PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Coming into Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears, I thought the Eagles would win handily. Reason? The Bears offense, led by Mitchell Trubisky, is trash.
His inability to move the ball downfield or manipulate a pocket or do anything other than dumping the ball off made me think the Eagles would load up the box to stop the rush attack and make the former second overall pick beat them with his mind and his arm. What happened?
Mitchell Trubisky… WOOF
Exactly what I thought. Jim Schwartz played 1-high safety and a zone underneath to force Trubisky to think.
The first drive was hilarious. He would drop back, recognize zone, duck and run.
Through three drives, Tribusky completed three of five passes for nine yards (all check downs) and was sacked twice. Through five drives? He went just four of nine for 12 yards.
The Bears had -1 yards through one quarter. They had -10 at the two-minute warning. Their nine total yards at halftime was the lowest offensive output in a first half by a Bears team in 40 years, according to Elias Sports. Just historical ineptitude.
How about helping him out? Matt Nagy basically gave up on the run game after the first two plays of the game. His quarterback stinks. Get imaginative in order to move the ball.
Eagles’ fans get on Doug Pederson for his play-calling at times, so I can’t imagine what Bears’ fans think of Nagy. Last year’s coaching darling has turned back into a pumpkin in year two.
The Eagles Defense Gets Healthy, Gets Right
Fletcher Cox ruined the first two plays of the game by making a tackle on David Montgomery and then blowing up a Montgomery run on second down by beating his man off the ball.
He’s finally healthy again. But he’s not alone.
Timmy Jernigan provided a nice punch in the run defense that allowed only 3.4 yards per carry on 18 tries.
On the back end, Jalen Mills made a play that saved a touchdown. If you allow yourself to forget about the 53-yard play to Taylor Gabriel, the Bears’ wide receivers combined for four receptions.
Against anyone, that’s great secondary play.
I’m not saying the defense is “back” and they certainly weren’t tested to a high degree by the Bears’ offense, but having your top defensive backs on the field to go along with two-thirds of your preseason starting defensive tackles is a big step heading forward.
The Offensive Line Rounding Into Form
A unit that’s been referred to as the best in the league has started to come together and play like it. People worried about what Khalil Mack may do against Andre Dillard but he ended up with a quiet two tackles for loss and a pass defended.
Ask any fan if they would have taken that prior to kickoff and the entire D lot would have signed up for it.
For another week the Eagles’ offensive line and tight ends were able to get movement at the line of scrimmage.
On the first drive, Jordan Howard ripped off a 12-yard run, thanks to an incredible hook block by Zach Ertz on the backside. Howard and Miles Sanders both averaged over four yards a carry on the Eagles way to 146 yards as a team.
The Bears came into the game allowing only 86 yards per game on the ground. The Birds nearly doubled it. The ground game only becomes more important as the weather gets colder.
Carson Wentz Continues To Need Help
There are so many questions about the Eagles’ wide receiver group. Doug Pederson said after the win the plan was for DeSean Jackson to play throughout the game. Jackson, who has missed every game except week one against the Redskins with an abdominal injury, left in the first quarter after telling Pederson he didn’t feel right.
This season for pass catchers has been disastrous.
Alshon Jeffery is either hurt or his talent has fallen off a cliff. Or both. He dropped three passes Sunday.
Nelson Agholor struggles holding onto the ball.
Mack Hollins plays but doesn’t do anything. He’s like the guy who plays pickup basketball but can’t shoot and doesn’t know where to stand. You’re playing 10 on 11 offensively. How bad must J.J. Arcega-Whiteside be that he can’t get any playing time with this group?
This team is so reliant on tight end and running back production in the passing game they lack any real ability to stretch defenses. It’s not a secret.
There’s a reason they struggle to score once the field shrinks in the red-zone– they don’t have receivers anyone cares about. Nine games in, they don’t have a receiver on pace for even 600 yards this year.
Miles Sanders Figuring Things Out
The Eagles are 5-4 and are back in good standing in the division. So it’s not all bad news offensively.
Miles Sanders has improved his vision and continues to be the big playmaker this offense has needed. Look no further than the third-and-12 conversion on the final drive of the game. It was one of four third-down conversions this offense needed to put the Bears away.
Sanders now has 294 yards rushing and 274 yards receiving on the year, putting him on pace for a 1,000-yard season between the two.
He’s been efficient as a pass catcher, as well. He’s turned only 24 targets into 19 catches. I think anyone would have signed up for that in August.