Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
The Philadelphia Eagles lost 27-17 to the Carolina Panthers last night and now have a 3-4 record and sit in second place in the NFC East. That lost sucked big time. I didn’t expect us to win before the game but the Eagles had a real chance to win. When you get 3 interceptions in a game, you should be scoring more than 16 points. Anyway, here are my main takeaways from the game:
1) The drops are embarrassing now
The wide receivers are playing awful right now but they aren’t the only ones dropping the ball. I mean what is going on? Jordan Matthews literally can’t catch, Sproles dropped an easy out route, Ertz dropped an easy one on a crossing route, Miles Austin dropped the 4th down pass and Josh Huff had a drop too at the back of the endzone. Other players probably did too. It’s just getting embarrassing now and it’s killing the team. The Eagles miss Jeremy Maclin. So much.
2) Wake up defense?
I’m not going to blame the defense for the loss obviously but what’s going on with the slow starts? Once again, the Eagles are down 7-0 almost instantly. It took the Panthers 4 plays to score if memory serves me correctly. This defense is not bad and I have no idea why they are so bad at the start of games. Without Nolan Carroll making a big interception by stealing the ball away from the Panthers receiver, the Eagles would have probably been 14-0 down after two Panthers possessions.
3) Give Ryan Mathews the ball more
Let me make this clear, I am a fan of DeMarco Murray. I think he’s a good running back but Mathews is clearly better right now. I thought Murray had a good first half but struggled in the second although the blocking didn’t help him much. I don’t think you bench Murray, you just need to rotate the two more. They should both be having about 10+ carries every week, I still don’t want Mathews carrying the ball too much because he is injury prone but he clearly needs more touching.
4) This was Sam Bradford in St. Louis
No deep throws? Wide receivers dropping everything? The offensive line not great in pass protection? Sam Bradford must have thought he was playing for the Rams again. The Eagles offense did not help Bradford out whatsoever and I thought he played a reasonable game overall. I’ll have to see the all22 to see if he missed anyone deep but it wouldn’t surprise me if no one was getting open. I don’t think anyone can blame Bradford for this game. He really needs his wide receivers to step up and help him out.
5) Questionable playcalling?
The playcalling frustrated me early on. The swing passes to the flat seemed pointless against a defense like the Panthers who have Kuechly and Davis at linebacker. I remember one drive early on where Murray had a few nice runs then didn’t get another carry and we went ended up punting. The 3rd and 9 screen pass to Josh Huff was quite honestly a joke. I can only assume that Chip didn’t want to get sacked and then be out of field goal range so he called a safe play. If so, that it is just way too conservative. How was that play ever going to work? The Eagles offensive line couldn’t touch Kuechly or Davis all game. That play still frustrates me thinking about it now.
6) More Zach Ertz please
Yes, he had a bad drop on third down late in the game. He’s still our most consistent pass catcher though and he made some nice catches and would have had a touchdown if not for a great play for Josh Norman. I wish we used him more in the redzone, I’d like us to put him at receiver and throw a fade to him every once in a while. He’s probably the only Eagles player except for Sproles who is reliable catching the football and can consistently beat man coverage. If getting Ertz on the field more means more two tight end sets and less Jordan Matthews in the slot, that’s perfectly fine in my opinion.
7) Defensive line didn’t show up
This was really disappointing. I might be wrong and the all22 will show us more but it didn’t look like Fletcher Cox or Bennie Logan played as well as they have so far this season. The Panthers offensive line definitely got the better of them in the running game and they didn’t get a great deal of pressure throughout the game. I expect the Panthers scheme was important in keeping them out the backfield and I expect the group will bounce back after the bye.
8) Good to see Kendricks back
It wasn’t Mychal Kendricks best game which is no surprise after just coming back from an injury. However, he flashed his talent on a number of occasions. His sack on Cam Newton reminded us just how dangerous he is as a pass rusher. He also had a great tackle on Cam Newton on third down early on in the game, unfortunately Cam got the first down but it was still an impressive tackle to make in the open field.
9) Is Jordan Matthews too talented to bench?
I don’t think he is. What am I missing with him? He was good last year but the scheme got him open a lot more than he did himself through great route running. He can’t beat man coverage and couldn’t consistently last season. The majority of his catches seem to come on crossing routes and the occasional seam route. Can’t we play more two tight end sets, play Sproles or Ertz in the slot more, give Agholor a go there when he is healthy? I just don’t really see what Matthews is bringing to this team right now and maybe a rest would be good for him.
10) This game was winnable
That’s the most frustrating thing. Think of all the missed opportunities. After Jenkins interception, the Eagles couldn’t punch the ball in and had to settle for a field goal. Then the same happened again after Maxwell’s interception as Huff dropped the touchdown at the back of the endzone. That should have been 14 points instead of 6. The Eagles also missed a field goal and they got the ball at the end of the game on multiple occasions needing a touchdown and they just couldn’t do it. This team cannot keep shooting themselves in the foot and expect to win tough games.
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