PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - NOVEMBER 14: Head coach Nick Sirianni of the Philadelphia Eagles reacts against the Washington Commanders during the second quarter in the game at Lincoln Financial Field on November 14, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Well, it had to end at some point. After winning 8 straight games to open the season, the Eagles finally lost. The Commanders beat them 32-21. The old Dolphins players can pop the champagne. It’s not the end of the world. The Eagles are still the one seed. But it is hard to feel good, especially considering how they lost. The defense was leaking oil all game, and the Eagles’ offense barely got to stay on the field. How exactly did it all go down? Let’s take a look at 5 numbers that tell that story.

2

Watching the game, it felt like the Commanders had their way on the ground all day. But then you look at the box score and they averaged just 3.1 yards per run. So what gives? Were the Eagles actually good against the run? No. The issue was, they were literally getting 3 or 4 yards every run. There were only 2 Washington runs that did not gain some type of positive yardage. It was death by 1000 cuts. Just short run after short run. They weren’t gashing the Eagles per se. But they were getting just enough yards every run to move the chains. So while the end stat line does not look that impressive, it was still enough. And that is why the Commanders had the ball nearly the entire game. This brings us to the next number.

40:24

The Commanders were on the field nearly the entire game. They possessed the ball for 40:24. Often times you would blame that on the offense. And while they clearly had some issues too, this is the rare case where the time of possession is on the defense. They could not get stops. The Commanders converted 12 of 21 3rd down attempts. They also converted 1  of 1 4th down attempts.  And the Eagles gave them an extra 4 free first downs with penalties, including the decisive, yet controversial, roughing the passer penalty at the end. It was a sick cycle of the Eagles’ defense letting the Commanders beat them. Forcing them to stay on the field. Then they got more tired, and that lead to them getting beaten worse.

-1

For the first time all season, the Eagles lost the turnover battle. They were -1. The Eagles’ defense still forced turnovers like usual. They forced one fumble and took away one interception. But the offense got sloppy for the first time all year. Their 3 giveaways doubled their season total, in one game. The interception you can forgive because it was a great throw to AJ Brown, the defender just made a good play on the ball. The first fumble should have been called back because of a blatant facemask, but the refs missed it. There is not much you can do about that.

But the 2nd fumble was the backbreaker, and there is no excuse to be made for that. Quez Watkins made a great play on the ball to get the Eagles 50 yards down the field, but then he coughed up the ball. They went from being on the doorstep to score and take the lead, to turning it over. That can’t happen. Some of the turnover battle was being unlucky. But that final one was just sloppy. And it came at the worst time.

2:08

Nick Sirianni has for the most part been pretty good at being aggressive when it calls for it. He goes for 2 pts at a decent rate. And is willing to go for it on 4th down whenever they are in that no man’s land between it being too long to kick an FG and too short to punt. But his decision to punt at the end of the game, with 2:08 left on the clock, was baffling. I called it out for being so on Twitter, and for some reason had people defending the cowardly choice. The best case scenario if you punt is you get the ball back with no timeouts, and a minute and change to go. But that didn’t happen. The Eagles didn’t get the ball back until there were just 5 seconds on the clock.

There are two things at play here. For one, your defense has been on the field all game and has struggled mightily to get stops. Are you really going to bet on them getting one here? And your offense is led by an MVP candidate and had converted 5 of 8 3rd down conversions in the game. How do you look at those two sets of facts, and bet on your defense, instead of giving your offense a chance to convert on 4th and 13? Yea if you don’t get it, you lose. But punting is even riskier. As proven by the results, they punted and lost.

1

As bad as all that was, let’s put it in perspective. It is 1 loss. They are still one of just two 8-1 teams. And they beat the other 8-1 team by 17 points. This is still the best team in Football. Look at their competition. The Cowboys also lost to the Packers, and the Eagles already beat them. The Bills got their 3rd loss. The Chiefs have losses to the Bills and Colts. The Packers and Bucs are a mess. And the Eagles crushed the Vikings earlier. The fact it took the Eagles 9 games to have a stinker, is a good sign. Every other team already had 1, if not more. Things will be fine.

 

 

 

 

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