Making sense of the Eagles' loss to the Giants using advanced stats | Early Birds
Breaking down the advanced statistics from the Eagles' latest defeat.
Good morning, Eagles fans. I know you’re probably still a little irked by the latest showing by the Eagles, but here’s hoping your Tuesday is off to a decent start. The Eagles are turning the page after their 27-17 loss to the New York Giants, but we’ll likely spend at least one more day unpacking everything that went wrong.
If you’re reading this Tuesday morning, Jim Schwartz and Dave Fipp will speak with reporters shortly. Players will be available in the afternoon.
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Behind the numbers
1. Wentz and the pressure
The hits keep on coming for Carson Wentz. The Eagles quarterback, one of the most pressured QBs in the NFL this season, was rushed on 41% of his dropbacks against the Giants, third-highest in the league in Week 10 before Monday night’s game. Wentz is partly responsible for the constant pressure he’s faced this season considering he is second in the league in dropbacks that took longer than 2.5 seconds and his average time to throw (2.9 seconds) is the eighth longest in the league. As far as offensive-line responsibility goes, Matt Pryor was the main culprit in allowed pressures tracked by Pro Football Focus. The backup right guard gave up five pressures and two quarterback hits, both team highs.
After the Eagles loss, Wentz said the Giants defense emphasizes forcing underneath passes by playing deep and limiting options down the field. The player tracking backs this up. Next Gen measures how much space a defender gives a receiver/tight end, and both Travis Fulgham and Dallas Goedert had 7.2 yards of space on average against the Giants, both top-20 numbers for the week.
Still, that space didn’t deter Wentz. Even with the Giants apparently keying in on limiting deep throws, Wentz’s average intended air yards, measured by Next Gen Stats, were quite high. In layman’s terms, the average distance between him and his intended receiver was 9.2 yards. Part of that can be explained by the Eagles' frequently being in third-and-longs, but it still helps uncover why the Eagles offense struggled so much against New York.
2. Leaky cornerback play
This was arguably the worst showing of the season for the Eagles secondary. The group has put together some solid outings, but was exploited by a Giants passing game that hasn’t been particularly impressive so far this year. Going into Week 10, the Giants' passing game was 26th in Football Outsiders rankings, but Daniel Jones had season highs in completion percentage and quarterback rating, and was turnover-free for just the third time in his career.
Jones completion percentage was 5.6% above expectation, as measured by Next Gen Stats, which was a top-5 metric for the week. So how did it happen? Avonte Maddox and Darius Slay had rough days. Maddox and Slay were targeted six times each, and both gave up five catches. Slay surrendered 74 yards, the most he’s allowed all season. According to PFF, Jones had a QB Rating of 118.1 when targeting Slay, the second-worst QBR allowed by the Eagles' No. 1 corner.
Maddox wasn’t much better, he gave up a season-high 68 yards and allowed a QBR of 113.9, his second worst of the season.
3. Boston Scott’s speed
If you’re looking for the bright side, I’m here to tell you that Boston Scott is fast. The Eagles running back reached 20.76 mph on his 56-yard rushing touchdown Sunday. It was the fourth-fastest speed reached by any ballcarrier in Week 10 before Monday night’s game and gives Scott the two fastest speeds reached by an Eagles ballcarrier all season.
Scott’s first top speed came against the Cowboys in Week 8, when he reached 21.05 mph on a 17-yard run. Even on a team with Reagor and Miles Sanders, Scott has made a case this season to be crowned the fastest player on the team.
What you need to know about the Eagles
Doug Pederson said he wasn’t ready to make wholesale changes to the Eagles after their latest disappointing loss, as Les Bowen reports.
Jeff McLane argues Pederson’s biggest problem is Carson Wentz, who needs a firmer hand to get out of this season-long slump.
Still trying to make sense of what happened Sunday? Paul Domowitch offers the five main reasons the Eagles left the Meadowlands with a loss.
As the coronavirus surges in the Philadelphia area, city officials announced a list of restrictions that included a rule keeping fans from attending Eagles games through Jan. 1. Bowen has the story.
Be sure to catch up on all of Week 10′s action with Ed Barkowitz’s NFL roundup.
From the mailbag
By any measure is the job this staff doing as bad as it looks? They’ve had injuries but the talent seems better than they’ve played. What would it take for Doug to be in trouble this season? — from David (@daveeldreth) on Twitter
Good question, David. I think Pederson’s play-calling is deservedly coming under fire after the Giants game. We’re 10 weeks into the season and the Eagles offense is still truly without an identity, even as several players return from injury. As ESPN personality Dan Orlovsky pointed out, the Eagles hardly got Wentz in rollout situations against the Giants, even though the few times they did move the pocket for Wentz, he had success. Same thing goes for the tempo looks the Eagles sometimes use. Wentz has clearly been better in those circumstances, but it’s not consistently called.
I won’t pretend to be a coach, or to know all that goes into a weekly game plan, but even Pederson conceded the team could be more creative with Jalen Hurts, and the results the offense has gotten speak for themselves. As far as what it would take for Doug to be in trouble this year, it depends on your definition of trouble. I could see Pederson’s staff being shaken up for the second year in a row as the team tries to recapture the success the 2017 staff had with Frank Reich at offensive coordinator. But firing Pederson? I think that’s pretty unlikely even if things get really ugly this season. There aren’t many coaches with a Super Bowl victory on their resume, and finding a good head coach isn’t easy.
Pederson has proven capable of leading a team to a championship with the right complement of coordinators and assistants. This season could lead to Pederson’s losing play-calling duties or being forced to hire an experienced, conventional offensive coordinator, but firing a coach three years removed from a title would be a dicey move.