Kareem Hunt

Eagles' Tim Jernigan fined for horse-collar tackle on Kareem Hunt

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Eagles' Tim Jernigan fined for horse-collar tackle on Kareem Hunt

Tim Jernigan somehow didn't get a penalty for the tackle last Sunday, but he couldn't escape punishment from the NFL. 

Jernigan was fined $18,231 for his horse-collar tackle on Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt early in the third quarter at Arrowhead Stadium.

On the play, Jernigan used his left hand to grab the back of Hunt's jersey, above his nameplate, and dragged him downward until he tossed him out of bounds like a rag doll following an 11-yard gain. It was a pretty clear horse-collar. 

Plenty of Hunt's teammates on the sideline called for a flag but it never came. Jernigan didn't argue back. He simply turned around and started walking back toward the Eagles' defensive huddle. 

While Jernigan's wallet will be a little lighter after the fine, the Eagles seem happy with the product he's put on the field during the first two weeks. Through two games, he has six combined tackles and 1½ sacks. 

"He's done good in the run game, he's been a factor in the pass game, and he plays tough," defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said earlier this week. "He's a physical player. I like the temperament he plays with on the field, also."

Plenty of blame to go around for Eagles' rushing struggles

Plenty of blame to go around for Eagles' rushing struggles

Breaking news: The Eagles are not running the ball well. More specifically, they’re just not running the ball. Fifty-six called passes to 13 called runs vs. the Chiefs. The Week 1 ratio in Washington was 39 passes to 24 rushes. That excludes Carson Wentz's scrambles. That’s a grand total of 95 passes to 37 rushes. Even in the pass-happy league, the NFL has become, those numbers are an extreme.

So who’s to blame? There appear to be several branches to climb, so here goes.
 
Let’s start with the head coach. The three-headed monster of Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood and LeGarrette Blount had 13 carries for 52 yards combined. Blount did not have an official rushing attempt. Doug Pederson doesn’t seem to grasp that you don’t have to rip off giant chunks of yardage early in games to stay true to it. He didn’t need to look any further than the opposing sideline where his mentor, Andy Reid, stuck with his running attack even though it did not flourish through three quarters.

Big Red’s commitment to the run eventually wore the Eagles down. And the K.C. rushing attack took the considerable heat off of Alex Smith, who was under serious fire from the Birds' defensive front.
      
Could it be the offensive line, which was billed as one of the better units in the league going into the season?  Isaac Seumalo has been a turnstile through two games. And really, the entire group has underperformed in both run and pass protection. Wentz was sacked six times and hit 10 more against the Chiefs. That’s eight total sacks through Weeks 1 and 2. As young and big and strong and agile as he is, Wentz will not make it through the season at this rate.

Hey kids, who’s ready for Nick Foles 2.0? Woo-hoo.

Door No. 3 leads us to the talent pool of the backfield, which is a direct reflection of the Eagles' front office. Howie Roseman, Joe Douglas and crew chose to go to battle with this group. There was immediate help in the draft. Dalvin Cook went to the Vikings two spots ahead of the Birds in the second round of the draft. The Eagles went with a long-term investment of the injured Sidney Jones instead of trading up. They understandably passed on Joe Mixon and his baggage. He was taken five picks later by the Bengals. Kareem Hunt, remember him? He was also an option. He lasted into the third round and was selected by the Chiefs. Hunt has 355 total yards and five touchdowns through two weeks.

All of the above appear to be better options than what the Eagles came away with. They took a 5-foot-8, 176-pound halfback in Donnell Pumphrey in the fourth round with the 132nd overall pick. After an awful camp and preseason, Pumphrey is now on injured reserve with a torn hamstring. So they’re left with the short-yardage specialist, Blount, the unproven Smallwood and the always productive, but age-challenged, Sproles. Clearly, Pederson has little confidence in Blount and Smallwood, and Sproles' touches need to be rationed if you want him to be fresh later in the season. Maybe undrafted free agent Corey Clement is the answer, but who knows at this early juncture?

Perhaps we could check every blame box here. Regardless of where the fault lies, the running game needs to improve and improve quickly. To expect a 50-50 ratio is foolish. Ezekiel Elliott’s is not running through that tunnel. But some semblance of balance is not too much to ask. It will eliminate their predictability and help keep your franchise quarterback upright. There are a lot of positives with this team. And there’s no shame in a 1-1 record after two tough road games, one in the division.

But if the hope is playoffs, the Eagles must get better on the ground.   

Roob Stats: A deeper look inside Zach Ertz's tear

Roob Stats: A deeper look inside Zach Ertz's tear

Following Sunday's 27-20 Eagles loss to the Chiefs, Reuben Frank has crunched the numbers like only he can to come up with the following stats you would have never even known existed.

• Zach Ertz had a 53-yard catch for the Eagles, and Travis Kelce had a 44-yard catch for the Chiefs. That made this the first Eagles game in at least 27 years where tight ends from both teams had receptions of 40 yards or more. Available records for longest catch only go back to 1981.

• Ertz reached 3,000 receiving yards in just his 63rd career game, tying Tony Gonzalez for the ninth-fastest tight end to reach that milestone. Only Kellen Winslow Sr. (45), Rob Gronkowski (47), Jimmy Graham (49), Kellen Winslow Jr. (55), Antonio Gates (56), Mark Bavaro (60), Bob Tucker (60) and Jeremy Shockey (62) reached 3,000 yards faster.

• Carson Wentz is only the fifth quarterback 24 or younger in NFL history to open a season with two 300-yard passing games. The others are Drew Bledsoe in 1994, Cam Newton in 2011, Robert Griffin III in 2013 and Blake Bortles in 2016. With six 300-yard games, Wentz has the fourth-most in NFL history by a quarterback in his first 18 games. Kurt Warner had 10, Marc Bulger seven and Andrew Luck seven.

• Wentz has completed 430 passes in his career, by far the most in NFL history by a quarterback after 18 games. Sam Bradford, his former teammate, completed 393, followed by Bulger with 390. His 692 attempts are second-most ever after 18 games (Andrew Luck had 693) and his 4,423 passing yards are sixth-most ever (behind Luck, Warner, Bulger, Cam Newton and Jameis Winston).

• This is the first time in 28 years no Eagle running back has rushed for 50 yards in a game in the Eagles’ first two games. In 1989, the Eagles opened the season against Seattle, where their leading rusher was Mark Higgs with 44 yards, and in Week 2 in Washington, their leading rusher was Anthony Toney, with 24 yards. That was the great Randall 447-yard, five-TD comeback.

• Alex Smith became only the third quarterback ever to post a passer rating of 110 or higher against the Eagles while playing for two different teams (minimum of 20 passes). Smith, who had a 113.8 passer rating Sunday, had a 112.1 rating against the Eagles while playing for the 49ers in a 24-23 win in 2011. The only other QBs with a 110 rating or higher for two different teams against the Eagles: Fran Tarkenton, who did it for the Giants in 1967 and Vikings in 1973, and Peyton Manning, who did it for the Colts in 1999 and 2002 and the Broncos in 2013.

• Jake Elliott’s 30-yard field goal miss was only the fifth by an Eagles kicker since 1994 from 30 yards or less. The others were by Gary Anderson (from 29 yards vs. Cowboys in 1996), Norm Johnson (26 yards vs. Buccaneers in 1999), David Akers (23 yards vs. Falcons in 2006) and Alex Henery (28 yards vs. Giants in 2012). Before Elliott’s miss, Eagles kickers had made 223 of their previous 227 attempts from 30 yards and in (98.2 percent).

• Speaking of kickers, former Eagle Cody Parkey, in his first game as a Dolphin, made a 54-yard field goal Sunday against the Buccaneers, making him 6 for 6 in his career from 50 yards and up. He has the most 50-yard attempts without a miss in NFL history. And only one other kicker — current Raiders rookie Giorgio Tavecchio — has made more than one career 50-yarder without a miss. Tavecchio was 2 for 2 from 50 and out in his first NFL game, against Tennessee last week. Parkey was 4 for 4 from 50 and out with the Eagles in 2014 and 1 for 1 with the Browns last year.

• Kareem Hunt’s 53-yard touchdown was only the second rushing TD of 50 yards or more the Eagles have allowed in the last decade. The only other one was a first-quarter 72-yard touchdown by C.J. Prosise of the Seahawks in Seattle last year. Before that you have to go back to Travis Henry’s 70-yarder for the Titans at the Linc in 2006. Hunt’s TD was only the seventh of 50 yards or more the Eagles have allowed in their last 379 games going back to 1993.

• With five more catches Sunday, Ertz increased his career total to 260. That’s the sixth-most in NFL history by a tight end after 63 games, behind only Kellen Winslow Sr. (339), Kellen Winslow Jr. (307), Jimmy Graham (300), Gronk (299), Gates (281), Mike Ditka (274) and Pettigrew (263). Ertz is the first NFC tight end with 90 or more yards in each of the first two weeks of a season since Jason Witten in 2011. ‘

• With 139 yards on the last day of last season against the Cowboys and 93 and 97 yards the first two games this year, Ertz is the first Eagle with 90 or more receiving yards in three straight games since Terrell Owens had five straight 100-yard games from Week 3 through Week 7 of 2004. Before that you have to go back to Irving Fryar in 1996, Fred Barnett in 1991 and Mike Quick in 1983 and 1985. Ertz's streak is the longest current streak in the NFL.

• With 406 yards Sunday, the Eagles now have 13 games since opening day 2011 with 400 or more yards but 20 or fewer points. No other team has more than nine such during that same span.