The Eagles travel back to Philadelphia empty-handed after a tough one possession loss to Kansas City. A true coaching battle between both Head Coaches and Defensive Coordinators came down to the wire, but it was the Chiefs who prevailed. It’s time to take a closer look at this Eagles team to analyze who stood out and what the areas for improvement are after week two.
It’s gotten to the point where we are already downplaying just how exceptional Wentz is playing in his second season. Forced to throw 46 times yesterday, Wentz completed 25 of his attempts for 333 yards, two touchdowns and a pick that bounced off the helmet of Justin Houston. If THAT doesn’t impress you, he also LED the team in rushing…yeah, he did it all. That’s two games in a row where the second year quarterback has been expected to carry the team and while it’s not fair, Wentz is handling the pressure like a veteran.
Wentz completed passes to 7 different receivers, all of whom had a catch for 10 or more yards except for Agholor who caught a 9 yarder in the 4th quarter which just happened to be a touchdown. Whether it’s his wheels or his continued dedication to hit the deep pass and give his receivers a shot, you can’t not be impressed.
I used two words to describe this unit last week and I’ll use them again now; non-existant. 55 of the 107 yards posted came from Carson Wentz, while LeGarrette Blount didn’t even touch the ball. 35-year old Darren Sproles saw the lions share of carries and bought some mild explosiveness during times of need, but the Eagles completely abandoned the run…which at this point has unfortunately become an expectation. It simply has to get better.
There’s a reason Wentz led the team in rushing yards. He was hit 11 times and bought down a further 6 by the Chiefs pass-rush. Lane Johnson and Brandon Brooks did a great job of containing Dee Ford and anchoring the right hand side of things, but from Jason Kelce and beyond lay sheer inconsistency. Half of the sacks given up came at the expense of starting left guard Isaac Seumalo, and after trading away Allen Barbre, one has to wonder if the Eagles placed all their chips on the young guard too soon. For a unit described as one of the best in the league, only one side of the line is living up to that. The remaining players have a lot to answer for with Chance Warmack waiting in the wings.
Zach Ertz led the team in receiving for the second consecutive week, while Trey Burton not only opened up the passing game for Wentz with some key blocks when lining up as a receiver, but recovered a late onside kick to give the Eagles one last shot at a win. The tight ends have easily been one of the strongest and most consistent areas on the team through two weeks.
Alshon Jeffery produced as a number one receiver should, posting 92 yards and a score while being targeted more than anyone else. Meanwhile, it took a few tries but Carson Wentz and Torrey Smith finally connected on a deep pass, while Nelson Agholor caught his second score in as many games. Mack Hollins registered his first NFL catch and then some, receiving for 32-yards and flashing his potential. Another week, another high grade for the most improved position on the roster.
What else can be said about the Defensive front other than once again it was exceptional? Well, for the most part. A crucial missed sack on Vinny Curry does take away from the Four sacks and nine QB hits generated by the Eagles pass rush, but with contributions from Jernigan, Cox, Graham, Barnett and Long all shining through in the loss, it’s hard to really pick the showing apart. What I will say though is that if Curry continues to struggle at the end of his plays, we may see Barnett start before too long.
Whether it was the WWE tackle from Jordan Hicks or yet more eyebrow-raising plays from Mychal Kendricks, the Eagles linebackers continued their improvement and reliability. Jordan Hicks had two QB hits at the end of the game, while Bradham was crucial in containing Kareem Hunt for as long as possible, shooting the gap accurately throughout. The unit continues to emerge as one of the most promising on the team.
Containing Tyreek Hill is no easy task, especially if you’re a rookie cornerback. Rasul Douglas was dropped in the deep end but was able to hold his own on an Island, playing zone coverage brilliantly, amassing four tackles and a crucial pass breakup on third down. Patrick Robinson had another sound game in the slot, while Jalen Mills allowed a big play at the end of the game after a strong showing.
After losing Rodney McLeod, it was assumed that the Eagles secondary would be on its last legs, but Corey Graham and Malcolm Jenkins were all over the field and combined for a total of nine tackles. It didn’t matter how much the odds were stacked against the Eagles secondary, they continued to bend and not break.
Jake Elliott may have missed a “gimmie” field goal at the end of the second quarter, but a recovered onside kick and splitting the uprights on every other attempt made up for it. Trey Burton recovered the attempt in emphatic fashion. The only downside was kick return coverage, with the Eagles allowing all three attempts to come out past the 25-yard line, with an Akeem Hunt return going for 40. It was a solid game for Fipp’s unit, but it wasn’t perfect.
Mandatory Photo Credit: AP Photo/Charlie Riedel