What can I even say for the Eagles this week (and trust me…watching a second time does NOT make anything better). We played like a team that didn’t know what the game of football was. The mistakes, misreads, and just bad plays were so often that if I tried to write about each one….i would have a 20 page review.
So can we just start with this little note; Stop bashing every single second of the game! Stand by your team, your city, and your players and let the bashing come from the commentators and broadcast journalists. We are Philadelphia, home of the best fans in the NFL, and home of the people who FIGHT for their team, their city, and their honor! We are one, and we all feel the pain of this teams loss, so don’t make it worse by bashing players, loyal fans, and our coach because we are one and if they lose, so do we as fans. There are 3 things we will be talking about today; Sam Bradford, our Defense, and the scheme.
Sam Bradford has been bad; but NOT as bad as we fans are acting. Passing for 224 yards on 23 of 37 passes means Bradford threw 15 incomplete passes. That is a 62% completion percentage which isn’t actually too bad. Factor in the 8 dropped passes on the day (per profootballfocus stats) means he only had 6 incompletions (an 80% completion if you take off those 8 drops as actual passes—or 23-29 passing). 23 of 29 for 224 yards is much better sounding, isn’t it? Now this isn’t to say there wasn’t some terrible, unusual (I mean he actually threw a ball that Aikman thought must have come from someone hitting his arm), and downright poor decision making (2 INTs) throughout the game.
The misread between Huff and Bradford that could have been a touchdown was another miscommunication for a QB that seems to just not be on the same page as his receivers at times. Two of the drops hurt him badly in the first half, keeping him off rhythm and out of sync all game. Riley Cooper streaking down the sidelines was a perfect pass over a defender on the sidelines that Riley misjudged, slowed down, and then let the ball go right through his hands. The other was a drop by Austin on a 3rd and long that may have kickstarted our offense if we could have gotten that one first down we needed. The drop by Ertz (which became an INT) and the bad routes by the outside receivers made Bradford look even worse. Keep in mind though, this is not saying he isn’t playing poorly!
On the other side of the ball, our defense is playing well. From our retooled secondary, to our Good front 7, we have kept our terrible offense in the game both games. Other than the bad blocked punt (which should have been called back for an illegal hit on the punter, per Mike Pereira), our defense only allowed 13 points, including allowing two red zone trips with no touchdowns allowed. This is an amazing stat based on the fact we went 3 and out on most of our series and the Cowboys had great field position.
Jenkins ONCE AGAIN gets the game ball on the defensive side, but Jordan Hicks and Connor Barwin both get huge consideration this week. Hicks was thrown into the starting position and played well, giving up a 30+ yard pass, only to cause a fumble on a sack 2 plays later. Barwin made 3 great plays in coverage, and was a nuisance all day getting into the backfield.
Cox, Logan, and Thornton were in the backfield all game but NEED to wrap up and finish their tackles as they constantly had the RBs in the backfield only to run past them or miss the tackle. The run stopping was actually great had they actually made the tackles after they hit them in the backfield. The vaunted offensive line of the cowboys looked over matched at times and ended up looking good because we couldn’t make the tackles. I counted 11 rushing attempts where we had the running back either wrapped up or were in the backfield ready to tackle him, only to miss the tackle and allow them to get 5 yards or more on the play.
The scheme, on the other hand, was terrible, plain and simple. I am not even going to really talk about it much as the game did all the talking. We need more shots down the field, more downfield running (traps, dives, and toss sweeps and less stretch plays), and we cannot abandon our run game because we can’t get it going in the first series. We MUST cut down on the penalties and bad plays.
Kelce, for instance, is one of the best centers in the NFL, and can’t continue with these bad penalties and mental lapses (snapping the ball before ANYONE is even ready! I mean, even the guards next to him weren’t even close to ready yet, and Bradford hadn’t even called a play). Peters needs to remember how good he is, and Johnson needs to keep playing well, just cut back on stupid penalties.
At the end of the day, we need everyone to sit down together and have a heated team meeting. We need that Brian Dawkins-esque speech so that we can finally stop with these mental lapses and gain that confidence and swagger we had in Dallas on Thanksgiving last year. We have SO MUCH TIME AND GAMES LEFT this year, but the game vs the Jets is a MUST WIN because we cannot keep going downward, even only 3 games in. If we beat these Jets, and finally move the ball, we have a real shot at the NFC east title and a playoff run. BUT IT ALLLLLL STARTS SUNDAY VS THE NEW YORK JETS! So lets FIGHT PHILADELPHIA, and show the NFL we are here to stay!
AND AS ALWAYS,
Written by Evan Ensley