The Philadelphia Eagles Are Winning Games While Losing the 4th Quarter

Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

It’s taken some time but Philadelphia Eagles fans are now all-aboard the Nick Foles bandwagon. Last week, the young quarterback was finally named the official starter for the rest of the season and once again this Sunday proved that he deserved it. Foles looked confident in the pocket, made smart decisions and ran Chip Kelly’s hurry up offense flawlessly.

The Eagles are on a hot streak right now, winning their last four games and sitting on top of the NFC East at 7-5 with the Dallas Cowboys. However, it’s hard to be optimistic about their playoff chances after a closer look at their fourth quarter performances. In the last four games, the Eagles have not scored a single point in the fourth quarter and have allowed opponents to score more than seven points on average. In order for the Eagles to continue to win games and make the playoffs, there needs to be an adjustment in fourth quarter play by both Foles and the defense.

Philadelphia fans have not been able to rest comfortably with a third quarter lead so far this season. In Nick Foles’ six games as starter, beginning in week 6 and excluding week 8 when he was out with a concussion, the Eagles have scored a total of 13 points in the fourth quarter. A look at the entire season so far shows that this is not just a Nick Foles problem, but an Eagles quarterback problem. In the fourth quarter, the Eagles average only 4.83 points compared to 5.17, 8.14, 6.83 in the first three quarters respectively.

Eagles Scoring By Quarter

2San DiegoL371010
3Kansas CityL6037
5NY GiantsW316314
6Tampa BayW77710
8NY GiantsL0007
10Green BayW73170
AVG PTS5.178.176.834.83

Scoring points in the fourth quarter is only one part of the problem. The Eagles defense is also struggling, giving up an average of more than seven points per game in the fourth quarter. They almost blew their first home win in over a year after giving up 16 points to the Redskins in the fourth.

Points Allowed By Opponent in 4th Quarter

Points Allowed in 4th Qtr
2San DiegoL13
3Kansas CityL10
5NY GiantsW0
6Tampa BayW3
8NY GiantsL3
10Green BayW3

It’s unclear what is affecting the style of play from the first half to the second, but could likely be due to opposing defenses making adjustments at the half. Another possible explanation is that the Eagles defense is running out of steam by the end of the game. Under Chip Kelly’s fast pace offense, Eagles scoring drives are quick and the defense ends up back on the field after little rest. In 2013 so far, time of possession for the Eagles averages 25:36 compared to an average of 34:23 for opponents.

As a team that knows anything is possible in the fourth quarter, including scoring 28 unanswered points in under 8 minutes to come from behind to win at the Meadowlands, the Birds need to make some fourth quarter adjustments and finish games as strongly as they’re starting them.

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