Sirianni's biggest Eagles bye week priority


It hasn’t cost them.


We all know that at some point the Eagles' offense is going to have to wake up in the second half to win a football game.

One of the biggest things Nick Sirianni and his staff will be studying over the next week is the Eagles’ second-half scoring drought.

The Eagles are the highest-scoring first-half team in the NFL, with most of those points coming in the second quarter. They’re averaging 21 points per game before halftime – six more points per game than anybody else.

That’s the 10th-most first-half points in NFL history through six games and most since the 2000 Rams – the Greatest Show on Turf – averaged 21.2.

The second half? They’re averaging 5.8 points per game. Only the Titans are worse.

It’s been enough to go 6-0, but it’s weird and strange and ridiculous and impossible to understand.

Sirianni has seen enough big leads disappear, enough games come down to the final minutes that didn't have to. The bye week is a perfect time to figure this out.

“It's just finishing the game,” Sirianni said. “Here is what makes it hard to play a complete game. A team that's really good on the other side. So, yeah, of course we were up 20-3 at the half (Sunday) and would've loved to just duplicate that and win the game 40 to 6, but in the grand scheme of things that's hard to do.

“The second half is played a little bit differently, so you just want to finish the game. I think there is no doubt that … we haven't played a complete game in the sense of we haven't really blown open a game when we have had two-score leads.”

The Eagles led the Lions by 17 and hung on to win by three. They led the Vikings by 10 and didn’t score another point. They led Washington by 24 at halftime and didn’t score again. They scored 20 against the Jaguars in the first half and nine after halftime. They led the Cards by 14 early and hung on to win by three. And Sunday they led Dallas by 20 in the second quarter before giving up 17 straight points.

They’ve played six games, and in four of them they scored 20 or more points in the first half and nine or fewer in the second half. That’s only one shy of the NFL record for an entire season.

“We’ve had two-score leads in every game this season, and so you want to just be able to end a game and put a game away,” Sirianni said. “I think that's what we're talking about, is to just really finish the game and put it away.

“Things change the way you view things in the second half sometimes when you do have these leads, but you always want to be aggressive and always want to put points on the board, and we haven't done that. 

“We'll look at that as coaches and see what we're doing (and) how we can put our guys in better positions to do that.”

Before halftime: The Eagles are averaging 6.2 yards per play, 4.4 yards per rushing attempt and 7.6 yards per pass attempt and converting 44 percent of their third downs. 

After halftime: They’re averaging 4.5 yards per play, 4.0 yards per rushing attempt and 5.3 yards per pass attempt and converting 41 percent of their third downs.

Ten of their 13 plays of 30 or more yards have come before halftime, including their four longest.

“I think what's happened in the second half a little bit has just been we've driven the ball decently or got a big play to start things off, and then we stall out,” he said. “One … thing I think about the second half is we've had some long drives in the second half, particularly the last two weeks where we really established the run game. An eight-minute drive, nine-minute drive at Arizona, or a seven-minute drive this last one. 

“There is a difference when you are up two scores. Again, you always want to be aggressive and end the game. When you are up two scores or three scores, whatever it is, there is a little bit of a difference (because) you're trying to make the game go as fast as possible.

“Now, that doesn't mean any less aggressive, so we’ve got to figure it out. That's our job as coaches, to figure it out … and work to help us get over that hump and completely finish a game. We're frustrated by that too and we want to finish a game up those three scores.”

The Eagles’ 21.0 points per first half are ahead of the NFL record pace. The Patriots averaged 20.8 in 2007.

And their 5.8 points in the second half are on pace to be among the 20 worst recorded since the NFL went to a 16-game season in 1978.

“I know I don't want to put my dad in that situation where he has to sweat through that game,” he said. “I can handle it right now, but I don't want my dad to have to handle it. We’ve got to do a better job there, and we'll work like crazy to do so.”

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