The Eagles not only walked out of Lincoln Financial Field with a win on Thursday night, but looked defensively dominant in doing so. The Falcons were held to just one conversion inside the red zone on five drives, highlighting a very important question…
15 plays. 11 yards. 8 incompletions. Was this a Falcons misfire or an Eagles masterclass?
“I don’t know. I mean, guys understand what to do.” Jim Schwartz said of his red zone defense on Tuesday. “We have good players at three levels of the defense. We can rush without blitzing. Off those last five plays, there wasn’t any blitz in those, even though we did blitz early in the game and created a turnover.
We were getting such good pressure that we didn’t need to blitz. When you can blitz on your own terms you’re at an advantage. It’s frustrating if you’re not getting pressure and you have to blitz. It can put you in a bad spot.
But that really hasn’t happened to us. I think probably the biggest thing is there was no panic in our players. They knew what to expect. They went out and did it.
Even after getting the penalty and getting another spot, there was no frustration from the players. There was no sense of panic. They went out and did their job and we were able to get the win.”
This shouldn’t come as a shock to Eagles fans however. Last season, the Eagles allowed a 50% touchdown rate when opponents were inside the red zone, ranking 11th in the league. in their final 3 games, that number shrank to a shockingly low 30%. It’s not as if Philadelphia has suddenly found a strength in the red zone. Jim Schwartz has instilled a ‘bend but don’t break’ mentality that has seen his team flourish under his tutelage.
The Eagles will be tested in week 2 however, when they face a Bucs team that enjoyed a 48 point romp against the Saints, putting up 2 red zone scores in the process. Can Schwartz bring the Bucs back down to reality? Only time will tell…