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Date : December 10, 2022
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Eagles Offense All-22 Film Review: Takeaways from the loss to the Commanders

Washington Commanders v Philadelphia Eagles
Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Due to popular demand, the all-22 post will be split in two moving forward! That’s good news. The bad news is, the Eagles lost and this offensive performance was pretty boring as it felt like they never had the ball. There are still quite a few takeaways from the performance so let’s get into it.

Offense

Before we begin, let’s look at the EPA chart from this week. It doesn’t mean everything but it gives us a framework of what happened in the game. The Eagles didn’t really commit to running until the second half which is a shame because the early down run game seemed successful when they went to it. However, if that interception on the deep shot to AJ Brown became a completion… the number would look better!


Passing Game

The Eagles came out of the gates wanting to throw the ball. They ran a lot of quick game but were really effective on the first few drives of the game. It was good to see them win on 3rd and long against a blitz with a screen yet again. The disappointing thing is that I think this could have resulted in a touchdown because the numbers on the outside are there but they didn’t execute that well. If running these quick screens will make defenses think twice about blitzing the Eagles on 3rd down then I am really happy to see them!

No real analysis is needed here, I just thought this was a really cool play, especially after Jalen Hurts already had a big run early on in the game. The offensive line does a good job of making it look like a run play without getting down the field. It’s a nice little design that will be really difficult to stop because teams are terrified of Hurts running in the red zone!

Let’s get into the interception. It’s a classic post-cross combo and there is absolutely no doubt that DeVonta Smith is open on the crossing route. However, you would read this play starting with the vertical shot and if Hurts thinks he can fit the ball in behind this deep safety, then he will throw it. This isn’t like the play against the Steelers when he simply threw it into double coverage and got lucky, this is a play that reasonable people can have a reasonable disagreement about. Personally, I will always defend a quarterback who is aggressive and takes shots downfield because I think it is an important part of being a top quarterback.

If you pause the clip and stare at the safety, is the post route really open? Probably not. The safe option is probably to throw to Smith. But Hurts doesn’t get to pause the clip in real life. He sees the position of the safety and thinks AJ Brown will be able to get down the field quicker. The ball hits Brown in the hands and ends up being picked off, despite it being a perfect throw. A few weeks ago I criticized Hurts for throwing into double coverage but this play is different. You can all make your own opinions!

I wanted to highlight this play to quickly talk about progressions. I am sure the broadcaster spoke about Gainwell being open here but this is irrelevant. Hurts is reading the left side of the field and when he sees the slot cornerback follow the vertical route he knows he has AJ Brown one-on-one on the outside. This is a matchup that Hurts should take and he correctly throws the ball but AJ Brown slips and doesn’t make the catch! This play just highlights how the game didn’t go the Eagles’ way but I wouldn’t burn it all down, sometimes things just don’t go your way.

Here’s another case where it’s players > scheme. This was a big 3rd down at the start of the second half, the Eagles get AJ Brown one-on-one and he doesn’t win! I’m not sure if he was fully healthy but he didn’t have a great game. It is worth nothing (especially with the loss of Goedert) that this offense does ask players to win in isolation, because they have 3 elite talents, and when they don’t win, the offense will struggle!

Hurts didn’t have many bad plays in this game (he had a couple of inaccurate throws at the start but the decision-making was fine) but this was one of his worst plays. He’s reading the curl/wheel at the bottom of the screen but it is not open. The next step of elite quarterback play is to reset your feet, get your eyes to the backside read (which is almost always a backside dig because the receiver will come across the formation) and throw the dig. AJ Brown is wide open but rather than step up in the pocket, Hurts bails from the pocket and ends up throwing it away. This is a difficult play but there is good news…

This is the very next play! I absolutely love this. Hurts clearly realized on the previous play he missed this backside dig. The next play is similar, it’s a 2×2 set and once again Hurts reads the route combination at the top of the screen but no one is free. However, this time, despite facing some pressure, he gets his eyes back to the middle of the field and hits Quez Watkins on the over route coming across the field from the other side. This is a big-time play and I can’t recall Hurts making a play like this very often (especially not last season). Mobile quarterbacks are often unfairly judged as one-read and run but this is a proper play from the pocket on 3rd down. Big time.

As I mentioned earlier, whilst the Eagles do ask their players to win in isolation, they do a great job creating good matchups and easy reads for the quarterback at times. Here is a good example of how to use empty to create matchups. Sanders is split out at the top of the screen and when you see the safety (22) line up with him, you know you will get man coverage. DeVonta Smith wins and makes the cornerback miss and walks in for what looks like a very easy touchdown.

Let’s finish with 3 very big plays. Watching this one back makes me sad because it should have won the game and it’s a fantastic read and throw by Hurts. I watched it back a few times and I’m not entirely sure if Quez Watkins really has to dive to catch it but anyway, it’s still a great throw. The Commanders are running either QQH (quarter-quarter-half) or cover 4 but Hurts is reading the safety and whether he takes the out route from the tight end. The second he does, Hurts knows the opposite safety will not be able to get across as it is MOFO coverage (middle field open – no one standing in the middle of the field) and Hurts delivers an absolute strike. It’s a great call by the coaches, a perfect read by Hurts, and it’s just a shame it didn’t end up being remembered as a game-winning play.

I have no real analysis on this play, I just think the 13 personnel play-action throw on 2nd and 8 in an obvious throwing situation (1st down was a 2-yard run) is a really strange decision by Sirianni/Steichen. The 13 personnel shot plays haven’t worked too well of late and I am wondering if the Eagles tried to get a bit too cute at the end of the game and could maybe use players like AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith when the game is on the line.

This was the last offensive play of the game and sadly it’s the worst play by Hurts. A big part of being a great quarterback is knowing the down and distance. Hurts has the ability to make unbelievable plays by himself, but sometimes he just needs to take a check down. This is a very slow developing play and I don’t think Hurts has time to throw to the middle of the field as he is facing pressure, but the check down to Sanders and he is wide open. Even if he doesn’t break a tackle, the Eagles would be in a manageable 4th down situation. Hurts can make incredible plays but he can’t take the sack as he does here. It felt like a desperate play which is disappointing as we know Hurts is normally ice-cold.

Running Game

I don’t really have a lot here this week as the Eagles barely ran the ball! They were effective when they ran but they didn’t break any explosive plays. Hurts had a couple of runs but he has run less of late which I am fine with because he was running a lot at the start of the year. These were some things that stood out anyway.

My main takeaway from the game this week is that Miles Sanders is running really, really well. He is showing good vision, speed and also breaking tackles. This was one of his best runs, on a trap concept which we saw last week as well. Especially with Goedert out the next few weeks, I would like to see the Eagles utilize the running game more next week and give Sanders a few more carries.

I had to finish with this play just to show Jordan Mailata’s move. He looks so graceful and quick-footed and then just stonewalls the linebacker. The Eagles didn’t run Hurts that much but I can’t help but feel they are trying to conserve him and when we get to the crunch time in the season, we are going to see more Hurts runs.

That’s all for this one, check out part 2 to read about the defense when it is posted!

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