ReFo: Seahawks @ Eagles, Week 14
Lincoln Financial Field played host Sunday to an NFC battle with serious playoff implications. The Eagles started the day atop the East at 9-3 while the Seahawks came in a game back of the Cardinals in the West. A game that was billed as Chip Kelly’s offense vs. the Legion of Boom saw the vaunted Seattle defense shut down Kelly like he’s never been shut down before.
The final score of 24-14 doesn’t do justice to performance the Seahawks defense put together on Sunday. The Seahawks outgained the Eagles’ offense by over 300 yards (440 to 139). Maybe more impressive, though, is that the Seahawks ran 40 more offensive plays (85 to 45). Those 45 plays are 35 fewer than the Eagles season average for 2014. Let’s take a look at the performances that led to the lopsided result.
Seattle Seahawks – Performances of Note
Richard Sherman, CB: +1.6
Breakdown: Maxwell may have flashed more on the TV screen as he saw the bulk of the targets, but it was Sherman that turned in the utterly dominant performance. Two targets, zero catches. It’s nothing new, but Sherman just changes how teams approach the Seahawks in an appreciable way. The Eagles attempted just four passes outside the numbers to the right side (Sherman’s side), compared to eight in the middle of the field and eight to the left.
Signature Stat: His 19.2 coverage snaps per reception on the season is the best rate from a starting cornerback since 2010.
Michael Bennett, DE: +4.0
Breakdown: Performances like this are becoming less and less noteworthy and more commonplace for Bennett. Easily the most complete 4-3 defensive end in the league this season, Bennett made his presence felt against both the run and pass Sunday. A sack and two hurries to go along with three stops keyed the Seahawks defensive domination.
Signature Play: It’s easy to recall his sack on the first play of the fourth quarter, but what about the sack he won’t get credit for? A little later on with 6:20 left in the fourth quarter Bennett put the exact same swim move on Andrew Gardener, only this time Mark Sanchez had a just a little more room to maneuver as he avoided Bennett but wound up in the welcoming arms of Jordan Hill who had been completely stoned on his pass rush.
James Carpenter, LG: -3.5
Breakdown: The main culprit on an offensive line that got torn to shreds in the ground game. To the left side A and B gaps, Seahawk running backs carried the ball seven times for 10 yards with all 10 coming after contact. The left guard rarely, if ever, locked in with his hands and gained control of his blocks which is a must against two-gapping defensive linemen. As such, Fletcher Cox and company were able to shed whenever the ball carrier got near enough to make a play.
Signature Play: A great example of Carpenter getting shed came at 11:34 in the fourth quarter. On that play, a simple zone read, Carpenter is just looking to seal out Cox who is lined up at the 3-technique. It’s an easy block as the left guard in that situation already has the leverage and just needs to maintain it. From the snap, though, Cox makes initial contact and gets his left hand into Carpenter’s chest. Carpenter is left to grab the outside of Cox’s shoulder pad and the defensive end is then in complete control. Cox then saw Lynch’s aiming point and easily made his way back inside for the stop.
Philadelphia Eagles – Performances of Note
Lane Johnson, RT: -5.5
Breakdown: The Eagles’ offensive line has been criticized for much of the season as being the reason behind LeSean McCoy’s struggles. While that talk has been completely unfounded, it would finally be deserved for Sunday’s performance. The Eagles came away with their lowest team run blocking grade of the season (-5.7) and the right tackle was the main culprit. Philadelphia thought they had an advantage on the edge and kept going back to their pin-and-pull sweep play. Unfortunately Johnson kept failing to pin the end man on the line of scrimmage, essentially blowing up the whole play. Throw in five pressures in just 25 pass plays and it was a day to forget.
Signature Stat: The Eagles ran the ball six times off right tackle for a total of 7 yards.
Fletcher Cox, DE: +6.4
Breakdown: No signs of slowing down for Cox. The defensive end had a career day against the run with eight stops and 11 total tackles. The former first-round pick dictated the point of attack all day long outside of his two missed tackles. It was just an average day for Cox as a pass rusher, with three hurries in 38 pass rushes, but his run defense more than made up for it.
Signature Play: With 3:58 left in the second quarter the Seahawks ran a stretch play to the left. Cox was lined up as 1-technique in the play side A-gap. Lemuel Jeanpierre was tasked with reach blocking Cox to reopen up that gap, but straight from the snap Cox drove straight through Jeanpierre taking him 3 yards deep in the backfield before shedding and making the tackle for loss.
Mark Sanchez, QB: -1.4
Breakdown: The grade doesn’t quite reflect Sanchez’ complete inability to move the offense, as some of that can be attributed to three poorly timed drops and quick sacks, but the grade does reflect the fact that Sanchez played a significant role in the offensive meltdown Sunday. With the running game at an impasse, Sanchez was given the keys to the offense in the second half and the results were predictable. It wasn’t inaccuracy as much as it was not being able to find open receivers. Of his 10 incompletions, only three were the result off off-target throws.
Signature Stat: On 10 pressured drop-backs, Sanchez went 2-6 for 16 yards with an interception and three sacks.
PFF Game Ball
There were multiple worthy candidates, but Michael Bennett made a considerable impact against both the run and pass and is deserving of this gameball.
Follow Mike on Twitter: @PFF_MikeRenner