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Eagles massively choke against Panthers: The Morning After

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Good morning campers,

TMA

I don't know about you, but I sure long for the days when NFL games were only 3 quarters vs. 4. Had it still been like it was "back in the day," the Eagles would've won 17-0 going away and we'd all be smiling from ear to ear and...

Wait, what?

Obviously I’m being ridiculously facetious, but quite frankly, I didn't know how else to start this TMA. To say it was disappointing yesterday would be a massive understatement.

Let's get to getting...


The Good

Let's get the good out of the way first, shall we? Lord knows there's not a of it. Let me take that back. There was a whole lot of it... over the first three quarters including:


*Alshon Jeffery, who in fact gets a FULL game pass. The man is a stud and a true #1 NFL receiver. Don't believe me? Click here.

 

*Carson Wentz- Yes, he had some issues holding onto the ball and some questionable decision-making—but for the most part, he looked one step closer to the Carson we saw last year.


*The Lines- For three quarters, both the offensive and defensive lines played very well, with the former providing tremendous protection for Wentz and the latter getting a good, steady pass rush on Panthers' QB Cam Newton. The problem is, they play FOUR quarters now.


*Zach Ertz, who is clearly now among the elite when it comes to NFL tight ends. He too gets a FULL pass.


The Bad


*Essentially anyone not previously mentioned during the entirety of the fourth quarter.


The Ugly


*Doug Pederson- Let's cut right to the chase and this will not endear to many but make no mistake about it kids: Doug REID is back. You want proof? You got it.


Exhibit A: Following the Panthers 2nd touchdown and 2-point conversion, the Eagles start a drive up only 3 points, 17-14. There is 4:02 left on the clock in the 4Q and the ball is on their own 25. Clearly, this is the time of the game to figuratively and literally run the clock out and seal the W.


Directly from ESPN.com play-by-play:


1st & 10 at PHI 25

(4:02 - 4th) (Shotgun) C.Wentz pass short left to N.Agholor to PHI 27 for 2 yards (E.Reid).


2nd & 8 at PHI 27

(3:16 - 4th) C.Wentz pass short left to W.Smallwood to PHI 25 for -2 yards (L.Kuechly) [E.Obada].


3rd & 10 at PHI 25

(2:32 - 4th) (Shotgun) C.Wentz pass incomplete deep right to A. Jeffery (J.Bradberry).


4th & 10 at PHI 25

(2:28 - 4th) C.Johnston punts 53 yards to CAR 22, Center-R.Lovato. D.Byrd to CAR 31 for 9 yards (T.Sullivan).


What 3-letter word do you NOT see here? That's right kids: R*U*N! Pederson calls THREE STRAIGHT pass plays. Sure enough, the Birds go 3 and out and are forced to give the ball back to the Panthers.


Exhibit B: Following the Panthers' 3rd touchdown, which put them ahead 21-17, the Eagles once again had the ball. After a long pass interference call on the Panthers D, the ball was on the Panthers' 22-yard line with 1:22 left in the 4Q.


Once again from ESPN.com play-by-play:


1st & 10 at CAR 22

(1:11 - 4th) (Shotgun) C.Wentz pass deep middle intended for Z.Ertz INTERCEPTED by E.Reid at CAR 4. E.Reid to CAR 4 for no gain (Z.Ertz). The Replay Official reviewed the interception ruling, and the play was REVERSED. (Shotgun) C.Wentz pass incomplete deep middle to Z.Ertz.


2nd & 10 at CAR 22

(1:06 - 4th) (Shotgun) W.Smallwood up the middle to CAR 14 for 8 yards (L.Kuechly).


3rd & 2 at CAR 14

(0:37 - 4th) (No Huddle, Shotgun) C.Wentz pass incomplete short middle to A.Jeffery (M.Adams).


4th & 2 at CAR 14

(0:31 - 4th) (Shotgun) C.Wentz sacked at CAR 19 for -5 yards (J.Peppers). FUMBLES (J.Peppers), RECOVERED by CAR-K.Love at CAR 22. K.Love to CAR 22 for no gain (C.Wentz).


Following a 2nd down run which netted EIGHT YARDS, Pederson once again channels his inner Andy Reid and proceeds to call TWO STRAIGHT pass plays. This despite the fact the Eagles still had one timeout remaining—meaning, the Eagles could've gotten the first down via the run, OR AT THE VERY LEAST, attempt a run AND still be able to stop the clock via timeout.


I know this will not be a popular opinion, but you are kidding yourself if you don't think it’s time to (at the VERY LEAST) openly question Pederson's ability to make the right call at the right time, especially without his confidant from last year, the now-Colts head coach Frank Reich by his side.


Jim Schwartz- This just in: When you blow a 17-point lead in the 4th quarter AT HOME, you're not very good—and that's precisely what Schwartz and the rest of the Eagles defense did yesterday. You can talk to me about execution (or lack thereof) until you're blue in the face and I won't argue with that.

 

But what about making adjustments, Jim? What about using your eyes and not some chart, and realize that going into a prevent defense was not the wisest move. That maybe, just maybe, you mix in a blitz now and then? Maybe a safety blitz or even dropping someone into coverage who looked to rush the QB and bring someone who looked to be in coverage? This is not rocket science, Jim. Granted, he is shorthanded without Tim Jernigan and Haloti Ngata and is relying on some guy who was on the street a week ago, but then again, that is PRECISELY why you do mix it up!


This loss falls squarely at the feet of Doug Pederson and Jim Schwartz.


By the way, in his post game press conference, Pederson said this loss would "galvanize" the Eagles; bring them together; adding "the pressure is off."


Huh? Are you kidding me? You truly believe opposing teams will now look at your team any differently now based on this loss? You're the defending Super Bowl champions for chrissakes! Every team will be up for you. Deal with it. And for crying out loud, start acting and playing like your Super Bowl champions.


Oh yeah, one last thing, and this will REALLY make a lot of people angry with me, but guess what: If I’m not exactly right this second IT is coming, and the IT is the whispers that last year was a fluke.

 

That's all for this week.

 

Be well kids.

 

'Til next time...

 

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Contact Steve Olenski at  solenski@philly2philly.com

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