Inside the Numbers: Left Side of O-Line Becoming an Issue for Eagles
(973espn.com) - If you are looking for reasons why the 10-2 Eagles lost for the first time since September in Seattle on Sunday night you almost have to start with the Seahawks' brilliant MVP candidate Russell Wilson.
That said if you want to start in-house, the left side of the Eagles' offensive line, which allowed far too much pressure on Philadelphia's own MVP hopeful, Carson Wentz, is a good place to begin.
According to ProFootballFocus.com, the Eagles' offensive line as a whole allowed 27 different quarterback pressures (two sacks, six QB hits and 19 hurries) against the Seahawks' talented front seven, eight more than any other NFL team during Week 14 entering Monday night's game between Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.
The drop in effectiveness can perhaps best be described by the fact that the 27 pressures are more than double the total that Philadelphia has given up in any single game this season and significantly more than the line had allowed in their previous four games combined (a total of 21).
Prior to Seattle's impressive front and the difficulty of the environment at CenturyLink Field, the low-water mark for the Eagles' offensive line came early in the season, 13 pressures allowed in both Weeks 1 and 2, the latter being the team's only other loss in Kansas City.
The issues almost all came from the left side where Jason Peters' absence is finally showing up as are Stefen Wisniewski's limitations at left guard.
Of the 27 QB pressures allowed, 21 of them were a direct result of Halapoulivaati Vaitai not being able to hold his water against the underrated Frank Clark and Wisniewski struggling with the talented Sheldon Richardson. Vaitai was credited with surrendering both sacks to Clark, one additional QB hit and seven hurries while Wisniewski allowed five QB hits and six hurries.
To show just how poor the performances were, Wisniewski earned PFF's lowest pass protection grade (23.5) of the week among all offensive guards and Vaitai held the same designation among offensive tackles (26.3).
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen