Eagles fans each have a reserved spot on the bridge from which they threaten to jump. The nature of the leviathan, they panic if things go beyond the optimum. Oh no, Nick Foles has thrown more INTs this season than in 2013! Stockpile canned goods! We won't survive until the bye week!
Foles followed up a gutsy win against the Redskins with a wildly-poor performance against the 49ers, and many are forgetting the former. It's a week-to-week league, yes, but one horrible performance doesn't sink a season. Foles' concussed outing against the Cowboys last season is proof that you can bounce back. Nobody in their right mind would have guessed what Foles would have in store for the second half of the season.
The most troubling Foles stat, agreeably, is the completion percentage. That's hurt by a number of overthrows meant to stretch the defense, but 57.8% isn't going to cut it in a league where a number of quarterbacks currently sit at 65% or better. San Francisco's man coverage worked wonders until they began giving cushion on the drive that fell short of a go-ahead touchdown.
Lane Johnson's return will hopefully make a difference. Foles has been unable to set his feet in the pocket and look confidently, although a number of his bad passes have been him half-circling out, even without pressure. Foles' fundamentals have taken a hit, some of it self-imposed, I believe.
Jeremy Maclin, on the other hand, has been a godsend to the offense. Maclin made four huge catches for 59 yards on the best drive Philadelphia had on Sunday, including the replay-worthy left-handed snag near the sidelines. Maclin is currently on pace to have 1456 yards receiving this season, which would break Mike Quick's team record set in 1983.
The Rams are coming off of a bye, and the defense has needed that extra time to figure out which end is up. With Chris Long injured, sackmaster Robert Quinn suddenly looks a little bit more mortal. Quinn has produced just eight pressures (four hits, four hurries) in three games, while William Hayes and others struggle to replicate Long's drive from the left side.
James Laurinaitis, meanwhile, has brought 14 rushes on 72 passing downs, creating only three pressures along the way. The only defensive player with a sack is Aaron Donald, a first-round defensive tackle out of Penn State. Meanwhile, the Rams racked up 53 sacks a season ago.
St. Louis employs the use of a rookie cornerback in sixth-rounder E.J. Gaines, who has allowed seven catches on 11 targets for 82 yards and a touchdown. Janoris Jenkins, the other starter, has fared worse with 12 grabs allowed for 140 yards and a score, although Jenkins counters that poor stat sheet with one pick.
McCoy can't help but express his frustration. Chip Kelly felt the situation wasn't good for running the ball on third and fourth-and-goal, nine feet away from taking the lead. McCoy managed a couple of five yard darts in the second half, but he's not comfortable running straight through behind David Molk and Dennis Kelly.
The lack of carries for Darren Sproles is confusing. Sproles went from being a beast incarnate in Week 2 to getting seven total touches over the last two weeks, three of which are carries. It's understandable with the line in flux, but having Herremans inside this week with solid back-up Matt Tobin as the other guard will hopefully restore overall faith in the run.
Tobin only allowed two pressures on Sunday, but his run technique has yet to be fully employed. Lane Johnson's return this Sunday puts Herremans back at a natural guard position, and gets the line back to 60% starting capacity. November 10 can't get here soon enough for McCoy and Sproles.
It could be the resistible force against the movable object on Sunday, as St. Louis' run defense is the pits of the league. As a team, the Rams give up 5.12 yards a run, and have allowed three 100-yard rushers this season: Cordarrelle Patterson, Bobby Rainey, and DeMarco Murray.
Alec Ogletree has been the best run-stopper from the linebacking corps, recording nine stops. JoLonn Dunbar has missed four tackles on 67 run snaps, a glaring trouble spot. Michael Brockers and Kendall Langford, the primary defensive tackles, have managed a combined three stops on 59 run snaps, so interior penetration is lacking.
Quinn was the team's best run stopper last season, recording 45 stops at or behind the line. Is it possible that Long's absence is allowing more attention to be put onto Quinn, nullifying him at his productive best? Long won't be back until November at the earliest, so the rotating left ends need to step up.
Statistics from Pro Football Focus were used to write this story.
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