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Eagles Evaluation: Birds Head Into Bye Week On A High Note

By Gia Lanci, Sports Talk Philly Staff

The Eagles flew over the pond to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars. The team had a lot to prove after coming off a atrocious loss last week, blowing a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter. The offense needed to show their abilities throughout the entire game. Both teams had a 3-4 record, making this a crucial game for the teams to secure a win and turn their season around.

Below are my drive by drive analyses:

First Quarter

Drive One (Offense)

  • After a touchback, it started off a little shaky by the offense. A short run by Smallwood and then an incomplete pass intended for Agholor.
  • Carson Wentz passed to... Carson Wentz. The pass was tipped by Campbell, but then caught by Wentz to make a huge play. Amazing play by Wentz to stay on his feet and attentive.
  • Wentz intended a pass for Ertz, who was well covered, that was incomplete. It was almost intercepted by the biggest target for Wentz. He will be covered by the defense tightly because he is Carson’s main target.
  • Wentz was wrapped up and made an amazing catch while being tackled. No one thought it would be complete, but it was definitely complete, as he kept his eyes down field, to Jordan Matthews.
  • The ball was fumbled by Wentz and recovered by Jacksonville.

Drive Two (Defense)

  • Bortles fumbled the ball on the first play, but was able to recover it.
  • The first pass by the Jaguars was a short complete pass. The coverage was good by Nigel Bradham.
  • The quarterback scrambled and Malcolm Jenkins was able to get the tackle on Bortles.
  • The Jags were unable to run the ball because of the impressive run defense. They were able to stop them. This forced the field goal unit to come out and attempt a field goal. It was good for three.

Drive Three (Offense)

  • The offense attempted to use Corey Clement with a run and a screen pass. The run was okay with a gain of five yards. The screen pass was a failure and lost of one yard. Corey Clement doesn’t get much time in, so when he is in, he needs to prove he deserves more touches.
  • The wide receivers had good coverage on them and switched places to mix up the defenders. This gave Wentz the timing to complete a pass to Jeffrey.
  • Wentz was able to scramble and outrun the defenders to gain nine yards.
  • A huge pass was complete to Agholor for 39 yards. He was covered, then blew by the defender to get wide open to catch the ball. The offensive line gave their quarterback plenty of time to execute that play.
  • Carson tried to force the ball into the end zone, similar to last week, which may have cost us that game. He intended to throw it to Joshua Perkins and Jalen Ramsey read the play and intercepted the ball.

Drive Four (Defense)

  • After an incomplete pass, the run was immediately stopped by Fletcher Cox. He does a great job of being sure to stop any run that comes his way.
  • Chris Long sacked Blake Bortles. The defensive line puts pressure on the quarterback and Chris Long seems to be the one that got there first to get the sack.
  • A very quick three and out is huge for the defense.

Second Quarter

Drive Five (Offense)

  • DeAndre Carter was ready to receive for the Eagles, but he had no gain on the return. There was a holding call on the play caused by Rasul Douglas. This put the Eagles on their 23-yard line. Every return is an opportunity for special teams to make big plays and, just like this one, they have not put the offense in a good starting position yet this season.
  • A quickly released pass was thrown to Ertz. Zach Ertz did an excellent job of setting up the play and making sure to get open.
  • Smallwood carried the ball with no gain on the play. He seems to be very inconsistent with his runs. Then Josh Adams carried the ball to gain a first down. He is getting a lot more playing time and he is showing the coaching staff that he deserves it.
  • Another quick release pass by Carson Wentz was thrown to Agholor. He did a great job of gaining more yards after the catch. He beat out the defender with a stiff arm to earn a first down.
  • At this point, with two first downs in a row, it is crucial for the offense to keep it moving. Wentz attempted to throw and was trying to force a first down. Not only did he try to release too quickly, but he did not assess who was open and tried to force it to Ertz, who was well covered. Smallwood was an open receiver that Wentz did not even look at. The ball was almost intercepted because of this mistake by Wentz.
  • Ertz outran his defender for a corner route to get open and make a great catch. The offensive line gave a lot of time to Wentz as the defense was putting a lot of pressure on them.
  • Josh Adams carried the ball and found the gap to gain seven yards.
  • With tremendous pressure, Wentz threw to Alshon Jeffery, who was well covered by Jalen Ramsey but beat him out to get a 17-yard gain.
  • The ball was handed off to Agholor, who had a great 14-yard run. This was a great play by everyone on the field. Wentz had a great hand off and did an excellent job of executing the fake. Agholor had a good run. Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert did an amazing job of blocking to lead the way for Agholor.
  • At this point, two of the starting offensive lineman, Jason Peters and Lane Johnson, were off the field. There was a lot of pressure coming on by the defensive line and Big V could not protect Carson. Carson got sacked for a loss of seven yards.
  • This was a long drive for the Birds. Unfortunately, it came to an end on a crucial third down when Carson was forced to throw the ball because of the pressure on him by the blitz that was not picked up.
  • A 31-yard field goal was attempted by Elliott, that was good.

Drive Six (Defense)

  • After a touchback, Bortles scrambled because of pressure by the defense. They were unable to get to him quick enough, so he was able to get out of bounds.
  • The running back broke a tackle by Michael Bennett. This forced Jordan Hicks to step up and finish the tackle.
  • Dexter McDougle was unable to stay with his man, who caught the ball and gave them a first down. This forced Nigel Bradham to get off of his man and defend McDougle’s man. This could’ve caused two receivers to be open, giving the quarterback more options.
  • The Jaguars get into Eagles territory when the secondary did not cover anyone and just watched to see where the quarterback was going to throw. In that case, they were much too late to get the tackle.
  • On second down, Malcolm Jenkins gets ahold of Blake Bortles and shook him up. Jordan Hicks and Michael Bennett get a sack on Bortles to push them back seven yards.
  • The Jaguars attempted a 57-yard field goal that was good to give the Jaguars the lead.

Drive Seven (Offense)

  • After a touchback, there was a penalty on D.J Alexander. This put the Eagles in an even worse starting position.
  • The Eagles had a three and out. An attempted screen pass was failed to Zach Ertz with no gain. Smallwood found a gap, but had too much pressure by the defense to gain anything more than three yards. Wentz looked to Jordan Matthews, but could not execute with the offensive line not giving him any protection.
  • Johnston punted for 51 yards and it was returned eight yards. This put the Jags on their 42-yard line. They have a great starting position for the drive.

Drive Eight (Defense)

  • McDougle and Cox got to the quarterback almost instantly to force him to throw it away. Then the receiver was hit by Maddox so hard that he fumbled the ball. It was recovered by Malcolm Jenkins and returned 11 yards.

Drive Nine (Offense)

  • After a huge turnover, there were two failed attempts at a first down. Carson decided to take it upon himself and run for 13 yards to gain a first down. It is dangerous that he does that, however he has fast feet and beat out the defender.
  • A tremendous 32-yard touchdown pass was thrown to Dallas Goedert. Carson had pressure coming his way from the defense. Dallas was not wide open, but it was great timing by the both of them to release it at just the right time to execute the pass/catch. Dallas ran the ball after the catch into the endzone.

Drive 10 (Defense)

  • The quarterback was sacked as he attempted to run. Chris Long had the sack to end the first half.

Third Quarter

Drive 11 (Defense)

  • As soon the half started, Fletcher Cox was not going to let Hyde get more than three yards.
  • McDougle had good coverage and did a good job of not committing pass interference on him.
  • The next three passes were incomplete by Bortles. Malcolm Jenkins and Michael Bennett had good coverage on the last incomplete pass to force the punt.

Drive 12 (Offense)

  • The offense started at the five-yard line.
  • Wentz was looking to throw to Jeffery when a defender came straight for him and he ducked to escape from the tackle, but overthrew Jeffrey.
  • A pass was complete to Jeffrey on third down. He was well covered, but still managed a great catch. Another pass was thrown to Jeffery to gain four yards.
  • Josh Adams found a huge gap to get an easy first down. Adams then caught a short pass and ran it to gain extra yards.
  • Carson was getting ready to scramble, but the offensive line gave him some more time. He assessed the receiver and threw a huge 13-yard pass to Jordan Matthews.
  • A screen pass was thrown to Smallwood and he carried the ball in for a 36-yard touchdown. The blocking by the offensive line was just right to give Carson and Smallwood just the right amount of time to execute the play.

Drive 13 (Defense)

  • The defense seemed to have taken a break at this point. Bortles threw two longer passes to move them on down the field with tackles by the always energetic Jordan Hicks and Avonte Maddox.
  • The Jags came out firing with motivation to score. It seemed that the defense was not awake other than Hicks and Maddox, who also had the next two tackles.
  • Malcolm Jenkins was beat out by his man who got open to receive a touchdown pass. They then attempted a two-point conversion. That was a failed attempt.

Drive 14 (Offense)

  • Even though the Eagles are on top, they need to make plays and keep it up and not repeat what happened against Carolina at this point in the game.
  • However, the Birds had a three and out. The first pass was incomplete by Wentz. Smallwood attempted to carry, but only got one yard. Then Carson Wentz was sacked. He was able to duck and escape for a second from the tackle until the defender came again and sacked him. This ended the drive and forced the punt.

Drive 15 (Defense)

  • A 60-yard punt was returned for 23-yards putting the Jags in good field position. Cameron Johnston had a terrible attempt at a block on the returner and completely missed him. This allowed him to run for a few more yards.
  • Jordan Hicks was untouched and ran right through the open path to sack their quarterback. This gave them a loss of six yards.
  • Ronald Darby had a huge hit to stop the receiver. Even though Darby and Hicks had those big defensive stops, the defense as a whole continues to let them gain a first down.

Fourth Quarter

  • Bell caught a short pass and shrugged Jordan Hicks off of him. McDougle was then able to finish the tackle. On the next play, McDougle had impressive coverage to reject the pass thrown to the receiver by Bortles.
  • An incomplete pass was thrown in the endzone. Malcolm Jenkins had good coverage and patted it out of the air.
  • On third down with the Jaguars in need of a touchdown, the pass was incomplete. This forced a field goal attempt for the Jaguars.

Drive 16 (Offense)

  • After a touchback, Wentz and the offense came out with determination. Wentz threw a 36-yard pass to Jordan Matthews. He ran for extra yards after the catch with a defender hanging on him.
  • Wentz decided to scramble because everyone was well covered. He showed his speed to gain nine yards.
  • Josh Adams had another great run for a first down. He definitely had a good game and proved that he should have more playing time. This is the first game he played this much and definitely won’t be the last.
  • Carson Wentz threw a touchdown pass to a wide open Zach Ertz. Ertz was as appealing as ever to Wentz in the end zone, wide open to get more points on the board.

Drive 17 (Defense)

  • The Jaguars looked for a big turn around on this drive. After a touchback, a pass was thrown to a wide open receiver who got a big gain of 20 yards on the play.
  • On third down, Jordan Hicks got beat by his man. This allowed him to get a 37-yard gain.
  • A penalty was called on Bradham for unnecessary roughness for going head to head with the quarterback. It was a terrible call that should not have been made because Bradham did not touch his head, but his shoulder. If the shoulder is now part of your head, I was not informed of that.
  • Bortles was unable to complete a pass. This forced the field goal to be attempted. The kick was good. It was then a one score game. This put the pressure on.

Drive 18 (Offense)

  • They had a quick three and out, which is not best for a game that is so close with so much time left.
  • Josh Adams fumbled the ball which was recovered by Jacksonville. The call was reviewed and it was determined that he was down by contact and did not fumble the ball. If this call was not reversed, the game probably would’ve ended differently.

Drive 19 (Defense)

  • The defense really had to step up and not choke like last week.
  • They started with great pressure, rushing the quarterback. He was able to flip it off quickly and make a play out of it. Still a good attempt by the defense.
  • On third down with one yard to go, Douglas had a great tackle to force no gain on the play.
  • The quarterback was forced to scramble because of the pressure. There was no one to cover him in the middle so they got the first down. Jordan Hicks had to decide who to cover: the receiver or the quarterback. I think he made the right decision because it could’ve been a lot worse if the quarterback passed it over Hick’s head and ran it further down field. This also should’ve been a play where we blitzed.
  • On third down, the defensive line put a ton of pressure on Bortles. As he threw the ball Fletcher Cox batted the ball down. They went for it on fourth down, but Bortles could not complete it thanks to good coverage by Darby.

Drive 20 (Offense)

  • On this drive, the Eagles needed to take their time, make smart plays with no penalties and run the ball. They need to play everything extra safe.
  • A quick pass is thrown to Jordan Matthews for 13 yards. Carson threw that while running and scrambling.
  • Smallwood ran through a pile of defenders. He was hit and still ran to get the first down.
  • With under two minutes, the Birds kneel to end the game with a victory all the way from over the pond.

Game Notes

  • The injuries are piling up more and more each week. The Eagles need to play smarter and safer to avoid overall injuries. For players that have ongoing injuries, the coaching staff needs to give the backups more reps at practice so they are readily available on gameday if the injury occurs again. Jason Peters is one example. Every week he misses a part of the game, so the coaches need to ensure that Vaitai or whomever it may be gets enough practice time.
  • The offensive line, despite being pieced together so quickly, did a great job of coming in and getting the job done. They gave Carson enough time to get the ball out, even against one of the best defenses in the league.
  • Carson Wentz did a great job of being flexible. He was able to escape some tackles. He was able to be mobile and do an excellent job of it if he has to be. He did a great job with the quick releases against this really good defense. That should happen every week from now on, not just because they were a stellar defense. He has been improving week after week. Wentz improving every week is what they need to keep the season going positively.
  • The momentum and energy was still lost a little bit in the third quarter. They did pick it back up, however the energy cannot be lost. That is how they lose games. Professional players have to play all the way through games. Defending Super Bowl Champs have to play all the way through games.
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