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Yes the Eagles lost to the Cardinals. But this loss felt different for one very simple reason: They were still in the game as time expired.
This Eagles team is 4-9-1 and yesterday we all saw every bit of that record and what it indicates. Miscues on all sides of the ball. Bad play calling. Injuries piling up. Domination by 2 future Hall of Famers.
Yet this was a winnable game. Here's the effort each position group turned in:
Coaching Staff: D
Defense gave up over 500 yards of offense. Offense abandoned the run game in the second half. Special teams was a DISASTER. Chances that were taken were not smart, they ended up being lucky. Taking points off the board is a mistake you never make at any level of the game ever. Asking your rookie QB to throw the ball 44 times is not ok. Relying on the zone read as much as Doug does is a tired strategy. The first drive alone was the "Jalen Hurts play" followed by two throws, all with the back to the goalline. This game was coached exceptionally differently in both halves and that was the most easily predicted part of the whole thing.
Jalen Hurts had to throw the ball 44 times. That is not an exaggeration. It wasn't like this team was down significantly and had to throw their way out of it. Its that Doug abandoned the run game again. Jalen Hurts completed 24 of those passes meaning he was accurate on just over 50% of his passes. It has to get better.
He also made some severe rookie mistakes. The safety in the endzone is not an error that can happen. But then he turns in an effort that makes him look like a leader. The touchdown run showed total grit and determination and Hurts led this team to an almost victory despite everything. He just HAS to be more accurate with his passing.
Running Backs: B
Miles Sanders had a lower yards per carry average then he normally does. A lot of that is because the zone read was the main delivery of his 17 carries. Doug abandons the run game which is why he only carried the ball 5 times in the 2nd half. The screen game looked good until it didn't. There just weren't enough opportunities for this group. Again.
Wide Receivers: C+
Mixed effort here. Some plays, this group looked great. Fighting for the ball, making tough catches. Other plays, this group looked mediocre. No separation, lazy route running. 16 catches combined for 197 yards and 3 TDs is a decent day. Jeffery might have been slow but he forced a ton of defensive pass interference calls so his contributions are bigger than the stats show. Quez got to show his speed and Reagor had a chance to but didn't capitalize. Greg Ward and his two TD catches show that he is a tremendous 3rd WR in this league.
6 catches for 108 combined yards. Zach Ertz showing something again for the first time in a while. Goedert with some YAC. This group played decent. Still need Goedert to come down with some of those endzone throws to be considered a true red zone threat and ESPECIALLY needed to lay out for the bomb into the endzone that fell 3 feet in front of him.
This group rolled out yet another new combination and finally showed the cracks giving up 6 sacks to the Cardinals. First off, the screen game: Watching Seumalo and company rumbling down the field was a thing of beauty. Mailata didn't have a great game and Pryor was just flat out awful. If this is the 5 moving forward, they have to collectively get better. Together. QB can't take that many hits no matter how beat up they are.
Barnett has got to stop with the stupid penalties. Zero sacks from this group. In fact the entire defense only accounted for one sack and it came from the secondary. This group has to be more physical and more dominant. If they aren't the entire defense falls apart.
LBs: F (except for Singleton who gets a B)
Once again, Alex Singleton led the team in tackles. This dude continues to just be around the ball. He needs to get better in pass coverage but he was the exception for this group. Besides that, the other LBs combined for 3 tackles total. This group is a weakness and played like one.
Secondary: D- (this is a mercy grade)
Yes, they were on the 5th and 6th string corners. But they are NFL players. They still gave up over 400 passing yards and big games to Fitzgerald and Hopkins. This was a group that was exploited and exposed. Not just bad coverage either. Horrible form tackling (heads down) and not playing the ball. Epps ran 20 yards down field on one play before making a move to tackle the receiver. This group was going to be bad yesterday and they lived up to expectations.
Special Teams: F! F! F! and Fire Fipp
Special teams are a group that rarely wins you games but can play bad enough to lose them. A blocked punt that set up the Cardinals with outrageous field position? Getting caught completely unprepared for a fake punt? A terrible snap to a back up holder on an extra point? This group was bad from the beginning even without Johnston going out. I have seen coaches fired for much less.
This was a winnable game. That's what's so different with Hurts at the helm. Every game is winnable. This game is not close with 2020 Carson at the helm. Doug has created a controversy and Hurts is answering it. This team needs a miracle to make the post season and who knows. But one thing that is for certain, at least its enjoyable to watch the Eagles in 2020.