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Eagles Evaluation: Birds Get Huge Win Against The Rams

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By Gia Lanci, Sports Talk Philly Staff

The Eagles were coming off of a tough loss to Dallas in overtime. They battled really hard but ended up losing. The defense played a lot. In week 15, the Eagles took on the Rams, who were 11-2. It was expected to be a tough matchup. The Rams came off a loss to the Bears. That was not a good game for them. Jared Goff threw four interceptions and the team overall struggled. This is a game the Eagles need to step up in to even have a chance of getting a playoff spot.

Below are my drive by drive analyses:

First Quarter

Drive One (Defense)

  • After the touchback, Jenkins wrapped up on their biggest offensive weapon, Todd Gurley. It was a loss of four yards for the Rams. Great way to start off the game for the defense.
  • They attempted to carry the ball up the middle with Gurley, again, who was stopped three yards in by Bradham. This is exactly what they need to do the whole game: target their weapons and stop them immediately.
  • On third down, Jared Goff attempted a big throw that was made incomplete by Avonte Maddox, who had good coverage on the intended receiver. Goff had some pressure coming onto him by Fletcher Cox and was hit by him after the throw. A three and out by the Eagles defense to start the game.

Drive Two (Offense)

  • Darren Sproles returned the ball. He was almost stopped around the 11-yard line but he broke the tackle and continued 13 more yards.
  • Nick Foles tried a run/pass option, but he could not find anyone to throw to, so he ran it up the middle. He only gained three yards, but at least he made a play out of something that could’ve had a negative outcome. If Carson Wentz was looking to throw the ball, he would’ve taken much longer to throw the ball and possibly could’ve been sacked. It was good that Nick made a play out of it.
  • Foles was looking to pass and could not find anyone. He started to scramble and ran to the sideline but still kept his focus down field. He then threw the ball on the run to Dallas Goedert for a first down.
  • A short pass was thrown to Ertz that only gained two yards. Ertz can catch the ball and get into positioning, but he needs to be able to catch the ball and gain some more yardage sometimes.
  • The offensive line opened up a gap for Sproles to run right through the middle. He got a first down and into the secondary when he was tackled. Stefen Wisniewski attempted to block in front of Sproles to assist him. It was a great overall team play to get the first down.
  • Foles had a ton of pressure coming onto him. The whole pocket was closing in on him, so he quickly threw the ball away to a group of offenders and defenders. It was incomplete, however, it was really quite dangerous. He should’ve clearly thrown it away to the sideline just to be safe.
  • A pass was thrown to Golden Tate, who was well covered. He shrugged one defender off of him, but there were others there that were able to stop him short of the first down. This forced a field goal attempt that was 51-yards. It was made by Jake Elliott.

Drive Three (Defense)

  • Jake Elliott had a nice kick for 64 yards to the one-yard line. The returner returned the ball to the 19-yard line.
  • Gurley looked strong coming up the middle, but Grugier-Hill got his hands on him and would not let go. On the next play, he threaded his way in and gained six yards. He was the target of the next play as well. He caught a short pass for a first down. Avonte Maddox came from the middle of the field to ensure that he did not gain anymore yards.
  • The pressure was coming onto Goff from Hall, so the ball was thrown away quickly. It was an inaccurate pass to Gurley and he almost got it, but, because of the pressure by Grugier-Hill, Gurley could not hold onto it. Great play by Grugier-Hill. On this play, there was a penalty that pushed the Rams back 10-yards.
  • A pass was thrown right in the middle of the field to a wide-open receiver. They like that play, and it was well executed.
  • Malcolm Jenkins was on a man following him down field. He did not fully stay with him and got beat out. The receiver turned around and caught the ball for a first down. It was a bad play by Jenkins, who could’ve easily prevented the first down here.
  • The ball was thrown to the receiver on the run. LeBlanc was beat out, so the runner got the first down.
  • The ball was lateraled to the receiver who ran parallel to the sideline. Two defenders were there to stop him, and they got the conjoined tackle. Great play by the defenders.
  • The middle of the field was very congested and then the offensive line opened it up, which made Todd Gurley wide open. A short pass was thrown to him, and he ran nine yards closer to the end zone. It was a well-designed play by the Rams.
  • Gurley rushed for five yards into the end zone for a touchdown. He ran straight thruogh the defenders, even though Chris Long and Corey Graham had their hands on him.

Drive Four (Offense)

  • After a touchback, Josh Adams ran the ball and gained four yards. Josh Adams has not made any big plays like he did earlier in this season. He carried the ball again and could only get to the line of scrimmage. He is not able to get himself in there with this defense. Also, most run plays have been up the middle, and they have not gotten very far. I am not sure why the plays haven’t been called to run to the sideline.

Second Quarter

  • A huge pass was thrown to Alshon Jeffery by Nick Foles. Right into Jeffery’s hands, the pass was perfectly placed. This was on third down, too. Jeffery was well-covered by one of their best defensive players. Great combined play by Jeffrey and Foles.
  • Foles scrambled to find someone to throw to. He does scramble away from the pocket and gets closer to the sideline in case he has to throw it away or run out of bounds. It is a smart move by Foles to do that instead of just standing there to get sacked.
  • On third down, Smallwood catches the ball and is taken down just short of the first down. However, there was a penalty for unnecessary roughness that gave the Eagles a first down.
  • Sproles carried the ball right up the middle. He swerved in and out of the gaps and gained 11 yards. He is a beast, and it’s great to see him back and making big plays.
  • In the end zone, Foles throws a pass, intended for Ertz, that was overthrown and too deep for him.
  • On third down with one yard to go, Jason Peters jumped too early and pushed the Eagles five yards back because of it. Peters has drawn a penalty almost every game. The Eagles offense has struggled on third down, so losing yards because of inexcusable mistakes does not help in any way.
  • A pass into the end zone was intended for Ertz again, but it was a little high. Ertz had it in his hands, but the coverage on him was really good and the defender made sure that the pass was not completed.
  • They attempted a 34-yard field-goal that was made by Jake Elliott.

Drive Five (Defense)

  • After a touchback, the ball was carried for 19 yards. Once he got into the secondary, they were unable to get to him.
  • A pass was thrown, intended for Reynolds, but Avonte Maddox got in between the receiver and the quarterback, and intercepted the ball. It was a good play by Maddox. He was able to get into that space and get in front of the receiver.

Drive Six (Offense)

  • A pass was thrown to Jeffrey and he gained a decent seven yards. Then a huge pass was attempted by Nick Foles, but it was incomplete. It was intended for Agholor and it was in his hands, but he could not hold onto it.
  • They tried to have Adams carry the ball for the next two plays. The first time he carried the ball and gained only two yards. Then, on the second carry, he did not gain any yards because he ran right up the middle and the Rams defense was right there to stop him. They should have done a play when he ran to the outside. Turnover on downs.

Drive Seven (Defense)

  • Gurley ran the ball outside and gained 21 yards. Nigel Bradham had his foot but could not hold on. He is too powerful. Gurley also hurdled Corey Graham, who went for a low tackle. He was eventually stopped by Jenkins and Douglas.
  • The ball was carried by Gurley again, who attempted to run through the middle, but it was very congested with defenders. So, he juked to the outside of the pile and started running to the outside. Since he changed where he was going, secondary defenders had space between them and could not catch him. Corey Graham got close to him to force him to run out of bounds.
  • The ball was carried, and they gained no yards on the play. Grugier-Hill and Hester had a combined tackle to make sure the runner did not go anywhere. They did a great job of shutting that play down.
  • A short pass was thrown to a receiver, right past the first down marker. The ball was caught, even though Rasul Douglas was covering him well. The receiver turned around to run down field and there was space between himself and Douglas so he was able to gain a few more yards until Jenkins caught up to him. Douglas needed to stay on his feet, stay with his man and follow through with the tackle. Since he hesitated, Jenkins had to step up and do his job for him.
  • A short pass was thrown, and Grugier-Hill was right there, along with a few other defenders.
  • The ball was pitched to Gurley in the backfield and was taken down before the line of scrimmage. It was a good read on the play by Jenkins, who was able to get there before he crossed the line and force him to lose a yard.
  • Jared Goff was sacked by Fletcher Cox. The entire pocket collapsed; someone was going to get to him, and Cox was the first one. It was a great job by Cox and a good call by Jim Schwartz to blitz on that play. This forced the Rams to lose eight yards. They attempted a 41-yard field goal that was made.

Drive Eight (Offense)

  • After a touchback, Josh Adams carried the ball for eight yards and was tackled by two defenders, but he fought for the eight yards. They had him carry the ball again, but he could not find any gaps or anything.
  • The first down was made by a catch to Dallas Goedert. He got just in for a first down.
  • Two plays were attempted by Josh Adams carrying the football. I question why they continue trying to make him run the ball because it hasn’t been working that well. He did get a few yards here and there but nothing more than a few this game. Every run he goes right up the middle and is stopped by the defensive line.
  • A deep pass was thrown for 36 yards to Alshon Jeffery. Jeffery leaped up and caught the ball with a receiver on him. Great execution.
  • A pass was incomplete, intended for Sproles. It was a dangerous pass by Foles into a sea of defenders. It could’ve turned out badly. I really don’t even know why he threw it that way; Sproles did not look ready.
  • Foles took his time and then threw the ball to Jeffery for 18 yards. Foles uses the time he has to prepare for his pass, but does not take too long. This pass brought them into the red zone.
  • Adams carried the ball up the middle for a touchdown. He broke a few tackles and stayed upright to get into the end zone. He is strong and used his power to get through. The blocking was essential to the run, as well; Dallas Goedert and Zach Ertz blocked to make the path for Adams. Great team effort to put some points on the board before half time. The extra point was made by Eliott.

Drive Nine (Defense)

  • After a touchback, the pressure was coming onto Goff. Fletcher Cox hit him as he was throwing the ball. The ball was caught, however, by Cooks. Cooks turned and was one-on-one with Nigel Bradham. Bradham got beat out, and Maddox got the tackle.
  • Cooks caught the ball again and Rasul Douglas was on him but should’ve prevented the catch instead of just pushing him out of bounds.
  • Cooks was targeted for a third time in a row and caught the ball. If he just had two catches. it would be logical for him to have coverage on him because he may be targeted again, but he was wide open, and LeBlanc came up and got the tackle.
  • Woods carried the ball for 20 yards. The blocking in front of him was very good, which allowed him to gain that many yards. He was eventually tackled in the secondary.
  • Goff attempted three passes into the end zone that were well overthrown.
  • With only nine seconds left on the clock, they attempted a field-goal that was good from 36 yards.

Third Quarter

Drive 10 (Offense)

  • After a touchback, Sproles tried to carry the ball but had no gain. Then, a penalty was called on Brandon Brooks for holding. Because of this, the Eagles were pushed back 10 yards.
  • Adams carried the ball and only gained two yards. Once again, the run game plays that have been called are only up the middle, where is it very crowded, which does not allow the runner to gain that many yards. They need to call some more outside run plays.
  • A pass was thrown to Golden Tate. The pass was released quickly by Foles because the pocket was closing in, but the offensive line did a great job of giving him just enough time to accurately throw the ball. Tate did not get the first down, however. They should’ve went for it, and I was surprised they did not. They punted the ball away.

Drive 11 (Defense)

  • During the return, the ball was caught and the returner started running one way towards Gibson, but Gibson fell and did not get the tackle. Then, when the returner turned around to go the other way, he tripped and was down at the Rams’ five-yard line. Some of the defenders were celebrating after they piled on the returner. However, they really did not get a tackle because the returner tripped and fell himself.
  • Gurley carried the ball but was quickly shut down by Bradham, who made him lose two yards.
  • Woods carried the ball and was hit hard by LeBlanc. He was hit so hard he lost the ball. Good tackle by LeBlanc.
  • The ball was caught, surprisingly, because it was hit by Chris Long’s hand when he tried to block the pass. It was deflected into the receiver’s arms, though. He was then tackled by Fletcher Cox and did not make it to the first down marker. This forced the punt.

Drive 12 (Offense)

  • The punt was weak by the Rams punter. That gave the Eagles a great starting position at their 41-yard line.
  • Nick Foles threw a huge 50-yard pass to Jeffery. Jeffery and Agholor were both down field and they both beat out the secondary. They crossed each other and Jeffrey caught the ball while Agholor stood behind for backup. It was an incredible play made by Foles, Jeffery and Agholor.
  • Foles handed the ball to Smallwood who ran right up the middle, spun and bounced off a defender into the end zone. Smallwood is amazing with how he is able to get himself in there.

Drive 13(Defense)

  • Rasul Douglas and Ngata had a combined tackle and made the runner lose a yard.
  • The ball was carried for nine yards on second down. Then Goff threw a pass, but it was incomplete because of the blitz. Great call by Jim Schwartz. This forced the punt.
  • Another three and out was made by the Eagles defense. They really stepped up this game.

Drive 14 (Offense)

  • A short pass was thrown to Jeffery at the first down marker.
  • Adams carried to the outside, but slipped and he had no gain on the play. Then Smallwood was handed the ball and ran to the outside and got a first down. Agholor had a good block to give Smallwood a path.
  • Golden Tate caught the ball and then ran to gain some extra yards and got the first down. Decent play by Tate. The defenders were ready for him, which is why he did not gain any more yardage.
  • Smallwood carried the ball to the outside again and was able to stiff arm and get a first down. He has had some good runs, especially because we haven’t seen anything from him in weeks.
  • Agholor caught the ball and gave them a closer field-goal attempt. Jake Elliott made a 40-yard field goal, which kept the Eagles in the lead.

Drive 15 (Defense)

  • Pressure was coming onto Goff after a touchback, so he threw it away.
  • Jared Goff got stepped on by the center, which tripped him up, and he dropped the ball. He picked it up so he could make a play out of it, then tried to fling it to someone. However, it was picked off by Corey Graham, who ran it back 16 yards. Great job by Corey Graham of being aware of what else is going on and taking advantage of the mistakes made by the opposing team.

Drive 16 (Offense)

  • Golden Tate caught the ball, and the defender that was on him was blocked by Smallwood. This allowed Tate to spin out and gain eight yards. Great block by Smallwood.
  • Smallwood carried the ball for four yards into the end zone. He ran right up the middle and waited for the blocks from Goedert and Peters to open a path for him.

Drive 17 (Defense)

  • After a touchback, Goff throws an incomplete pass because it was slapped out of the air by Ngata. Great job by Ngata of being aware of the play and, even though he is not right next to Goff, trying to make a play out of it.
  • The ball was carried for five yards, stopped by Gerry and Hector.
  • They put the pressure on Goff, so he quickly threw it away and it was an inaccurate pass intended for Woods. The ball bounced off his hands and was almost intercepted by Tre Sullivan. This was another three and out performed by the Eagles defense.
  • They faked the punt and threw a pass that was originally ruled complete. They have done this a few times this season, and in this situation, the Eagles should’ve been prepared for a trick play. However, the Eagles challenged it and the call was reversed because the ball hit the ground. This gave the Eagles the ball.

Drive 18 (Offense)

  • A pass was thrown to Zach Ertz for an easy nine yards. They cannot give up now because this team has some offensive weapons that can score easily. The Eagles offense needs to continue to try and put points on the board with minimal mistakes.

Fourth Quarter

  • A short pass was thrown, intended for Ertz at the five-yard line. It was picked off by a defender. It was a bad pass by Foles. The defender was in between Ertz and Foles and was turned around. It was a big mistake by Foles. He ran it back for 30 yards. Sproles got the stop on the defender when he caught up with him and got under him. When his teammate made a mistake like that, it was good that Sproles was able to try and make the mistake not as damaging. If he did not get the stop, he could’ve gotten a pick-six.

Drive 19 (Defense)

  • A 20-yard pass was thrown by Goff. Jenkins read the play and tried to jump up and get the ball, but the ball was caught and the receiver was brought down by Douglas.
  • Gurley received a short pass and looked like he was going to beat out LeBlanc, but LeBlanc stepped up and wrapped up around his legs and stopped Gurley. Another short pass was thrown to Gurley and Jenkins got there, but Gurley still got the first down.
  • The receiver caught the ball, and Douglas ran up to him and hit him hard to stop him right there. It was a really good hit by Douglas, and it was good that he came up to get the tackle instead of letting the receiver come to him. He is finally starting to make really good plays.
  • Woods carried the ball and broke a few tackles by LeBlanc and Tre Sullivan and then was stopped by Douglas and Chris Long. It should not have taken that long to be taken down. The defenders need to go back to the basics and wrap around the offender every play.
  • A short pass was thrown to Everett. The first tackle he broke, and then he was gang tackled by Gerry and Bradham. Chris Long also got the hit on Goff. The pressure that is being put on Goff is great.
  • Gurley was in the end zone and was well covered by two defenders. The pass was incomplete anyway. This forced them to attempt a field goal, that was made.

Drive 20 (Offense)

  • Gibson returned the ball and broke a tackle but could not get past the 20-yard line.
  • Smallwood ran the ball but only gained a yard. Then a pass was attempted to Ertz that was caught, and he was pushed out of bounds after 11 yards.
  • A short middle pass was thrown to Tate, who gained seven yards. These plays are fine at this time in the game. They are taking their time and gaining a few yards each play.
  • Sproles ran for five yards but could not get any further. Their defense is really trying to hold them back right now and they’re doing a good job. This forced the punt.

Drive 21 (Defense)

  • Johnston punted the ball to the 17-yard line. Decent punt by Johnston.
  • Woods caught a pass and was one-on-one with Jenkins. He tried to escape but could not get away from Jenkins.
  • Goff had a lot of time to throw the ball. They were being blocked, so they could not put more pressure on him. He had a short pass and the receiver was wide-open. There was space between he and the secondary which allowed him to gain good yardage. The secondary needed to read that play better and get there quicker when they see the ball going to him.
  • A pass was thrown to the receiver for a first down. Douglas read the play and pushed him out of bounds. It would’ve been better if he saw the play just a bit earlier to prevent the catch.
  • Chris Long hit Goff on the throw, but the pass was still caught but halted immediately by Bradham.
  • Two incomplete passes were thrown. The first one was because of the great coverage by Maddox on the intended receiver. The second one was incomplete because of a bad throw by Goff. The intended receiver was wide-open with no one around him, so the secondary is lucky that it was a bad pass and incomplete.
  • On third down, Goff threw a huge pass to a well-covered Josh Reynolds. It was ruled a touchdown. The runner did beat out Douglas but not by much. The call was reversed because the runner was short of the goal line when he fell in, because of a great wrap up of Douglas. It was still a great pass by Goff though.
  • A pass was incomplete by Goff, with good coverage by LeBlanc. Then Gurley trucked through the crowd into the end zone for a touchdown. The extra point was good.

Drive 22 (Offense)

  • At the Eagles 17-yard line, Foles passed to Jeffery, but there was a penalty by Lane Johnson that pushed the Eagles back 10 yards.
  • A pass was too high for Ertz, and it was almost intercepted because it was over Ertz’s head. Dangerous pass by Foles.
  • Smallwood carried the ball for five yards but did not get a first down, so the ball was punted.

Drive 23 (Defense)

  • On the punt, the player returning the ball bobbled the ball and fumbled the ball. It was recovered by D.J. Alexander of the Eagles. Great concentration by Alexander. It was a heads up play, and he made it.

Drive 24 (Offense)

  • The Eagles took their time. Josh Adams carried the ball for four yards but was taken down quickly.
  • Josh Adams went up the middle again but was rejected and lost four yards. He carried the ball a third time and only gained a yard. This forced the field-goal unit to come out. It was a 53-yard attempt for Elliott. He missed it as it curved to the right.

Drive 25 (Defense)

  • Goff threw a pass up the middle for 12 yards. They still have a chance to score, so the defense really needs to step up here. A short pass was complete and run for six yards.
  • The pressure was coming onto Goff by Chris Long, but he threw it away quickly, and Douglas came up to get the tackle. Douglas kept him in bounds.
  • Goff made a complete passes that gained just a few yards.
  • With only four seconds left on the clock, a huge pass was thrown down field into the end zone, intended for Reynolds, but it was well overthrown. Maddox had great coverage on the receiver and did a good job of not getting pass interference. This ended the game.

Game Notes

  • There were big mistakes made by the Rams, and the Eagles took advantage of them and made plays out of them. That’s what they had to do. There were minimal mistakes made by the Eagles.
  • The defense just really stepped up. They did not allow much to get past the front line, and when they did get into the secondary, the secondary made good tackles. It looks like they are settling into their positions.
  • The pressure being put on the quarterback is what we needed the entire season!! It really shook up Goff, which is why he did not have a great game.
  • The offense played really well. The big thing that changed was the play calling. They called plays that worked for Nick Foles, so he was able to be comfortable and connect with other players.
  • The run game looked good at times and bad at times, but it is definitely improving.
  • It was good that they used a variety of their offensive weapons.

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