Eagles inexcusably flounder on both late-game drives in bad loss to Lions

Eagles inexcusably flounder on both late-game drives in bad loss to Lions

After all the drops and turnovers and costly penalties and mental errors, the Eagles still had a chance to walk out of their own stadium with a win over the Lions on Sunday afternoon. 

They couldn’t get it done. 

“We had the ball at the end of the game with a chance to win and we came up short,” Carson Wentz said. “It’s obviously frustrating but we have a quick turnaround, so we gotta look ourselves in the mirror, see where we can get better and come out flying on Thursday.”

The Eagles lost, 27-24, to the Lions at the Linc and are now 1-2 heading into a very tough game on the road in Green Bay on Thursday night. They could very well be looking at 1-3 (see observations).

It hurts even more because, down just three points, they were in a great situation to tie or win this game late. 


Even without their top two receivers, it’s simply inexcusable for the Eagles to flounder on two late-game drives in good situations, at home, in a game they kind of needed to win. 

On the eight plays in those last two drives, the Eagles gained a total of 13 yards and failed to pick up a single first down. 

“I wouldn’t take any [play calls] back,” head coach Doug Pederson said. “We understood exactly what they were doing. They were putting pressure with two guys on Zach (Ertz) and trying to eliminate him. We had 1-on-1s across the board. Just great defense by them. It’s a good learning experience for our guys.” 

• With 3:16 left and holding three timeouts, the Eagles got the ball at their own 20-yard line thanks to a wily play from Darren Sproles on the punt to let the ball bounce into the end zone. 

First down: A 2-yard pass to Nelson Agholor 
Second down: An incompletion batted at the line 
Third down: A deep incompletion to Agholor
Fourth down: A 6-yard scramble from Wentz 

Why go for it on fourth down from your own 22? 

“Situational right there,” Pederson explained. “Just going ahead and going for it there. With the three timeouts, I could use them on defense obviously. We knew they were probably going to run the ball in that situation. Got them to kick the field goal. It worked in our favor, but we didn’t capitalize on the other end.”

It absolutely did work. Because Malcolm Jenkins blocked a field goal and even after a block in the back from Jenkins on the return, the Eagles got the ball at the 50-yard line with plenty of time. That’s an ideal situation; that’s what they want; that’s what any team wants.  

• With 1:39 left and still with two timeouts, the Eagles had the ball at midfield. Plenty of time to win the game. Heck, they just needed to get into field goal range to have a chance to tie. 

“We’re going to win it,” right tackle Lane Johnson said about the mindset of the team in the moment. “That’s always been our mantra. Anytime we get in that situation, you can feel the momentum was on our side.”

Instead, they failed to get a first down. 

First down: Incompletion to Ertz 
Second down: Incompletion to Mack Hollins 
Third down: A 5-yard pass to Agholor 
Fourth down: An OPI on Sproles after a 25-yard catch 
Fourth down: A deep incompletion to JJ Arcega-Whiteside

“We got out there and we don’t convert,” Johnson said. “Game’s over. It’s tough.” 

On that last 4th-and-15 heave, Arcega-Whiteside was the third read on the play, but Wentz got the ball to him. The rookie simply dropped a ball he should have caught to set up the Eagles with a 1st-and-goal with a chance to win. It was the seventh drop for the Eagles on Sunday afternoon. 

If the Eagles could have eliminated one or two costly errors from Sunday’s game, they probably win. But there are a bunch of losing teams every Sunday who feel the same way. The Eagles dropped passes, committed penalties, coughed up the football, gave up a special teams touchdown. 

Despite all that, they still could have won. They still should have won.  

“Down the stretch, we just didn’t make the plays and execute the way we know we can when it really mattered,” Wentz said. “That’s frustrating, but we have to move on.”

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Navy pulls off iconic Philly Special at the Linc

Navy pulls off iconic Philly Special at the Linc

Let's just say, the Navy Midshipmen certainly know how to win over a crowd in Philadelphia.

On Saturday during the 120th Army-Navy game, a familiar play call was seen.

You might have seen it before. There's a statue immortalizing it in front of the Linc. It happened during Super Bowl LII. Anything come to mind?

That's right. The Philly Special.

What an awesome moment in the middle of one of the best days in sports. Check it out:

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A myth dispelled, thoughts on the Carson Sucks crowd and much more in Roob's 10 Random Eagles Observations!

A myth dispelled, thoughts on the Carson Sucks crowd and much more in Roob's 10 Random Eagles Observations!

Another myth dispelled, thoughts on the Carson Sucks crowd, an observation about Duce Staley and lots more in this weekend's edition of Roob's Random Eagles Observations! 

1. Dwayne Haskins may develop into a big-time NFL quarterback. He certainly has the arm. But right now he’s a 22-year-old rookie with 3 TDs and 7 INTs in seven career games and a miserable 61.2 passer rating — worst among current starter QBs. This is a quarterback the Eagles need to dominate. Pressure him. Mix coverages and blitzes. Confuse him. When you get your hands on a ball, make the interception. When you get your hands around him, bring him down. He can’t drive the offense 75 yards down the field in 10 plays, but he's got a legit arm so don’t allow big plays over the top. Don’t give the Redskins a reason to keep fighting like you did the last two weeks against bad teams. The Eagles are 4-1 against rookie quarterbacks under Jim Schwartz, allowing 12 points per game. More of that Sunday. This shouldn’t even be a game by 2:30 p.m. But I'm afraid it will be.

2. Here’s one for the Carson Sucks crowd: Despite missing eight games the last two years and with three games still to go, Wentz already has the 9th-most TD passes in NFL history by a QB in his first four seasons. Three more in the last three games move him up to 6th. He’s also thrown 35 interceptions. Of the 10 QBs currently ahead of him in TD passes over their first four seasons, only Russell Wilson has also thrown fewer than 44  interceptions in his first four years, and only Wilson and Dan Marino have a higher passer rating. Worst QB ever.

3. The Eagles have used 18 cornerbacks since 2016.  Eight of them are no longer in the NFL.

4. I’m always up for a good conspiracy theory. Did you know the first manned moon landing was actually fabricated and the astronauts were actually on a film set in Arizona made to look like the moon? For real! I saw it in Capricorn One! Some conspiracy theories are hilarious, like the one making the rounds this week. Did you know Jordan Howard isn’t really hurt, he’s sitting out to protest not having a long-term contract? I swear, I got that from at least a dozen people this past week. Yeah, that’s a great way to get a new contract! Pretend you’re hurt, lie about a neck injury, miss five games, watch your free agency value plummet and hope that the Eagles just happen to forget to inform other teams that you were healthy all along but just didn’t feel like playing. Makes perfect sense!  

5. MYTH: “Jim Schwartz NEVER ADJUSTS.”
REALITY: Since 2016, the Eagles have allowed the 11th-fewest first-half points in the NFL  [11.0 per game], but they’ve allowed the 4th-fewest second-half points [9.6], behind the Vikings, Patriots and Ravens. Among the top 20 defenses in the league over the last four years, only the Vikings [2.1-point differential] have a larger first-half / second-half point differential than the Eagles [1.4 points]. Overall, the Eagles have allowed the 7th-fewest points in the NFL over the last four years.

6. I count 21 Eagles players who’ve missed a total of 105 games so far this year, a figure that will go up considering how many won’t be playing the next three. Two things: 1) The Eagles have to take an honest look at every facet of their training, conditioning and rehab this offseason and figure out why half the team is always hurt. And 2) It really makes you appreciate guys like Malcolm Jenkins and Jason Kelce, the only Eagles to start and finish all 45 games since opening day 2017. Not far behind are Brandon Graham and Brandon Brooks (44), Fletcher Cox (43) and Zach Ertz (42). Those guys have been there for their team every step of the way — or almost every step — for three years now. They're all-time Eagles.

7. What the heck is going on with Genard Avery? The Eagles spent a 4th-round draft pick to acquire Avery from the Browns in October, and he’s played 20 snaps on defense in five games since. TWENTY SNAPS. He didn’t play a snap on defense in the Giants game. His snaps were supposed to go up as he got acclimated to the defense. Now he’s not even playing. He’s been here seven weeks now, and he can’t even get a single snap on defense? He’s playing a lot on special teams (19 snaps per game), but that’s an awfully expensive special teamer.

8. How bad are the Redskins? They've scored 79 points in six home games. They have eight offensive touchdowns at Fedex Field this year. And five of them were in their first two games. They've scored THREE offensive touchdowns in their last four home games. The Eagles are actually 3rd-BEST in the NFL in road scoring at 29.3 points per game. This REALLY needs to be a blowout.

9. Rasul Douglas is the Eagles’ best cornerback.

10. Think about Duce Staley’s body of work as Eagles running backs coach: 1) Got a 776-yard, 9-TD season out of Ryan Mathews in 2016. 2) Won a Super Bowl with LeGarrette Blount on his last legs and Jay Ajayi coming in halfway through the season. 3) Undrafted rookie Corey Clement, who had 10 catches all year, had a 100-yard receiving game and miracle TD in a Super Bowl. 4) Got over 500 yards and a 4.3 average from undrafted rookie Josh Adams in 2018. 5) Miles Sanders has already broken the franchise record for scrimmage yards by a rookie. 6) Jordan Howard was in the midst of a comeback year with a 4.4 average and 7 TDs before he got hurt. 7) Darren Sproles netted nearly 1,400 scrimmage yards in just 30 games, all after turning 33. 8) Boston Scott comes off the practice squad to pile up 128 scrimmage yards in a critical win over the Giants. 9) Eagles are the No. 12 rushing team in the NFL in four years under Staley even though nobody on the roster has rushed for more than 850 yards TOTAL during that span. 10) All 11 running backs who’ve gotten at least 30 carries under Staley have averaged at least 4.0 yards per carry under Duce. Nine of them have averaged at least 4.3 yards per carry. The Eagles haven’t had a back with 550 yards in consecutive years since Shady, yet the Eagles always seem to run the ball well. The guy’s really good.

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