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Breaking down the Eagles’ dominant finish in Green Bay

Nov 11, 2013, 1:06 PM EDT

mccoy-oline

When was the last time we saw the Eagles simply overpower an opponent the way they did the Packers in the fourth quarter on Sunday?

There are a ton of things to like about the Birds right now. Nick Foles can’t seem to make a mistake. LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson are about to reach 1,000-yard milestones. The defense hasn’t allowed more than 21 points in six games. We’re 10 games into Chip Kelly’s first season as head coach, and the team has already surpassed last year’s win total. The playoffs are on everybody’s mind.

What I enjoyed most of all about the victory in Green Bay though was the dominant fashion in which they closed out the game. Following a turnover on downs, the Eagles were awarded the ball at their own 8-yard line with 9:32 remaining in the fourth quarter.

The Packers never took possession again.

The Eagles called 16 plays total on that final drive. 12 were runs. Three were kneel-downs. The only pass attempt was on 3rd-and-7, their lone third-down conversion of the series.

Green Bay knew exactly what was coming, yet they were powerless to stop it. McCoy carried seven times for 41 yards. Bryce Brown ran twice for 11 more. Foles iced the game with a zone-read keeper for nine. Nine minutes and 32 seconds, gone, just like that.

This is the same club that’s ranked dead last in the NFL in time of possession this season. Even up to that point in the game, Philadelphia had only held the ball 16 minutes to the Packs’ 34. If their defense was tired, it was not for lack of rest.

No team strikes faster than the Eagles with an average scoring drive south of two minutes per Philly.com’s Jimmy Kempski. Some weeks, Chip has proven incapable of slowing down the pace to his own detriment. He slowed it down to a crawl on Sunday though, and his offense was still unstoppable.

He didn’t do anything special or tricky at all. It was one handoff after another, offensive linemen and tight ends pushing defenders out of holes, backs trusting their lanes, running with power and staying in bounds.

And this was without Jason Peters on the field, the All-Pro left tackle exiting the game earlier with a quad injury. This was against the NFL’s fifth-ranked run defense entering Week 10.

That is how good teams finish games. That is something we haven’t seen in Philadelphia since who knows when. It’s been years.

Afterwards, McCoy expanded on his offensive line’s performance. Per Reuben Frank for CSN:

“I think the offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage,” McCoy said. “The backs we have, you give us 1-on-1 opportunity with a linebacker, defensive end or a safety, nine times out of 10, we’re going to make them miss, and today that’s what’s happened.

“I think it’s one thing for a back to be confident to run the ball, it’s another when the guys up front want to run the ball even more than you do. It says a lot about the guys up front the way they played today.”

And left guard Evan Mathis, who is charting as the club’s best run blocker according to metrics by Pro Football Focus:

“As far as a football game goes, you don’t usually have more fun than that,” guard Evan Mathis said.

“You’re ahead, which is good, and then to go out there with nine-plus minutes on the clock and be able to run the ball effectively and be able to completely control the clock, get first downs, it’s a great feeling.

“We take a lot of pride in being able to do that. It’s comforting knowing that you’re able to do that.”

It doesn’t get much better than knowing if the game is on the line and all the offense needs is a first down to put it away, they have the ability to lean forward and take it. At its nuts and bolts, football is still and will always be about dominating up front.

Did the Eagles have the Packers defeated before they went on that march? Probably, but why let them go out shooting? Good teams quietly smother opponents and go into their victory formation.

The Eagles just took a huge step toward becoming one of those good teams.

  1. dubeedubeedu - Nov 11, 2013 at 9:15 PM

    There appears to be a shortage of postings when the Eagles are doing well yet and an over abundance when they are having difficulties. I suppose misery loves company and if you don’t allow yourself to care you can’t have your heart broken but come on! This was perhaps the best time eating drive to end a game since the Steve Van Buren days and no body out there comments on a posting that’s 8 hrs old. Sorry ass bunch of whiny beeotches if you ask me. Well done birds.

    Reply
  2. Lol - Nov 12, 2013 at 8:36 AM

    It wasn’t as dominating but they ended the game in similar fashion against the Bucs. I’m sure it’s happened, but I don’t remember them eating up more than 4 minutes of clock to end the game at any point in the last 5 years.

    Reply
  3. djacc'stherapist - Nov 12, 2013 at 9:30 AM

    I was speaking with my Dad about this exact topic last night. My pops hasn’t missed an eagles game in like 20 years or something, and he was saying that he thinks this is the first time in 15 years that the Birds were able to ice a game like this with a dominant run game. I for one loved it. I can’t remember a drive like that myself, but to hear it coming from my Dad who tends to track this sort of stuff for fun, made me appreciate it even more.

    Reply
    • Andrew - Nov 12, 2013 at 2:47 PM

      For the record, DJacc is not the rapist.

      Reply
  4. brandonphilly - Nov 13, 2013 at 5:30 AM

    Nice article Kulper. Couldn’t agree more. It was awesome to watch.

    Reply

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