Plenty of things went wrong Sunday for the Eagles in their 26-23 overtime loss to the Titans.
But none of them would have mattered if they just got a stop in OT.
After already kicking a field goal, the Eagles just needed to prevent the Titans from going 75 yards and they couldn’t do it. Not even after they forced them into three fourth-downs.
Only one team in the last 25 years had even converted two 4th downs in a single overtime - the Giants against the Jets in 2015.— Reuben Frank (@RoobNBCS) September 30, 2018
The Titans converted three.
Let’s take a look at the plays that doomed the Eagles in the extra quarter Sunday:
This one was the real killer. The Titans are facing a 4th-and-15 from their own 31-yard line, so they need to get to the 46. It’s a little curious to me the Eagles didn’t go with the picket fence along the 46. The Eagles are in Cover 2. Corey Graham is circled. He’s going to make the mistake of the game.
First off, it’s a nice pocket for Marcus Mariota. The Titans went max protect to give Mariota enough time to throw. It takes a while for a 15-plus-yard play to develop and they weren’t going to let the Eagles’ pass rush get home. But because the Titans went max protect, they have three receivers running routes past the sticks and the Eagles have seven defensive players to cover them.
This is just an absolutely miserable breakdown and mental error from a guy who has been in this league for 10-plus years. What’s he doing here? How can the Eagles let Taywan Taylor just settle in right beyond the first down marker and make an easy catch? He just needs to be deeper and wider; he needs to know where the sticks are.
It looks even worse on the film than it did live.
“It’s just a dumb play by me,” Graham said. “I feel like I gotta be a lot smarter than that and play the situation.”
Even after the Titans converted that 4th-and-15, the Eagles got them back into another fourth-down situation. On this play, it’s 4th-and-4. Sidney Jones is covering Nick Williams.
The Titans need to get to the 40.
This was a really quick move back inside from Williams and it has Jones leaning a little bit. When Jones goes to make a play on the ball, his left hand definitely wraps around the waist of the receiver. If that arm doesn’t go there, no call and the game is over.
Brandon Graham actually got a good push from the RDT position, but this play is obviously quicker to develop than 4th-and-15 and Mariota has plenty of time to deliver the ball.
The shame of this for the Eagles is the ball from Mariota soars. If Jones doesn’t put his hand on the receiver’s back, this game is over.
It’s 4th-and-2 now and Mike Vrabel, after a timeout, decides to go for it instead of trying a 50-yard field goal. On this play, the Titans are going to pass the ball to Dion Lewis in the right flat.
All three players in that bunch formation at the top of the screen are running routes to the left to clear out some space for the little running back.
Fletcher Cox nearly blew up this play by pushing the guard back into Lewis. But Lewis makes an incredibly nifty play, somehow avoiding the large man getting tossed into his lap. He somehow slices through the guard and tackle and gets clear from the line.
The block on this play comes from the receiver who lined up on the near side of the field. He comes all the way across the field to spring Lewis down the sideline. Jordan Hicks definitely has a case for a block in the back, but it wasn’t called. It was kind of a block in the side.
This can’t happen though. Hicks had a right to be mad, but the play is still going on! He eventually realizes that and gets back in, but he can’t start arguing for a call there. He needs to get back in the play.
On that video, you can see just how nifty Lewis was to get through the line. If he trips at all, the game is over.
It’s 3rd-and-10 from the Eagles’ 10-yard line. We’ll never know if Vrabel would have decided to go for it on fourth down because the Titans score here to win the game.
The Eagles are coming with a zero blitz on this play. Doug Pederson said it was the right call because a forced fumble could end the game. But that leaves rookie Avonte Maddox in 1-on-1 coverage in the middle of the field with the game on the line. Corey Davis is just going to run a simple post.
Interestingly, Malcolm Jenkins and Jalen Mills are left in the middle of the field unable to help Maddox on the back end. Both were worried about Lewis on this play.
Maddox, who had a decent game on defense, simply slipped.
After Maddox slipped, he couldn’t recover. And Jenkins was too far in front of the play to get back once the ball was in the air. Give credit to Mariota and Davis on this play too. This was a nice toss and catch, but it was a brutal loss for the Eagles.
There were plenty of problems in this game for the Eagles. To pin it on one guy or one play or even a few plays isn’t really fair. They deserved to lose this game for multiple mistakes. As Pederson has said, those mistakes are correctable, but they need to be corrected. Saying it over and over doesn’t fix them.
There’s plenty to fix from this drive alone.