An underachieving, dinged up Philadelphia Eagles team limped into Green Bay on a short week to face the undefeated Packers. Las Vegas had the Packers favored by 3.5 points, seemingly based off of the facts the game was in Green Bay, and the Eagles were still recovering from two straight loses to Atlanta and Detroit. The Eagles flipped this narrative on its head by establishing the running game, having Alshon Jeffery and Dallas Goedert back and somewhat healthy, as well as sporting a defense that managed to hold the Packers’ rushing attack to 77 yards on 20 carries.
Thursday Night Football has let us down as of late, but this game was entertaining as well as educational in terms of forecasting how these teams will progress throughout the season. Week 4 marked a quarter of the season in the books as the Eagles won this game 34-27, thanks to a timely interception on Green Bay’s last drive.
I scoured the All-22 coaches film to try to understand how this outcome happened and what were some of its main takeaways when it comes to the main offensive weapons, as well as their defenses as a whole.
Carson Wentz, QB
- Looks the part
- This is not quantifiable data, but this dude just looks like the quarterback you want leading your team. How his uniform fits him (the opposite of Sam Bradford), his unflappable nature, and his ability to stand tall as the pocket collapses around him.
- When pressured in a third down situation, scrambling was not the first option. When it became the only option, Wentz put his shoulder into a defender while throwing a stiff arm to try and attain the first down. While he came up short, his toughness is commendable.
- Read the Green Bay defense, which stayed in a single-high safety with man-coverage, leaving the middle of the field open. Wentz continued to find Zach Ertz & Jeffery over the middle for easy eight to 10 yard gains.
- Showed incredible patience, notably on the touchdown pass at the goal line to Jeffery. Jeffery was Wentz’s third read, showing poise in the pocket.
- Dynamic and fundamental when rolling to his right or left to avoid pressure. Amazing ability to get his feet underneath him and throw against his body and his momentum.
- Showed his leadership ability in talking to Jeffery after he did not run a crisp route, failing to catch a third down pass in the fourth quarter.
Zach Ertz, TE
- Size and speed is a nightmare for opposing defenses. Ertz was too quick for the Packers’ linebackers and too big for their safeties. Several times Ertz was able to run some semblance of a five-yard out, plant his foot, and use his quickness and size to get to his spot before the defender could respond to the break in his route.
- Shredded soft man-coverage.
- Drew the linebackers’ and safetys’ eyes during zone coverage, leaving Jeffery and others to benefit from the distracted defense.
Alshon Jeffery, WR
- Seemed to lack conditioning and explosion. This could be remnants of his calf injury that forced him to miss Week 3, but Alshon seemed to round several routes, instead of planting his foot and driving to the ball.
- Targeted three times in the red zone, culminating in one touchdown on a nice slant route which featured three receivers on one side (trips left). Alshon cut under the other two receivers, using this diversion to get through Packers’ cornerback Jaire Alexander’s press coverage and beat him to the ball.
Jordan Howard, RB
- Consistently runs through the first contact.
- Depended on in the red zone.
- Especially after a turnover placed the Eagles in scoring position. Howard was given four straight runs, the last being a touchdown.
- Benefited from a great offensive line performance.
- The story came out during the game that the Eagles’ offensive line and running backs met to speak about their struggles running the football. Apparently they decided to hold each other accountable and understand how each unit reads the offense and how they feel each play should be executed. Clearly good communication was beneficial.
- Scored three touchdowns.
- The first being a reception where the linebacker covering him got caught in a receiver's crossing route.
- The second being the aforementioned score following a turnover.
- The third being a goal line score, which was his second run in a row on the drive.
Miles Sanders, RB
- Utilized a dynamic jump cut several times to find space.
- Enjoyed wide running lanes thanks to the offensive line.
- Showed explosive speed and quickness as a kick and punt return specialist.
- Long 67-yard kickoff return jump started the offense when they were trailing 10-0 in the second quarter. Eagles ended up scoring following this return to make the score 10-7.
- Showed great vision, making correct decisive moves to find the open space.
Dallas Goedert, TE
- Clear offensive plays were schemed specifically to get him the ball.
- Like Ertz, seems to be uncoverable on slants and five-yard outs due to his size and quickness.
- Reeled in lone red zone target for a touchdown.
- Dominated the Green Bay defensive front.
- Holes several yards wide became a common occurrence throughout the game.
- Consistently got to the second level, enabling them to block linebackers attempting to plug the holes.
- Showed speed, force, and creativity on screen plays.
Notable Eagles Snap Percentages
- Nelson Agholor: 90%
- Alshon Jeffery: 81%
- Zach Ertz: 76%
- Dallas Goedert: 69%
- Jordan Howard: 53%
- Miles Sanders: 35%
Aaron Rodgers, QB
- Consistently fed Davante Adams.
- This was done in a way that was not detrimental to the offense. Adams was consistently open and Rodgers knew how and when to get him the ball in the right opportunities.
- There were rumors of Rodgers’ demise, which to me were quashed by his over the shoulder deep ball to Adams during their first offensive drive. It was quite literally a 30-yard touch pass.
- Showed tremendous anticipation throwing passes before receivers made their breaks.
- Exhibited an incredible pump fake which froze safeties, enabling receivers to take advantage of the extra space.
- Incredibly intuitive
- During a blown screen, due to Aaron Jones being held from running his route, Rodgers kept the ball and ran the screen as if he threw it to himself. Instead of passing the ball downfield, causing an illegal man downfield penalty, he kept his linemen in play and gained a first down.
Davante Adams, WR
- Consistently covered by Eagles cornerback Avonte Maddox. Maddox could not stay with him and clearly feared his speed. Due to this, Maddox was always five yards off of him, something Adams feasted on.
- Incredible speed with tremendous knowledge of the Packers’ offense, which showed in his ability to find space and sit down, giving Rodgers a prime target.
- When Eagles tried zone defense, Adams was incredibly skilled in finding the weak spot.
- Targeted four times in the red zone.
- Suffered injury (turf toe) in the 4th quarter, ending his night.
Aaron Jones, RB
- One carry on the opening drive, which ended up being a rushing touchdown.
- Showed great toughness and vision.
- Stifled by stout Eagles’ run defense
- Even when met at the line of scrimmage, showed tremendous ability to still gain positive yards.
- Good hands, above average ability to gain yards after the catch.
- Not trusted at the goal line
- Head coach Matt LaFluer had six goal line opportunities in the fourth quarter and did not attempt to run the ball once.
- Targeted seven times, mainly from check downs, especially on the last two drives of the game.
Geronimo Allison, WR
- Seemed to have Rodgers’ trust
- Earned a red zone target which he caught for a first half touchdown.
- Took advantage of zone defense, finding space, and showed above-average hands.
- Two red zone targets.
Jimmy Graham, TE
- Became the top target when Adams went down.
- Targeted four times in the red zone
- One was converted for a touchdown, a second was a one-handed catch Graham could not hold on to.
- Dangerous over the middle.
Notable Packers Snap Percentages
- Marquez Valdes-Scantling: 86%
- Aaron Jones: 84%
- Geronimo Allison: 79%
- Davante Adams: 70%
- Jimmy Graham: 70%
This was an extremely entertaining game which ended in the Eagles favor 34-27. The Packers were hindered by injuries from the start of the game, Jamaal Williams had to be taken off on a stretcher, Adams missed the bulk of the fourth quarter, and they lost their right tackle Bryan Baluga just before halftime to a shoulder injury.
The loss of Baluga showed the most, as the Eagles defense shut down all aspects of the Packers ability to run the football. Alex Light replaced Baluga and was immediately tested by Eagles defensive end Derek Barnett. The Packers’ inability to run the football affected their passing success, mainly during play action, due to the fact the Eagles did not fear nor respect their rushing attack.
The Eagles dominance of the defensive front mixed with the Packers defensive plan of mainly playing a soft man-coverage with a single high safety was a disastrous combination. The Eagles offense continually found short passes underneath the safety or outside the hash marks that the Packers seemed more than willing to concede. The Eagles strategy of death by a thousand cuts may not have been exciting, but it ended in victory.