Good thing the Eagles had a bye week to get their act together. To figure out how to generate some rhythm on offense, to figure out how to start fast on defense, to figure out how to be a smarter, more disciplined team.
The Eagles - oh, sorry, “the first-place Eagles” - began the second half of this miserable season with a disgusting 27-17 loss to the 2-7 Giants at MetLife Stadium.
Terrible quarterback. Terrible defense. Terrible coach.
And somehow at 3-5-1 they’re still in first place, but with the Browns, Seahawks, Packers, Saints and Cards coming up, they won’t be for long.
Here’s our 10 Observations from another Eagles nightmare:
1. How do you come off a bye week, healthier than you have been all year, and let the NFL’s 31st-ranked offense drive 85 and 75 yards for touchdowns on its first two drives of the game? That’s a defense that’s just not ready. Not prepared to play. Terrible coaching. Terrible execution. Yeah, they played better after that. Who cares. Good defenses don’t put their team in a 14-3 hole 16 minutes into a game against one of the NFL’s worst offense. Really, the game was already over. Inexcusable.
2. And while we’re at it … how many times do we have to watch this defense give up a quick touchdown as soon as the offense scores? The offense finally gets the spark it’s been waiting for with Boston Scott’s electrifying 56-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter to make it a 14-11 game. And the defense comes out and lets the Giants go 75 yards in six plays - including back-to-back pass plays of 27 and 38 yards - and just like that it’s 21-11. Ballgame. We talk a lot about complimentary football, and the Eagles just can’t play it. We’re nine games into the season now, and there hasn’t been one game where both units have played well.
3. Carson Wentz wasn’t awful. Didn’t turn the ball over for the first time this year. Made a few nice throws under pressure. Victimized by some drops. But I’m not about to celebrate when he’s mediocre. He didn’t see the field like he needs to. He didn’t look off guys. He missed guys high. He didn’t complete a pass longer than 22 yards. He completed just 57 percent of his passes. He didn’t throw a touchdown pass. He was outplayed by Daniel Jones, for crying out loud. This was actually one of his better games this year, and he wasn’t very good. Will he ever be good again?
4. You allow a quarterback to run 80 yards before he falls down. OK, it happens. It shouldn’t happen, but it happens. Then you talk all week about how much you learned from it, how you realize now what a threat Daniel Jones is on the ground and how you’re not going to let it happen again because now you’re ready for it. Then you let the same quarterback run 34 yards untouched for a TD a month later. That’s just flat-out embarrassing for everybody on this defense and everybody on this defensive coaching staff. This isn’t Lamar Jackson, for crying out loud. Jones is the first QB in history to rush for 50 yards twice in a season against the Eagles. Last time maybe they didn’t know it was coming. No excuses this time. Daniel Freaking Jones. Pathetic.
5. And, really, I’ve heard enough how elite this defensive line is. They might be paid like an elite defensive line, but they’re average. Barely average. Brandon Graham is the only guy in that unit having an elite year, and this is a case where the whole definitely does not equal the sum of the parts. They’ve got a bunch of guys with great resumes and huge contracts and big reputations. But that’s about it. They should have dominated this mediocre Giants offensive line, but it didn’t happen. The Giants ran for 151 yards, Jones completed 75 percent of his passes and threw for 244 yards, and that elite d-line spent much of the afternoon getting pushed around. You want to call yourself the best in the league? Play like it.
6. Doug Pederson has made a lot of bizarre coaching decisions this year, but going for two after the Corey Clement touchdown in the third quarter made it 21-17 was an all-timer. Someone please explain that one to me. Naturally, the play had zero chance. Disaster from the start. Stop trying to outsmart everybody and just kick the darn PAT.
7. The Eagles were 0-for-9 on third down against a Giants defense that’s ranked 26th in the league on third down at 48 percent. First time since the Steelers game in 2004 they failed to convert a third down.
8. I said it before and I’ll say it again. Doug Pederson has to give up play-calling duties. He has to. This offense is a train wreck. There’s no rhythm, no sense of one play setting up another, no element of surprise, no balance. Injuries aren’t an excuse anymore. They’ve got most of their guys back. Something has to change. Because this is painful to watch. The Eagles scored TDs on their first two drives of the second half, then netted 59 yards on their last four drives. Doug has no feel for playcalling right now, and he’s got to handoff that clipboard to somebody who does.
9. I get using Jalen Hurts as a spark when things aren’t going well. When the offense finally starts rolling and you have a big 2nd-and-10 on your own 30 and you finally have some momentum and Miles Sanders and Boston Scott are both putting up big numbers and the Giants can’t stop your running game … this is NOT the time for Jalen Hurts. Why do you want a change-of-pace when the original pace is finally functioning? Hurts of course lost a yard on a keeper, Wentz threw incomplete on 3rd-and-11 and the Eagles had to punt. There’s a time and a place, and that was neither.
10. How about 11 penalties for 74 yards? Talk about undisciplined. When you’re not very good to start with, you’re not going to win many games committing 11 penalties. That’s on the coach.