Special teams once again receives an A+ for the week, but everything else had their struggles. After scoring another two return TDs and setting a bunch of crazy and specific records, their offense fell flat…again. This can’t continue to be a regular thing or the Eagles won’t win many more games. Something needs to change about their game plan because the defense and special teams are carrying this team, something I absolutely never thought I’d be saying about the Eagles as long as Chip Kelly was the head coach. They may be 4-1, but many problems still exist.
The biggest problem probably lies in the amount of time that their offense is on the field. After the defense just spent half of a quarter on the field, the last thing they want to see is the offense gain two yards on three plays and punt the ball away. Unfortunately though, the Eagles did that multiple times due to their lack of offensive production. The time of possession was actually much closer by the end of the game compared to the middle, with the Rams holding possession for just about six minutes more than the Eagles. That’s not terrible, but considering the Rams’ last three touchdown drives were all between 2-3 minutes, there’s a different problem. They were tired.
There is a certain point where no matter how many defensive players a team has to switch through, they will all be tired. By the end of the game that’s just likely to happen when the team’s offense is as fast-paced as the Eagles. The problem is that they became tired by the end of the third quarter and let the Rams, a poor team with a third string rookie quarterback, come back into the game and almost pull off the biggest upset in regular season history.
The Eagles were looking great with a 34-7 lead late in the third quarter after Jeremy Maclin caught a wide open pass in the end zone due to a defensive breakdown by the Rams. It was obvious the Eagles were dominating the game all across the board. The Rams were getting penalized left and right and fumbled the ball away three times. Then, the fatigue hit on the defensive side and it was all downhill. Was it the Eagles’ offense’s fault for only taking 10 seconds off the clock in the touchdown drive by Maclin? Or was it just that the Rams defense was so bad that they couldn’t help but score so quickly? If it was the latter, how come they couldn’t score that easily throughout the whole game?
Kelly is a stubborn man and refuses to slow down his offense and take some time off the clock. He doesn’t believe in that. At Oregon, he could go 110% on every drive, score a touchdown each time, and win the game with 70 offensive points. It didn’t matter if the defense gave up a lot of points and yards, so long as it wasn’t enough to overtake their own offensive production. Well, in the NFL it doesn’t quite work that way, and teams are starting to figure out the Eagles’ offensive strategy. It’s not a secret anymore.
Yes, the offensive line is still in shambles this season and is a big reason why the offense has been struggling, but there are problems beyond that that they need to take ownership for. The first is the team’s turnovers. Nothing is more demoralizing than a turnover in the NFL, especially when the team is trying to build momentum. Everyone was just waiting for LeSean McCoy to break out of his shell and have a dominant game like they were used to last year, but that didn’t quite happen. Instead, he had one carry where he ran east and west for what seemed like a full minute, lost nine yards, and fumbled because he was holding the ball like Michael Vick. That type of attitude about the offense is not acceptable. No one should try to do too much.
Also, Nick Foles is trying to do too much. Neither he nor any quarterback in NFL history will ever have a better TD:INT ratio than Foles did last year, so he needs to stop thinking he’s invincible. Instead, he’s turning the ball over at an alarming rate and hurting the team. I noticed at one point yesterday that some of the plays and throws he was making seemed like ones that Vick would make, where he would run around a bit, hold onto the ball too long, and chuck the ball up into triple coverage and get picked off. That’s not the type of flashbacks I want to have…I want to have flashbacks to the cool, calm and collected Foles that we saw last year. Where is that? Well…
There is no one player or person that can be blamed for their struggles. Heck, this sounds as if the Eagles lost, but the bottom line is they won and are 4-1. The Eagles are tied for the division lead with the Cowboys and are actually tied for the best record in the league. So why all the worrying and complaining? Because every win this year has been an ugly one. A couple different bounces or plays and the Eagles could be 0-5. To be honest, I’ve been more frustrated than happy with almost every win they have. But they were also just a couple yards away from 5-0, which says something. With all the injuries the Eagles have, they’re almost undefeated. This team is for real.