Eagles offense maximizes limited time on field

Eric Goska
For Press-Gazette Media
View Comments

You and a partner both pay half the cost for a piece of land. After the paperwork is signed, you discover your partner will get use of the property seven months to your five.

Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk (50) dives while attempting to tackle Eagles running back LeSean McCoy (25) in the third quarter of last year’s game at Lambeau Field.

Do you call a lawyer?

The Philadelphia Eagles share small parcels of land with other NFL teams. Since 2013, their offense has taken a 45-55 split that favors the competition.

The Eagles have not sought legal counsel.

Over the last year and a half, no team has had the ball for fewer minutes than Philadelphia, Green Bay's opponent Sunday. The Eagles are the only team to average fewer than 27 minutes on the field in both 2013 and 2014.

It is quite possible they will join the Cleveland Browns of 1999-2000 as the only teams since 1981 to finish below 45 percent (less than 27 minutes) two years in a row. The Eagles don't care about getting shortchanged.

Philadelphia has had the ball for fewer than 30 minutes 17 times in 25 regular-season games under head coach Chip Kelly. Only the Browns (19) and Jaguars (18) have been more deprived.

Since 2013, Philadelphia has held the ball for less than 27 minutes 14 times. Jacksonville (10) is next in line.

Nine times have the Eagles possessed it for less than 24 minutes. The Vikings (7) are the only other team with more than five.

Philadelphia has not once held the ball for even 33 minutes in any game these past two seasons. They alone can make that claim.

Teams that exhibit passive possessive behavior tend to gain fewer yards, score fewer points and win fewer games. Since 1981, 25 of the 29 teams that averaged less than 27 minutes of possession wound up with losing records.

Some, like the winless Lions of 2007 or the 1989 Cowboys (1-15), finished with the worst record in football.

The notable exception: the 1991 Buffalo Bills. Quarterback Jim Kelly directed a no-huddle attack that produced 6,252 yards, 458 points and 13 wins.

That yardage remained the record for the sub-27 crowd until the 2013 Eagles. Last year, quarterback Nick Foles, receiver DeSean Jackson and others produced 6,676 yards, 442 points and 10 victories.

Foles, of course, is out with a broken collarbone. His replacement, Mark Sanchez, guided the team to 365 yards in a 45-21 win over the Panthers Monday night, a contest in which the Eagles had the ball for 21:55.

Kelly's offense makes the most of its opportunities and does so with blazing straight-line speed. Since 2013, the Eagles have easily outperformed the rest of the league in manufacturing points (26.4 to 18.2) and yards (396 to 289) in sub-27 games. They same is true for sub-24 games (25.7 to 17.5 and 386 to 276).

Last November in Oakland, Philadelphia piled up 542 yards (9.5 per play) in routing the Raiders 49-20. They held the ball for all of 22:06.

Three of their seven TD drives that day lasted less than a minute. The yardage and points they amassed were the most in any of the 182 sub-27 game played these past two seasons.

Performances like that helped the Eagles to a NFL-best 6.3 yards per play last season. This year they are 10th at 5.7.

Their passing game is a major reason they rank so high. Philadelphia's 13.4 yards per completion is the best since 2013. The second-place 49ers (12.7) are more than a half-yard behind.

Green Bay ought to know. The Eagles' 12 completions last season were the fewest by any opponent against the Packers. But the 19 yards Philadelphia averaged with each catch was the highest against Green Bay since 2010.


Overall: Green Bay leads 24-14

At Lambeau Field: Green Bay leads 8-5


Packers: Aaron Rodgers (64-32 overall; 1-0 vs. Philadelphia)

Eagles: Mark Sanchez (34-29; 0-1 vs. Green Bay)




G/T Allen Barbre (injured reserve) from 2007-09.

View Comments