Eagles

Roob's 10 observations after Eagles lose an ugly one to Lions at home

Roob's 10 observations after Eagles lose an ugly one to Lions at home

BOX SCORE

Another ugly loss, an ugly 1-2 record and a short week before a very tough game at Lambeau Field.

The Eagles are in trouble.

Are they good enough to fight their way out of it? We'll see, but the early signs aren't real encouraging.

Here are our 10 instant observations from another loss that shouldn't have been. Lions 27, Eagles 24.

1. I’d love to sit here and say it’s still early, it’s not time to panic, there’s a lot of football to be played. But I’m not sure you lose to the Lions at home and survive that. The Eagles are 1-2 with a game on Thursday night against the Packers in Green Bay, where the Packers have never lost on a Thursday night. After the Jets comes three straight road games — with Tom Brady and the Patriots and Russell Wilson and the Seahawks looming after that. The schedule is brutal, and when you have a team like the Lions at home, you can’t afford to give that one away. But that’s exactly what the Eagles did. Wasted opportunities. Fumbles. Dropped passes. The Lions were the better team, they were the better-coached team, and they deserved to win (see story).

2. These games just keep following the same pattern. Halftime deficit, desperate rally. Three weeks in a row now, the Eagles have trailed at halftime — 10-7 on opening day, 10-6 in Atlanta, 20-10 Sunday. They bounced back easily against the Redskins, rallied to take the lead against the Falcons, only to lose it, and outplayed the Lions in the second half Sunday, only to fall short once again at the end. This is the first time since 1982 the Eagles have trailed at halftime in each of their first three games, and I don’t care how exciting the games get at the end, you can't win this way. The Eagles did score a TD and FG on their first two drives, but the bottom line is they have yet to play a complete four-quarter game. This is on Doug Pederson. This team hasn't played 60 minutes yet. And that’s the biggest reason it's 1-2.

3. I know JJ Arcega-Whiteside is a rookie. I know he’s playing in only his third NFL game. Still. Catch the football. Carson Wentz put it right there. Catch the football (see story). It would have been a great catch, but this team desperately needed someone to be great and it just didn’t happen.

4. My biggest concern with this team before the season was pass pressure, and here we are three games in and the defense has two sacks — one by a tackle and one by a safety. This is the first time since sacks became an official stat in 1982 the Eagles have had just two after three games. Now, there’s more to pressuring a quarterback than getting sacks, but the pressure has been spotty as well. If you can’t pressure the QB, it’s really hard to win.

5. It was encouraging to see Miles Sanders come to life a little bit. He was never much of a receiver at Penn State, but he had receptions of 40 and 33 yards and was more productive as a runner than he has been, finishing 13 for 53 after another sluggish start. But he also fumbled twice, lost one, which led to a Detroit field goal. It was a problem at Penn State and it was a problem Sunday. And it’s a problem he has to solve because I don’t care how much talent a running back has, if you keep giving the other team the football, you’re not going to play (see story).

6. The Eagles weren’t terrible defensively. They gave up 20 points to a pretty high-powered offense and six of the points came on short fields. I thought the young corners, in particular, played really well against some high-powered receivers. But when the defense really had to shut down the Lions, it let ‘em go 75 yards in nine plays over the end of the third quarter and the start of the fourth. With an offense missing all those guys, the defense had to win this game. It didn’t lose it, but it didn’t win it either (see report card).

7. Two weeks in a row now Nelson Agholor followed a costly play (60-yard TD drop last week, fumble this week) with a big-time play (43-yard catch last week, two TDs this week). I give the kid credit for his mental toughness, being able to stay up and stay ready and make a big play. But, man, he’s the only experienced receiver on the team right now. He’s got to find some consistency in his game.

8. Wentz's final numbers were pretty good — threw for 259 yards with two TDs and no interceptions. I’m not sure what else he could have done without three of his top five weapons. Those two drives at the end of the game with the Eagles down three were agonizing to watch. He didn’t make any plays, but I just didn’t see any plays out there for him to make, other than the final play to JJAW.

9. Mack Hollins followed his 5 for 50 with a 4 for 62, and for a guy who started the season as the Eagles’ fifth receiver and really not even a lock to make the roster, I’ll take that from him. He’s not a great receiver, but he’s shown up the last two weeks when a lot of people haven’t.

10. Finally … I never complain about the refs. But the non-call on Miles Killebrew’s facemask on Sanders was about as egregious a non-call as you’ll ever see. The NFL talks a lot about player safety and then every ref on the field misses a guy ripping a dude’s helmet off and cackling about it on the sideline? That’s just outrageous and inexcusable. That simply cannot happen.

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Derrick Gunn's top NFL games to watch in Week 12

Derrick Gunn's top NFL games to watch in Week 12

Here are my games to watch for Week 12 of the NFL season:

COLTS at TEXANS — Thursday at 8:20 p.m. on NFL/FOX 

Showdown for 1st place in the AFC South. Both teams 6-4. Both average 141 yds a game rushing. Both have mobile QB’s Deshaun Watson and Jacoby Brissett. Colts WR T.Y. Hilton who’s missed the last 4 games is questionable for this matchup. He has owned the Texans in Houston in his career. In 4 games there  he’s averaged 179 receiving yards. That’s not good for a porous Texans pass defense. Houston could be without WR Will Fuller V because of a hamstring injury. Two evenly matched squads. Tough one to call, but I’ll give the Texans the edge at home.

PANTHERS at SAINTS — Sunday at 1 p.m. on CBS

Carolina is falling apart losing 3 of their last 4 and it’s not sitting well with team owner David Tepper who was quoted Monday saying “he won’t accept long term mediocrity.” QB Kyle Allen who was the talk of town is on the brink of being run out of town. He’s thrown 9 ints in the last 4 games. Panthers right now have a dark cloud hovering over them, and it should get a whole lot darker when they travel to NFC South foe New Orleans. Drew Brees  throws it up and WR Michael Thomas hauls it in. Thomas has 94 catches in 10 games. Panthers have Christian McCaffrey, but the Saints have to much overall talent to lose this one. Saints march to their 9th win.

COWBOYS at PATRIOTS — Sunday at 4:25 p.m. on FOX

This is a game where Dallas could send a message loud and clear to the rest of the league that they are capable of shining on the big stage. Cowboys have won 3 of their last 4 and have averaged over 33 ppg in their last 4 outings. The defending champion Patriots have the best record in the AFC, but their offense has been missing that explosiveness.  Their last two games they’ve scored just 20, and 17 points. While the boys can rack up the points they must figure out a solid patriots defense that leads the league in forcing turnovers and doesn’t make many mistakes. New England is 4-0 at home. Call it a hunch but i think Dallas is facing the pats at the right time and will shock the world by pulling off the road upset.

PACKERS AT 49ERS — Sunday at 8:20 p.m. on NBC

The outcome of this game could go a long ways in terms of deciding the number one overall seed in the NFC. The well rested Packers are coming off a bye. Aaron Rodgers and company appear to be finally getting in sinc with first year head coach Matt LeFleurs offense. This could be a running backs showcase. Packers rb’s have 20 tds (most in the NFL). Niners rb’s have 15 td’s (tied for 3rd most). The big question is how will the packers Swiss cheese defense plug the holes to slow down a lethal niners ground attack? Are the rugged niners starting to show signs of wear and tear. After suffering their lone loss to Seattle, they had to rally late to get by Arizona. Packers last trip west a few weeks ago was a disaster. They remember. They’ll be prepared to play better this time. But it won’t be good enough. San fran’s physicality will exhaust the pack attack.

RAVENS at RAMS — Monday at 8:15 p.m. on ESPN

Baltimore has been rolling and it doesn’t appear they’re about to slow down anytime soon. They’ve won 6 straight they’re longest win streak since a 7 game run in 2000 the year they won the Super Bowl. Lamar Jackson is giving defenses nightmares with his running ability and passing accuracy. Ravens lead the league in rushing averaging 203.8 yds per outing. As for the Rams its hard to figure out last year’s Super Bowl runner up. But an abundance of injuries have played a huge part in their lack of consistency, infrequent explosive plays, and 3rd place standing in the NFC West. Jared Goff, Todd Gurley, and Aaron Donald  must find a way to rally the troops or their season could be doomed. Head coach Sean McVay said WR Bradin Cooks who missed the last 2 games due to a concussion should be back for this one. Rams will give it everything they have but they won’t have a solution for action JacKson and the Ravens. 

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How Eagles' Nate Gerry is moving on from costly blown tackle vs. Patriots

How Eagles' Nate Gerry is moving on from costly blown tackle vs. Patriots

Nate Gerry actually played well Sunday.

Except one play.

That play.

Gerry had a game-high 10 tackles, a tackle for loss, a QB hurry and a sack in the Eagles’ 17-10 loss to the Patriots Sunday.

And a blown tackle.

A really, really, really ugly one.

That whiff was responsible for the game’s pivotal play, Rex Burkhead’s 30-yard catch and run that set up the Patriots’ only touchdown, the game-winner.

Gerry was in perfect position to bring Burkhead down for no gain, maybe a yard, but Burkhead broke free and raced down the left sideline before Avonte Maddox finally brought him down at the Eagles’ 30-yard-line.

Six plays later, Julian Edelman’s TD pass to Phillip Dorsett gave the Patriots their only touchdown.

Ballgame.

I tried to use my left hand to wrap him up and I grabbed a lot of his towel and not much of his leg, so I didn’t really have much support to anchor down, and he got out of it,” Gerry said. “I just couldn’t finish the play is all it was. … I should have shot higher instead of trying to shoot low. A lot more thinking in tackling nowadays, I feel like. I’ve just got to play fast. I was a little hesitant.

With Kamu Grugier-Hill missing three games and Nigel Bradham four, Gerry has played a lot this year, and it hasn’t been all bad.

He’s played a career-high 391 defensive snaps and played a career-high 73 on Sunday.

He leads the Eagles with two interceptions and also has two sacks, including one of Tom Brady Sunday.

Gerry is one of only five players in the NFL with two sacks and two interceptions and only the third Eagles linebacker since Jeremiah Trotter in 2001 with two sacks and two INTs in the same season. DeMeco Ryans and Mychal Kendricks both did in 2013.

But ask anybody who watched Eagles-Patriots about Gerry and they'll only remember one play.

Which is understandable.

It’s a tackle he has to make.

Burkhead, who preceeded Gerry by four years at Nebraska, is 5-10, 215 and not exactly a big-time playmaker. That was only his second career reception of 30 yards or more in seven NFL seasons.

Gerry took the loss particularly hard.

If he simply makes a routine tackle, the Patriots would have had 2nd-and-10 on their own 40-yard-line in a 10-10 game. And who knows.

The 30-yarder was the Patriots’ longest offensive play of the game by eight yards.

It’s hard,” Gerry said. “That drive turned into the only touchdown for them. Obviously, it hurts. You don’t ever want to say one play wins or loses you a game, but sometimes it does come down to that and that may have been one of those times. Obviously, it hurts me deep down to see how many yards I gave up. But I just have to learn from it and move on.

You know watching film with the other linebackers Tuesday wasn’t a particularly pleasant experience.

You have to watch the good and the bad,” he said. “Don’t try to be too hard on yourself sometimes, but at the end of the day it’s hard not to be.

At 6-foot-2, 230 pounds, Gerry really should be a situational linebacker playing primarily in clear passing situations. He’s had to play too many snaps out of necessity.

He’s 7th on the defense is snaps but 4th in tackles. But he knows it’s the one tackle he didn’t make that everybody will remember.

Until he gives them a reason not to.

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