The Eagles fell to a heartbreaking loss at Lincoln Financial Field earlier today…but they only have themselves to blame.
7 drops. 3 fumbles. Too many penalties. And a partridge in a pear tree. That’s how the song goes, right?
The Eagles just couldn’t get out of their own way today. They had chunk plays wiped out by a lack of discipline and others that didn’t have the chance to develop due to the same reasons. I understand that the team were missing DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery, but there’s just no excuse for what was a lackadaisical effort.
The Birds bested the Lions in almost every metric. Third down conversions, time of possession, offensive yardage, etc. All except one; turnovers. Once again, this team just couldn’t get out of its own way and that ultimately haunted them as Detroit refused to relinquish a lead.
Something has to change
Miles Sanders fumbled the ball twice in what felt like a heartbeat and yet he was still the key figure in the Eagles backfield. Yes, he flashes more ‘big-play’ potential, leading the team in receiving yards and tallying over 100 total scrimmage yards, but there’s also a lot left on the table due to problems he’s bound to face as a rookie. Development takes time and the Eagles needed an instant firestarter today. While Sanders filled that role, he also put the fire out on several occasions.
It’s really difficult to understand why Jordan Howard isn’t being utilized more and the answer we’ll get will likely come down to a dependence on matchups. Either way, the Eagles have to address this backfield instability both in terms of the runs being called and the way in which they’re executed.
Bizzare play calls
Doug Pederson has become known odd play selections from time to time. Sometimes they result in euphoria, other times, riots. Today’s gameplan veered towards the latter. While the Lions very quickly realized that Miles Sanders in the shotgun = outside zone, Pederson continued to draw up plays that left his playmakers short of the sticks in a key spot, or just flat-out backfired.
He got away with a monumental gamble in the fourth-quarter. Going for it on 4th and long with 2:25 remaining and all 3 timeouts from inside your own territory seemed baffling. Somehow, the Lions’ ensuing field goal was blocked and taken back inside the opposing 30. The Eagles’ failure to finish just puts the cherry on the cake.
It’s not all bad…
The Eagles walked away with 0 sacks on Matthew Stafford. Yep, 0. But that doesn’t tell the whole story. Rasul Douglas, Zach Brown, Malcolm Jenkins, and Rodney McLeod are three players who balled out on defense and kept their team within reaching distance. The Birds may not have been able to get constant pressure on Stafford (the penny of lining CB’s up 10 yards away so QB’s throw underneath, negating pressure, will drop eventually), but they did go on a tear in the second half, forcing quick drives and getting the ball back for a sputtering offense. For the second week in a row, Schwartz actually called a good game…to an extent. There just needs to be a little more in the way of adaptation in the secondary.
The Eagles REALLY missed their stars
The drops are one thing, but the mental errors are another entirely. Don’t get me wrong, I love Mack Hollins, but you’re beginning to see why he enjoys special teams more than offense. His skill set as a wideout is still very raw. Arcega-Whiteside was unable to do anything in the grand scheme of things and although Agholor scored two touchdowns, he also had two costly drops. We won’t mention Dallas Goedert’s lack of involvement and heartbreaking touchdown drop…yet.
Carson Wentz was able to rally his offense from behind for the third week in a row and for the second week in a row, he was let down by his playmakers in key situations. There’s not much more Wentz could’ve done today. The face of the franchise played very well but was let down by just about everyone else.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports