Was the Eagles MNF game a fluke?
Well that was less than ideal…
If you the reader have little time, or if you are late for your flight or, perhaps work and only have a few minutes: just know the main takeaway from the last MNF game and besides a few players — everything was rough for the Eagles. Just two weeks ago the Eagles looked like a team primed to surpass expectations. Even though the underdog, the Eagles blew out the Atlanta Falcons 32-6 earlier which led to excitement returning to Philadelphia, a revitalization in belief if you will for the fans.
Monday night’s 41-21 loss to Dallas was a true gut punch that has fans scrambling for optimism with an unforgiving stretch of games against Kansas City, undefeated Carolina, defending champions Tampa Bay, and undefeated Las Vegas coming up.
It’s Time To Worry About This Offense
This offense is in trouble. It started last week, and many fans overlooked it due to the thrashing of a bad Atlanta team. The Eagles only managed to score 11 points against the Niners last week, looking uninspiring in the passing game and RedZone. Outside of a great pass to Quez Watkins, a 91-yard bomb that resulted in no points due to the aforementioned red zone issues, the passing offense was horrific as a whole. Minus that one big gain, no Eagle surpassed 26 yards on the game. It was thought that the struggles would be able to work out against a Dallas defense who were subpar to put it lightly last year.
Let’s Talk About Jalen Hurts
Nope, the issues were heightened all the more. Looking past the 326 yards Hurts posted in the stat box, Hurts struggled tremendously. Both interceptions were extremely disappointing and concerning. The first was an incredibly underthrown deep pass that could’ve been a big touchdown if thrown ahead of Jalen Reagor in the endzone. With Reagor’s speed you hope that Hurts is able to place it well enough to give him the chance to score, but the ball fell about 10 yards too short.
Hurts’ second interception of the game came in the second quarter, Eagles down by two scores and needing an answer to stay in the game. Yes Devonta Smith fell down on his route, but the throw was going to get picked regardless. If Smith doesn’t fall, the bad placement of the throw would’ve been highlighted even more. It was way too far behind Smith, with not enough mustard on it to reach the target. Cornerback Trevon Diggs also read it right away.
The arm and accuracy for Hurts are both very concerning, and it leads fans to ask just how much he can improve? What is his ceiling if he is unable to stretch the field? He also needs to improve on reading the field. Yes the oline wasn’t great tonight, but having a quarterback consistently extend plays or bail from the pocket doesn’t help them at all (alongside something else we’ll get to very soon) The main takeaway is that nothing looks easy for Hurts right now. He doesn’t look completely natural on every down in the pocket, the accuracy hasn’t been on the money yet, nothing looks easy for him right now.
Not a Good Game for Sirianni At All
Nick Sirianni is not doing a great job of making everything easy for Hurts. The takeaway shouldn’t be that one or the other looked bad, but both looked bad and hurt each other in the process. There should be absolutely no reason why the Eagles are only rushing the ball three times in a game. THREE TIMES! It took the Eagles until their fourth drive of the game, midway through the second quarter, to dial-up their first running play. Miles Sanders broke off a big run, rushed for three yards two plays later, and was never handed the ball again.
No team can win a game when they are only running the ball three times with their running backs. Jalen Hurts struggled in his first series, throwing an interception. Instead of giving him some help with Miles Sanders, a guy who is averaging around five yards a carry right now, they just had him throw three times en route to a three and out. The Eagles were only down by a touchdown at this point, it was only the first quarter still. Dallas just put together a 13-yard drive that Philadelphia somehow managed to stop on their goal line. Instead of running it on his own one, Philadelphia threw three times, punted it, and gave Dallas great field position to score on the tired Eagles defense.
What we saw was very reminiscent of the problems from the Chip Kelly era. Dallas held the ball for nearly ten minutes more than Philadelphia. The Eagles had their defense out there all game. Maybe the rushing attack wouldn’t have gotten it going. Maybe we’d be talking about how the Eagles offense still lacks bite due to the lack of a power back. But to not try and put your team and your defense facing one of the premier offenses in the league in a better position by not dialing up more than THREE rushing plays was really really REALLY bad.
Dark Clouds Ahead
The Eagles better figure it out soon or this season has the potential to get out of hand fast. The Eagles do not have the perfect bounceback matchup, which is a shortened week bout against Kansas City. Next week the Eagles will travel to currently undefeated Carolina, a team whose defense looks suffocating and offense revitalized by new addition at quarterback Sam Darnold. After that, the Eagles host defending Super Bowl champs Tampa Bay — will Hurts get a handshake? AFTER THAT, Philly gets to travel and play a 3-1 Las Vegas team. Those are four games that look like losses off the bat.
The Eagles have a “break” in the action when they play Detroit, a team that has taken the Niners and Raiders to the limit. After them are the Los Angeles Chargers, currently undefeated Denver Broncos, and the Saints. That’s a very very tough stretch of games.
There were some positives from the past game, including Javon Hargrave looking like a defensive player of the year contender, but there are heavy concerns entering week four. The loss against Dallas was a rough one, and raises concerns for the rest of the season. Can the Eagles turn it around against some sturdy competition? These next few weeks will be very telling of the Eagles franchise moving forward into the future.