• July 7, 2022

Thoughts From Eagles-Saints

Eagles Start Fast, Run Out Of Gas As Season Ends

The stage seemed to be set for another upset.

A Cre’Von LeBlanc interception set the tone early, and two quick touchdown drives by Nick Foles and the Eagles offense got the team out to an early 14-0 lead.

But that would be all the points they’d be able to generate on the day, with the Saints slowly scoring 20 unanswered points over the final three quarters to dethrone the defending Super Bowl Champions.

The Birds had the ball deep in New Orleans’ territory with just over two minutes to go when Alshon Jeffery allowed a ball to go right off of his hands and into the arms of Marshon Lattimore, ending the team’s final opportunity.

There are a lot of points where momentum swung in this game. Nick Foles started hot, but faded down the stretch. His early interception on an underthrown ball to Zach Ertz swung momentum, and took away at least an opportunity for a field goal. Foles also underthrew Golden Tate later in the second half, and just wasn’t as sharp as he usually is.

Doug Pederson made several mistakes throughout the game as well that cost the team. Declining the holding penalty on third down on the play before the Saints’ fake punt was a foolish mistake. Anyone that knows Sean Payton knows that in a game this big, with the way momentum was on the Eagles’ side early in the game, with a 4th and 1, Payton would go for it in some way, shape, or form. Of course, the Saints may well have picked up the third and 11, but I’d rather take my chances with the longer down and distance than give Payton an enticing one-yard conversion opportunity.

Burning the timeout early in the third quarter was also a bad moment.

The coaching staff as a whole did not adjust well to the Saints’ adjustments. The Eagles came out with tremendous energy, show Pederson’s staff should get ample credit for having them ready to go, but they had no answer for New Orleans’ counters on either side of the ball.

The injury bug also rose up to bite the Eagles in this one, taking Brandon Brooks out of the game in the first half, and hampering Fletcher Cox, Rasul Douglas, and Michael Bennett among others throughout the game.

This one hurts because of how utterly winnable it was. It hurts that the offense couldn’t generate a single point after the first quarter. It feels like one of those games where the Eagles wouldn’t get out of their own way, and it cost them the season.

Quick Thoughts


  • The Eagles didn’t have much of a running game for the second straight week, gaining only 49 on the ground on 16 carries. Wendell Smallwood led the team with 33 yards, while Nelson Agholor picked up 12 on a touch early in the game. Josh Adams didn’t get a touch, and Darren Sproles managed just four yards.
  • The improvement Smallwood has shown as a pass blocker over the last few weeks is very impressive. I don’t know how the Eagles’ backfield shakes out next year, but Smallwood, who was on the roster bubble in August, and phased in and out of the offense throughout the year had some nice moments down the stretch.
  • I thought Zach Ertz had a really poor game. He could have fought harder to break up the first Foles interception, and in the second half had a bad drop before the half that helped kill a drive and give the Saints a crack at a field goal.
  • Jordan Matthews scored the opening touchdown on a 37-yard grab. Matthews had a nice season as a role player, I would think the Eagles would prefer to go with Mack Hollins as their fourth moving forward, but Matthews gave the team nice value for a guy signed off the street several weeks into the season.
  • Agholor and Golden Tate were non-factors in the passing attack today.


  • Is it a stretch to say that Cre’Von LeBlanc might have been one of the team’s best defensive players down the stretch? LeBlanc thrived down the stretch in the slot, and has a nice edge to his game. I think he may well keep his role next year.
  • You have to give a world of credit to Fletcher Cox for his effort today. On a day where he was banged up early, Cox gave all he had to get back in the game, and gave the team some real quality snaps when he was clearly far from 100%.
  • How to evaluate Jim Schwartz in this one? On one hand, the defense held the Saints to just 20 points. If I told you the Saints only score 20, you feel great about the Eagles’ chances. On the other hand, there were still some very frustrating aspects to the defensive game plan. How many deep in’s to Michael Thomas were the Eagles’ going to allow today? The inability to get off of the field on third and longs has hurt this defense throughout the season, and the problem helped doom the season.
  • Thomas was allowed to catch a ridiculous 12 passes for 171 yards and a touchdown.

Final Thoughts

It’s a frustrating end to a great run.

The Eagles did very well to get themselves into the playoffs, and into the second round. About a month ago after the Dallas game I wrote that I wanted to at least see the Eagles have a chance to properly defend their championship in the playoffs. At 6-7, I didn’t think we were going to get that much.

But Nick Foles came in, and in what could well be a curtain call for his Philadelphia career, rallied the team and took them on one more run, successfully ripping off three in a row to get into the playoffs, and pulling an upset over the Chicago Bears.

There’s a lot of tough decisions ahead of the franchise.

What happens to Foles? What about some the older veterans like Jason Peters and Brandon Graham?

Does Golden Tate stick around? Do injured pending unrestricted free agents like Ronald Darby or Jay Ajayi come back on cheap prove-it deals?

There’s a lot to work through, and questions to be answered in the coming weeks.

Eventually, the sting will fade and we’ll all look back on this run with some very fond memories of a team that fought to the bitter end. But right now, it’s a missed opportunity that hurts quite a bit.

Denny Basens

Read Previous

Eagles Need Pass Rush Pressure In the Face Of Drew Brees

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It May Be Time For Eagles To Say Good Bye To… Jason Peters


  • wtf is doug doing not letting the twominute warning come ? his magic and nicks all in these runs, happened from this philly special moments, of nick getting dougs ear, and performing on the biggest drive , in the game. Just the fact that you never give brees any extra seconds for gods sake! Instead on a 2nd down it was a rushed ill time tran wreck. Im a guy who trashed asshole lor but today? cmon man , look for the freaking ball dude, shit does happen at the line of scrimmage. Hes runningbwith his head up his ass. gone tate gone so we need receivers, dee end because grahams gone and long stuckmaround like his namesake too long. O line will be reliant on some guys long in the tooth. There is no doubt last years differential was ajayi clement blount vs sproles (4 yds) and smalls who isnt a feature back. Leveon bell decision by howie was the late wand move that never happened to create a golden moment: in its stead Golden tate. I think Doug had deer in the headlight moments , not running the rock due to personnel , was an error of hige proportions as time of possession was two to one almost. We jumped up two tds driving for a third score and wentz on there best cover guy is our best option ? nick wasnt great , ertz beat his man but nick underthrew and momentum swung. Im never hsppy with a death to a season , but Jeffereys balled his ass off , and its a shame. Keep your head high man love you guys Go Birds!

  • Eagles Fought Hard and ran out of Gas in the 2nd Half after rushing out to a 14-0 Lead and then going into Half up 14-10 but it felt like a huge opportunity lost as the Saints got their legs under them and made the adjustments.. The Eagles Receivers failed to get much separation and when they did they either dropped the ball (Ertz/Jeffrey) or weren’t looking for the ball (Agholor) or Foles overthrew them
    Losing Brandon Brooks really hurt as they could not run much after he went out and the Saints Pass Rush started to get to Foles and especially when Peters went out
    RB Sproles or Smallwood had to stay in and help block leaving no real safety valve forFoles to get some positive yards..
    Defense gave up too many 3rd and Long Plays and especially when CB RDouglas was out of the Game replaced by #48 (J Hawkins) who they recently picked up so you know that’s going to be trouble
    In the end, the Eagles lost to the better Team in Terms of Talent and Coaching
    In fact, the Home Teams and better Teams all Won this Weekend showing how hard it really is to make a legitimate Super Bowl Run when being lower than a #2 Seed
    Getting a Week Off is Huge and Playing and Feeding off a Home Crowd is Huge
    I’m proud that this Eagles Team made a little run and at least made the Playoffs to Defend their SB Championship and Playing hard for each other and their Coaches and Fans for not many Visiting Teams even showed up this Weekend

    Fast Forward to the Off-Season and March and the Eagles need to make the difficult decisions and say Goodbye to many Players
    QB Nick Foles, RB Jay Ajayi, RB D Sproles, LT J Peters, Guard C Warmack , TE R Rogers, WR M Wallace,WR S Gibson, WR G Tate, DE C Long , LB J Hicks, CB R Darby, Safety Corey Graham, Safety Rodney McLeod

    Draft Needs are Plenty
    Offense – OL,RB & WR
    Defense – DL,LB, CB & Safety

    Eagles Have some Draft Capitol this Year and this is a very Deep Draft for DL,DB,WR & RB but not a very Deep Draft for OT and LB

    They Start the 2019 Calander Season ERly March and will be Approx $12 Million over their 2019 Cap but a few Move with the Playwrs above can change that quickly in what happens with Foles, Peters & McLeod which Accounts for Almost $40 Million in Cap Space with these 3 Players alone..
    I hate to say this but for Wentz future development and psyche, Foles has to go and the Team cannot Go thru carrying them both again next Season (unless Wentz Back issue is serious and requires Surgery or has to have major rehab)

    1st Round – (#25 Pick) Highest Rated DL (DE or DT)
    2nd Round – (#53 Pick from the Ravens) Highest Rated OL (OT or Guard/Center)
    2nd Round – (#57 Pick) – Highest Rated WR or RB (I like this RB Snell from Kentucky)

    • chimp ; first and foremost happy healthy new years brother . You mention foles departure but you dont allow for the fact that he will bring back a draft pick. The Foles contract is structured with a 20 million buy out, in order to control the player, which Foles is then obligated to pay back 2 million. Gruden will be dealing from strength with multiple ones. In the upcoming weak qb draft, this might very well be the time to inser Foles into the mix. The FA duo from the steelers would fix two area of needs with antonio and Bell. Keeping guys from Dallas is as much a part of the strategy as they traded their one for cooper. Im still numb, as to why Doug didnt run the clock to the two minute warning to confer with nick in the final drive and take time off the clock , for brees??

  • Really simple. Foles turned into a pumpkin and played god awful despite all the time in the world to throw. He missed high, he missed low, he missed left, he missed right and he consistently underthrew. Not sure if the chimp watched or not but i don’t recall any overthrows just underthrown ducks.

    Desert is right foles ain’t a FA and won’t be allowed to walk away free UNLESS howie going after and is sure he will get either Clowney or leveon. He would almost certainly have to let him walk if he wants one of them.

    Ps jim Schwartz has to go. He is a god awful dc. For 2 years every 3rd and long he plays soft coverage with cbs lining back at the sticks and backpedaling immediately and it’s awful. He must go

  • Eagles can take their Option for Foles at $20 Million and then Nick Foles can Buy Back his Option for $2 Million and Become a Free-Agent unless they can make a Trade or place a Transitional Tag on Him. I believe Foles wants to dictate on where or who he will Play for Next (Miami, Jacksonville, Washington & Denver could all be in the mix)

    And Happy New Years to You Desert Eagle and to the other GCobb Posters

    • A.) Foles is not going to pay the Eagles 2 million so they don’t pay him 20 million. Not gonna happen.
      B.)Foles can want to win the powerball it dont matter. Eagles control his rights; if he pays the 2 million, Howie can and will Franchise him unless he is going after Clowney or Leveon
      C.) Don’t be certain Foles is being traded and not Ginger Jesus
      D.) Whats up with the meth sores all over Wentz neck? Does he bathe? Gross

  • I watched the game again, and found 3 aggregious coaching blunders. Both times 2:00 moments to end the first half and 2:00 to end the game. I find both astounding because , as inearlier stated, brees cant beat you from the bench. Its a disconnect, because schwartz defense injured players , were treated with a dismissive attitude by Doug. We all recall Doug passed incomplete before the first half and gave brees the ball , and an opening to retake the momentum, when Doug had the ball to open the 3rd qtr. up 14-7 at the time. You have to coach that situationally .(Bright light moment#1 as the saints ended the half attacking a depleted secondary; result, 14-10 half. The scheme to attack the saints best corner with ertz made as much sense as schwartz singling up #48 on their best receiver 177 yds . The first half was heralded by the never seen scripted plays executed for A rated game potentials. Be aware you had the ability to jump on your opponnent, and dont take high risk chances , on the road . Nope, didnt happen. Brooks went down and feeding a beast , never happened.The contrast from last year is stark, ajayi, clement, blount, morphed into smallwood and sproles. What scheme runs sprole into the tackle? I thought his impact was minimized by plays dialed up. The 2:00 minute warning was the worst blunder of all, as nick had 2:01 with plenty of time on the playclock and snapped the jefferey blunder at 2:01. Contrast that with a 2 minute warning, a collaberation with nick and a scared to death peyton with one time out . Firstly , taking every second away from brees down 6 , at the 26 yds line , was the calm, before the storm. Nick could give his input as he did with philly special, shame, is we rushed to get it snapped and tried to trickery em and paid by impaling our season.

    • I agree DesertEagle that Coach Pederson, DC Jim Schwartz had many blunders in Play Calls and overall Scheme versus the Saints..
      I hated these bunch formations which allowed the Saints to sneak in LB and CB Blitzes and Pressure from a clustered up line of Scrimmage
      That entire sequence before the Fake Punt, declining a 10 Yard Holding Penalty was a pre-cursor , The Eagles Play Calling Before the Half and Rushing of trying to squeeze another Play in before the 2 Minutes Warning on the Final Drive was just plain stupid as the clock is your friend in that situation

      • I call BS on the coaching blunders! If it works its great if it doesn’t we criticize- You play the game- they held the Saints to 20 so Schwartz did more right than wrong. They had the ball at the end of the game with a chance to win– on the road, in a dome, HOF QB, big underdogs… It was an unfortunate loss. With the injuries they just ran out of gas– Some guy named Hawkins was in the game during crunch time…. raise your hand if you ever heard of this guy before–

        • hac all valid assertions, but inexcuseable to leave ticks or seconds on the clock, indefensible by Doug. Brees on the bench vs having any time to drive vs a pedestrian banged up back end for a field goal, to beat you. Also how many Nick/pederson philly special interactions, have we witnessed in high leverage situations? As far as Schwartz , im giving him a pass, as personnel definitely matters. The first half 1:46 first down and Nick throws to ertz (incomplete) ? 2nd down a sproles into the line , no gain time out new orleans, inexplicably doug goes for another pass , incomplete? Case made, brees drives for a momentum shift 3 points 14-10 vs 14-7, and the eagles ball to start the 3rd qtr. Just observations, not whining, smart football vs Andy redux

          • My guess is every clock scenario is studied ad naseum- I think the unconventional things they do are all part of analytics and “which path leads to a higher chance to win” …. again, the 18 play drive is a killer, hawkins was like the 20th DB to play this year…. cox was playing hurt etc… all that and a strike passes through your best receivers hands on the opponents 30– I take losing hard but the pointy ball takes weird bounces.

      • chimp boone zoo ? booze under control ?in your absence , i figured uour cam newton sticky on the wall engulfed you! I sense well be fixated, on the draft and im hopeful of 2 -1’s and 2-2’s nick trade to gruden who parts with multiple ones. whats our game plan put your gm hats on wondering now that foles gets traded if songs and co come out from under rocks?

        • the vick lap dogs (haha)/Foles haters have been forever silenced and will not re-surface. I don’t see quite that bounty for Foles– a 1 and 3 I’m thinking… and you are correct I see Oakland as the likely landing spot w/Jax being in second.
          Man I remember the good ol’ days of gcobb when the idiots BLASTED the Jenkins signing– guy is turning out to be an all-time Bird!

  • Paul, are you saying that on the play the before the fake punt that Doug should have accepted the penalty and chose 3rd and 11 instead of 4th and 1 on their own side of the 50? If that is what you are saying you are hopeless.

    • Yes, Early in the Game when the Eagles Defense was still Fresh and Making Plays.. Anyone who watches the Saints knows that Sean Payton is very aggressive and going to go for it more times than not on a short 4th Down Play.. I believe the Ball was on the Saints 30 Yard Line so you take the 10 Yard Holding Penalty and make the Saints attempt to convert a 3 & 11 Yards Play from their own 20 Yard Line… I do this every time and don’t even have to think about it .. They were on their side of the 50 on the Eagles side of the 50

      On Nick Foles, I think he’s a Goner and will be Traded for a 1st and 4th Round Pick to possibly to the Panthers who now may be without Cam Newton who may have to have Shoulder Surgery again putting him out at least for the 2019 Season and maybe forever.. Other Teams interested in Foles could be be the Jaguars, Dolphins, Broncos & Redskins as Teams in Serious need of upgrading their QB Play– I Don’t see the Raiders interested who have Derek Carr and his big Contract already and I believe Gruden will give him 1 more Year to show improvement or he will Draft his Replacement in the QB Rich 2020 Draft

      • Paul… unfortunately you’ve not gotten smart

  • Further analysis says that Eagles get ZERO for Foles. They have no leverage.

    • Wrong. They have all the leverage. They aren’t letting him walk away for nothing unless howie wants clowney or leveon. If he isn’t going to target then howie will get the numbers in order make foles stay then trade him. If howie let him walk away free he should be fired immediately.

      • what leverage? franchise him at $27 and trade him? They aren’t going to do that– there is no way they can be stuck w/a $27 QB at this stage– NO LEVERAGE– Foles will decline the $20 M option if the eagles offer- “howie is going to make the numbers work then trade him”– ummm dummy the numbers won’t work because Foles won’t sign– it takes two to complete a contract.

        • As I stated earlier on another thread , even if Eagles Pick Up Foles Option for $20 Million in 2019 , Foles will decline it for a buyout fee of $2 Million and then become a Free Agent to decide on where he wants to Play and what Situation Best suits him and family as it should be,..

  • Great video on bleeding green of the fake punt…. damn Cox is a great player but the saints had him pegged as a dog on the Defense Stay formation

  • if im the eagles i trade foles and aggy to the jags for ramsey and a 5th rd pick

    • They don’t have Foles under contract… how do you trade something that’s not yours?

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  • you tagg him thats how

    • They aren’t going to tag him… and if they do teams will have them by the short hairs… they can’t be stuck with a $25 M back up…. foles has no value at this point… he walks. It’s fine…. they’ve gotten a
      It out of him.
      From foles perspective he won’t sign the $20 million mutual option… it’s over. Move on.

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