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A Look At An Offense That's Doing It All

Posted Oct 21, 2017

Total yards per game is often a misleading statistic that doesn’t give a true barometer of an offense’s effectiveness, yet it is generally the metric used as the standard in the NFL. Better idea: What's the number of points a team scores per drive? In this category, the Eagles’ true offensive prowess is displayed ...

Total yards per game is often a misleading statistic that doesn’t give a true barometer of an offense’s effectiveness, yet it is generally the metric used as the standard in the NFL. Better idea: What's the number of points a team scores per drive? In this category, the Eagles’ true offensive prowess is displayed.

Here are some bullet points on the offense, so take a moment to digest just how impressive the Eagles have been on that side of the ball this season:

  • Philadelphia has scored on 31 of its 69 offensive possessions, ranking 5th in the NFL (3rd in the NFC) in scoring efficiency (44.9%), trailing only Kansas City (48.4%), New England (46.4%), L.A. Rams (45.6%), and New Orleans (45.3%).

  • Philadelphia ranks 4th in the NFL in red zone TD efficiency (63.2%), behind Green Bay (72.7%), Dallas (66.7%), and Houston (65%).

  • Philadelphia ranks 3rd in the NFL in goal-to-go TD efficiency (87.5%), trailing only Kansas City (100%) and Atlanta (90%) (min. seven goal-to-go drives).

  • Philadelphia ranks 5th in the NFL in points off takeaways (43), behind Jacksonville (77), Detroit (61), Green Bay (44), and L.A. Rams (44).

  • Philadelphia is tied for 2nd in the NFL in points scored on first offensive possessions (24), trailing only Green Bay (27). Philadelphia has scored on 4 of its 6 first offensive possessions this season, tying for 4th in the NFL in first-possession scoring efficiency (66.7%), trailing only Jacksonville (83.3%), Atlanta (80%), and Washington (80%).

  • Philadelphia is tied with the L.A. Rams for the NFL lead in first-quarter points (44) and ranks 1st in first-quarter point differential (+38, 44-6).

  • Philadelphia ranks 4th in the NFL in fourth-quarter points (51), behind Kansas City (83), Detroit (58), and Green Bay (53). Philadelphia also ranks 4th in the NFL (2nd in the NFC) in second-half points (92), trailing only Kansas City (107), Detroit (99), and Tennessee (95).

And yet ...

“I think we can get a lot better,” tight end Zach Ertz said. “We’ve left some points out there on the field.”

Maybe, but the improvement from 2016 is significant. And in a category that is one of the most telling between winning and losing games, touchdown efficiency in the red zone, the Eagles have gone from 24th in the league last season to 4th this year. The acquisitions made in the offseason have paid off.

The presence of wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, with his large catch radius and ability to go up and get the football, has opened up passing lanes and even running lanes in the red zone. He’s got two red zone touchdown catches. Ertz has become a force in the red zone in the passing game, along with wide receiver Nelson Agholor. Quarterback Carson Wentz is 16-of-26 passing (61.5 percent) for 124 yards, nine touchdowns, 0 interceptions, and a 112.8 passer rating in the red zone.

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LeGarrette Blount has a rushing touchdown, a receiving touchdown, and a two-point conversion run inside the red zone.

“We worked hard on the red zone and becoming more effective there,” head coach Doug Pederson said. “You’re all working to do that. We’ve had times with too many field goals. You win in this league with touchdowns.”

In a key head-to-head matchup on Monday night, the red zone is going to be telling. As good as the Eagles' offense is inside the 20-yard line, the Washington defense has been the opposite. Washington ranks 26th in the NFL in defensive efficiency in the red zone, allowing opposing offenses a 61.54 touchdown percentage.

“The name of the game is scoring touchdowns,” Agholor said.

Washington won’t have standout rookie defensive tackle Jonathan Allen, out for the remainder of the season with a foot injury. The defense is banged up. That doesn’t mean it will be easy for the Eagles, who must maintain an offensive efficiency that stacks up with the best of the team’s offenses in the last couple of decades.

This offense is humming. Converting third downs, minimizing giveaways, and scoring touchdowns in the red zone is what will get the Eagles to 6-1 and a commanding lead in the NFC East on Monday night.

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