Carson Wentz threw 60 passes on Sunday afternoon in Cincinnati. Sixty!
That's an incredible number, but it came from the fact that the Eagles got down in the 32-14 loss very early. At one point, they were down 29-0, so they needed to pass to get back into the game.
But, believe it or not, they tried to establish the run early. Of their 16 called rushing plays during the game, nine of them came on their first three drives. They were wildly unsuccessful running the ball early.
On those nine carries, they picked up just 14 yards (1.56 yards per attempt) and lost yardage on three of them. Six of those carries belonged to Wendell Smallwood, who did break off a nine-yarder, and three belonged to Darren Sproles. As you'll see, the Bengals didn't simply just stack the box on every play early. The Eagles had opportunities and they didn't make the most of them.
Perhaps the Eagles really did miss Ryan Mathews in this game. In the two games without Mathews, the Eagles rushed for 81 and then 53 yards.
Here's a look at what went wrong early for the Eagles' run game against Cincinnati:
The Eagles came out ready to run. This is the very first play from scrimmage on Sunday afternoon. Carson Wentz is in shotgun with Smallwood lined up to his left. Brent Celek is on the left side of the line. Smallwood is about to run off the left end.
Linebacker Vincent Rey clearly saw where this play was going; it was pretty clear it was going left. Had this been an inside draw play, or if he cut it upfield, Smallwood might have had a hole.
Instead, the linebacker pushes him wider and eventually Jason Peters loses his block. This play was a loss of two yards and helped expedite a quick three-and-out.
On the next drive, after the Bengals went up 3-0, the Eagles are sticking with the run. It's still early, Smallwood is in the backfield and the Eagles have a hat for a hat in the box.
Off the snap, right guard Brandon Brooks does his job and opens up a hole. At this point, Smallwood is probably thinking he has a nice gain coming his way.
But Domata Peko, who seemed to disrupt the Eagles for much of the afternoon, sheds his block from Stefen Wisniewski and quickly fills the hole.
Smallwood is swallowed by Bengals defenders after a short two-yard gain. Now, the next run did go for nine yards, but eventually the Eagles' drive stalled and they punted away.
Now, the Eagles are on their third drive of the game and they're already down 10-0. But they still don't want to give up on the run just yet. In fact, on their third drive of the game, they ran the ball five times.
By the time this play happens, early in the second quarter, they have already picked up three first downs on this drive and they're moving. Doug Pederson is going to stick with the run. It's 1st-and-10 from the Cincinnati 33-yard line.
On this play, Wentz is in pistol with Sproles behind him. They have Celek off the right tackle at the snap.
The Eagles have Brooks pull to the left side of the line, which briefly creates a hole up the gut. And the little misdirection at least gets linebacker Karlos Dansby leaning the wrong way and is about to get picked up by Peters.
But safety Shawn Williams doesn't get fooled by the little misdirection. He's there to fill the hole and stop this play for a 1-yard gain.
The Eagles followed this play with an incomplete pass and then a run that went for a loss of one before Caleb Sturgis doinked a field goal off the right upright.
On the ensuing drive, the Bengals went up 13-0 and never really looked back. The Eagles showed that they wanted to establish the run on Sunday, but they failed. And then they had to try to pass to get back in the game.