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Eagles-Bills: Numbers that matter | Paul Domowitch

Did you know that the Eagles haven't converted a third down of six yards or more since their Week 4 win over Green Bay? You would if you read Paul Domowitch's Eagles-Bills pre-game stats package.

The 3-4 Eagles need a big game from quarterback Carson Wentz Sunday if they are going to stop the bleeding and beat the 5-1 Buffalo Bills on the road.
The 3-4 Eagles need a big game from quarterback Carson Wentz Sunday if they are going to stop the bleeding and beat the 5-1 Buffalo Bills on the road.Read moreDAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer

Some numbers to help you get ready for today’s Eagles-Bills game:

Tale of the pass-catchers

--Tight end Zach Ertz has a team-high 35 catches. He’s on an 80-catch pace, which would be the second most receptions of his career, behind only his 116 catches last year, the most ever by an NFL tight end.

--Ertz is averaging 11.5 yards per catch, which is his highest per-catch average since his second season as a pro in 2014 (12.1).

--He’s fifth among NFL tight ends in receptions, behind the Falcons’ Austin Hooper (46), the Raiders’ Darren Waller (44), the Chiefs’ Travis Kelce (38) and the Ravens’ Mark Andrews (36).

--Ertz has been targeted 60 times in the first seven games. His 58.3 catch rate is the lowest of his career. Last year, when he caught 116 passes, he had a 74.3 catch rate. He was targeted 14 times in the Eagles’ two losses to the Vikings and Cowboys and had just six catches.

--Carson Wentz has targeted Ertz 35 times on 0-to-10-yard throws. Just 22 were caught. Ertz has 12 catches on 16 targets on 11-to-19-yard throws.

--Ertz, who has had eight touchdown catches each of the last two years, only has one so far this season. But last year, he only had two through the first seven games.

--Ertz has 19 receiving first downs, which is down considerably from the 31 he had through seven games last year. Five tight ends have more first-down catches: Kelce (28), Hooper (26), Waller (24), Andrews (22) and the 49ers’ George Kittle (20).

--Alshon Jeffery is averaging a career-low 9.7 yards per catch. But he’s tied for the team-lead in touchdown catches with three. He also has three of the Eagles’ seven red-zone touchdown receptions. Nelson Agholor has two and Ertz and tight end Dallas Goedert each have one.

--A breakdown of Jeffery’s 26 catches-targets by throwing distance: 1-3 on 20-plus yard throws, 3-9 on 11-to-19-yard throws, 15-21 (3 TDs) on 0-to-10-yard throws, and 7-7 on throws behind the line of scrimmage.

--In the Eagles’ last four games, Nelson Agholor has just seven catches for 86 yards and no touchdowns. He had seven catches for first downs in the first three games, but has only four in the last four games.

--Agholor has been targeted a team-high 10 times on 20-plus yard throws. He’s caught two of those 10 balls.

Wentz update

--Wentz has an 87.4 passer rating in his last six games, including a 59.2 completion percentage and 6.6 yards per attempt.

--Nine of Wentz’s 13 touchdown passes have come on throws of 0 to 10 yards. The other four have been on deep balls (20-plus yard throws).

--Wentz has thrown for less than 200 yards in three of the last four games. Before that, he had thrown for less than 200 yards just nine times in his career, five of them as a rookie.

--Wentz has completed 11 of 33 throws of 20-plus yards (33.3 percent). He completed 36.9 percent of his deep balls last season (17-for-46).

11 vs. 12

--Through seven games, 276 of the Eagles’ 453 offensive plays (60.9 percent) have been run with 11-personnel (1RB, 1TE, 3WR). But in the last four games, the Eagles have dramatically increased their use of 12-personnel (1RB, 2TE, 2WR). They’ve used it on 117 of 241 plays (48.5 percent) in the last four games.

--Eighty-two of the 162 plays the Eagles have run with 12-personnel this season have been pass plays. Wentz has a 58.5 completion percentage, a 6.4 yards-per-attempt average and has thrown eight touchdown passes and three interceptions with 11-personnel. He has a 60.2 completion percentage, a 7.4 yards-per-attempt-average and four TDs and one interception with 12-personnel.

--Jordan Howard is averaging 4.8 yards per carry (34-165) with 11-personnel and 4.2 (37-156) with 12-personnel.

The third-down battle

--In their first four games, the Eagles converted 56.1 percent of their third-down opportunities (32 of 57). In their last three games, they’ve converted just 35.3 percent (12 of 34).

--Wentz had a 69.4 third-down completion percentage in the Eagles’ first three games. Twenty of his 36 third-down pass attempts in those games (55.5 percent) produced first downs. In the last four games, he has completed just 48.3 percent of his third-down pass attempts, and just 11 of his 29 third-down throws (37.9 percent) have resulted in first downs.

--The Eagles have converted 13 of 15 third-and-one situations, and 28 of 36 third downs of four yards or less (77.8 percent). But they’ve converted just 16 of 55 third downs (29.1 percent) of five yards or more.

--The Eagles haven’t converted a third down of six yards or more since their Week 4 win over the Packers. They are 0-for-13 on third downs of six yards or more in the last three games.

--The Bills are 24th in third-down offense. They’ve converted just 33.3 percent of their third-down attempts (24 of 72).

--Bills quarterback Josh Allen has a 76.4 passer rating and a 58.5 completion percentage on third down. He’s been sacked 13 times, and nine of them have come on third down. That ties him with the Dolphins’ Josh Rosen for the third most third-down sacks in the league. Just 17 of his 41 third-down pass attempts (41.5 percent) have resulted in first downs.

--The Bills have converted just 20.1 percent of their third downs of six yards or more. That’s the fifth worst percentage in the league, ahead of only Miami (11.4), the Jets (11.8), Carolina (18.2) and Washington (18.6).

--Allen has a 62.5 passer rating on third-and-six or more.

Stopping the run

--The Eagles gave up 189 rushing yards to the Cowboys last week. The Cowboys had 10 rushing first downs and six double-digit-yard runs. Both were season-highs against the Eagles. In their losses to the Cowboys and Vikings, the Eagles gave up 18 rushing first downs. They had given up a total of 15 in their first five games.

--The Cowboys averaged 5.9 yards per carry on first down last week. In their first six games, the Eagles had held opponents to 3.3 yards per carry on first down.

--The Bills are seventh in rushing (135.8 yards per game) and ninth in rush average (4.9 yards per carry). They’re sixth in first-down rush average (4.9).

--Thirty-six-year-old Frank Gore is averaging 4.5 yards per carry on 14.3 rushing attempts per game. Gore is the NFL’s fourth all-time leading rusher with 15,136 yards. He needs just 133 more yards to move ahead of Hall of Famer Barry Sanders into third place behind Walter Payton and Emmitt Smith.

--Josh Allen is averaging 7.5 rushing attempts per game. His 45 carries are the second most by a quarterback, behind only Kyler Murray’s 49. Allen has 13 rushing first downs. Carson Wentz has 10 rushing first downs on just 25 carries.

In the beginning

--Opponents have scored on their first possession against the Eagles in six of the first seven games. The Eagles have given up 38 points and 18 first downs on their opponents’ first possession.

--Last season, the Eagles allowed first-possession points in just five of their 16 regular-season games. Just two of those five scores were touchdowns. They gave up 20 first downs the entire season on first possessions.

--The Eagles have given up 51 points in the first quarter. The only team that has allowed more is winless Miami (54). The Eagles have given up 121 points in the first half. Only the Giants, with 129, have topped that level of generosity.

--Opposing quarterbacks have a 103.2 first-quarter passer rating against the Eagles, including a 75.4 completion percentage. Wentz has a 72.0 first-quarter passer rating with a 54.3 completion percentage.

--The Eagles’ average drive start in their loss to the Cowboys last week was their 18.8 yard line. Thanks largely to the Eagles’ four turnovers, the Cowboys’ was the 41.7. That’s a minus-22.9-yard drive-start differential.

Red zone or dead zone?

--The Eagles have had just three red-zone opportunities the last two games, converting one into a touchdown. They converted 13 of 19 red-zone opportunities in their first five games.

--Wentz has a 53.1 red-zone completion percentage (17-for-32) with seven TDs and no interceptions. He completed 60 percent of his red-zone throws last season with 18 TDs and one interception. In 2017, he had a 64.9 red-zone completion percentage with 23 TDs and no interceptions.

--Since holding the Packers to three touchdowns on seven red-zone opportunities in Week 4, Jim Schwartz’s defense has given up seven touchdowns on 10 red-zone challenges in the last three games. The Eagles are tied for 17th in red-zone defense (56.0 percent). They were the league’s top red-zone defense last season (44.6).