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Eagles Fumble Game Away to Lions: The Morning After

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Good morning campers,

TMA

And yes, it is indeed a good morning— despite the fact that the Eagles suffered their first loss of the season. It was bound to happen, kids. We all knew this day was coming; The Morning After a loss.

 

Of course, I don't think many of us foresaw this particular game as a loss coming off the bye week, and riding the wave of being one of the few undefeated teams left in the NFL.

 

Not with the way the Birds had been playing (and conversely the way the Lions had been playing). I believe they came into this game as the third most penalized team in the entire NFL.

 

Having sat through it as you all did, one would swear it was the Eagles who held such a dubious distinction, and not the cats.

 

Let's get to getting...

 

ZEBRA 3, ZEBRA 3

First time this year dialing up the Starsky & Hutch reference to comment on the zebras AKA the referees. You like numbers? Good. Here's a couple: 14 & 2. Know what they represent? The number of penalties called on the Eagles and Lions, respectively. Yes, I know we are taught at an early age to never blame the officials for a loss and I am not doing that here.

 

But...14 & 2. Really?

 

Rest assured there's enough blame - legitimate blame, to go around.

 

 

 

OH A SAY KELCE

Yes, that was a play on words (Re: our national anthem) and for what seems like every damn week, the "bombs bursting in air" has been another idiotic mistake by Eagles center Jason Kelce. Heretofore, it's been a holding penalty of the traditional variety. But yesterday, he took it to a whole new holding level by holding onto the ball. Literally, for too long, thus allowing the play clock to elapse—thus penalizing the Eagles at a very crucial stage of the game.Pete Peeters photo: www.goaliesarchive.com

 

Moreover, Jason Peters ain't Jason Peters anymore. Hell, he ain't even Pete Peeters at this point - and it’s plain as day that the offensive line should be a very high priority going into the offseason. Yeah, I know it's only four games, but see that? The writing’s on the wall. Now see that? That's the handwriting all over it.

 

A DEFINING MOMENT?

Adversity is defined as "adverse or unfavorable fortune or fate; a condition marked by misfortune, calamity, or distress." I invoke this word because I heard a lot of folks saying aloud they wanted to see how Wentz & Pederson (and the entire team for that matter) could and would handle adversity.

 

Well, the Eagles faced adversity more than once yesterday. First, falling behind by two touchdowns on two different occasions, 14-0 and 21-7. Each time they came back, they battled back to make a game of it and then some—of course, taking the lead (albeit briefly) in the 4Q.

 

Which leads to their second go round with adversity. With 1:28 left on the clock and the ball on their own 25 and no timeouts, the Eagles needed a field goal for the potential W. This was going to be Carson Wentz's two-minute coming out party. He would lead them into FG range and the rest would be 4-0 history.

 

Alas, that was not to be—for on his very first play in his very first meaningful two-minute offense  with a game's outcome on the line, he failed. And so did his coach.

 

Wentz failed by even throwing the pass in the first place. I don't want to hear how great his aggressiveness is and how bold he is and on and on. The fact is, he threw a poorly-thrown ball to a wide receiver—who is not good enough to make up for a poorly thrown ball.

 

Now, is it Wentz's fault he doesn't have a true number one receiver/weapon at his disposal? Of course not. But it is his job as the starting QB to know the strengths and weaknesses of his players. Yes, a lot to ask of a rookie—but I think we know by now this kid is not your normal NFL rookie.

 

And then there's Doug Pederson. The play right before the anything-but-surprising Ryan Mathews fumble, the Eagles faced a 2nd and 3 from their own 44. The Lions had exactly one timeout left. What play does Pederson dial up? A straight into-the-pile run by Matthews, which nets all of one yard. Where is Darren Sproles, he of the gaudy nine yards per carry on the day?

 

Hold that thought?

 

Timeout Detroit.

 

Now faced with a very makeable (and potentially game-ending) 3rd and 2, Pederson again calls on Mathews—only this time on a toss play causing him to start 3-4 yards deep.

 

We know what happened next and I'll get to that in a second, but the question has to be asked of Pederson: Why?

 

It was so Andy Reid-like it was frightening.

 

I'm sure someone did ask him this in the post game press conference. At least I hope they did.

 

IT'S A RYAN SHAME

Pop Warner. That's when you learn which hand to place the football in when you are running with the ball and about to be hit. You learn to put the ball in your "outer" hand, the one away from contact and use your lead shoulder to withstand the hit.

 

You surely don't  A) Keep the ball in your "inner" hand and  B) Use only one hand to protect the ball...unless of course, you’re Ryan Mathews, who, as per my “Anything-but-surprising Ryan Matthews fumble” reference early - has a history of this kind of head-scratching mistakes.

 

Despite his advanced awareness, Carson Wentz is a rookie, and he makes mistakes. Second year players make mistakes. But someone who has been in the league as long as Matthews cannot make this mistake. Period.

 

Complete and utter idiot.

 

Sorry, but that's the truth.

 

THE SCHWARTZ

Have to give Eagles D Coordinator Jim Schwartz a lot of credit for some serious halftime adjustments. Not sure exactly what he did or if he just fired up his guys, but it was plain to see that was not the same Eagles defense in the second half, compared to what we saw in the first (half).

 

Of course, I could also point out it was the same Jim Schwartz defense that got manhandled in that first half, too.

 

RAPID FIRE

*About me thinking Darren Sproles has lost a step...never mind.

 

*Mychal Kendricks has to go. Now. I give all the props in the world to my boy Matt Grace, who called him out last year (Re: his bad play). He is consistently out of position and a step slow. He's not going anywhere because of his contract, but man alive, he's just not very good.

 

*Conversely, Nigel Bradham looks like a player. Now, if someone could just remind him of that whole "don't lose sight of your gun" thing...

 

*According to the Wall Street Journal, the NFL ratings are down 11% across the board. The reasons why are varied, ranging from fan backlash over the national anthem protests, to the high interest in this year's presidential elections: "On Sunday afternoons, the audience for Fox News, CNN and MSNBC has increased as well, and the league believes that is cutting into those games." The NFL believes it is the latter and not the former.

 

My take: It's probably a bit of both at play. There could also still be fallout from the concussion issue that of course, still hangs over the league will for the rest of time. I think the same 11% who are not watching will be again by the playoffs or sooner.

*Did Brent Celek play yesterday? Just wondering.

'Til next time.

 

As always, time's yours. Food's mine.

 

Leave a comment or tweet me @steveolenski


https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/YQ-DMpLIUBR0AckYX4lOF4SGgDaubxIwq2S32sRD331I6HSpos8ieYnd_h6-T8PSzYxnufB3ls9s8nlgvA21bnYSl6fnLZd3fKIl7L5JmVto9fDNAcfA2x-oTQ

 

Contact Steve Olenski at solenski@philly2philly.com

 

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Pete Peeters photo: www.goaliesarchive.com