That might be the most exhausting victory in recent memory. The Philadelphia Eagles somehow found a way to leave Carolina with a 2-3 record despite every possible attempt not to do so. Here is everything you need to know.
The defense bounces back
The Eagles defense had been ripped to shreds both literally and figuratively over the past two weeks and something had to change. The good news is that Jonathan Gannon appeared to respond extremely well to a scolding by Nick Sirianni, coaching his defense to its most impressive performance under his tutelage.
The team dominated the turnover battle, with Darius Slay not only shutting down breakout star D.J Moore, but picking off a pair of passes in the process. Big-play Slay looked like his old self and punched in the kind of game Eagles fans had been crying out for. Steven Nelson notched a third interception for the unit late in the game to put the icing on a shock win.
Elsewhere, the defensive line dominated. Javon Hargrave decimated once again and notched sack number six on the season. His career high is 6.5 and there is still three quarters of the season left. He’s playing at an all-pro level.
Fletcher Cox even got his first sack of the season, ending what felt like the most uncharacteristic drought possible.
While there were still some appalling penalties and silly errors, this was a much better performance from a defense that looked like it was on the edge of total collapse only one week ago. Gannon and all the players deserve a ton of credit.
On the other side of the ball…
Where do we begin? For some reason, Nick Sirianni thought it would be a great idea to scheme nothing but screen passes against the Panthers defense. I’m not really sure why. Maybe it was because he was trying to take advantage of their league-high blitz percentage, knowing that the sharks would smell blood in the water against an inexperienced line. Whatever the reason was, it didn’t work and it left the Eagles looking heartless for most of the game.
Jalen Hurts had 35 passing yards through 1.5 quarters and started to make sloppy mistakes, missing wide open players and turning it over in a key situation.
Penalties stung the team just as viciously as they did last week and that doesn’t look like it’s going to change anytime soon. There is a real discipline issue on this offense.
Receivers are making rookie errors, the red-zone drives end up being debilitated by penalties on pick-plays that the team can’t execute, and the offense looked like it did against Dallas as opposed to the more rhythmic and successful group we saw against Kansas City.
At the end of the game, with the fate of it hanging in the balance, Miles Sanders was responsible for driving the ball upfield and draining the clock. He ran out of bounds on consecutive occasions and was promptly pulled in favor of Kenny Gainwell. Things like this just absolutely cannot happen.
This can’t go on
The offense were largely let off by a highly disappointing Panthers team who struggled to take a victory that was being forced down their throats. They somehow regurgitated it and the Eagles were able to do just enough to somehow not totally mess it up.
The Eagles have to be better. For the first time all season, the defense shined and generated some huge momentum shifts only for the offense to extinguish them within a few poorly drawn-up plays that were executed sloppily. If the Eagles are going to build on this win, something has to change.
Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire