Eagles Defense All-22 Film Review: Takeaways from the Bears game

Justin Fields made some pretty ridiculous outside of structure plays for the Bears, but I thought this was another excellent game by Jonathan Gannon and this Eagles defense.

Defense

The EPA numbers show that this was another good defensive performance. The Bears came into this game as the number 1 running offense in the league and the Eagles were really good at stopping the run, except for one huge scramble from Justin Fields. The pass defense numbers would also look better if not for one huge outside of structure touchdown throw which we will get to later.

Pass Defense

I feel like I give him a shoutout every week, but the all22 really shows how big of a play this was by Milton Williams because there was a lot of open space in front of the receiver. There are not many defensive tackles who have the athleticism to make this play.

I don’t want to be critical at all because I really don’t know if he is healthy, but when Jordan Davis was in the game as a 3 technique and the Bears threw the ball, he was pretty pointless out there. He really cannot rush the quarterback and he gets stonewalled here. As always, James Bradberry and Darius Slay were really good in this game and the Eagles’ secondary didn’t make things easy for Justin Fields out there.

The way the Eagles’ defense played Justin Fields was interesting. They didn’t have a spy that often, but they did occasionally have one on 3rd down. Interestingly, the spy was usually Avonte Maddox or Marcus Epps as you can see here. Hargrave and Josh Sweat have started to become really good at these running stunts when rushing the quarterback and they had a few really big rushes on stunts in this game.

When the Bears went to 12 personnel, the Eagles matched with their version of base defense which is the 5-2 front with 4 defensive backs. When they played 5-2, Avonte Maddox became the deep safety which makes a lot of sense as you don’t want him on the sideline while K’Von Wallace is on the field (although, Wallace had a good game). For some reason, the Bears decided to throw it on 3rd and 1 and Hargrave said thank you very much. Compare Hargrave’s rush against the left guard to Jordan Davis’ from earlier, and you can see why Davis is not playing many snaps currently.

Reddick was phenomenal in this game but it’s a shame he couldn’t wrap up Justin Fields on this play because he’s pretty hard to tackle…

In the last 3 weeks. Haason Reddick has been playing out of his mind. I really can’t believe just how good he has been. He caused havoc all game and seems to get pressure on nearly every 3rd down at the moment. He had a couple of elite pass rushes in this game and the Bears left tackle really couldn’t handle him. I didn’t even post the sack of him beating the tight end because that felt like cheating.

The Eagles’ defense had a few interesting looks on 3rd down this week. This play is pretty cool, with Marcus Epps coming down as the QB spy. As the Eagles are in dime (6 defensive backs), they play single-high man coverage and Josiah Scott gets beat pretty badly in the slot. Luckily for Scott, Hargrave and Sweat have another one of those stunts which the Bears’ offensive line couldn’t handle and Hargrave gets another sack. This Eagles’ 3rd down pass rush is just so nasty right now.

Of all the times for Jonathan Gannon to send a blitz, I have no idea why he did it here and with 7 pass rushers. I assume that someone made a mistake here because I can’t believe the plan was to rush 7 against a 3×1 set. A conspiracy theorist may wonder if Gannon did this so fans won’t complain when he doesn’t blitz in the future!

The Eagles’ defense hates giving up big plays, but all coverage will break down when a quarterback is able to extend the play for this long. Slay does turn around but obviously doesn’t see the Bears receiver and he ends up making a mental error here. This will happen against quarterbacks like Justin Fields at times though and I don’t think it’s anything to panic about!

Run Defense

The Eagles used a lot of 5-man fronts in this game and prioritized stopping the run as they have in recent weeks. I have already mentioned Reddick, but I had to include this play. There are not many edge defenders who are athletic enough to play the quarterback and then still make the tackle on the running back once the ball is handed off.

It’s been a while since I got to sing his praises, but Avonte Maddox was fantastic in this game. He did everything well in this game no matter what he was asked to do. He played QB spy, nickel corner, and safety and never looked out of place. The Eagles never play 3 linebackers which means the slot cornerback will need to help out in run defense and Maddox does it so well despite his size. He is so physical and can make plays in the box like this one.

How many slot cornerbacks can play safety and come downhill and do this? I’ve missed Avonte Maddox this season and I really do think he is fantastic.

The Eagles’ defense wasn’t perfect, but they continue to play very well and I’m looking forward to watching them against this Cowboys’ offense this weekend.

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