Eagles come out flat in loss to Commanders: 3 things we learned

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PHILADELPHIA, PA – SEPTEMBER 19: Philadelphia Eagles WR Quez Watkins (16) carries the ball in the first half during the game between the San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles on September 19, 2021 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

The Philadelphia Eagles are no longer undefeated. Last night’s game was disappointing in nearly every aspect, as the Birds struggled to do much of anything against the Washington Commanders.

Yes, the refs suck, but that’s not why the Eagles lost

The referees blew some pretty big calls last night. Quez Watkins was arguably down on the ground before rocketing up to run for extra yards and getting the ball punched out of his hands by Benjamin St.-Juste. There was a missed facemask call on a Dallas Goedert fumble, and BG got flagged for a ‘late hit’ with 1:38 remaining. This is unfortunately the tip of the iceberg.

However, that’s not why the Eagles lost. The fact that the defense gave up 40 minutes of possession is borderline embarrassing. Three turnovers for a team who has dominated the turnover battle all season is unacceptable. Britain Covey being blown up on every return possible doesn’t help. Sloppy tackling adds to the issues. This was a total team loss.

Sure, the refs being even remotely competent would’ve likely changed the outcome here, but they weren’t and the Eagles did not play anywhere near well enough for this loss to be placed on the shoulders of referees.

Run defense struggles again

The Eagles were ripped to shreds by Dameon Pierce one week ago. They gave up 152 total rushing yards last night. On deck, they have Jonathan Taylor, Aaron Jones, and Derrick Henry. Great.

The Birds might be flying too close to the Sun as far as their defensive philosophy goes. The missed tackles are one thing, but stacking 8 men in a box and still giving up a gash up the middle is just so confusing to watch.

It’s not all on the shoulders of Jonathan Gannon. Some of it is obviously down to the players. Fletcher Cox, for instance, looked so disinterested. Maybe it wasn’t a lack of effort, but whatever it was, it wasn’t the dominant defensive tackle we’ve all come to know and love.

If the Eagles can’t suss out how to stop the run and get off the field soon, then things could begin to get very murky for the NFC pole-sitters.

It wasn’t all bad

Sure, the loss was ugly. But C.J Gardner-Johnson now leads the NFL in interceptions with 6 after snagging a pass from the clutches of Terry McLaurin.

DeVonta Smith scored a touchdown on his birthday and actually got targeted!

Jalen Hurts wasn’t perfect, but he made some fantastic throws on the day. It just so happens that his receivers ended up giving 2 of them to the Commanders as a gift. But make no mistake, this was one of Jalen’s better performances.

Finally, a quick shout to Marlon Tuipulotu. He’s sort of become the forgotten man in that DL room after so many acquisitions, but he scooped up a strip-sack early in the game, giving the Eagles a chance to recover from an earlier mistake. His awareness was key and it was nice to see the former late-round pick contribute.

Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire