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Offense Hones In On Return To 2017 Form

Posted Dec 7, 2017

ANAHEIM, Calif. – There has been no panic, no revamping of the approach, and no loss of confidence for an offense that took a left turn on Sunday night in Seattle, managing just 10 points in a loss to the Seahawks. Instead, the Eagles fully expect quarterback Carson Wentz and Co. to get back on the right track Sunday at Los Angeles by doing what they do, with better execution.

ANAHEIM, Calif. – There has been no panic, no revamping of the approach, and no loss of confidence for an offense that took a left turn on Sunday night in Seattle, managing just 10 points in a loss to the Seahawks. Instead, the Eagles fully expect quarterback Carson Wentz and Co. to get back on the right track Sunday at Los Angeles by doing what they do, with better execution.

“I don’t think there’s a need to change a lot, just the normal stuff,” wide receiver Alshon Jeffery said. “We left some plays on the field out there the other night. That’s not the way we want to play football. We put it behind us and we got another one on Sunday against the Rams. We need to get back to playing our kind of football.”

While the Eagles gave Seattle plenty of due credit, the players also believe they had enough mistakes to, as wide receiver Torrey Smith said, “shoot ourselves in the foot.” And a review of the game bears out the miscues.

  • On the kickoff following Seattle’s opening-drive field goal, Najee Goode was penalized for holding, wiping out a good Kenjon Barner return and instead giving the Eagles field position at their 10-yard line to start the drive. The Eagles moved the ball to the 38-yard line with a first-and-10 situation, but Wentz couldn’t connect with Nelson Agholor on a deep throw to the left side and then the Eagles, after a LeGarrette Blount 8-yard gain on second down, tried Blount with no success on third-and-2. Drive over. The Eagles opted to punt rather than go for it on fourth-and-1 from the 47 and Donnie Jones successfully flipped the field and the Eagles got the ball back on the Seattle side of the 50-yard line, but …

  • On the team’s second offensive possession from the Seattle 46-yard line, Wentz threw deep right for Agholor, who was wide open. The ball sailed on Wentz, incomplete. Had the completion been made, Agholor likely would have scored. That’s how wide open he was.

  • Trailing 10-0 to open the second quarter, the Eagles had a fine drive going. Using a good mix of run and pass, they moved into the red zone. On a first-and-10 play from the Seattle 15, Blount gained 11 yards to the Seahawks' 4-yard line. But Jeffery was penalized for holding at the 4 and the ball was moved back to the 14-yard line. The Eagles stalled on three plays from there and Jake Elliott came on for a field goal. Seven points instead of three there would have been huge.

  • One of the key turnarounds in the game happened on the first drive of the second half as the Eagles came out throwing and immediately pressed the Seattle defense – Wentz was 5-of-6 passing for 69 yards. But then disaster struck on a second-and-goal snap from the 6-yard line. Wentz darted for the end zone and, at the 1-yard line, fumbled the football. It spun out of the end zone for a touchback and the threat was over. To compound the giveaway, Seattle went down the field and scored a touchdown to extend its lead to 17-3.

After that, the Eagles were in catch-up, throw-the-ball mode and they made some plays, but not nearly enough to upend Seattle.

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“I feel after watching the film the same as I felt playing it and how I felt after the game,” center Jason Kelce said. “We were in position to make that a game and possibly win it. And then we made mistakes, whether it was penalties or missed assignments or turnovers. It was on us as much as anything.

“Our job this week is to correct those mistakes and play a better football game.”

Even with the lemon on Sunday night, the Eagles still possess some gaudy statistics. They rank third in the NFL in total offensive yards, are second in rush offense, second in third-down conversion rate, and first in red zone touchdown percentage. Their 361 points are tied with the Rams for most in the NFL.

It’s not like one game is going to alter the landscape.

“Not at all. We just have to correct mistakes,” Smith said. “I said after the game that we had too many self-inflicted wounds and I still feel the same way. Better execution is the key for us. It’s on us.”

Los Angeles ranks seventh in the NFL in fewest points allowed, 18.5, so the assignment on the road is another tough one this week. The Rams haven’t been great against the run (ranking 14th in the league with 115.2 yards per game allowed) and they are tied for 24th in the NFL in red zone defense.

There are going to be some opportunities for the Eagles to score points.

“When we get our chances, we have to take advantage,” said running back Corey Clement. “That’s what it comes down to with us. If the door is open, we need to get through and put the ball in the end zone.”

Does the offense lead the way in this one? That may be the case, especially with the challenge the defense has playing against a high-powered Rams offense. It's time to bounce back against the Rams and salvage one of these two games on the West Coast.

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