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Eagles-Seahawks: Numbers that matter in big Week 12 matchup | Paul Domowitch

Third down and field position are just two of the areas the Eagles need to be better at Sunday if they hope to beat the Seahawks in their Week 12 battle.

Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz runs out of the pocket in the third quarter to avoid being sacked and to tries to pick up a first down in last week's loss to the Patriots.
Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz runs out of the pocket in the third quarter to avoid being sacked and to tries to pick up a first down in last week's loss to the Patriots.Read moreMICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer

A breakdown of the pertinent numbers, both the good and the bad, heading into Sunday’s showdown between the Eagles and Seahawks at Lincoln Financial Field:

Third down is the money down

--The Eagles are fifth in the league in third-down offense. They’ve converted 46.0 percent of their third-down opportunities. That’s their highest third-down success rate since at least 1980, which is when the league began charting third-down numbers.

--The Eagles converted just three of 13 third-down opportunities (23.1 percent) in last week’s loss to the Patriots. That was their lowest percentage of the season. Nine of their 13 third downs were eight yards or more. They converted just one of those nine. Carson Wentz was 4-for-11 for 34 yards with one touchdown on third down. He was just 2-for-8 for 25 yards with one sack on third-and-eight or more.

--Through 10 games, 48 of the Eagles’ 137 third-down chances, or 35.0 percent of them, have been eight yards or more. That’s actually the lowest percentage in Doug Pederson’s four seasons as head coach. Last year, 38.8 percent of their third downs were eight yards or more. In 2017, it was 43.0. In 2016, it was 46.4.

The Eagles are only 17th in the league in converting third-and-8s or more (25.0 percent). They were 11th last year (23.7), first in ’17 (33.3) and 23rd in ’16 (22.1).

--Wentz is 13th in third-down passing with a 96.3 rating. He’s thrown six touchdown passes on third down. Five of them came in the first three games. The sixth was his five-yard touchdown pass to Dallas Goedert last week.

--Wentz has thrown just four interceptions on third down in the last three seasons. That’s 34 games and 315 third-down pass attempts.

--Zach Ertz was targeted 11 times last week and had nine catches for 94 yards. But none of his nine receptions came on third down. It was only the third time this season that Ertz has not had a third-down reception. The other two times also were losses, against the Vikings and Cowboys. But that’s three of the last five games. And the Eagles lost all three.

Field-position struggles

--The Eagles’ average drive start on their 13 possessions against the Patriots was the 17.2-yard line, their poorest of the season. Their previous low was the 18.8-yard line in their 27-point Week 7 loss to the Cowboys. None of their drives started at better than their own 28 and six started at their own 12 or worse.

--Their average drive start through 10 games is the 28.3-yard line. Their opponents’ is the 29.4.

--The Patriots, who came into the game ranked first in the league in average drive start (33.4), averaged 31.0 on their 13 possessions. Four of their drives started at their own 48 or better, including two in Eagles territory.

--The Eagles’ average drive start in their first five game was the 31.8. In the last five, it’s been the 24.9.

--In their last four games, just three of the Eagles’ 47 possessions started at their own 40 or better. All three were in their 31-13 win over Buffalo.

--A big reason for the Eagles’ poor field position lately has been their inability to force turnovers. They have just three takeaways in the last four games and no interceptions in the last three games. Their 13 total takeaways this season are tied for 16th in the league.

--If the defense fails to get an interception Sunday, which is entirely likely given that the Seahawks’ Russell Wilson has only thrown two the entire season, it would equal the franchise’s third-longest interception-less streak since 1950. The Eagles’ only two longer interception droughts: eight games in 2012 when they finished 4-12, and six in 1976, when they finished 4-10.

Wentz and the passing game

--Wentz is 18th in passing (91.4), 31st in yards per attempt (6.6), 27th in completion percentage (61.2) and 17th in touchdown percentage (1/21.4 attempts).

His touchdown percentage is his lowest since his rookie year when he averaged a TD every 37.9 attempts. Last year, he averaged one every 19.1 attempts. In 2017, when he threw 33 touchdown passes in 13 games before injuring his knee, he averaged one every 13.3 attempts.

--Wentz averaged a TD every 16.1 attempts in the Eagles’ first four games. In their last six: one every 28.3 attempts.

--Wentz has been sacked nine times in the last two games. That equals the largest two-game sack total of his career. He also was sacked nine times in Weeks 1 and 2 of the 2018 season and Weeks 2 and 3 of the 2017 season.

--Wentz averaged 2.78 seconds from snap to release against the Patriots, according to Pro Football Focus. That was only the 20th fastest Week 11 release time. He averaged 2.26 seconds against the Bears (4th) and 2.35 against the Bills (6th). For the season, he’s averaging 2.55 seconds (15th) from snap to throw.

--Wentz has completed just 30.9 percent of his deep balls (throws of 20 yards or more), which is down from last season, when he completed 36.9 percent of those throws. His completion percentage on shorter throws also has taken a nosedive. Wentz has completed just 69.7 percent of his 0-10-yard passes this season. Last year, he completed 75.8 percent of those throws.

--Wentz has thrown just one touchdown pass and completed only 52.9 percent of his 11-19-yard throws. In 2017, he had 12 TDs and a 61.2 completion percentage from that distance.

--Nelson Agholor is averaging just 5.1 yards per target and 8.9 yards per catch. He averaged 7.6 yards per target last season and 8.1 in 2017. Alshon Jeffery is averaging a career-low 6.4 yards per target. He averaged 9.2 last year and 8.2 for his career.

--In 2017, Wentz had a 118.3 first-quarter passer rating. Threw 10 touchdown passes and just two interceptions in the first quarter that season. Over the last two seasons, however, he has a 77.4 first-quarter passer rating with just four touchdowns passes and four interceptions.

Chasing Russell

The Eagles have faced Russell Wilson three times, including twice since Jim Schwartz was hired as defensive coordinator in 2016. Wilson is 3-0 against the Eagles with a 104.9 passer rating. He hasn’t thrown an interception against them in 99 career pass attempts and has been sacked just five times.

--Wilson has run the ball 24 times in three games against the Eagles. He has averaged 4.3 yards per carry, and has just four rushing first downs.

--In Seattle’s 24-10 win over the Eagles in 2017, Wilson averaged 2.93 seconds from snap to throw, but was sacked just two times in that game. He rushed for 31 yards on six carries in the win.

--In the two games the Eagles have played against Wilson since Schwartz took over the defense, the Eagles blitzed the Seahawks quarterback just eight times on 66 pass plays. Wilson was 5-for-7 for 111 yards and a touchdown and was sacked once.

--The Eagles’ blitz has been pretty effective lately. Last week, they blitzed Tom Brady 11 times. He was just 4-for-10 for 32 yards with one sack on those 11 plays. In the last three games, opposing quarterbacks have completed just six of 18 passes for 69 yards and one touchdown and been sacked three times when the Eagles have blitzed.

This and that

--In their last seven games, the Eagles have used 12-personnel (1RB, 2TE, 2WR) 51.4 percent of the time and 12- or 13-personnel (1RB, 3TE, 1WR) 57.2 percent. Against the Patriots last week, they used 12- and 13-personnel 68.1 percent of the time. They threw the ball on 30 of 39 plays with 12-personnel. Wentz was just 14-for-27 for 148 yards, one touchdown and three sacks with 12-personnel.

--Here’s why not having Jordan Howard is so devastating to the Eagles’ offense: he’s averaging 4.5 yards per carry on first down. In the last six games, Miles Sanders is averaging just 2.6 yards per carry on first down.

--Howard has 17 double-digit-yard runs in just 119 carries (14.3 percent). That’s his highest percentage of 10-plus-yard carries since his rookie year in 2016 when he had 43 in 252 carries (17.1 percent).

--Wentz has thrown just two red-zone interceptions in 237 career pass attempts inside the 20, only one in the last three seasons.

--Zach Ertz hasn’t had a third-down reception in three of the last five games. Last year, he had three games without a third-down catch the entire season.

--Nelson Agholor had seven first-down catches in the first three games, but has had just eight since.

--The Eagles have scored just two touchdowns on their first two possessions the entire season.

--The Eagles defense has given up zero points and two first downs on their opponents’ first two possessions in the last three games. They’ve held their opponents to 1.6 yards per play on their first and second possessions in those three games. Prior to that, they had allowed scores on six of seven first possessions and five of seven second possessions.