By Tucker Bagley
Despite being 13-point underdogs in tonight’s contest, the Eagles are tied at 13 with the Los Angeles Rams after one half of football. Here’s what we saw in the first 30 minutes of action:
- Avonte Maddox returned to the lineup after missing the last three games and made an impact early, breaking up a third-down pass attempt on the Rams’ opening drive. He later notched a diving interception in the second quarter. The rookie is playing cornerback tonight instead of the safety position we had become accustomed to see him at, but he looked comfortable back at his natural spot. The Eagles have been really weak in the secondary after being ravaged by injuries and the versatility Maddox has shown has been an immense help.
- Nick Foles and Darren Sproles are partying like it’s 2014. Despite not playing for most of the season, the veteran duo have been the Eagles’ most productive players in the first half; Sproles had a 17-yard run to set up the Eagles’ first field goal and Foles converted multiple third downs en route to the Birds second field goal. Perhaps the best compliment I can give Foles is he looks very comfortable under center, given the high-leverage situation he has been thrown in to.
- After forcing the three-and-out on the game’s opening drive, the Eagles defense struggled to keep up with the Rams’ misdirection on their next drive, allowing Jared Goff to go 7-7 for 61 yards before Todd Gurley’s touchdown run. The Eagles’ lack of depth is certainly concerning tonight, considering Sean McVay will force them to cover every inch of the field.
- Doug Pederson’s decision to go for it on fourth-and-1 at midfield was a smart one, but his play-call was questionable at best. Josh Adams has proven to be a effective runner, although he has struggled in short-yardage situations. Calling an inside run with a hesitant rookie against Aaron Donald isn’t something I would encourage. According to Reuben Frank, Adams is now 0-6 on third- and fourth-and-1.
The Rams offense revolves around their run game and their ability to throw off of play-action. The Eagles defensive line had a nice stand on LA’s field goal drive, but have struggled to contain Gurley for much of the night. If they want to give Foles a chance of winning this game, Jim Schwartz needs to have his defense focus their attention on Gurley and force Goff to beat them with a one-dimensional offense.
Second Half X-Factor: Nick Foles
Nick Foles’s first-half numbers aren’t exactly inspiring, but he has looking incredibly comfortable marching the Eagles offense down the field. If he can continue to find Alshon Jeffery and not turn the ball over, the Eagles have a shot at winning this game and keeping their playoff hopes alive.