NASHVILLE, Tenn. — It’s hard to imagine the 2017 Super Bowl Eagles losing a game like that.
Because they wouldn’t. They didn’t.
So as we sit at the quarter mark of the 2018 season, and the Eagles are coming off a heartbreaking 26-23 loss in overtime to the Titans at Nissan Stadium (see Roob's observations). It was a game they should have won. It was a game where they had a two-touchdown lead in the second half.
It was the kind of game great teams don’t lose.
I’m not saying the 2018 Eagles won’t become a great team. As long as Carson Wentz stays healthy and plays the way he did Sunday, they certainly have a chance.
What I’m saying, is that as we flip the calendar to October, they’re nowhere close.
At 2-2, the Eagles have problems. Their defensive secondary gives up too many big plays. Their defensive line doesn’t generate as much pressure as it ought to for being as talented as it is. Their offensive line has been porous. They don’t get into the end zone enough. They can’t seem to stay healthy. And they commit too many penalties.
But they’re also missing something that’s harder to define.
You can’t imagine the 2017 Eagles losing that game in Nashville because there’s no way that version of the Eagles ever loses that game. Maybe there’s a Super Bowl hangover, but I don’t think their struggles are for lack of effort.
I think it has more to do with being the reigning Super Bowl champions and getting their opponents’ best each week. The Titans celebrated after the overtime win like they had won the championship. Every single team the Eagles face this season is going to give it everything to beat the champs. We talked about that bull’s eye this summer; now we’re seeing it.
So where do they go from here?
Doug Pederson had an answer:
Well, it comes down to — first of all, you have to, as I said in that locker room, hate this feeling more than you enjoy winning. It comes out of each guy, starting with myself. I look at myself in the mirror and make sure I’m doing everything I can to prepare this football team for each weekend, and effort, obviously, is always there. We have to look at the film quite honestly, and — it’s all fixable. The mistakes we’re making are all fixable. Whether it’s a coverage element being out of position, or a holding when we’re on the perimeter offensively, we can’t do (it). It’s just things that we can correct and practice during the week, and that’s what we have to do.
I agree with most of that. Effort has been there. And these mistakes are correctable.
But here we are, a quarter into the season and the Eagles don’t seem like a team destined to make it back to the Super Bowl. They have a lot to figure out. They certainly can, and it’s very possible they will. But the clock is ticking.