The Eagles were facing a 1-3 start in Green Bay last week, and before they pulled out the win, they dug the hole even deeper. They gave up a touchdown on the Packers’ first drive of the game and then went down 10-0 early in the second quarter.
After that — finally — the Eagles responded and went on to win 34-27.
As Doug Pederson noted on Friday, these Eagles seem to play better with their backs against the wall. That’s what happened Thursday night.
But why does it take that?
And how can they manufacture that sense of urgency earlier?
“Maybe put 10 points on the scoreboard to start the game, I don't know,” Pederson said. “It is a head scratcher, honestly, because we talk about beginning games faster and trying to score more in the first half and first quarter.
“Sometimes maybe we're putting too much pressure on ourselves to do that. Let's just go play and see what happens. Even last night it took us a little while to get going, but we finally answered. We were down 10-0 and we answer with a touchdown, and sort of the next few possessions after that.
“But we have to learn to play. Have to learn to play right away. That sense of urgency has to be there at the beginning like it is at the end. I think if we do that, we'll be better off.”
The Eagles are 2-2 and are coming off their biggest win of the season, but they still haven’t played a complete game.
They have been shut out in the first quarter in three of four games this year and since the start of the 2018 season, they are dead last in the NFL in first-quarter points with 51. That’s a measly 2.55 first-quarter points per game.
The Eagles have been searching for answers for a year now and they haven’t come. This season, their only first quarter points came in the Lions game. They scored 10 and then got shut out in the second quarter. Go figure.
Just look at the points breakdown by quarter:
If the Eagles put up the same kind of points in the first quarter as they have in the other three, they’d be averaging 33 points per game right now.
There’s a thought that maybe the Eagles should start taking the ball when they win the coin toss. In the Lions game, they got the ball first and scored on the opening drive. But they got the ball first in Green Bay and came up empty.
And this trend is nothing new. Look at the numbers since the start of 2018:
Maybe there’s a lack of urgency, maybe they’ve been putting too much pressure on themselves. Whatever the issue is, until the Eagles figure it out, they’re not going to be playing complete games. Eventually, that’s going to hurt them.
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