By Dylan MacKinnon
Week 1 was very impressive. Then Week 2 was less so, but there was still at least some sign of life, and hope. But week 3 was a mess. That is the only way to put it. Very little to take away that is good. The Defensive line looked impressive, but everything else was negative. The offense could not move the ball, and the defense couldn’t stop the Cowboys. The Eagles ended up losing 41-21, but the final score felt like it should have been even worse. The Cowboys dominated them from the start of the game until they met on the field after games to shake hands. Here are the 5 numbers I think tell the story of this game.
Derek Barnett’s rookie year was fairly impressive. He was not a big part of the rotation, but he was productive when used. Even capped off the season with a huge fumble recovery. Since then, it has not gone well at all. The former first-round pick has only 19.5 career sacks. Meanwhile, he has 23 penalties. 3.5 more penalties than he has sacks. That includes several tonight, like a 12 man on the field violation because he was too slow getting off the field. He has become known for bonehead penalties. Like the blatant late hit he had last week. The Eagles will have to rely on him this year with Brandon Graham out for the year. That is not a good sign for the Eagles’ defense.
Coming into Monday Night Football, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers led the league with 27 penalties. Eagles eclipsed that by halftime. They had 22 penalties coming into their 3rd game and had 7 more just in the first half. They now have 35 total, a new team record through 3 weeks. The team as a whole has a massive discipline problem. Holds, offsides, pass interferences. So many mistakes have at times, brought drives to a screeching halt. or on defense, took the Eagles D out of favorable situations. Is some of this due to a rookie coach with a team core that is inexperienced and young? Maybe. But that doesn’t excuse the sheer volume of penalties. And that number doesn’t even count several holding penalties tonight that were declined because the Eagles play failed anyway.
Miles Sanders had only 2 carries in the first half. He never saw another carry after breaking one for 24 yards. Kenneth Gainwell had 1. The Eagles ran the ball only 5 times the entire first half, and 3 of them were QB scrambles. I am not in the run-pass ratio has to be 50/50 camp, but there needs to be some balance. Especially when your defense has been on the field for nearly 2/3rds of the game to that point. You have a rookie RG, and a backup at LT. Help out your o line, and let them run it a bit. Run some clock out. Let the defense catch their breath a bit. Time of possession may be a bit overhyped, but it does still matter. The Eagles’ defense was getting gashed, and the Eagles having one-minute drives was not helping. The lack of run plays was a big reason why the offense never got going in the first half. Nick Sirianni’s playcalling needs to be better. When Sanders touched the ball in the first half they averaged 13.8 yards per play. Maybe use him more.
The Eagles had 9 drives that stalled on either the first or second set of downs. Compared to 3 that they extended past just 4 plays. They had a small handful of nice plays, but overall, they were struggling to even get first downs. Hurts was missing throws and failing to notice open guys. The receivers were not helping him much. The o line was not giving him great protection. The playcalling left a lot to be desired. It was a bad overall game for the majority of the offense. It didn’t help that Hurts seemed Skittish and was bailing out of plays way too quickly. There were too many 3 and outs, too many punts, and too many short drives.
The Eagles already have 3 injuries along the offensive line. Jordan Mailata missed the game with an ankle sprain. Brandon Brooks suffered a pec injury in week 2 and will miss several games. And now Issac Seumalo left this game with an injury. Just like last year, where Lane Johnson, Jason Peters, Brandon Brooks, and Issac Seumalo were all injured. The O-line is on paper a strength for this team. But if you have 3 backups in, it will not be one. With a young inexperienced QB in, you need to give him all the help he can. Hurts already has an issue with bailing out too early. If he is getting pressure in his face constantly, that will only get worse.