Introducing a new weekly series on Eagledelphia. Every Tuesday, we’ll be analyzing three plays that affected the outcome of the game for the Eagles. Here is the first edition from Week 1 of the 2014 season.
Offensively, there were two plays that really said a lot about the Eagles comeback effort against the Jaguars. Obviously, they both happened in the second half. But the top play this week is a play in the first half that did have an effect on the final score.
Here are this week’s three plays.
Brandon Bair’s field-goal block
The first thing you’ll notice on the snap is Bennie Logan’s outstretched arm. That catches your eye. What you miss is the perfectly-timed extension of Brandon Bair’s arm as his hand makes contact with Josh Scobee’s kick.
This is simply a timing play. But I find it interesting the way the Jaguars seemed to collapse along the line. The Eagles have 10 players up front with DeMeco Ryans standing behind the line. Ryans doesn’t move as the 10 players up front rush the kick.
Cary Williams, Chris Maragos and Bradley Fletcher come from the corners. But keep a close eye on the four linemen bunched up. In the middle of that group is Bair. Alongside him are Trent Cole, Beau Allen and Logan.
It is the perfect structure for this sequence. To get a block on a 36-yard attempt was critical and was the beginning of the momentum shift from the defensive side. That was the real determination play that set the defense up for a scoreless final half.
Darren Sproles’ 49-yard touchdown run
This was the best play Chip Kelly called. The rush to the line had the Jaguars back on their heels as it was. The hole that opened up for Darren Sproles is huge.
The reason for the hole is Jason Kelce. Off the snap, The Jaguars’ line splits up the middle. Kelce has a clear path to the middle linebacker and pushes him right out of Sproles’ path. Sproles speed does the rest.
Blocking on the whole play is strong. Kelce has the noticeable block but every receiver picks up his man. Jordan Matthews and Jeremy Maclin draw the safeties to them on the play, splitting the secondary. Matthews does a great job of forcing a corner into Kelce’s block, taking another defender out of the play.
By the time all of this has happened, only one safety and one corner are able to recover to make an attempt at catching Sproles. Corner Alan Ball does, but too late.
Jeremy Maclin’s 68-yard touchdown catch
It’s important to remember that during Nick Foles rough start, Maclin was finding a way to get open for most of the afternoon. Foles finally found him on this play.
But how did Maclin get that wide open?
A good way to start breaking down this play is to count the number of Jaguars defenders on the screen. 10 players can be seen, leaving one single safety back.
The safety jumps after the snap to move into coverage over the middle. The Jaguars bottle the coverage on tight end Zach Ertz, leaving all three receivers on the play – Maclin, Riley Cooper and Brent Celek – single-covered.
As Maclin blows by his coverage and gets open, Foles completes an excellent play action fake, which forces the Jaguars to check up on LeSean McCoy in the backfield. As the defenders start to come back toward the line, Maclin is ahead of the coverage by nearly 20 yards.
It may be a missed coverage, but it really is the Eagles deception working wonders on the lone safety for the Jaguars that really impacts the play and allows Maclin to be as open as he was.
Kevin Durso is a contributor for Eagledelphia. Follow him on Twitter @KDursoPhilsNet.