For a coach who talks about discipline an awful lot, Nick Sirianni does not have a very disciplined football team.
Two weeks in, the Eagles have committed an NFL-high 22 penalties, tying the most in franchise history after two games. Greasy Neale’s 1947 bunch also committed 22. They also went on to play for the NFL Championship, so maybe there is hope.
But 22 penalties in two games is ridiculous. The Eagles escaped Atlanta with a win despite committing 14, but they added eight more Sunday in their 17-11 loss to the 49ers at the Linc.
Three of the penalties, all in the fourth quarter, two on consecutive plays, were particularly costly:
1) The 49ers were still clinging to a four-point lead at 7-3 early in the fourth quarter. They had a 3rd-and-goal on the 3-yard-line when Jimmy Garoppolo tried to connect with Mohamad Sanu, running toward right to left in the end zone. The ball appeared to be sailing over Sanu’s head, but Anthony Harris got himself tangled up in Sanu and the refs had no choice but to call pass interference. The 49ers scored their first touchdown two plays later. Harris didn’t need to interfere. If he reads the play, he stays away, the 49ers kick a field goal and it’s still a one-possession game.
2) After the Eagles punted, the 49ers got the ball back and with six minutes left had a 2nd-and-7 on their own 35. Garoppolo fumbled and the ball bounced out of bounds at the 27. Eight-yard loss, 3rd-and-15, right? It would have been, but Derek Barnett inexplicably buried 49ers running back Jamycal Hasty long after the play was over for a personal foul. Instead of a 3rd-and-long, the 49ers had a new set of downs and the ball at the 42 instead of the 27.
3) On the very next play, K’Von Wallace forced a Trey Sermon fumble at midfield after an eight-yard gain. Darius Slay recovered and had a nice return. But Wallace was called for another personal foul for leading with his helmet, kind of a borderline call considering Sermon was lowering his helmet and really initiated the contact. So the fumble never happened, and there’s another 15 yards and another new set of downs, and three plays later the 49ers extended the lead to 17-3 on a field goal.
The Eagles were the second-most penalized team in the NFL last year with 107, or about 6.7 per game.
They’re at 11 per game now.
Penalties are a lack of discipline, and that’s a reflection of the head coach. Sirianni has spoken a lot about how he wants a smart, disciplined, fundamentally sound team, but two weeks into the season, we’ve got 22 pieces of evidence that this isn’t the case.
At least not yet.
Let’s take a look at the Eagles’ 22 penalties so far:
25 yards: Lane Johnson: holding +10, +10, ineligible downfield +5
19 yards: Steve Nelson: pass interference +19
15 yards: Isaac Seumalo: false start +5,+5, +5
15 yards: Derek Barnett: personal foul +15
15 yards: K’Von Wallace: personal foul +15
10 yards: Team: too many men on the field +5, delay of game +5
10 yards: Fletcher Cox: encroachment +5, illegal use of hands +5
10 yards: Andre Chachere: illegal block +10
7 yards: Hassan Ridgeway: holding +5, +2
5 yards: Jordan Mailata: false start +5
5 yards: Brandon Brooks: false start +5
5 yards: Javon Hargrave: encroachment +5
5 yards: Anthony Harris: pass interference +3, +2
0 yards: Jalen Reagor: ineligible downfield +0