain these drives and move the ball down the field was the emergence of the running game and perhaps more notably, the Offensive line. With the Eagles again seeming to go back to basics on the running game again, the line was able to push outwards and create the crucial blocks needed for the sweeping plays that the Eagles are so dangerous when running.
But a statistic that nobody seems to mention is the pass protection. Sam Bradford did not take a single sack against the Saints. The only area the line has consistently struggled is blocking for the run..their pass protection 80% of the time has been adequate, but last night it was exceptional.
The team even found a way to utilise DeMarco Murray’s North/South running style by running up the gut out of the I-Formation. There’s a large debate over the Eagles backfield that’s beginning to surface now however, in arguing whether Mathews should be the back who’s taking the most snaps..but that’s another story for another article. Regardless of who’s leading the three headed monster..it’s important to utilise all three.
The team did just that..especially when you look at the receiving stats. Two incompletions out of 13 attempts is a drastic improvement compared to what we saw in recent weeks and with all three backs averaging over 5 yards a reception, they have without a doubt become multi-dimensional.
With the Eagles able to put trust in the running game (despite the occasional no yard gain with a shotgun run as expected), it gave Sam Bradford a breather..there wasn’t nearly as much pressure in knowing the success of the Offense doesn’t just rest on his shoulders anymore. Bradford enjoyed his best game in an Eagles jersey against Washington and went on to better that last night, racking up 300 yards for only the ninth time in his career.
It may have taken five games and two further interceptions, but Sam Bradford finally got the help he needed to move this Eagles Offense down the field. Not only did the Eagles kick start the game by converting a third down, something that hadn’t happened until week 5..but Bradford was able to spread the ball around with success. We could debate the two poor INT decisions all day but it would have been very easy to lose the teams confidence at that point…instead, he earned it back.
If you look at the opening few weeks, Nelson Agholor took the most snaps of ANY Eagles receiver and was targeted the least. Tight ends were rarely used and Jordan Matthews was targeted constantly despite often being in double coverage and/or dropping easy passes..something that was present once again in week 5.
But after enjoying success with the deep pass in week four and commanding respect of opposing Defenses, it’s almost as if Bradford found the confidence to throw where he previously wouldn’t have dared.
For the first time this season, the Eagles tight ends combined for 10 targets…DOUBLE what they had against the Redskins. Riley Cooper became a factor and was passionate about it..as I alluded to in my appearance on the Philadelphia Eagles post game show (link below). Bradford was able to utilise EVERY receiver that took to the field and Josh Huff had his first ever Eagles touchdown and a career game.
— NFL (@NFL) October 11, 2015
Bradford may have been wobbly early on, but is already starting to show signs of becoming the teams leader. A story broke after the game about how he gathered the Offense in the showers and gave a passionate team talk. After a win, players spoke of his leadership. He’s building up chemistry with his receivers and we’re seeing an incredibly diverse Offense take to the field. It’s almost a completely different look to what we saw in previous matchups.
The final major factor in the Offense’s breakout may have been Chip Kelly. Kelly has had four weeks to determine what is and isn’t working in this Offense and he has began to take the relevant steps to iron out the creases. More runs from under Center, less runs out of the shot gun. Much more of a ball spread and more outside run plays. He’s playing to the advantages of his TEAM and not his SYSTEM..he even went for it on fourth down…half way up the field…in the first quarter. Chip is becoming aggressive and becoming an embodiment of the Football he wants his team to play..and that ladies and gentlemen, may just be the biggest factor in the Eagles’ success.