For the first three weeks of the season, the Eagles had their black ski mask on the sideline ready to celebrate the first defensive takeaway of the season and they never got to use it.
Then last Sunday in San Francisco, the Eagles’ picked off two passes and recovered a fumble and the ski mask was nowhere to be found.
What the heck happened?
“Cre’Von (LeBlanc) is actually responsible, so I don’t know what happened,” Rodney McLeod said. “He lost it. We gotta figure out where it’s at. We’re gonna make sure we have it Sunday.”
The Eagles began using the ski mask during the 2018 season as a fun way to commemorate their takeaways. When he was on IR with an ACL tear, it was McLeod’s job in 2018 to carry out the black ski mask for each game. Get it? It’s a black ski mask and they’re stealing the ball? Thanks for catching up.
Anyway, Cre’Von … what happened?
"Honestly, I've been bringing it every week,” LeBlanc said. “And when we played the Cincinnati Bengals after that game, it was left on the sideline. After the game when we have to go you know, meet and greet the other team, you know, 'good game,' tap on a back and stuff like that and by the time I was supposed to come back to the sideline, it was gone. So we got to get another.”
Yes, in a cruel twist of fate, the Eagles’ symbol of takeaways was taken away from them, likely by an unknowing cleaning person.
“I feel like the mask is always with us, man,” said McLeod, ever the optimist.
As silly as all this is, the Eagles know how important turnovers are. Through the first three games of the season, the Eagles were minus-7 in turnover differential, ranking them dead last in the NFL. It was a big reason for their 0-2-1 start.
In the first three games, the Eagles had just one takeaway and that came on a punt return.
So entering the 49ers game on Sunday Night Football, the Eagles knew they wanted to finally get some takeaways but defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz always stresses that you can’t force them. That’s when you give up plays. So the Eagles on Sunday just did their jobs and were rewarded with those three turnovers, which brings us to the next question.
Football players are known to be pretty superstitious. And they just got three takeaways without the ski mask on the sideline, so … ???
"I mean, can't go wrong with a ski mask but being that it wasn't there and we did get turnovers,” LeBlanc said. “… You know, if the ski mask is on the sideline it's definitely gonna get put on, though. For sure.”