Eagles Make Too Many Mistakes, Lose Winnable Game
I thought the Eagles showed a lot of positives in today’s loss, but the mistakes kept piling up and ultimately cost the team a valuable win.
The biggest thing that jumped out to me today were the penalties. The Eagles racked up an astounding 14 penalties for over 111 yards. The most crucial of which may have come in the fourth quarter, where a holding penalty on Brandon Brooks wiped out a 20+ yard run by Ryan Mathews that that would have put the Birds in the redzone.
Throughout the game, it seemed as though the Eagles would always commit a penalty whenever they were able to come up with a third-down stop, or came up with a key play on offense. There were even two delay-of-game infractions, which were frankly inexcusable.
On top of the penalties, the Eagles’ offense committed their first turnovers of the season, both within the final two and a half minutes of the fourth quarter. Ryan Mathews had an absolutely egregious fumble, which set the Lions up with a short field, and Carson Wentz threw an interception on the team’s final drive, a play in which Nelson Agholor made no effort to break up the play.
Skill-Position Players Weren’t Good Enough Today
Through the first three games of the season, the Eagles had been getting solid, though unspectacular efforts from their skill-position guys.
Today, the backs and receivers didn’t do a lot to help Carson Wentz.
It’s scary to think about what Wentz will be able to do once he has a couple of truly reliable targets. Nelson Agholor and Dorial Green-Beckham both dropped catchable passes that should have gone for touchdowns in today’s game.
Wentz put the ball in perfect spots on both throws, and neither wideout was able to make a play.
Agholor just continues to be frustrating. There’s nothing special about his talent, and he doesn’t seem like he can be anything more than just a guy in this league.
In Green-Beckham’s defense, it appeared as if he may have been interfered with on the play, but it was still a catch he absolutely should have made.
Schwartz’ Defense Comes Out Flat
One of the most disappointing elements of today’s game was the defense’s effort in the first half.
The Eagles had no answers for what the Lions were doing offensively, allowing 21 points in the second half. The team was unable to get off of the field on third downs, they couldn’t get pressure on Matt Stafford early in the game, and they weren’t able to force any turnovers in the first half.
To Schwartz’s credit, the defensive staff made some good adjustments at the half, and the defense did its part to hold the Lions down in the second half to allow the offense to rally.
- Very surprising that Doug Pederson went completely away from his four-man running back rotation to stick primarily with Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles. Neither Wendell Smallwood, nor Kenjon Barner saw any touches on offense today, which was disappointing considering how well both guys have run the ball through the first three games.
- Dorial Green-Beckham had a very nice catch and run that brought the Eagles down to the goalline and set up their third touchdown. DGB is the one guy in the receiving group that I have very high hopes for.
- Carson Wentz has over 1,000 yards and seven touchdown passes through the first quarter of the season. He could easily have three more touchdowns to his credit, if not for his receivers dropping them in the endzone.
- I thought the offensive line did not have a very good game against a Detroit line that was without their best pass rusher in Ezekial Ansah.
- Zach Ertz returned to the lineup, but the Eagles weren’t able to do any damage with their three-tight end packages.
- What in the world has happened to Mychal Kendricks? The guy is just invisible, and doesn’t make any plays anymore.
- Leodis McKelvin reinjured his hamstring. Disappointing that the veteran has contributed so little through the first four games.
- Fletcher Cox has been a force, but the penalty for ripping Stafford’s helmet off cost the team four points.
- Bennie Logan and Vinny Curry also recorded sacks today.
- Caleb Sturgis hit all three of his field goal attempts, including a 50-yarder.
This one hurts.
The Eagles lost a winnable game to a bad team, losing their hold on first place in the NFC East, losing a chance to go to 4-0.
This is the type of loss that could really come back to haunt the team later in the season, but there were still positives in the defeat.
I don’t think Doug Pederson did a good enough job having this team prepared to play off of the bye week, and perhaps that shouldn’t be unexpected of a rookie head coach.
Lost in the success of a 3-0 start is the fact that this is still a very young football team, coached by a first-time head coach. There’s still going to be a fair amount of growing pains for this bunch, and we saw some of those take place in today’s loss.
Follow Denny Basens on Twitter, @DennyBasens