A kicker we can trust, appreciating Corey Clement, a surprising defensive stat and the most frequent Eagles scores in franchise history.
Yeah, I really looked them up.
All this and tons more in a Cowboys Week edition of Roob's 10 random Eagles observations!
1. An encouraging sign
You don’t want to get carried away with wins over the Giants and Redskins, but the most encouraging thing I’ve seen these last two weeks is the performance of the Eagles’ offensive line. Ray Didinger went into detail on the O-line on this week’s Roob Knows podcast, but whether it’s because they’re healthier or just playing better as a unit, the offensive line is finally back mauling people. Jason Peters isn’t what he used to be, but he’s playing well now (“He’s like a fancy car with 200,000 miles on it,” Ray said), Isaac Seumalo has settled in nicely after a rocky start, Jason Kelce is getting healthy and back beasting, Brandon Brooks has been kick-ass all year and Lane Johnson is also finally getting healthy and has been playing at his old All-Pro level. The matchup Sunday with the Cowboys’ vaunted defensive front will go a long way toward deciding whether the Eagles can get a win in Dallas. Which will go a long way into determining whether the Eagles are a playoff team. I feel a lot better about that the O-line than I did a few weeks ago.
2. Looking ahead with Ertz
At his pace over the last four years — 5.8 catches per game — Zach Ertz, if he stays healthy, will have 530 catches at the end of next year. That would be 12th-most ever by an NFL tight end, and he will have just turned 29.
3. Deceptively defensive
The Eagles’ defense has had its issues this year, but so has everybody’s defense. It’s interesting to note that the Eagles, Cowboys and Texans are the only NFL teams that have allowed 28 or more points just once. Other than the Saints, the Eagles have been in every game they’ve played. Every week I get dozens of the same “Eagles’ defense SUCKS,” tweets every time they allow a play of more than four yards, but the reality is, it doesn’t. They’re fifth-best in the NFL on third down, fourth in the red zone and 12th in points allowed, so there’s something there. They need to tackle more consistently, force more turnovers and avoid those killer big plays, but they have shown signs of life the last two games. Sunday will be a fascinating test.
4. I don’t hold my breath anymore when Jake Elliott kicks a field goal
Jake Elliott has gotten into a nice groove and after missing a couple field goals early in the season, he’s 16 for 18 the last nine games and has made his last eight. I was shocked when I ran the numbers in the Pro Football Reference play-finder to find that Elliott is not only the third-most accurate kicker in NFL history from 40 yards and out (23 for 28, 82.1 percent), he’s also the third-most accurate fourth-quarter kicker in NFL history (18 for 19, 94.7 percent), which includes his two huge kicks in the Super Bowl. And he hasn’t even missed a PAT this year. Kickers come and go, but I think the Eagles may have found the heir apparent to David Akers.
5. Appreciating Corey Clement
I know there’s been a ton of talk lately about Josh Adams, and I do like the way he’s playing. But I really appreciate Corey Clement and his versatility and production. Finally healthy, Clement had 45 yards rushing and 31 receiving against the Giants and 27 and 47 against the Redskins. That’s 150 yards on 15 touches. Great to see the screen game back in the Eagles’ arsenal. Adams and Clement seem to compliment each other well. Two undrafted free agents from the Delaware Valley, one in his first year, the other in his second. Kind of crazy.
6. One-year anniversary
It’ll be a year Monday since Wentz tore up his knee in Los Angeles. The original prognosis for his recovery was nine to 12 months. What he’s been able to do this year before the end of his original recovery time is remarkable. In terms of mobility and making plays on the run, he looked more like his old self Monday night than he has all year. If you think his season has somehow been disappointing or that he may not be the Eagles’ long-term answer at quarterback, I just have no idea what you’re watching.
7. Maybe he's actually really good
Wentz’s passer rating is currently 100.6 after he had a 101.9 rating last year. If he finishes at 100.0 or higher, he’ll be the first Eagles QB ever with back-to-back years at 100. (Or 90 and higher).
8. This is actually true
The Eagles allowed 24 passing touchdowns last year. They’re on pace to allow 22 this year despite missing six of their top seven defensive backs for an extended period of time. But yeah, let’s fire everybody.
9. Speaking of young DBs
An NFL-high nine defensive backs 24 or younger have played defensive snaps this year for the Eagles — Rasul Douglas, Avonte Maddox, Ronald Darby, Deiondre’ Hall, Sidney Jones, Jalen Mills, Tre Sullivan, Cre’von LeBlanc and Chandon Sullivan. That's insane. In all, 112 defensive backs 24 or younger have played this year, an average of 3 1/2 per team. The Eagles have used nine.
10. Most common Eagles' scores
OK, this is the most random Eagles random point ever. Have you wondered about the most common Eagles scores in franchise history? I think about these things! Thanks to the Pro-Football-Reference score finder, we can figure it out! Here are the 10 scores that have shown up the most in Eagles games, along with the most recent example of it:
22 17-14 [W, Dec. 12, 2004, at Redskins]
16 20-17 [W, Oct. 23, 2005, vs. Chargers]
16 24-14 [L, Dec. 7, 2014, vs. Seahawks]
14 27-24 [W, Sept. 24, 2017, vs. Giants]
14 27-20 [L, Nov. 11, 2018, vs. Cowboys]
13 20-10 [L, Sept. 20, 2015, vs. Cowboys]
13 23-17 [L, Oct. 5, 2008, vs. Redskins]
13 23-20 [W, Dec. 13, 2015, vs. Bills]
13 24-17 [W, Sept. 27, 2015, at Jets]
12 27-17 [W, Nov. 21, 2010, vs. Giants]
Now you know!
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