I don’t often pick against the Eagles. Generally I have a pretty optimistic take on the team and its talent. That’s been reasonable, considering the series of winning seasons Andy Reid has strung together. But not this week. This week I picked against the team, and I didn’t have many reservations either.
The 2011 Eagles are not a winning football team. You can make excuses, come up with different angles about how there have just been a lot of mistakes, a few too many turnovers. But that’s true for all bad teams.
I’ll admit, this year’s group completely fooled me. After the offseason, I thought a deep playoff run was in the cards. But they are failing in all phases, with coaching and personnel and everything in between. Time to, begrudgingly, look at the story the stats tell this week:
1 = Play over 25 yards by the Buffalo offense. I don’t want to hear any more talk about how the Eagles defense just needs to stop the big plays. On Sunday, they mostly did. It was the consistent chunks of yardage that killed them. The defense couldn’t stop Fred Jackson, to the tune of 26 carries, 111 yards. They couldn’t stop Ryan Fitzpatrick, who put up a completion percentage of almost 80 percent.
0 = Points allowed by the Eagles in the fourth quarter, a record low for them after being outscored 36 to nothing over the previous three weeks. You could also spin this as a positive, that the defense finally adjusted and came up on top at the end. But I don’t see it that way. For starters, the Bills shut things down and focused on the run game to bleed the clock in the final quarter (a foreign concept in Philadelphia).
45 to 14 = Runs called vs. passes called by the Eagles. That’s a 76 percent pass-run ratio, which is actually only slightly higher than the 73 percent Reid and Marty Mornhinweg have gone with for the season. That’s insane. First of all, that’s 5 percent higher than last year and 11 percent higher than 2008. Second, and more importantly, the coaches are ignoring what could be an absolutely record-breaking season for LeSean McCoy. Even at his current meager workload, McCoy is projected for more than 1400 rushing yards, 60 receptions, and 20 touchdowns. He’s averaging 5.75 yards per carry. Only 8 running backs in modern NFL history (75+ rush, 5+ games started) had yards per carry above that for a season.
6 = Official quarterback hits on Michael Vick. I know that Howard Mudd’s unit is near the top of the Adjusted Sack Rate leaderboard, and are only likely to climb after Sunday’s one-sack performance. But Vick is getting pressured and hit constantly back there, and I don’t see anyone to blame other than the offensive line. The Bills ran a number of blitzes and stunts to get pressure, but you have to expect that since Vick has shown he will torch defenses that give him time.