The Philadelphia Eagles are finally enjoying their bye week. It comes at a pretty convenient time for the players and fans. For the guys on the roster, this follows a divisional win, and this is an opportunity for guys who got dinged up to heal. For those of us who cheer them on, this is a nice opportunity to look back at what we’ve witnessed over the past couple of months.
This 2023 regular season has given us much to discuss. Some of it has been good. Think A.J. Brown's streak and timely plays by the pass rush. Other things have been consistently bad, like Philly's inability to cover opposing tight ends.
Sometimes, we have been treated to the switcheroo which brings us to another conversation about red zone offense.
In 2023, the Eagles have converted 55.5% of their red zone opportunities into touchdowns. Here's a look at what they've done to this point of the season.
It looks like something changed after the Week 6 loss to the New York Jets, right? Philly scored the same number of touchdowns in the red zone during the last three weeks that they scored in the first six weeks of action. They also bolstered their conversion percentage.
Altering a few numbers led us to an idea. Maybe the Eagles' weren't the horrific red zone team that we accused them of being early.
From Week 1 through Week 6, the Birds converted just 45.4% of their red zone trips into touchdowns (10 touchdowns on 22 attempts). From Week 7 through Week 9 they converted a staggering 71.4% of red zone trips into touchdowns (10 touchdowns on 14 attempts).
And, that’s just looking at things from a surface level. It’s always important to note that, if the Eagles have a clock-killing and game-clinching drive that ends in the red zone, that still counts as a red zone opportunity, even if we know the offense had no intentions of trying to score.
In the first six games, that happened twice, once versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 3 and again versus the Los Angeles Rams in Week 4. During the past three games, that’s happened once (versus the Miami Dolphins in Week 7.
Had we thrown those instances out, the numbers would have improved. Their red zone conversion percentage would then climb to 50% in Weeks 1 through 6 (10 TDs/ 20 Att.) and 76.9% in Weeks 7 through 9 (10 TDs/ 13 Att.). That’s a total of 60.6%.
That’s a more realistic representation of what we’re seeing with this Eagles offense. Do you want to get weirder with it? We can get weirder with it. Let’s get weirder with it.
Fumble luck is a very real thing. A football is very bizarrely shaped and when it bounces, it can go in pretty much any direction. Let’s get jiggy and take the red zone fumbles out of the equation.
In Week 4, Kenny Gainwell fumbled on the 16-yard line, and that forced the Eagles' to kick a field goal. In Week 8, Philly's offense was responsible for two blunders inside the opponent's five-yard line. Gainwell fumbled on the three-yard line and Jalen Hurts fumbled at the one-yard line during a Brotherly Shove attempt.
Throw those two plays out, and our ‘Let’s get weird with it’ red zone conversion percentages rise even higher. Now, had everything worked out better, they would have converted 52.6% of their attempts in Weeks 1 through 6 (10 TDs/19 Att.). They also would have converted 90.9% of their attempts in Weeks 7 through 9 (10 TDs/ 11 Att.). That brings the season total to 66.6%.
So let’s recap. There is the actual red zone conversion percentage. There is another where we remove those drives that enter the red zone and end in the victory formation. We also have our ‘weirdo’ red zone conversion percentage that doesn't include drives that kill the clock and drives that end in fumbles.
If you want to be really deranged and imaginative like we are, those numbers look like this:
RZ % type
W/o C-K drives
Sure, none of our theories will ever be used to assist in determining how red zone percentage is calculated. Here's where we all can agree though. Regardless of how you slice things, the Philadelphia Eagles flipped a switch after the Eagles’ lone loss, and that’s exactly what you want to happen.
It's encouraging to see this team make mistakes and then make adjustments. That will serve them well as the second half of the regular season unfolds. So will the improved red zone efficiency.