AT one point the announcers described the Lions QB’s play today as “pedestrian”. The Lions by no means won this game. The Eagles lost it. Or more to the point, our coaching staff gave it away.
How does a rookie fumble twice on one drive, and still get multiple touches of the ball later? How do we not get a single sack vs a team with a banged up LT? How do we not run high efficiency routes with our back-up receivers, late in the game, so that our QB doesn’t have to hold the ball all day long?
The answer to all of these is, coaching decisions. It’s a decision, to keep playing a RB who right now seems like a change of pace guy, like he’s a starter. It’s a decision, to play defensive backs in soft coverage, which gives our pass rush no time to get to the passer. It’s a decision, to eschew teaching situational football, in favor of appearing to be aggressive. All of these decisions were made not by players, but by coaches.
QB Carson Wentz (19/36 – 52.7% – 259 – 2 – 0) is absolved of any blame in this game. Let’s clear that up immediately. He had seven dropped passes in this game. SEVEN. For a second week in a row, he seemed like he was singlehandedly, trying to will the team past its shortcomings. He even ran for 33 yards on 4 carries (8.25ypc). RB Miles Sanders (13 – 53 – 4.0 – 0 – 2 / 2 – 73 – 36.5 – 0) led the team in both rushing and receiving yards, but put the ball on the ground twice in one drive, losing it the second time.
WR Nelson Agholor (8 – 50 – 6.2 – 2) also lost a fumble, on the drive immediately after Sanders’s. Both led to field goals. TE Zach Ertz (4 – 64 – 16.0 – 0) hasn’t been the same guy since WR Alshon Jeffery was hurt in Week 2. WR Mack Hollins (4 – 62 – 15.5 – 0) was flagged for offensive pass interference twice and nearly a third time on one of Agholor’s scores.
SS Malcolm Jenkins (3 – 0 – 0 – 0) blocked a 4th quarter 46 yard FG try. CB’s Sidney Jones (3 – 0 – 0 – 0) and Rasul Douglas (2 – 0 – 0 – 0) each had a nice pass break-up, but otherwise this defense did nothing to write home about.
I hear you asking, “What about all the stuff that stats don’t reveal?” Well, that’s the reason for these “Four Things” articles. We introduce an idea of what needs addressing BEFORE the game, so that fans have to honestly answer questions about those things, AFTER the game. This helps to get us, and keep us, all on the same page.
So, of the Four Things we were looking for in this last game, what exactly did we see?
1) Run with power: RB Jordan Howard (11 – 37 – 3.3 – 1 – 0) cracked double digit carries for his first time as an Eagle. Despite not fumbling and even scoring, the coaches elected to stick with Sanders today. Sanders didn’t look as bad as he did in the first two weeks, but if you ask any fan who watched the game, they’ll tell you that Howard needed more touches. (NOT DONE)
2) No Cover Zero: We actually managed to stay out of it in the first half, but on a critical 3rd and long in the second half we got beat for 27 yarder, while in Zero. It was amusing to see Jenkins at one point audibling the Secondary into Cover Two. It makes me wonder if there’s any friction in the meetings, between players and coaches. In any case I did say ‘no’ CZ, I didn’t say ‘very little’. (NOT DONE)
3) Hit Stafford from the blindside: We didn’t get much real pressure on QB Matt Stafford (18/32 – 56.2% – 201 – 1 – 0). Not one single sack all day. Even when we blitzed. DE Derek Barnett (1 – 0 – 0 – 0) continues to crash down hard inside the LT, instead of first setting an edge. This would be one thing if he were a one-dimensional sack machine, but he clearly isn’t one. (NOT DONE)
4) Unleash the deep ball: We did throw the ball deep to Sanders early, and an early deep throw to Agholor netted us a pass interference call. It was the only early deep ball to a WR. The ball was thrown long a few times later in the game, but they were more prayers than passes. (NOT DONE)
That gives us a Four Things score of 0 for 4 this week and 3 for 12 on the season. Clearly the Eagles have gotten too far away from fundamental football, and it has us as a losing team right now. We have a short week to prepare for our Thursday game at Lambeau Field vs the 3 – 0 Green Bay Packers.
On The Whole:
There is clearly an agenda to push the young players like Sanders, WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (1 – 10 – 10.0 – 0), and TE Dallas Goedert (1 dropped touchdown). This would be fine if they were ready for bigger loads. With the exception of Goedert, they are clearly deer in headlights.
I’m tired of complaining about this Defense, so I won’t.