Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Eagles-Redskins: Why third down will be huge in Week 15 matchup

All of the numbers that matter about the Eagles' latest must-win game.

Eagles defensive end Vinny Curry is coming off a two-sack game against the Giants on Monday night. He and his linemates need another big performance Sunday against Redskins and their rookie quarterback, Dwayne Haskins.
Eagles defensive end Vinny Curry is coming off a two-sack game against the Giants on Monday night. He and his linemates need another big performance Sunday against Redskins and their rookie quarterback, Dwayne Haskins.Read moreYONG KIM / Staff Photographer

Guess who has the highest sack percentage on the Eagles? Brandon Graham? No. Fletcher Cox? No. Derek Barnett? No. A Corona for the guy who said Vinny Curry.

Breaking down the numbers for today’s Eagles-Redskins game, including a look at the critical matchup between the Eagles’ pass rush and the Redskins’ rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins:

Pressuring the kid

--Haskins has been sacked 26 times this season, including 22 times in his five starts. He’s been sacked once every 7.5 pass plays this season and once every 7.3 in his five starts. By way of comparison, Carson Wentz has been sacked once every 15.7 pass plays.

--The Redskins are last in the league in third-down offense. They’ve converted just 27.3 percent of their third-down opportunities. Haskins has a 53.2 passer rating on third down, including a 47.9 completion percentage and 14 sacks in 48 pass attempts. Just 14 of those 48 third-down passes, or 29.2 percent, have produced first downs. He’s been sacked eight times on 34 third-down pass plays of seven yards or more. Bottom line: Eagles need to shut down Adrian Peterson on first down and put Haskins in a lot of third-and-longs.

--Haskins has a 44.0 passer rating when he’s under pressure, completing just 14 of 37 passes.

--The Eagles have blitzed on 22.5 percent of their opponents’ pass plays this season. That’s up from 15.7 percent last year and 21.7 in 2017. In their last five games, they’ve had a 25.1 blitz percentage, sending extra rushers on 45 of 179 pass plays.

--They’ve held opponents to a 40.5 completion percentage and have eight sacks in the last five games when they’ve blitzed. But they’ve also given up a touchdown pass in each of the last three games when they’ve blitzed.

--Curry had both of the Eagles’ sacks against the Giants, giving him four in 173 pass-rush opportunities (2.3 percent) this season. That’s the best sack percentage on the Eagles. Graham has 7 ½ in 393 pass-rush opportunities (1.9). Barnett has 4 ½ in 355 (1.3), Cox has 3 ½ in 391 (0.8) and Josh Sweat has three in 183 (1.6).

Ground and pound

--Boston Scott had four rushing first downs on 10 carries against the Giants. Forty-five of his 59 rushing yards came on first down. He averaged 6.4 yards per carry on first down.

--The Eagles averaged 4.1 yards per carry on first down in their first nine games with Jordan Howard. Ironically, in the four games without him, they’re averaging 4.5. Miles Sanders, who had averaged just 3.8 yards per carry on first down in the first nine games, has averaged 4.0 in the last four. Scott is averaging 5.1 on 14 first-down carries. Carson Wentz has rushed for 32 yards on four first-down carries in the last four games.

--Before Howard got hurt, the Eagles had a 45.1 run-play percentage, running the ball on 277 of 599 total offensive plays. In the last four games without him, their run percentage has been an out-of-whack 32.9 (95 of 289). They averaged 23.2 rushing attempts per game in the first nine games and just 18.2 in the last four.

--The Eagles have 39 runs of 10 yards or more. They only had 45 last year when they finished 28th in the league in rushing (98.1 yards per game). They’re 13th this year, though they’re only averaging 20 more yards per game.

--Seventy of the Eagles’ 365 rushing plays (20.3 percent) have resulted in zero or negative yards this season. That’s a slight improvement over last year, when 23.1 percent netted zero/negative yards.

--Carson had two more rushing first downs against the Giants, giving him 18 for the season. That’s the fifth most in the league among quarterbacks, behind only the Ravens’ Lamar Jackson (64), the Bills’ Josh Allen (36) and the Texans’ DeShaun Watson and the Cardinals’ Kyler Murray (both 23).

--Wentz has converted nine of nine third-and-one rushing attempts. He’s 2-for-4 on fourth-and-one.

--Sanders is averaging 5.1 yards per carry in the last six games. He averaged just 3.5 in the first seven.

--In the three games since they re-signed him, Jay Ajayi has carried the ball in five short-yardage situations (three yards or less). He has converted just two of them.

Personnel groupings

--The Eagles went into the Giants game with just three wide receivers (plus converted tight end Josh Perkins). When Alshon Jeffery went down with a season-ending foot injury in the first quarter, that effectively eliminated the plan to use any more 11-personnel (1RB, 1TE, 3WR). They used 11-personnel a season-low 10 times against the Giants. Sixty of their 85 plays were with 12-personnel (1RB, 2TE, 2WR). Another 10 were with 13-personnel.

--The Eagles used two-back sets a season-high five times Monday. Four of them were with 21-personnel (2RB, 1TE, 2WR) and one was with 22 (2RB, 2TE, 1WR). In their first 12 games, they had used 21- and 22-personnel a grand total of nine times.

--Both of Wentz’s two-yard touchdown passes to Ertz were with 13-personnel. They were Wentz’s first touchdown throws with 13 personnel this season. He had four last year.

--A breakdown of Miles Sanders’ and Boston Scott’s rushing number by personnel grouping: 11 – Sanders 3-10; 12 – Sanders 8-25, Scott 8-49; 13 – Sanders 1-(-)1, Scott 2-10; 21 – Sanders 2-1; 22 – Sanders 1-10. Scott’s 25-yard run on the game-winning drive in overtime was with 12-personnel.

--Wentz was 25-for-39 with 278 yards and one sack with 12-personnel.

--For the season, the Eagles now have used 12-personnel on 410 of 888 plays (46.2 percent). That’s the highest percentage in Doug Pederson’s four seasons as coach. They’ve used 13-personnel another 40 times.

Catching up with Carson

--Wentz is 30th in yards per attempt (6.5), ahead of Daniel Jones and Mason Rudolph, but behind Andy Dalton, Joe Flacco and Kyle Allen. He’s averaged just 6.1 yards per attempt in the last five games. Wentz averaged 7.7 yards per attempt last season and 7.5 the year before that.

--Wentz has just seven interceptions. He hasn’t thrown any in eight of his 13 starts. But he has 11 fumbles, including six that he’s lost. His six lost fumbles are the fourth-most in the league, behind three other quarterbacks – the Giants’ Daniel Jones (10), the Panthers’ Kyle Allen (7) and the Jaguars’ Gardner Minshew (also 7). All 11 of Wentz’s fumbles have come in the last seven games. As a team, the Eagles have lost 14 fumbles, which is the second-most in the league to the Giants’ 15.

--Wentz is 17th in overall passer rating (90.8) but is 10th in third-down passing (97.9). His 10 touchdown passes on third down are the second-most in the league. Only the Raiders’ Derek Carr has more (13). Five of those 10 TDs have come in the last four games, including three in the loss to the Dolphins two weeks ago.

--In 2017, Wentz led the NFL in third-down passing and had a 65.3 completion percentage on third down. In 24 starts over the last two seasons, he’s had a 57.1 completion percentage.

--Wentz doesn’t have a red-zone interception this season (56 attempts). He’s thrown just two in 256 career pass attempts in the red zone.

--Wentz is 7-for-13 on deep balls (throws of 20 or more yards) in the last two games. For the season, he’s 21-for-57 (36.8 percent) on deep throws. Even with all of their wide receiver problems, that just 0.1 percent lower than last year.

--Fifteen of Wentz’s 22 touchdown passes have come on throws of 0 to 10 yards. Four have been on 20-plus-yard throws. Three have been on 11-19-yard throws.