In a game when the Eagles failed on all nine of their third-down conversion attempts, one really stood out.
On a 3rd-and-3 in the first quarter on Sunday, the Eagles ran a well-designed pick play but Carson Wentz double-clutched before the throw and James Bradberry broke it up. The Eagles had to settle for a 40-yard field goal instead of extending a drive that could have tied the game.
It looked like Wentz’s fault and I even assigned blame to him when I looked back at all nine failures on third down. It looked like a microcosm of several issues we’ve seen from Wentz this season: Off timing, failure to trust his receivers, failure to trust himself.
But that wasn’t the case, according to Doug Pederson.
“That’s not on Carson,” Pederson said Wednesday morning. “I put that more on us as coaches to coach that play better and I put it on those two young receivers. And I say that to say this: If we just execute a little better it’s a completion.”
While Pederson tried to assign blame to coaches for not coaching it as well, this one was on Travis Fulgham and Jalen Reagor. Fulgham allows himself to get bumped off his route by the corner and Reagor gains too much depth on the play. So instead of an easy completion, the Eagles ended up with a disjointed play.
“It’s a pick, it’s a designed pick, a rub play and we failed to execute,” Pederson said. “It’s something we’ve addressed with our players. That’s why you saw Carson double-clutch the ball because we failed to execute the pick part of it, the rub part of it. And then Jalen went a little bit too deep on his route.”
Don’t believe him? Let’s take a closer look at the game tape:
That’s what Wentz was looking at the moment he was supposed to deliver the football. Now, if he throws it right now, there’s still a good chance the pass gets completed and the Eagles get the first down. But the margin for error on those pick plays is small and it looks like Wentz was worried about Reagor coming through that pick clean because Fulgham is so close.
It was still a nice play by Giants corner James Bradberry to break up the pass but it looks like Pederson is right about the execution from his receivers on this play.
Fulgham gets bumped and Reagor gets too deep, which means the rhythm and timing of the play is off. The line to gain is the 19, but because Reagor got too deep, he’s now moving backward and has to step around the pick from Fulgham. We’re talking about feet, not yards here. But details matter.
“Those are things we have to get corrected,” Pederson said. “And those are the things that are really keeping us from executing that and staying on the field.”
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