The Eagles are 2-0, aren't they?
That's hard enough to believe as it is, but sounding more far-fetched is that the Eagles are playing a bit more efficiently on offense than they did in 2013 as a whole.
It's true that you can't fully judge a team after two games, but thus far, the Eagles look like a powerhouse offense that does many of the little things right. If these trends continue, they'll be in contention to do some damage as the year wears on, maybe even in the postseason.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, lemme explain what I mean.
There's a statistic Cold Hard Football Facts uses to measure offensive efficiency: The Offensive HOG Index. The HOG index consists of three important measurements:
* Rushing Yards Per Attempt
* Negative Pass Play Percentage (number of dropbacks that end in a sack or a pick)
* Third Down Percentage
Grading high in all three groups makes for a happy offense, one capable of imposing its will. Even doing good in two out of the three categories means you're on the right track, even with flaws here and there.
A year ago, the Eagles were number one in RYPA with 5.15, ranked 19th in NPP with a 10.09% fail rate (lotta sacks), and came in 12th in 3rdD% (38.97%)
After two games, how are the Eagles faring compared to their 2013 stats?
RUSHING YARDS PER ATTEMPT
2013: 5.15 YPA (1/32)
2014: 4.53 YPA (would've ranked 7/32 in 2013)
A mostly-rough Week One with Jacksonville (save for Darren Sproles and his 49-yard touchdown run) and a mostly-efficient outing with the Colts still have the Eagles trending behind their maximum 2013 numbers. A drop-off isn't unexpected, and 4.53 YPA is still impressive. The Colts game told quite a story, as the runs of Sproles and LeSean McCoy got longer in the second half, the Colts defense wearing down as the culprit. Sproles' dump-off runs don't factor in here, which is a shame, because they would shatter the scale as much as they shattered Indianapolis' spirit. For the year, the backs join Foles in running for 272 yards on 60 carries.
NEGATIVE PASS PLAY PERCENTAGE
2013: 10.09% (19/32)
2014: 8.05% (would've ranked 10/32 in 2013)
Five sacks and a pick in the first game? Bad. Throwing one long pick and not giving up a sack in the second game, despite two back-up linemen playing? Huge leap forward. The Eagles have only allowed seven Negative Pass Plays in 87 Foles dropbacks, which is a huge relief, given that the offensive line suffered a major breakdown in the opener. By the second half of both games, Foles was throwing comfortably, the product of halftime adjustments and perhaps the team's commitment to game-long conditioning. All hail the up-tempo offense?
THIRD DOWN PERCENTAGE
2013: 38.97% (12/32)
2014: 41.95% (would've ranked 8/32)
On the surface, converting only 13 of 31 third down attempts sounds highly inefficient. That sort of thinking takes a hit when you realize that the most efficient third down team last season, the Chargers, still converted below 50% on the year (49.03%). The Eagles were five of 12 against the Colts, who reciprocated by going four of 12 in return. That means the Eagles' defense has only allowed six of 26 third downs to convert this season, a dominant 23.07% conversion rate.
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