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Week 4 Game Recap: Philadelphia Eagles 34, Green Bay Packers 27


What you need to know

Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles run game was the focal point, controlling the game at the line of scrimmage on offense for most of the critical road win. Carson Wentz missed a handful of throws but was sharp on intermediate throws, especially in the red zone. While Miles Sanders flashed with a long kickoff return and splash offensive plays, Jordan Howard was the sustaining element of the Eagles offense, winning against contact and seeing the bulk of the red zone work. DeSean Jackson remained out of the lineup this week, but Alshon Jeffery’s return was a key boost to the passing game struggling in previous weeks.

Green Bay Packers

The Green Bay Packers lost to the Philadelphia Eagles 34-27 to drop their record to 3-1 on the season. Aaron Rodgers completed 34 of 53 passes for 422 yards and two touchdowns with on interception. Rodgers also rushed five times for 46 yards. Aaron Jones rushed 13 times for 21 yards and a touchdown. Jamaal Williams was injured on his only reception of the game, which went for zero yards. Davante Adams got back on track, catching 10 passes for 180 yards and Marquez Valdes-Scalding caught three passes for 47 yards. Geronimo Allison caught three passes for 52 yards and a touchdown. Tight end Jimmy Graham caught six passes for 61 yards and a touchdown.

Philadelphia Eagles

QB Carson Wentz, 62 offensive snaps, Pass: 16 - 27 - 160 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 6 - 13 - 0
Wentz played a clean game of no turnovers in the road win over the Packers. The Eagles offense won in the trenches with an outstanding run game resulting in Wentz’s role being more of a game manager than an overt playmaker. Wentz’s best throws came on slant routes and in the red zone, namely to Dallas Goedert and Alshon Jeffery. Also, Wentz added two third-down sneak conversions as a runner. Wentz’s missed connections included two early throws to Nelson Agholor and Zach Ertz, both high of the mark, and a wide-open Alshon Jeffery on a key mid-fourth quarter third-down play which could have prevented the Packers from getting a final drive to attempt to tie the game.

RB Jordan Howard, 33 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 87 - 2, Rec: 3 - 28 - 1 (4 targets)
While Miles Sanders has been the buzz player in the opening weeks to see more touches in the Eagles backfield, Week 4 saw Howard the impact player and a key element to the team’s road win over the Packers. The Eagles offensive line was arguably the MVP of the game, controlling the Packers front on most rushing attempts, but Howard did his part especially against contact. Howard’s two touchdowns came from short range, both of which he got the team down to the goal line with impressive runs. Howard also added a split-out screen reception and then a wheel route touchdown where he was lost by the Packers coverage. Howard took a big hit on a swing route target in the mid-fourth and was slow to the sidelines. Howard’s 18 touches were by far a season high.

RB Miles Sanders, 22 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 72 - 0
Sanders was a secondary headliner of the Eagles backfield compared to Jordan Howard against the Eagles. However, Sanders ignited the Eagles from a 10-point early deficit with a long kickoff return into Packers territory. Sanders exhibited strong cuts on numerous occasions with smooth acceleration and the ability to throttle down when needed. Sanders exploited a huge hole for 30 yards on his biggest run of the game and greatly benefitted, as did Jordan Howard, from a dominant performance by the Eagles offensive line. With Darren Sproles barely seeing the field, it was a firm committee between Sanders and Howard against the Packers.

WR Alshon Jeffery, 50 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 38 - 1 (9 targets)
Jeffery returned to the Eagles lineup against the Packers with DeSean Jackson still notably out with injury. Jeffery did not see a target until the second quarter but led the team with 33% of the targets for the game overall. Jeffery had an up-and-down game in his return and the connection with Carson Wentz was hit-and-miss. Jeffery dropped a slant after a wide-open touchdown on the same route earlier in the first half. Jeffery also had two contested targets tipped away by defenders. With a chance to ice the game in the closing minutes, a third-down out route by Jeffery was missed due to an inaccurate Carson Wentz throw.

TE Zach Ertz, 47 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 65 - 0 (8 targets)
Ertz was held out of the end zone for the fourth straight game to begin the season, now spanning 24 receptions without a score. Ertz collected a sturdy eight targets, second to Alshon Jeffery, who returned from injury against the Packers. Out routes were the most common completion for Ertz, one on third down and another producing a chunk play featuring yards after the catch. Ertz’s lone missed opportunity came on a difficult high throw in a contested situation on an early-game third down.

TE Dallas Goedert, 43 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 16 - 1 (3 targets)
Goedert has had a minimal role in the Eagles offense through four games, but Goedert was back to full health against the Packers and converted his two key receptions. One was a red zone screen for 10+ yards. Another was Goedert winning as a split-out receiver against a defensive back on a slant route with ease for a goal-line touchdown. While the targets have been minimal to-date, Goedert’s ability to create mismatches and be a red zone weapon were prevalent this week.


Green Bay Packers

QB Aaron Rodgers, 81 offensive snaps, Pass: 34 - 53 - 422 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 5 - 46 - 0
Aaron Rodgers completed 34 of 53 passes for 422 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. Rodgers also led the Packers in rushing yards, gaining 46 yards on five carries. It was not the most efficient game given the standards that Rodgers has created for himself, but it was the second most attempts, completions and yards for Rodgers over the last three seasons. Rodgers could have had an even bigger game, but he was robbed of a touchdown when a 58 yard catch and run by Adams was stopped on a diving tackle at the Eagles seven yard line. That extra touchdown would have really made Rodgers fantasy stats look good, but it was nice to see that Rodgers can still put up numbers when the chance at a shootout presents itself. Rodgers first touchdown pass came with the Packers facing a second and 10 from the Eagles 19 yard line. Rodgers took the snap under center and dropped back facing zone coverage by the Eagles. Rodgers looked as though he was going to take off and run, which froze an Eagles defender that was dropping back to the goal line in the middle of the field. As soon as that defender started to move towards him, Rodgers threw a pass on the run to Allison that was perfectly on target. The manipulation of that one defender by Rodgers was artistic, as had he stayed in the pocket, Rodgers would not have had the right angle to throw to Allison, and he would have had a tough time throwing a pass that would have had to go over the shallow defender to Allison, but under the Eagles defenders that were behind his receiver. Rodgers second touchdown pass of the night came with the Packers facing a second and 10 from the Eagles 14 yard line. Rodgers took the snap out of the shotgun and after his drop back was faced with a pocket that was collapsing, as well as an Eagles defender that was running unimpeded through the line. Rodgers took off to the right and then immediately threw on the run. He led tight end Jimmy Graham perfectly, as Graham had started on the inside right slot position and then run a shallow out pattern directly to the sideline. When Graham saw his defender taking a terrible angle towards him he broke up-field, which allowed Rodgers to lead him to the end zone for an easy touchdown catch. While neither of these touchdowns looked terribly difficult, Rodgers was able to create the edge that made the plays look easy. Rodgers only interception came on the last offensive play of the game for the Packers. Rodgers threw a slant to the inside right slot receiver (Valdes-Scalding), but the ball bounced off of Valdes-Scalding’s hand and was intercepted in the red zone. I question whether the ball should have been thrown to Davante Adams, however we will revisit that later in this column.

RB Aaron Jones, 68 offensive snaps, Rush: 13 - 21 - 1, Rec: 6 - 37 - 0 (7 targets)
Aaron Jones rushed 13 times for 21 yards and one touchdown and caught six passes for 37 yards on seven targets. Over the past two games, Jones has rushed 23 times for 40 yards, which has been a result of the Packers lack of rushing him in advantageous situations like second or third and short. It was kind of like watching the same play over and over again as Jones was given nine carries on first down that went for 11 total yards. The Eagles defensive line played very well and consistently stopped Jones at or behind the line of scrimmage. The silver lining in Jones production has been his touchdown output, as he’s scored four times over the past three weeks. Jamaal Williams was injured on the first play of the game and Dexter Williams was inactive, so it will be interesting to see if Jones continues to see so much work in the backfield, or if Matt LaFleur will spell him. Jones did contribute six catches for 37 yards, which really saved his day from a fantasy perspective, but he was not much of a factor throughout the game. After averaging 5.5 yards per carry on 192 rushes in his first two seasons, Jones is averaging 3.3 yards per carry on 59 rushes this season. LaFleur brought a track record of having productive running backs under his tutelage, but if he keeps up with the vanilla play calling, Jones’ impressive talent won’t matter much against defenses who can easily scheme to stop him.

RB Jamaal Williams, 1 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 0 - 0 (1 targets)
Jamaal Williams caught one pass for zero yards after being injured on the first play from scrimmage for the Packers. Williams was hit with a nasty helmet to helmet tackle that resulted in him being carted off the field. He posted to social media that he was released from the hospital and has avoided serious injury, but the third year back will still miss some games while the Packers keep a close eye on his recovery. Dexter Williams will be the next man up but will need to adjust quickly after the Packers made him inactive for non-injury related reasons this past week.

WR Davante Adams, 57 offensive snaps, Rec: 10 - 180 - 0 (15 targets)
Davante Adams caught 10 passes for 180 yards on 15 targets in the Packers loss to the Eagles. From the catches to the yards to the targets, this was the type of production that we expected from Adams when he was touted as a first round pick this year, and a player many expected to be the #1 wide receiver comes years end. Adams really could have put an exclamation point on this performance with a touchdown, but he was caught on the back of the leg on a desperation tackle during a 58 yard catch and run. The play was a simple go-route where Rodgers threw the ball out in front of Adams and he was able to run right by his defender and not be touched until he went down at the Eagle seven yard line. Adams also had a 40 yard catch, and was able to draw three pass interference penalties against the Eagles secondary. The majority of Adams catches were in the short and intermediate passing game, where he excels by creating separation through his strength and route-running chops. While Adams had a monster game and that is what we should be talking about, I find myself talking more about the final play of the game where Adams should have been targeted instead of the tall but slight Valdes-Scalding. We are talking about the only wide receiver in the NFL with 10+ touchdowns in the last three seasons (37 total). Adams has yet to have a touchdown catch this season and was only targeted twice in the red zone over the first three weeks. He did have four red zone targets against the Eagles and did not score, however I would rather play the numbers and think Adams would be successful than point to that as a reason not to target him on the most important play of the game. The play call was a slant to the outside receiver where you know the Eagles are going to be crowded across the goal line in the short field. Essentially, that is why you have Adams, and he has more than proven himself capable of making big plays when it matters most, especially on a night where he was feasting on the Eagles banged up secondary. The Packers have been committed to the running game but now find themselves with some real depth problems, so Adams could see even more targets as a possession receiver moving forward.

WR Geronimo Allison, 64 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 7 - 0, Rec: 3 - 52 - 1 (4 targets)
Geronimo Allison caught three passes for 52 yards and a touchdown on four targets in the Packers loss to the Eagles. Allison did a lot of his damage, including his touchdown catch, on the final drive of the first half with the Packers in hurry up mode. Allison’s touchdown catch came with the Packers facing a second and 10 from the Eagles 19 yard line. Rodgers took the snap under center and dropped back facing zone coverage with the Eagles linebackers dropping back into the intermediate passing zone. Rodgers looked as though he was going to take off and run, which froze an Eagles defender that was dropping back to the goal line in the middle of the field. As soon as that defender started to move towards him, Rodgers threw a pass on the run to Allison that was perfectly on target. Allison jumped up and made a routine catch that the Eagles had no chance of stopping. Through four games, Allison has eight catches on 11 targets for 77 yards and two touchdowns. The stats are not encouraging from a per game perspective, but Allison is catching a solid number of his targets and his two touchdown receptions are tied for most on the team.

WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling, 70 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 47 - 0 (7 targets)
Marquez Valdes-Scantling caught three passes for 47 yards on seven targets in the Packers loss to the Eagles. Valdes-Scalding failed to make much of an impact despite the fact that Rodgers threw the ball 53 times and the Eagles secondary was at less than full strength. Valdes-Scantling was called for offensive pass interference, a play that forced the Packers into a first and 20 situation from their own 14 yard line. It was also Valdes-Scantling who had the ball bounce off his hands and get intercepted on the Packers last offensive play of the game, where they were driving to tie the game up. Was it a catchable ball? Of course, Rodgers threw it. However, Valdes-Scantling is not wholly to blame, as the play-call was a slant where he and the outside receiver cross paths. The outside receiver—instead of crossing directly in front of Valdes-Scantling—crossed directly in his path, forcing him to cut back and then up the field into his slant pattern.

TE Jimmy Graham, 57 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 61 - 1 (9 targets)
Jimmy Graham caught six passes on seven targets for 61 yards and a touchdown in the Packers loss to the Eagles. After missing most of the last two weeks with an injury, Graham had his most productive game of the season, coming in behind only Adams in catches, yards and targets. Graham’s touchdown catch came with the Packers facing a second and 10 from the Eagles 14 yard line. Rodgers took the snap out of the shotgun and after his drop back was faced with a pocket that was collapsing as well as an Eagles defender flying through the line unblocked. Rodgers took off to the right and then immediately threw on the run. He led tight Graham perfectly, as Graham had started on the inside right slot position and then run a shallow out pattern directly to the sideline. Graham gets some credit for creating this play, as when he saw his defender taking a bad angle towards him he broke off his route and ran up-field, similar to how a wheel route would play out. This allowed Rodgers to lead him to the end zone for an easy touchdown catch. Much has been made about the lack of chemistry between Rodgers and Graham, which should have eased a bit after this play, but Graham did not do himself any favors when he was unable to come down with two redzone targets from the one yard line. One of those plays looked really bad for Graham, as he turned around as Rodgers was throwing him the ball and never had a chance to make the reception. It is the type of play that gives a tight end an easy touchdown, but that is assuming the quarterback and tight end are on the same page, which cannot be said for Graham and Rodgers at this juncture.