Diagnosing the Eagles Week 2 Loss
September 15, 2013 in Philadelphia Eagles
By Phil Thompson:
Here is my take of what went wrong today for the Eagles. I'll have further coverage when I get the chance to re-watch the game. Don't worry, at the end I'll have my silver lining:
The Eagles committed 9 penalties for 82 yards which was bad enough, but it resulted in 4 free first downs for the Chargers (Eagles didn't have any free first downs on offense). Cary Williams particularly struggled committing three penalties.
The Eagles need to clean this up, on both sides of the ball. Offensively penalties will kill their tempo and hinder their entire offensive philosophy.An Illegal formation penalty nullified a TD on a drive the Eagles ended up kicking a field goal. Four points would have been the difference in this game.
Defensively, they are simply gifts to the offense. The game is built to favor the offense so much already, why help them out any more. The Eagles gave up 50 more penalty yards than they received and those key four first downs. They have to fix that and clean that up for next week.
2. Lack Of Pressure:
The Chargers dropped back to pass 48 times and Philip Rivers was only ever sacked once. After doing such a good job last week in getting pressure, the defense really failed here. With Philly shorthanded (and struggling) in the secondary, they need to rely on the front 7 to generate a lot of pressure.
Rivers was comfortable all day and he made the Eagles pay for it big time. What's even more troubling is the fact that the Chargers have one of the weaker offensive lines in football, if you can't beat them, you have some issues. This defensive game plan needs to be thrown out the window and shaken up for next week.
3. Didn't Get to Run as Much:
The Eagles are a run first team, yet they managed just 20 runs. That is 29 fewer than last week, and 11 fewer than their opponents this week. Philly isn't going to win if they only run the ball 20 times. McCoy wasn't having the ridiculous success he did a week ago, but he was averaging 4.8 yards per carry. They need to do a much better job of establishing the run and sticking with it. The whole offense seemed to be off without that as the backbone of this team.
The Eagles want to play up-tempo, but that left their defense on the field quite a bit when they were failing to convert first downs and keeping the chains moving. Going away from the run I feel hurt the Eagles in this department as well. For this team to be successful they don't have to control the clock, but they also can't lose the time of possession battle 2-1. If your defense is going to struggle, you don't want them on the field that often.
5. Under 50% on 3rd Downs
This was a killer and a big reason why their plays and TOP were down. The Eagles were just 5 of 11 on third downs, and it stalled out too many drives. Twice they stalled out inside the 20 yard line, including their 2nd drive of the game where they couldn't get it in from the 2.
That is a game killer and cost the Eagles the win here. The Eagles need to use their tempo and speed to their advantage more and be able to move those chains and get touchdowns not field goals from inside the 15 yard line.
Silver Lining: 3 Things to be positive about
1. Rest of the NFC East Lost: Yes it would have been great to pick up a game and be 2-0 and in first, but the Eagles didn't lose any ground here which is a plus.
2. Zero Turnovers: Last week fluke turnovers hurt the Eagles, this week they were turnover free (though the fumble did cost them yards). The Eagles are more susceptible to turnovers with so many plays and possible confusion, so seeing them stay off the turnover list is a good thing.
3. Offense Still Produced: There were some issues with the game plan, and penalties killed them some, but this offense still produced over 500 yards of offense, 30 points and averaged an impressive 8.8 yards per play. The Eagles just need to finish a few more drives, not get that TD called back or miss that field goal. Those things are issues, but the fact that the offense can move the ball is key.