The Eagles were humiliated in their home opener against the Dallas Cowboys in a game that should have simply been a blowout on the other side of the Football. The fans were pumped, the mood was set and it was all very quickly dashed as fans soon realised that a repeat of what happened against Atlanta was almost certain to ensue. But where did it all go wrong? We examine every reason.
Bonus fact before we start:
The Offense has been worryingly under-performing in the opening two games of the season..so much so that the Eagles 21 total yards in the first half were the fewest by any team in any first half of any game since Week 3 of 2013..
After week one, the Eagles Offensive line came under sceptical criticism. People were keen to put the O-Line down but were sure that they were capable of more…evidently, they were wrong. The Eagles Offense struggled hugely against Dallas..just as they did against the Falcons. The team posted a staggeringly low 226 total yards with the “explosive” backfield accounting for only 7. Re-occuring problems often bring up re-occuring results. The Offensive line was tragic against the Cowboys, offering next to no time for Sam Bradford. Early snaps, terrible blocking and severe inconsistencies cost the team dearly. It’s apparent just how deep the cut of losing Herremans and Mathis truly is..and it’s much deeper than first thought.
Bradford didn’t have a TERRIBLE game despite what the numbers suggest. There were some easy passes that were dropped by receivers but at the same time there were some questionable reads. Two interceptions stung the former number one pick and he was met with boo’s from the angered Philadelphia faithful. The interception in which he intended to find Ertz was simply inexcusable..and for someone who is known for his accuracy, it was surprising to see. He has to improve and show some leadership. When you look at someone like Andrew Luck who growls and fires his teammates up or someone like Drew Brees who is a presence in huddles, Sam Bradford is very secluded. We will get to this in a few hours when we examine the situation more closely but Sam Bradford is a good quarterback, perhaps not the LEADER the team need…
The game actually started very well for the Eagles linebackers and they never really had any poor moments..it all happened off the field. Kiko Alonso is rumoured to be out for the season with a suspected ACL tear (sourced rumours) and Mychal Kendricks limped off just moments later in the second half with a hamstring strain. Luckily, rookie Jordan Hicks stepped up and made some great plays. You can’t fault the linebacker core in today’s performance..one of the few areas in the team where that statement stands.
Like the linebackers, they didn’t really have a bad game. The bad game fell on the Offensive Line which pretty much became the anchor to this Eagles Offense. The running backs had nowhere to run and Murray was in negative yardage for most of the game as a result. The good news here is that Chip Kelly DID balance the snap splits a lot more evenly after Bradford’s 52 pass attempts on Monday. The bad news is, the Offensive Line made it close to impossible to gain any yardage whatsoever. An impressive hurdle by a passionate and angry DeMarco Murray stands out as the highlight in what was otherwise a disappointing performance.
Maxwell showed inconsistencies yet again. He forced a fumble late on (which ended up proving to be worthless just a play later), but seemed to once again struggle. But now there’s no excuses. There is no Dez Bryant or star presence..just average receivers…and Maxwell was still being caught off guard. Malcolm Jenkins again stood out as one of the brightest moments in this entire Eagles defense but as a whole it’s a worrying place to be. Not only that but as most know, Tony Romo left the game with a broken left clavicle, meaning Brandon Weeden entered the game. So this Eagles Defense was coming up against an Offense with NO running back presence..NO wide receiver presence and a BACKUP Quarterback?! Yet still they struggled and showed signs of fatigue after being forced to play for over 40 minutes..again we will examine all positions much more closely in the coming days but it’s not looking good..
Receivers/ Tight Ends:
Up’s and downs. Nelson Agholor’s route running was exceptional yet was never utilised by a Quarterback who struggled to read the field. Jordan Matthews continued his early struggles with some easy drops before finally sinking into a flow when it was all but over. There’s a common theme here…it takes the Offense four quarters to warm up and then fly like they are supposed too. Not good enough. Zach Ertz saw virtually none of the ball and had one tipped pass for an interception. Josh Huff had a promising game which was encouraging to see..if we are talking about positives, Huff’s emergence as a reliable target was a small one.
The brutal facts:
Like referenced in the secondary section. The brutal truth is that there were no excuses. No elite receivers, no teething problems. This was the home opener against a team despised by fans and they just seemed to be out of sync. Too many farfetched penalties and too many on paper advantages to not reap the rewards. The Cowboys without Romo or Dez is arguably the weakest the team has looked in a long time when you look at the suspensions and injuries they have on Defense as well..and if this Eagles team fails to capitalise then we deserve to lose. The team are now 1-5 in their last six games under Chip Kelly and 0-2 to start the season. A large problem could be a lot of the media hype that has surrounded the team (insert article plug number 3 for a story we will look into within the next 24 hours) and predicted such big things that the team may not really be able to live up to. Chip Kelly is going to be under a LOT of fire from the press and fans in the coming days..let’s just hope something clicks before this team come up a clinical Jets Defense. A loss against the Jets would truly put the nail in the coffin.