Despite the Eagles’ tough loss, the world isn’t ending


That’s it, the Philadelphia Eagles‘ season is officially over. They’re doomed. How could they lose to the Atlanta Falcons of all teams!? What a joke!

Yup, that pretty much summed up the general reaction from people across the nation last night as the Eagles fell to the Falcons, 26-24. Last night’s matchup was truly a tale of two halves, as the saying goes. Despite the negativity surrounding the team on the outside, there is plenty to build on for the Eagles moving forward.

Let’s get it out of the way now, the first half was an embarrassing display by the Eagles in basically every facet of the game. The lone bright spots were Kiko Alonso‘s insane interception and the run defense. Other than that, Atlanta dominated Philadelphia through the air and on defense. Chip Kelly’s uptempo offense was brought to a screeching halt by a young, motivated Falcons’ defense led by new head coach Dan Quinn. There really weren’t many positives to take away from the first half at all.

But the second half was a completely different story. Kelly’s offense looked nearly unstoppable as they relied heavily on Sam Bradford to pick apart the Falcons’ worn down defense. After a rather disappointing first half, Bradford was on fire for nearly the entire second half. Bradford completed 20 of his 24 (83.3%) passing attempts in the second half for 215 yards and a touchdown. Sadly one of Bradford’s incomplete passes was an interception that fell right through the hands of Jordan Matthews.

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One of Bradford’s favorite targets in the second half was running back Darren Sproles, who made a few big-time plays. The arrival of DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews in the City of Brotherly Love opened up endless possibilities for Sproles as a pass catcher in Kelly’s offense. Sure enough, Sproles was put to use Monday night as both a runner and receiver, totaling 126 yards on just 12 touches (5 carries, 7 receptions). Although Murray and Mathews struggled, Sproles more than picked up the slack by himself in the second half.

On the other side of the ball, the Philadelphia’s defense looked much better in the second half as well. After surrendering 20 points in the first half, the Eagles held the Falcons to just 6 points in the final two quarters. It was still alarming just how bad Byron Maxwell looked against Julio Jones, Roddy White and basically anyone else he covered. It seemed as though the Falcons and Matt Ryan were picking on Maxwell, that’s not a good sign for a player the Eagles just signed to a $63 million contract.

Yet Maxwell played much better in the second half, which was likely due to defensive coordinator Bill Davis finally sending some blitzes and rattling Ryan just enough. That was another concern for the Eagles on Monday night, their pass rush was basically non-existent throughout the game.

There’s no reason why a team with Fletcher Cox, Mychal Kendricks, Kiko Alonso, Brandon Graham, Connor Barwin and Vinny Curry on its roster should struggle to pressure an opposing quarterback. Somehow that was the case on Monday night, but Davis will likely continue to dial up the blitzes until the team can prove they can rush the quarterback with just four or five players.

Ryan was actually strip-sacked by Cox with 59 seconds left in the first half but the play was called back after Alonso was questionably flagged for illegal contact. That was one of many crucial penalties the Eagles committed on Monday night. On offense, it seemed like the Eagles’ offensive line was flagged for holding whenever the offense seemed to get in any type of rhythm. Philadelphia had 14 penalties for the game, 4 of which were declined, while the other 10 costs them 88 yards. That’s uncharacteristic for a Kelly-led team and certainly shouldn’t continue.

Besides the strip-sack, safety Malcolm Jenkins also dropped two easy interceptions. That’s three takeaways the Eagles could have had but they blew them all due to their own mistakes. Time and time again, Kelly and the Eagles “shot themselves in the foot” on Monday night. Yet Kelly may have made the biggest mistake of them all during last night’s game.

On the Eagles’ second to last drive of the game, the offense marched 54 yards down the field in 10 plays and then Kelly got conservative on 4th and 1 on Atlanta’s 26-yard line. For some odd reason, “Big Balls” Chip Kelly took the safe way out and settled for a field goal after wasting twenty seconds or so contemplating his decision. Kelly sent the field goal unit out with around 20 seconds left on the play clock, putting Cody Parkey in a tough situation.

Parkey struggled throughout the preseason and here was Kelly rushing him on to the field in a critical point in the game. The Eagles had three timeouts, Kelly could have and should have used one to make sure he was making the right decision and show some damn confidence. But that wasn’t the case, Kelly folded and even looked unsure when he sent Parkey to kick what could have been a game-winning field goal. That certainly didn’t help Parkey’s already shaky confidence and he shanked the 44-yard attempt.

Once again, the Eagles and Kelly made an uncharacteristic mistake. Monday night’s loss to the Falcons was just an incredibly weird game overall. Right from opening kickoff, it just didn’t feel right. But the Eagles looked like a completely different team in the second half and that’s something the team will use to build off of heading into a crucial, arguably “must win” game against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 2.

Next: Eagles News: Sam Bradford gets mysterious x-ray after loss

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