The Philadelphia Eagles are in freefall. This week was a huge divisional match-up against the Dallas Cowboys and they had a chance to take control of the lacklustre NFC East. When the Eagles needed a good performance, they turned in one of their most disappointing outings of the season yet.
Doug Pederson broke a streak of his on Sunday night: when winning the toss, he selected to receive the kick-off. The usual decision taken by Coach Pederson is to defer the kick-off to the second half, allowing his defense to try and take control in the first quarter. This time he tried to right the early wrongs the Eagles offense has been making all season. An awful trait that has developed are incredibly slow starts with hardly any first quarter points to speak of.
How this tactic backfired. Fumbles have plagued the offence all season, and instantly Dallas Goedert was met over the centre of the field by Jaylon Smith and the ball spilled out of his hands. The second Eagles drive brought more of the same: a fumble on the first play. Pederson’s great game plan had been torn apart within seconds and once again, the Eagles were in a hole they could just not dig their way out of.
The worst thing to see was the apparent lack of effort from the team. The Birds’ locker room has been praised over the past few years for being a close-knit bunch that support each other no matter what. Something has changed this season and not for the better. Last week, Zach Brown was released for not supporting the team’s morals and ideas. A report has also come out from an anonymous player insulting the Eagles offense and specifically Carson Wentz. This would not have happened two years ago. Has Doug lost control of his players?
The lack of effort was never clearer than when Wentz unleashed a deep touchdown-making throw that would have at least dented the Cowboys lead, but it dropped inches away from the outstretched arms of Nelson Agholor. When I say outstretched arms, I really mean he basically held his arms by his side and made minimal effort to catch the ball. Agholor has shown flashes while in the league when the ball’s in his hands but he has real struggles tracking the ball on deep passes.
‘’When I threw it, I thought we had a touchdown. I didn’t get a chance to see the full end result because I was on the ground, but I swore we had a touchdown when I threw it.’’
The Eagles had 11 recorded drives on Sunday night: four ended in a turnover, three were punts and one was a turnover on downs. This production is simply not good enough. Philadelphia is infamously a difficult sporting town if the team is struggling and I really hope that Coach Pederson can get his team to rally around him a recover this truly terrible start to a season. This was a crushing defeat in one of the biggest rivalries in the NFL. It seems a long two years since the Eagles had a dominant team and they will be hoping that a few players returning from injury can really turn this season around.
Philadelphia are one game back within the division with four divisional games left this season, so the playoffs are still within the players’ grasp. They just need to commit to one another and really show some growth over the next few games. I feel like no matter whatever the outcome of this season, there will be a lot of changes in the city of Philadelphia.
Feature Picture – Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images