By Dylan MacKinnon
Last week the Eagles played an ugly game and pulled out a win. This week, they again played an ugly game but failed to pull it out. They made it look close. A late TD and two-point conversion put them down only 6 and helped them cover the line. But they never got the ball back. Tampa drove down the field and was able to run out the clock. They lost 28-22, and fall to 2-4. We knew it would not be pretty this year, but so far it’s been uglier than many expected. So how did it all go down? Here are the 5 numbers that tell the story of Eagles vs Buccaneers.
The Eagles defense has given up 27 points on opening drives this year. That’s an average of 4.5 pts per game. They have allowed a TD 3 times. In two other games, they let the team drive down the field but managed to hold them to a short field goal. The 49ers are the only team that didn’t score against them on the opening drive. Go a little deeper and they have allowed two touchdowns on the second drive of the game, including one tonight. The Eagles are consistently falling behind early. It happened again allowing very easy drives for touchdowns. That is no way to win games. Jonathan Gannon had a significant amount of hype coming into the season. He has yet to live up to it. Offense kind of settled down and only allowed two touchdowns the rest of the game. But the hole they dug themselves into is part of the reason they lost.
At one point in the game, 30 minutes and 14 seconds passed with nothing except 3 and outs by the Eagles. Six straight drives. In one of them, they did get a first down, but Jalen Hurts threw an interception a play later. 30:14 after their TD on the opening drive, they finally scored again. But in that time period, they had possession for under 9 minutes of playtime. Not only is that a pathetic display of offense, but it also put the defense in a terrible spot. Not two minutes after coming off the field, the defense was already heading back onto the field. The defense was by no means good in this game, but it didn’t help that they never got a chance to catch their breath.
Jake Elliot missed an FG in this game. Pushed a 46 yarder wide right. He has now missed 7 FGs of his last 28. That’s 75%. That puts him in the bottom 20% of NFL Kickers. A long time has passed since his 61-yard game-winner. He was a dependable kicker for a couple of years. But he is not that anymore. He is far from their biggest problem. But he is a problem. And has consistently been a problem for over a year. He is also in the bottom half of kickers in extra point percentage. The Eagles need a better kicker.
In Hurts 20 full halves of football (9 full games, and the last half of the Packers game and first half of the Washington game) the Eagles have failed to score double digits in 8 halves. That is 8 times where they scored under 10 points in a half. Nearly half the time, they are averaging a TD or less per half. That is really bad. The Hurts era has been severely inconsistent. We have seen some impressive displays. But we have seen just as many times where the Eagle’s offense sputters with Hurts at QB. The first half of this game was an example of that. If Hurts is going to be a franchise QB, he has to be more consistent. The Hurts we have seen the last couple of weeks, and vs Dallas, is not a guy you will win with.
Since they scored 32 pts in week 1, the Nick Sirianni offense has averaged 19.6 pts per week. They scored only 11 vs the 49ers. The Eagles scored 21 in Dallas, but one was by the defense. Another TD in that game was in garbage time, but we will count that. They scored over 30 vs KC, Again one was in garbage time, but that will count even if it didn’t mean anything. Then 21 in Carolina, and 22 vs Tampa. That would put them at 25th in the league. This offense has looked anemic. Nick Sirianni seems in over his head as a play-caller. We occasionally see a well-drawn-up play. But more often we see far too predictable play calls, and as already mentioned, far too many 3 and outs. It may be time for someone else to call plays.