The Eagles Defense is already off to a historic start

LANDOVER, MD – SEPTEMBER 13: Eagles DT Hassan Ridgeway (98) and linebacker T.J. Edwards (57) tackle Washington running back Peyton Barber (34) as he leaps into the air during the Philadelphia Eagles vs. Washington Football Team NFL game at FedEx Field on September 13, 2020 in Landover, MD. (Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire)

Hidden in the chaos of what was the Eagles offense on Sunday, is the reality that the Eagles vastly improved the defense over the offseason. From Darius Slay and Nickell Robey-Coleman to the health of Malik Jackson, the Eagles defense finally showed that they can be a dominant unit.

If you’ve followed my writing/tweets in the past, you know I’m a fan of ambiguous/cherry-picked stats. Well here are some that show how great the defense was and just how much the offense let them down.

(Man, how many times have we said the opposite?)

Complete dominance

Ok, you’re reading that title and saying “this bozo forget the 27 points?”

Hear me out.

Dwayne Haskins passed for 178 yards and Washington rushed for 80 yards, with an average of 2.2 yards per attempt.

Holding a team to 180 passing yards or under as well as holding them to 80 rushing yards or less, with a 2.5 or less yards per attempt, has happened 86 times since the start of the 2010 season. 86 seems like a lot, right? Wrong. Given that there are 256 total games in a season, there have been 2,576 games (including last Sunday) since the start of the 2010 season. This means that those stats have been met 3% of the time since 2010.

Let’s cherry-pick some more.

The Eagles defense allowed 3.41 yards per play on Sunday. If we add in the qualifier of “allowing 3.5 yards or less” to the stats above, you get 45 games since the start of the 2010 season. That’s a little more than half of the games above. Of those 45 games, 22 of them came with 3 or less sacks. The Eagles sacked Haskins 3 times on Sunday.

This is actually the second time the Eagles have had a game like that. Back in 2017 (good year), the Eagles beat the Bears 31-3.

Of course, the Eagles could have stayed in the game if 27 points weren’t given up. The Eagles had the 15th game since 2010 where they were as dominant as stated above and gave up 27 or more points. Every team lost in that scenario, however, only four of those games featured the offense scoring more than 20 points.

A tired defense

In a Zoom call with the media, Malik Jackson admitted that the Eagles defense was exhausted towards the end of the game:

Definitely got gassed towards the end. I think guys (were) really a little tired at the end, but that’s just something you got to keep working on.

After going up 17-0, the Eagles did little to help the defense get rested up:

Two drives ending with an INT on offense were less than 10 seconds each. Their drive that ended on downs was less than three minutes, and the other two scoring drives were less than two minutes. It’s hard for a defense to catch their breath if they have to come back on the field almost immediately after coming off of it.

Doug needs to get this offense back to sustaining long drives. If he and Carson cannot get back to what they do best (rollouts, establishing the run, play-action), then this new and improved defense will be wasted.