The Philadelphia Eagles have been crushed in their last two games by stupid penalties and mistakes. We have seen flashes from this team, but crucial plays have cost them two games.
Week 2 @ Atlanta SNF
“One step forward, two steps back” is a saying that I believe perfectly describes the beginning of this season for the Philadelphia Eagles. Let’s start off with week two at Atlanta on Sunday Night Football. Statistically speaking, it would seem as if the Eagles should have been victorious. However, two big mistakes played a big role in an Eagles loss.
If you look at the stats, Nelson Agholor looked to have a huge game, but in reality, with 1:56 left in the 4th quarter, he made a game-changing drop. After this play, however, he did make a big catch to keep the game alive on a 4th and 14, but they wouldn’t have to rely on a 4th down heave if Agholor made the potential game winning TD catch before this. Agholor made a couple nice catches earlier in the game to keep drives alive, but drops like these will continue to haunt him and the team if he can’t hold onto the football.
Another play in this game that shot themselves in the foot was the final play of the game. A 4th and 8, with 30 seconds to go on the Falcons 16 yard line. Zach Ertz, arguably the best tight end in the NFL, messes up a normal route that he is known for perfecting. With the game on the line, Zach Ertz ran short of the sticks and caught the ball before the first down marker and couldn’t get up the field. Every receiver should know where the first down marker is – especially Ertz. He had a solid game of 8 catches for 72 yards, but once again it’s the mistakes like these that cost this team football games. Both Ertz and Agholor made steps forward for themselves and for the team, but mistakes like these will continue to make the team go backwards and lose football games.
Week 3 vs Lions
Some believed that this game was a “must win” having to face Green Bay at Lambeau Field the following Thursday night. The Eagles were at home against the Lions and for the second week in a row, mistakes killed them in all three phases.
Let’s first talk about special teams. The Eagles finally put points on the board in the first quarter, after failing to do so the past two games. However on the following kickoff, the Lions returned it for a touchdown taking the lead 7-3. You cannot let up a kick return in your own stadium, after your offense looks to finally be in rhythm. This changed the momentum right off the bat.
Later on in the game, it looked as if the Eagles redeemed themselves. Veteran leader Malcolm Jenkins stepped up and blocked a kick with 1:53 lift in the game. If the Lions made the kick, it would have pushed them to a 6 point lead, meaning that the Eagles would need a touchdown to win the game. This blocked kick allowed the Eagles to be in field goal range to tie the game and go to overtime. Once again, the Eagles somehow managed to take a step backward again. Jenkins blocked the kick, but on the return he blocked a Lions player in the back, causing the ball to get pushed back to the 50-yard line. “One step forward, two steps back.”
Now let’s talk about the offense. The offense had a total of three turnovers and seven, yes SEVEN, drops. This is completely unacceptable for a team with eyes on a return to the Super Bowl. The start of this season has started to bring back memories of the 2016 season.
Miles Sanders arguably had his best statistical game of his rookie year. He led the team in rushing with 53 yards on 13 carries and led the team in receiving with 2 catches for 73 yards. This would be a step forward for Sanders… except he fumbled the ball twice, one somehow recovered by the offense and the other one came a couple plays later recovered by the Lions. This fumble led to a Lions field goal and a 17-10 lead. The Eagles were driving up the field, and this fumble killed the momentum. I know he is a rookie, but for him to be able to stay in the NFL, he needs to be able to hold onto the ball.
Nelson Agholor once again took a step forward, but then took two steps back. Agholor had 8 catches for 50 yards and two TDs. On paper this looks like a very good game for Agholor, but there were two big plays that didn’t help the Eagles. Nelson fumbled the ball, allowing a 38 yard recovery for the Lions, putting them in scoring position. The Eagles’ defense stopped them for only a field goal, making the score 20-10 Lions. That was two drives in a row that the Eagles fumbled the ball. With Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson hurt, Agholor has to step up and be a leader. Simply put, he’s not doing a good job on the field of doing so. Agholor needs to do more, especially being on the last year of his contract. If he wants to stay in Philly, he’s going to need to be a consistent player that the Eagles can rely on.
In reality, the defense has actually been the most consistent side of the ball. They are always stepping up and making stops, showing their “bend don’t break” mentality. However, in three games, they only have two sacks. You heard that right and can you guess who they’re by? Tim Jernigan and Andrew Sendejo. Fletcher Cox didn’t even record a single stat in the game against the Lions. I never in my life would have have thought that sentence would come out of my mouth (or keyboard). This defense needs to be able to get after the quarterback, especially this Thursday against Aaron Rodgers.
In all three phases, the Eagles need to be better. This team has the talent to be to do so, and this Thursday night is when the Eagles need to turn things around. Falling to 1-3 would be a horrible start to the season. The stats of teams making the playoffs after that start speak for themselves. They need to move on from the first three games, be 2-2 and have a fresh start to the season. In the end, the stats really don’t matter if you can win big games.