The Eagles were abysmal in just about every aspect of play in Sunday’s crushing loss to the Bucs, but one area in particular probably cost the team Offensively than any other.
After a surprisingly impressive first drive, the Eagles failed to re-establish any kind of momentum under Mark Sanchez and whilst a lot of the blame will fall on him and rightly so, he isn’t the main reason the Offense stagnated. The crux of the issue lies in the play-calling.
You can see why Chip would try and be more conservative with a turnover prone Sanchez but this surely went too far. Below are the receiving stats for the Eagles from the loss.
(courtesy of ESPN)
The wide receiver with the most targets was Jordan Matthews with 4….4…FOUR. If you rank the targets by position, it’s clear which direction Chip wanted to go..
Tight Ends- 14
Running backs- 13
Wide Receivers 12
There are two tight ends on this team and one missed the majority of the game. There are three running backs on this team in comparison to the 4 who caught balls, that’s not to mention the dropped pass by Miles Austin. The numbers are skewed it was almost as if the team didn’t trust Sanchez to throw down the field or to the outside.
Here are some more interesting stats regarding the Eagles wideouts:
After catching his second touchdown as an Eagle in the opening drive, Josh Huff was not targeted for the remainder of the game.
Riley Cooper and Miles Austin both played 31 snaps. Cooper caught his first pass in over 4 games and Miles Austin was targeted just once…he dropped it.
Jordan Matthews led the receivers in terms of amount of snaps played and also received the most targets. He caught 100% of his passes…for 13 yards.
Nelson Agholor again saw a high snap count, playing in 76% but received for just 11 yards.
The Eagles completed 28 passes, less than half were to wide receivers.
Sure the Eagles receiving core has been anything but consistent this year but last night saw some dreadful play calling and a questionable strategy. We will fully examine the performance of Sanchez in the coming days as after re-watching the tape it’s clear to see how many bad reads there were. But were they all bad reads or was the strategy to look for the running backs/tight ends the entire time?
It’s an interesting question and one that we will hopefully decipher with both photo and video evidence within the next few days but if the Bucs even admit that the final interception was down to predictability, it says a lot about the strategy of the team.
Nobody knows for sure if Sanchez was just having a bad day making bad reads or if the plan all along was to continue dumping it off or using swing passes. But what we do know is that the receivers were almost invisible after the first half with no real explanation or theory as to why.