It isn’t easy to pinpoint where the solution to the Eagles’ woes lie, but Sunday’s 27-16 loss to the undefeated Panthers on Sunday Night Football was just more of the same for the (3-4) Eagles as they pack up for some rest at the bye week next week.
Whether it was dropped passes, costly penalties, questionably play-calling or Sam Bradford being, well, Sam Bradford, there was little to no improvement on the field for the Eagles in yet another winnable game that slipped away.
The run game looked pretty good, as did the secondary but the Eagles struggled in several key arenas, most notably their play against the potent Carolina run game as well as its pass rush.
Several big plays on both sides highlighted the Week 7 night cap, but when all was said and done, three interceptions (by Malcolm Jenkins, Nolan Carroll III and Byron Maxwell)a 63-yard touchdown run by Ryan Mathews and a dominating number of plays run by the Eagles’ offense were not enough to earn win No. 4.
Here are the things that we think stood out the most:
We’ve seen this before
In a series of events nearly identical to the Eagles Week 6 win against the Giants, the Birds allowed a long march down the field to go down 7-0 early.
And then, after a bobbled Jordan Matthews attempt to catch a throw from Sam Bradford, the Panthers’ Colin Jones secured the interception.With the Panthers in the red zone already,Nolan Carroll III ripped a pass out of a Carolina players’ hand for an interception (just like DeMeco Ryans did last week against New York).
This time, however, the Eagles were unable to turn the timely turnover into points.
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Can’t stop the run
After giving up just 127 yards in Washington (their season high through six games) the Eagles allowed 118 in the first half against the Panthers and 204 total. The Birds allowed the first opposing 100-yard rusher, Jonathan Stewart (125 yards), in 18 games stretching back to early last season.
The Panthers used the run as their go-to, mixing Stewart with Mike Tolbertto run old-school power football. And as a result, Carolina was able to wear down the Eagles offense and extend several drives with consistent up-the-gut rushes.
Ted Ginn added to the Eagles’ misery, as the speedy wide receiver streaked the sideline late the first half on a 43-yard sprint deep into Philadelphia territory. The drive would set up a Cam Newtown touchdowndart to give the Panthers a 14-3 lead.
If it’s any consolation, the Eagles did collect 177 yards of their own, 97 of which were picked up by Mathews on just six carries.
Matthews, DeMarco Murray (twice), Zach Ertz and Darren Sprolescontinued the Eagles recent trend of dropped balls.
Bradford’s early-game interception was a drop from Matthews, and a potential touchdown pass to the second-year wideout was ruled incomplete when the receiver failed to get two feet down late in the second quarter.
In all, Philly dropped sixof Bradford’s passes Sunday night (14 percent of his passes). The most costly were the final two, each coming during the Eagles lastdesperate attempt to get a game-tying drive going from deep in their own territory before they turned it over on downs, allowing the Panthers to add a field goal.
The Eagles suffered several costly penalties up front, with Bennie Logan twice called for encroachment and the offensive line committed more than its share of holding and false start violations.
A costly missed field goal stifled a pretty good day for the Philly kicker Sturgis, who missed a pivotal 50-yard field goal in the fourth quarter that would have gotten the Eagles within two.