Don’t blame Doug Pederson’s play calling for loss

Eliot Shorr-Parks
December 02, 2019 - 9:13 am
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Coming off of the Eagles’ loss to the Miami Dolphins, there is a set of fans that are frustrated with Doug Pederson calling too many passing plays late in the game — and at least one analyst does as well. 

Pederson was asked about his play calling on Monday morning during an appearance on the WIP Morning Show:

"I think I threw the ball the last 10 times because it was kind of a hurry up, because we needed to get us in position down two scores. So if you take those out there, you're at say 36 attempts and all of that. We were moving the ball. It wasn't from the lack of not moving the football. We had success in the run game, we had success in the passing game. Again, we just failed to execute in certain situations that we've got to do better in."

The 46 passes to 19 runs looks alarming on paper, especially against a bad Dolphins’ run defense. The truth is, however, that Pederson really only went pass-heavy on one drive, and the Eagles would have avoided a loss if the players did a better job executing the plays on both offense and defense. Also, the Dolphins’ defense is terrible all around and was fielding a secondary compromised of mostly backups, so blaming Pederson for trusting his franchise quarterback and top receivers to move the ball through the air wasn’t asking a whole lot. 

Here is a look at six drives on offense in the middle of the game where the game slipped away. It starts with the drive that has them getting the ball up 14-13. It ends with the drive that starts with them getting the ball down 9 points. 

Drive with Miami winning 14-13:

8-4 pass/run, drive ended in TD, 4:34 killed off clock

Successful Drive

Drive at beginning of 3rd quarter:

4-3pass/run, drive ended in a TD, 3:16 killed off clock

Successful Drive 

Drive when winning 28-20: 

5-2 pass/run, ended in missed FG, 2:59 killed off clock 

Could argue maybe one more run, but should have ended in points if kick is made

Drive when up 28-26:

5-1 pass/run, ended in a punt, killed about 2 minutes 

Definitely should have ran more, especially with defense struggling 

After that, trailing 34-28

Is 1-1 pass/run, then on 3rd-and-4 there is an incomplete pass, have to punt…Kills 2 mins 

Can’t really blame him for throwing on 3rd-and-4

Next drive, they are down 9 points -- Have to throw 

Of final six drive, really only went run heavy once and at most in two of those drives did Pederson maybe call too many pass plays. 

Pederson always deserves some blame in a loss, especially a loss where the team went in as heavy favorites. 

The idea that they lost because Pederson called too many passing plays, however, simply isn’t true. 

The Eagles lost for the same reason they find themselves at 5-7 — the players simply have not been good enough. 

You can listen to the full interview below.