There were a lot of really great things to take away from the film of the Eagles' offensive film from Thursday night's win over the New York Giants. The run game looked strong once again. Carson Wentz was proficient. There were a lot of great concepts from the coaches, and the offensive line looked good against a tough New York front four with the return of Lane Johnson. That was evident from the first play of the game.
Shot 1 - 1st play of the game, Draw play behind Lane Johnson. He gets, um, good movement to help create a lane for Ryan Mathews for 17yds pic.twitter.com/fjkrv1x4vO — Fran Duffy (@fduffy3) December 23, 2016
The Eagles had a lot of success against the Baltimore Ravens with their various Draw run schemes, and they went right back to it to open the game against the Giants. The ball is snapped and the entire offensive line pops right up as if it is dropping back in pass sets before taking off downfield after the handoff to running back Ryan Mathews. Johnson clubs the defensive end, creating a huge running, yes, lane, before releasing to the second level along with Jason Kelce to help spring Mathews for a 17-yard gain on the first play of the game on offense, a big start to the drive.
On the first play, the Eagles used a pass fake to set up a run, and on the very next rep they do the exact opposite. A play-fake in the backfield tries to get the defense to flow to the right, while Wentz rolls to his left and hits tight end Brent Celek for a 16-yard gain and a first down. The linebacker responsible for Celek in coverage got his eyes stuck on the run fake, leaving the veteran tight end wide open for Wentz's first completion of the evening.
Shot 3 - Two double teams impressed me on this zone run in the opening drive, pick up a near first down. Really tough block by Barbre pic.twitter.com/m4PuEX0bM7 — Fran Duffy (@fduffy3) December 23, 2016
Two plays later, the offense goes back to the ground with a basic zone run scheme, and the two double teams really stood out to me. On the front side, Brandon Brooks and Lane Johnson move the 3-technique defensive tackle completely out of the way. On the back side, Kelce and Allen Barbre cut off the nose tackle on their way to the playside linebacker. That's a really tough assignment for Barbre, who gets enough of the nose tackle to allow Mathews to pick up 5 yards and a near first down.
Shot 4 - #Eagles run Double Post with Ertz on a deep Over underneath. Great read by LB Sheppard carrying route. Wentz smartly tucks & runs pic.twitter.com/HBrx1u6nHD — Fran Duffy (@fduffy3) December 23, 2016
Two plays later, the Eagles are in the fringe area at the 34-yard line, just within striking distance of the end zone. Pederson calls a shot play here with the intent of attacking downfield using a Double Post concept with Jordan Matthews on the outside post, and Nelson Agholor running the inside post. Typically, the inside route serves as a clear-out for the outside route, so this ball would typically go to Matthews here depending on how the defense deployed after the snap. Wentz's main target, however, was tight end Zach Ertz on the deep over route.
The play was taken away though by a brilliant read by New York linebacker Kelvin Sheppard. He saw Ertz coming and ran underneath the route, really making it a tough throw for Wentz. The rookie decides to not force anything on first down, the right move in that situation, and takes off to his left running for a 9-yard gain. This was a great example of good decision-making by Wentz, who twice could've forced throws down the field that could've been intercepted. Instead, the rookie played it safe and kept the ball, using his legs to nearly pick up the first down, which helped set up the biggest play of the drive.
Shot 5 - 25yd TD by Sproles came on Sweep play. Lane Johnson pulling in space with Ertz. J-Matt/Agholor pin down. Exactly how you draw it up pic.twitter.com/u0x5DfPP8n — Fran Duffy (@fduffy3) December 23, 2016
On second-and-1, the Eagles call a sweep play to the right, and Pederson couldn't have drawn this up any better. Sweep plays utilize what coaches call "pin-pull" blocking schemes, with an even amount of "pin" blocks to pair with "pull" blocks. Your pin blocks here come from Matthews and Agholor - Matthews on a defensive end and Agholor on a defensive back. With angles to their advantage, both receivers are able to create an effective seal, pinning their men inside.
The "pullers" here are Johnson and Ertz, who release out in space to the right to pick up the two most dangerous defenders they see in the alley. Johnson picks up safety Landon Collins, while Ertz gets the cornerback on the play side. Center Jason Kelce also does a great job picking off the playside linebacker, while guard Allen Barbre blocks the backside defensive tackle, eliminating any possible threats in pursuit. What does this all mean? You have Darren Sproles untouched to the third level of the defense, leaving him one on one with a safety. Sproles can make almost anyone miss in the open field, and he does just that on this 25-yard touchdown run to put the Eagles ahead 7-0. The Eagles went 78 yards in seven plays on the opening drive.
Shot 6 - Wentz's INT. 3rd & long. Couldn't hit Treggs right away b/c of pressure. When he did, Treggs did not come back to the ball #Eagles pic.twitter.com/DPR5PzfqpG — Fran Duffy (@fduffy3) December 23, 2016
The Eagles' offense got the ball back up 14-3 after the interception for a touchdown by Malcolm Jenkins. This is a third-and-eight from their own 24-yard line. Wentz faced early pressure at the top of his drop, and was forced to leave the pocket to his right. As he's rolling, he has rookie receiver Bryce Treggs open downfield, but at that depth there's no way Wentz is making that kind of throw on the run. Wentz spins away from a rusher again, resets his feet, and fires to Treggs very late in the down. Wentz releases this ball from the 17-yard line to Treggs at the opposite 34-yard line, 49 yards away. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is creeping behind Treggs, laying in the weeds waiting for a throw, and when Wentz releases the ball he makes his break. Treggs doesn't come back to the football, waiting for the pass to get to him and DRC undercuts it for the interception.
On the Eagles' next scoring drive, they pick up a big third-down conversion from Dorial Green-Beckham. This is a quick jailbreak screen from the Eagles to DGB, who cuts back against the grain to make two defenders miss on his way to a 7-yard pickup to move the sticks. That quick screen pass, including the impressive move by Green-Beckham in the open field with the ball in his hands, helped keep the drive alive that resulted in an Eagles touchdown.
Shot 8 - #Eagles run a 3-level stretch on next play. #Giants take away deep and intermediate routes; Wentz takes off on 8yd run 15 on PF pic.twitter.com/HJ1umnKg0b — Fran Duffy (@fduffy3) December 23, 2016
On the next play, the Eagles called a vertical shot play with a three-level stretch. The Giants take both the deep route and the intermediate route away early in the down. Wentz takes off for a run right up the gut of the defense with the Red Sea parting in front of him. Wentz slides, takes a late hit on his way to the ground that draws a flag and the Eagles are now in striking distance at the 40-yard line.
Shot 9 - TD to Agholor comes vs Zone Blitz from #Giants. Adjusts protection pre-snap vs blitz. Apple doesn't see Agholor from other side. pic.twitter.com/Ed1mF4YoLI — Fran Duffy (@fduffy3) December 23, 2016
After the penalty, Pederson made a great play call to keep the momentum going with a shot play downfield. There's a lot going on during this play. First, Wentz recognizes the pressure before the snap. You can see him stand up and point out the edge rusher from the right, changing the protection to have Lane Johnson pick the linebacker off the edge. Off a play-action fake, Wentz has two deep crossing routes from each side of the field. Ertz is crossing from left to right, and Agholor from right to left.
Wentz works from a pristine pocket. He's starting his progression with Ertz. You can see Wentz's eyes working in that direction. The Giants, in what appeared to be a three-under, three-deep pressure are in trouble. The safety on Ertz's side, Collins, runs with the tight end across the field, and points to the deep safety to run with Agholor. He does not because he's reading Wentz's eyes looking at Ertz. That means there is only one defender who can impact this throw to Agholor, and that's the rookie corner Eli Apple. Apple's eyes are in the backfield, and even though he's responsible for that deep third downfield, he does not see Agholor coming from the other side. Wentz delivers a beautiful throw over Apple's head and into Agholor's hands for a 40-yard touchdown.
Late in the third quarter, Wentz left the game to be evaluated for a head injury. The penalty called on that play put the Eagles in the red zone, and this run play would put them right on the Giants' doorstep. The Eagles are in 13 personnel, with one of the three tight ends being rookie lineman Isaac Seumalo, who is lined up next to Jason Peters. This is a simple outside zone run, and Mathews is able to carry this run outside, right off of the double team between Seumalo and Peters on his way to an 8-yard run on first-and-goal.
Shot 11 - Wentz's first play back in the game and he shakes off Olivier Vernon with ease. Staying upright to throw this ball away #Eagles pic.twitter.com/nvfy7v2seq — Fran Duffy (@fduffy3) December 23, 2016
Throughout the game, Wentz's ability to keep plays alive late in the down with both his feet and his arm was put on display. On his first play back in the game, the Eagles run another shot play, calling for a Post-Wheel concept to the boundary side with Agholor and Ertz. The rush gets to Wentz before he can set and deliver this throw, but watch him shake off defensive end Olivier Vernon and live to play another down, throwing this out of bounds to bring up second-and-10.
Shot 12 - Great job on the playside by Brandon Brooks & Lane Johnson. Whole backside cuts off defense, creating huge lane for 13yds #Eagles pic.twitter.com/lg6bwc5ppx — Fran Duffy (@fduffy3) December 23, 2016
On that play, the Eagles call a quick zone run to the right. Watch the blocks from Johnson and Brooks, who get the movement they need to the play side, while everyone on the back side of the line cuts off the defense. This creates a lane you can drive an 18-wheeler through for Sproles, who takes this carry 13 yards for a first down.
Shot 13 - Another Houdini act from Wentz here, getting out of trouble & running for 13 yards, making something out of nothing #FlyEaglesFly pic.twitter.com/fwbHlAv90X — Fran Duffy (@fduffy3) December 23, 2016
On the next play, Wentz's creative ability shows up again. Wentz lines up under center, and he has 320-pound Johnathan Hankins bearing down on him. Wentz ducks past him. He takes off for 11 yards with nothing but green grass in front of him and slides for a first down at the end.
Shot 14 - Up by 5, #Eagles call Reverse. Love the toughness and competitiveness from Wentz, being an athlete/leader to help try and win game pic.twitter.com/gItruYXM3i — Fran Duffy (@fduffy3) December 23, 2016
Two plays later, facing second-and-13, Pederson calls a reverse to Agholor to try and catch New York off balance. After faking a handoff to Sproles, Wentz tosses the ball to Matthews, who then tosses it to Agholor. Wentz and Peters become the blockers at the point of attack.
I know that, in theory, you don't want your quarterback out throwing blocks and potentially injuring himself. But as a young quarterback who is still asserting himself as the leader of this team and gaining respect of the veterans on both sides of the ball, seeing him come back from injury, battle the way he did all game (and really, all season), then go out and throw a block on the run as the team tried to march down the field to win the game was awesome to see.
Wentz is a competitor, I would never expect to see him bow out from an opportunity to block a defender if given the chance. Agholor picks up 5 yards here and the Eagles kick a field goal a few plays later giving them all the points they'd need to come away with a win.
Fran Duffy is the producer of "Eagles Game Plan" which can be seen on Saturdays during the season. Be sure to also check out the "Eagle Eye In The Sky" podcast on the Philadelphia Eagles podcast channel on iTunes. Prior to joining the Eagles in 2011, Duffy was the head video coordinator for the Temple University Football team under former head coach Al Golden. In that role, he spent thousands of hours shooting, logging and assisting with the breakdown of the All-22 film from the team's games, practices and opponents.