Inside the numbers: The Pundit seeks insight into this Eagles’ season

Combined Record of teams in Eagles’ Wins: 57-63

Combined Record of Teams in Eagles’ Losses: 55-34

Combined Record of Teams in Eagles’ Ties: 3-11-1

Analysis: Well, for the most part, the Eagles win the games they are supposed to. With the exception, of course, of the horrid tie against the Bengals. Because that was sickening. And they have three marquee victories against the Giants, Steelers and Falcons. But the two losses against the Redskins, their loss against the Bears, and the tie against the Bengals, games that playoff teams would have won, will likely cost them. The combined record of the Redskins, Bears and Bengals? 19-24-1. If the Eagles beat the Bengals and win at least one against the Redskins or Bears, they are 10-5 right now, and would at least control their own playoff destiny.

Average Margin of Victory: 18

Average Margin of Defeat: 9.1

Analysis: The average margin of defeat shrinks to 6.5 if you eliminate the Baltimore game, when Donovan McNabb was benched with the Eagles trailing by a whopping three points. Put simply, in games decided by a touchdown or less, the Eagles are 1-5-1. You could say that the Falcons game actually was closer than the 13 point difference, but you would then have to concede that the Giants victory was not as close as the six point differential. We couldn’t win the close ones, plain and simple. We couldn’t get that one yard; we didn’t manage the clock properly; we didn’t take advantage of opportunities earlier in the game. 1-5-1 in games decided by a touchdown or less! The brass will probably spin this at the end of the year, citing how close this team is to turning it around. Losers will spin – winners just win.

Jeffrey Lurie, Andy Reid, Joe Banner, Marty Morningwheg, Donovan McNabb

Pictured: Jeffrey Lurie, Andy Reid, Joe Banner, Marty Morningwheg, Donovan McNabb

Average Time of Possession in Games Won: 34:34

Average Time of Possession in Games Lost: 26:43

Time of Possession in Game Tied: 33:16 (as opposed to 41:44 for the Bengals, including the overtime)

Average Rushing Yards in Games Won: 124.9

Average Rushing Yards in Games Lost: 82.2

Rushing Yards in Game Tied: 68 (in 75 friggin’ minutes!)

Percentage of Running Plays in Games Won: 45.1%

Percentage of Running Plays in Games Lost: 33.6 %

Percentage of Running Plays in Game Tied: 23.1%

Analysis: I mean, this speaks for itself, doesn’t it? Let’s analyze the Eagles this year against teams with winning records. In those games, the Eagles are 4-6. In those four wins, running plays accounted for 48.2% of the offense, and their average time of possession was 34:53. In their six losses against teams with winning records, running plays accounted for 33.6% of the offense, and their average time of possession was 26:59. Moral of the story? Go ahead, be pass-happy against mediocre competition. But if you want to win against the big boys, you better control the clock. And the way to do that? Hmmm…by running the EFFING FOOTBALL!

A Few More Fun Tidbits: In the week five loss to the Redskins, the Eagles ran 47 plays. And the Redskins ran 75! In the week 10 loss to the Giants, the Eagles time of possession was absurd – only 20:50. Against the Bengals, in five quarters, the Eagles ran the ball 18 times. The only time in a regular four-quarter game the Eagles ran less was the 16 times they ran the ball this week against the Redskins. In our week eight victory over the Falcons, the Eagles ran for 192 yards. In the week 13 victory over the Cardinals, the Eagles ran for 185 yards, had literal balance in the play calling (40 runs, 40 passes), and held the ball for 39:33. In the week 14 win over the Giants, the Eagles ran the ball 42 times and passed 30, with a 34:54 time of possession. That’s right, folks, they actually ran more than they threw. 12 more times, even. And they won! (Sigh)

Final Analysis: I mean, it’s obvious, right? Clearly, Andy Reid’s pass-happy approach simply isn’t cutting it any longer. Let’s list the top ten rushing teams this season: Giants, Ravens, Vikings, Panthers, Falcons, Titans, Patriots, Redskins, Jets, Raiders. Combined Record: 96-54. Now let’s list the top ten passing teams this season: Saints, Cardinals, Broncos, Texans, Colts, Eagles, Cowboys, Chargers, Patriots, Dolphins. Combined Record: 86-63-1. And take away the lowly Raiders off of that list, and the top nine rushing teams are 92-43. That’s pretty damn good.

Now, of course, a lot more goes into play – defense, special teams, an adequate passing attack, etc. But eight of the top nine teams in rushing all have a legitimate shot at making the playoffs. That says something to me.

Does it say anything to you, Mr. Reid? Probably not. You would probably answer that, in the immoral words of Ben Folds, “And that’s why my philosophy / It keeps me walking when I’m falling down.”

"Give me my money back, you ..." Well, we'll just cut it off there.

Ben Folds has some other lyrics, too. Here's what I heard some season-ticket holders singing: "Give me my money back, you ..." Well, we'll just cut it off there.

Well, you’re falling, Andy. And getting close to failing, too. Sure, I get it – we all go back to what we know. And if it keeps you walking when you’re falling down, well, just know that it may walk you right out of town.

And all you had to do was run…

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9 Comments

Filed under Eagles, NFL

9 responses to “Inside the numbers: The Pundit seeks insight into this Eagles’ season

  1. Nice breakdown. I suspect we’ll see a lot of obituaries to the 2008 Eagles in the next 7-10 days. Look forward to reading yours.

  2. Guess this functions as the beginning of the Obit, then.

  3. Joe

    This post ignores the fact that stats lie.

    Eagles lose close games… Teams with winning records do lose close games, its because above average teams are less likely to get blown out.

    Teams with good records have more running attempts and running yards…. When your up you don’t pass the ball.

    Bad teams have more passing yards…. When your down you have to pass the ball.

    I know its not as simple as what I have described. And sure it would be nice if the Eagles could get the running game going strong. But I don’t need a bunch of misleading stats to tell me that.

    I guess I take it kind of personally when people rip on Andy Reid, “passes too much!”… There will always be something to rip on a coach for. But how many other coaches have given their team a chance in the post season as Andy Reid has?

    Heres a link to pics of Andy Reid over the years for old times sake.

    http://www.philly.com/philly/photos/sports_photos/Andy_Reids_Career.html#photo

  4. Joe

    On another note… That Joe Pa guy is a real asshole.

  5. Stats are good for determining trends. They don’t lie, though, but football is the ultimate anti-statistical sport, at least from a fan’s standpoint. Football will never have a large sabremetric-ish movement. Too often, the focus is on the end result, but not how that end result was achieved.

  6. pattisonpundit

    “Eagles lose close games… Teams with winning records do lose close games, its because above average teams are less likely to get blown out.”

    In games decided by a touchdown or less:
    Falcons: 5-2
    Dolphins: 6-2
    Patriots: 3-2
    Bucs: 4-4
    Eagles: 1-5-1 (Hmmmm…)

    “Teams with good records have more running attempts and running yards…. When your up you don’t pass the ball.
    Bad teams have more passing yards…. When your down you have to pass the ball.”

    Obviously. So your argument is that teams with high rushing totals have them because they have more attempts to run the ball. So, they wouldn’t necessarily rank high in yards per carry, a measure of rushing efficiency, right?
    Yards per carry:
    1. Giants – 5.0 ypg
    3. (tied) Jets – 4.8 ypg
    3. (tied) Panthers -4.8 ypg
    6. (tied) Vikings – 4.5 ypg
    6. (tied) Patriots – 4.5 ypg
    8. Redskins 4.4 ypg
    9. (tied) Titans 4.3 ypg
    All of these teams are in the top ten in total rushing yards this year. Six of these seven teams are either in, or are still eligible for the playoffs, and have legitimate shots of making it.

    As for the JoePa comment: that whole situation was ridiculous. He won two National Championships (and had three other undefeated seasons, including 1994, when they were better than damn Nebraska) , and has more wins than any other Division IA coach in history. He has had five losing seasons in 43 seasons! He has taken Penn State to 35 bowl games. He should have never been questioned.
    Ever.
    Andy Reid is not comparable to Joe Paterno. Plus, he’s never won the Super Bowl, and will likely miss the playoffs now for the third time in four years. He is not beyond criticism. He is not beyond the speculation of change.

    Joe Paterno is a Sports icon. Andy Reid was a winning NFL coach.

  7. Not sure how one gets off calling Joe Paterno an ‘asshole’? There aren’t a whole lot more class acts out there than JoePa. He has earned, yes, earned the right to dictate when he is finished and when he isn’t. Andy doesn’t quite get to write his own ticket just yet. I wish he could, because that would have made the Eagles at least 2-time champs.

    • pattisonpundit

      Oh, and I don’t think stats are the end-all for evaluating a football team. They can be misleading and convenient. In this case, however, I think they are valuable. Andy Reid thinks that passing the ball is more efficient than running it – but when the Eagles have won, they’ve had a balanced attack, and the stats back that up.

  8. Joe

    Nicely done… And you know I was just being facetious with that Joe Pa comment.

    Merry Christmass!

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