Breaking Down the Eagles First Drive

I finally got a chance to really work with the All-22 coaches tape everyone's been clamoring about, and many folks have put to great use. I charted the Eagles first two drives of the Baltimore game, drawing up the routes and schemes the Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg used to mostly great effect. Aside from the final play, I skipped the run downs. See it all below.

1. First play of the game, the Eagles keep seven players in to block and only run three pass routes. Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson (top) each go deep, but they're more distractions than anything. The Ravens surely focused all week on preventing the big play, and Reid wants to exploit that right away. The four defensive backs marked with yellow Xs are all focused on keeping Maclin and Jackson from doing anything. That clears out space for Brent Celek to run a crossing route across the middle. With the weakside linebacker blitzing, the Ravens have only the MIKE to cover the middle of the field. Eyes in the backfield, presumably in case Michael Vick scrambles, he loses track of Celek. Easy pitch and catch for the first down.

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2. Similar play in effect. Macline clears out two players with a deep route, and Jason Avant, who motions pre-snap, attracts two linebackers to him in the flat. The Ravens, stuck in zone coverage, strand two defensive backs on the other side of the field. Jackson, who lines up in the slot, gets a mismatch on a linebacker. Another easy first down completion.

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3. Run to LeSean McCoy. 2 yard gain.

4. Bubble screen to DeSean. I think they're trying to take advantage of the deep safety (20+ yards away) and what they think is a blitzing slot corner (marked in blue). When he doesn't blitz, DeSean has nowhere to go.

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5. Ravens threaten blitz here and put eight guys in the box, but they only rush three and drop rest back into coverage. Vick rifles ball to Avant, who sits down in hole in the zone. First down. If he needed, McCoy was available as a checkdown after he wasn't needed to block.

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6. Eagles run a play action fake to the right which draws linebackers (red Xs) to right. Celek scrapes across and out the other side, which is open after Maclin runs decoy deep route (again). Beats linebackers, but Ed Reed (blue) diagnoses the play extraordinarily quickly and keeps Celek to 5 yard gain.

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7. Run to Damaris Johnson. First down.

8. Run to Stanley Havili. 1 yard.

9. Eagles go five wide with two tight ends. Vick first looks left to Maclin and Avant, but both are covered. He then turns to Celek in middle, but help from that dropping linebacker means he's not open either. Vick doesn't have time to look to his right for Clay Harbor or Jackson, as he's immediately flushed from the pocket  after King Dunlap can't sustain his block. Should have run out of bounds or thrown it away, but Vick was picked when he tried to force it to Harbor.

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1. Back after the Trent Cole strip-sack: run to LeSean McCoy, no gain.

2. Run to McCoy, big gain. Dunlap called for holding.

3. Run to McCoy, no gain. Ray Lewis reads it.

4. At the bottom, Desean a runs deep post, while Celek runs an out route right at the safety. With Harbor's short route in the flat drawing two defenders, both have single coverage. 19 yards to Celek.

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5. 4th and 1 run to McCoy.

6. 1st down run to Brown.

7. Eagles bring Avant in motion designed to get Jackson on-one-one in the slot against a safety or linebacker. Instead, the slot corner follows Avant over, blankets Jackson. Ravens bring eight on blitz, get to Vick. Roughing the passer called, though.

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8. Here's the McCoy TD run. It's a really odd blocking scheme. On the left, Dunlap, Harbor, and Havili block as if it's a stretch to that side. On the right, everyone but extra tackle Demetress Bell blocks in the opposite direction. That leaves two Ravens defenders (red) in the middle where the hole should be. Evan Mathis lets BOTH go to engage the second level. How do the Eagles plan to block them? For the lineman on the left, they simply freeze him with Havili's motion to the left. The other one breaks through the line when Bell doesn't get there in time. Luckily, he's more focused on putting a hit on Vick than stopping McCoy.

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