The last time the Eagles faced the Seahawks, Russell Wilson threw just one touchdown pass and was sacked six times. The Eagles blitzed him on nearly half of the Seahawks’ pass plays.
Will Jim Schwartz go heavy with the blitz again Sunday or will he rely primarily on his front four to get pressure on Wilson? Let’s start this week’s pre-game stats package with a look at the Eagles’ pass rush:
--Vinny Curry and Josh Sweat have been key contributors to the Eagles’ pass-rush success in the last five games. Curry has four of his five sacks in the last five games, along with a team-high 17 total quarterback pressures on 107 rush opportunities. Sweat has had 13 pressures (2 sacks, 2 hits, 9 hurries) on 106 rush chances. Derek Barnett, who missed two of those five games with an ankle injury, also has 13 pressures (3 sacks, 5 hits, 5 hurries) on just 94 rush opportunities. Fletcher Cox has 13 pressures (1 sacks, 4 hits, 8 hurries) on 172 rush chances. Brandon Graham has 12 (1-2-9) in 152.
--The Eagles finished tied for 13th in the league in sacks with 43. That’s just one less than last year. But their total pressures plummeted from 485 to 422, according to Pro Football Focus. More importantly, their total number of quality pressures -- sacks and hits -- dropped from 127 to 104.
--The Eagles blitzed on 20.5 percent of their opponents’ pass plays this season, which is about a five percent increase over last year.
--In the Eagles’ Week 12 loss to Seattle, Jim Schwartz unleashed the hounds on Russell Wilson. He blitzed him on 14 of 31 pass plays (45.2 percent). Wilson was 5-for-10 for 102 yards and one touchdown (the 15-yard flea-flicker to wide receiver Malik Turner). But four of the Eagles’ six sacks of Wilson that day also came on blitzes. In two previous games against Wilson since becoming the Eagles’ defensive coordinator, Schwartz had blitzed him on just eight of 66 pass plays (12.1 percent).
--Safety Malcolm Jenkins has rushed the passer 73 times this season. That’s the most in the four seasons he’s played for Schwartz. He sacked Wilson twice on blitzes in Week 12.
--Brandon Graham finished with a team-high 8 ½ sacks. Six-and-a-half of those sacks came on third down.
Catching up with Carson
--In the Eagles’ last six games, Carson Wentz attempted 27 throws of 20 or more yards. He completed 13 of them for an impressive 48.1 completion percentage. For the season, despite losing his top three wide receivers, Wentz completed a career-high 37.6 percent of his deep balls. His deep-ball completion percentage the previous three years: 36.9 in 2018, 33.8 in 2017 and 31.3 in 2016. Five of his 27 touchdown passes this season were on deep balls.
--Wentz hasn’t thrown an interception in his last four starts and 143 attempts. It’s just the second time in his career that he hasn’t thrown a pick in four straight games. Would’ve been five in a row but for the Hail Mary pass that was picked off in the Eagles’ Week 13 loss to Miami.
--He’s thrown just three interceptions in his last 376 attempts over 10 games.
--Wentz hasn’t been as good about avoiding fumbles as he has interceptions. His 16 fumbles this season are the second most in the league, behind only the Giants’ rookie quarterback Daniel Jones who has 18. His seven lost fumbles are second to Jones’ 11.
--Wentz didn’t have any fumbles in the Eagles’ first six games. The only game since then that he hasn’t put the ball on the ground at least once was against Chicago in Week 10. In the Eagles’ Week 12 loss to Seattle, he had three fumbles, including two that were recovered by the Seahawks.
--Wentz is 12th in the league in third-down passing with a 96.0 rating. He has completed just 57.3 percent of his third-down passes. That’s the second lowest third-down completion percentage of his career. He completed 60.7 percent last year, 65.3 in 2017 and 55.8 as a rookie in 2016. On the plus side, 11 of Wentz’s 27 touchdown passes have been on third down. Only the Raiders’ Derek Carr has thrown more (14).
--Wentz has been sacked 37 times this season, 15 of them on third down. He’s been sacked just seven times during the Eagles’ four-game win streak, only twice on third down.
--Wentz had 21 rushing first downs this season. That was the fifth most among NFL quarterbacks behind the Ravens’ Lamar Jackson (71), the Bills’ Josh Allen (42), the Texans’ Deshaun Watson (29) and the Cardinals’ Kyler Murray (27). The Giants’ Jones also had 21. Interestingly, the Seahawks’ Russell Wilson had only 17. Wentz’s 21 rushing first downs were the second most of his career. He had 27 in 2017.
--Tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert combined for 11 touchdowns. Nine of them – five by Ertz and four by Goedert -- were in the red zone. They combined for 83 first downs – a team-high 50 by Ertz and 33 by Goedert.
--Ertz has 21 red-zone touchdown catches over the last three seasons.
--Wide receiver Greg Ward has 21 catches in the last four games. Fifteen have resulted in first downs.
--The Eagles have had 29 pass plays that have gained 25 or more yards. Just 12 of them have involved wide receivers. Running backs Miles Sanders and Boston Scott have combined for nine (seven by Sanders). Ertz and Goedert have eight. Of the 12 by wide receivers, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside has three and Ward and Deontay Burnett each have one.
This and that
--Boston Scott has 27 first downs – 27 rushing and 10 receiving -- on 85 touches (31.8 percent). That’s a higher first-down percentage than the Panthers’ Christian McCaffrey and the Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott, who are 1-2 in the league in yards from scrimmage. McCaffrey has 115 first downs on 403 touches (28.5 percent), and Elliott has 99 on 355 touches (27.9).
--The Eagles have 63 passing first downs in the last four games. Scott and Ward have 25 of them.
--In their last nine games, the Eagles have given up just four touchdown passes in the red zone. Opponents have completed just 12 of 28 passes in the red zone in those nine games.
--The Eagles ran 1,104 plays this season. Five hundred forty-three, or 49.2 percent, were with 12-personnel (1RB, 2TE, 2WR). Another 72 plays, or 6.5 percent, were with 13-personnel. That’s by far the most 12/13 personnel the Eagles have used in Doug Pederson’s four seasons as the Eagles’ head coach. Three hundred thirty-three of the 543 plays they ran with 12-personnel, or 61.3 percent, were pass plays.
--The Eagles finished third in red zone offense this season with a 66.7 touchdown percentage inside the 20. They converted 36 of 54 red-zone chances into TDs. Only Tennessee (75.6) and Baltimore (67.2) had a higher percentage.
--They had 15 rushing touchdowns in the red zone. Last year, they had 11. The year before, they had eight.
--The Eagles finished 22nd in turnover differential (minus-3). They’re the only team in the playoffs with a negative turnover differential.
--The Eagles have scored on their first possession in five of their last eight games. But four of those scores were field goals. Their only first-possession touchdown in those eight games was against Miami. The only other time this season that they’ve scored a touchdown on their first possession was in their Week 5 win over the Jets.
--In their last eight games, the Eagles have held opponents to 2.7 yards per carry in the first quarter.
--The Eagles have allowed just one touchdown pass in the red zone in their last four games.
--Seven hundred ninety-two of the Eagles 1,104 offensive plays this season, or 71.7 percent, have been run out of shotgun.
--Running backs caught just one touchdown pass against the Eagles this season. That was by the Bills’ Devin Singletary. They gave up four touchdown catches to tight ends.