The Eagles have obviously gotten their offense cooking just a little bit in the last two games, scoring 25 points against the Giants and 28 against the Redskins.
Against Washington on Monday night, they really got the screen game going, which is a really good sign to see. I think this offense is at its best when they get a bunch of players involved and that usually includes the screen game.
Corey Clement had his best game since earlier in the season. He carried the ball five times for 27 yards, but also caught three passes for 47 yards. His involvement on screens was big on Monday night and it could be big going forward. And Darren Sproles is back now too.
So why did it work?
“I think just calling it, and calling more of it, quite frankly,” Doug Pederson said. “I felt like the screens the last couple weeks have been big hitters for us. We had some opportunities again last night to have some big -- we had some big gains on them, but we could have had even a couple more later in the game.
“We just keep working. Again, part of that is coming off the run, coming off the play-action pass and utilizing some of the same formations. But yeah, it's a big part of what we're doing right now, and it's been working.”
Let’s take a closer look at how those plays worked on Monday night:
This first play happened with 2:21 left in the first half as the Eagles were moving down the field to eventually take a lead on that Sproles touchdown. It’s 1st-and-10 from the Washington 40-yard line and Pederson dialed up a screen at the perfect moment.
Clement is going to slip through the line as the Eagles’ OL lets the pressure through. The circled linebacker is coming on a blitz, which plays right into what the Eagles want. Jason Kelce is left unchecked and slips into the second level to get a block on linebacker Mason Foster. He made Foster’s night miserable.
Just after the snap, you can already see the play setting up. Brandon Brooks did a great job of getting enough of a block to give the play a chance. Golden Tate is running a slant and taking his man out of the play and Kelce is lining up his block against Foster.
At the point of the catch, you can see how well set up the Eagles are. Clement ends up really following the block from Kelce to the outside. If he bounces inside, there’s probably even more room to go. On the outside, young cornerback Fabian Moreau did a nice job of directing the play and coming back to make the tackle. That prevents a huge gain. Still, the Eagles pick up 11 yards and a first down.
You’ll notice Kelce out in front on this play. His unique ability to get into the second level and block downfield is really special. Early this season, when he had a bad MCL sprain, he wasn’t able to do this. But now his legs are healthier and he’s making a difference.
“His ability to get in space is pretty incredible,” Pederson said.
This next play comes with 4:09 left in the third quarter. It’s 2nd-and-10 in what was still a one-point game. This play is going to pick up 23 yards and a first down on a drive that yielded a huge touchdown.
This play was a culmination of the whole game before it because they used a play action here from under center. The Eagles had been running the ball so well and using different looks out of the play action, so this is a prime example of keeping a defense off balance.
After the play action, it looks like Wentz could roll right, but instead sets up and comes back to find Clement, who slipped through the line. Again, the downfield blocking was exceptional on this play.
As Clement gets the ball, this whole thing has been set up beautifully, but wouldn’t work unless Kelce was Kelce. His man is a defensive back nine yards away, but he’s still going to get there to deliver the block to spring Clement.
Once Kelce gets that block and Isaac Seumalo delivers his block, Clement has Brandon Brooks in front of him with plenty of space to operate. Brooks is pretty incredible too. He’s the biggest guy on the offensive line and can still get downfield like this.
“Just keeping them off balance,” Clement said. “Screens here and there, not going back to back with them. I think Coach Pederson did a great job of keeping the offense facilitating every single time, hitting different targets. I think if we can get everybody involved it’s a big game for us.”
This next play came later on that same drive. It’s the first play of the fourth quarter and it’s 2nd-and-10 from the Washington 17-yard line.
I love this play because of how quickly it develops. We often think about screens as being slow developing plays where everything needs to go perfectly and sometimes that’s true. But check out how quick this play goes.
Off the snap, the Eagles let the LDE through unblocked as Lane Johnson and Kelce quickly get to the next level. Clement slips right past the rushing end after a quick play action look.
After looking like he was going to chip, Clement turns around and receives the pass with two blockers out front.
Kelce and Johnson each execute perfect blocks and Clement does a great job simply following his blockers inside down the field to pick up a first down.
On the next play, Wentz hit Jordan Matthews for a four-yard touchdown and the Eagles never looked back.
It won’t be this easy to dominate the screen game on Sunday against a Cowboys team that features two young and really fast linebackers who have the ability to get sideline to sideline, but if Kelce is downfield blocking, I’d take my chances. The Eagles’ offense finally looked the way it’s supposed to on Monday night and these plays were a big reason why. They need to keep featuring them.
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