Eagles drop battle for first place
Someone needs to file a missing person’s report for the Eagles’ offense. Maybe the unit never boarded the plane back from Tampa Bay.
One week after shredding the Buccaneers, thanks to an award-winning performance from Nick Foles — no, literally, Foles won the NFC’s Offensive Player of the Week honor — the Birds seemed stuck in neutral.
They couldn’t run. They couldn’t throw. Even LeSean McCoy couldn’t break one into the secondary in a lifeless 17-3 loss at the Linc. Fans were streaming for the exits with nine minutes left in the fourth quarter. Some even left in the third.
“Any time our defense plays that well, we should win,” center Jason Kelce said. “That’s about as bad as it gets for an offense.”
Starting up front with Kelce and the offensive line, the entire unit looked like it was pushing a rusted wheelbarrow. McCoy finished with just 55 yards on 18 carries. And Foles, who left late in the third quarter with a head injury, was off on almost every throw he attempted. The quarterback went 11-of-29 for 80 yards (46.2 passer rating).
“He was off,” coach Chip Kelly said. “At times, we had guys open and we didn’t put the ball on him. But there were other times where we didn’t help him, either.”
Foles left the game after his head hit the turf following a four-yard sack. It was a play that never should have happened, since Foles had plenty of time to avoid the rush and throw it away. Unfortunately, he didn’t. With Mike Vick listed as inactive, rookie Matt Barkley was thrust into the spotlight. He threw three interceptions and had another pick called back due to an offsides penalty on Dallas.
“Matt got put in a tough situation,” Kelly said. “We were throwing every down. He can get the ball out of his hands quickly. He did some nice things at times, but you’ve got to understand, he’s got to understand, first time playing.”
Barkley admitted he couldn’t give a fair assessment of his performance.
“I think it would be a bit biased,” he said. “I am feeling a little negative, given the situation. I will look at the tape and review it, but you can always improve.”
The one thing everyone could agree on was that the offense needs fixing. It’s not quite broken, but it definitely needs a few tweaks, perhaps a wrench-like twist.
“If you had told me, win or lose, we were going to hold someone to 17 points, I’d say we were going to win that game,” Kelce said. “I’m really looking forward to looking at the film and seeing what hurt us in the running game and in the passing game.”
A victory would have given the Birds sole possession of first-place in the NFC East. Instead, that prize goes to the Cowboys (4-3). Dallas didn’t play a great game by any stretch of the imagination. The Eagles (3-4) just played a little poorer on a piss-poor day. Luckily, there is a lot of football left. The Giants, a team chasing draft position at this point, comes to the Linc next Sunday.
“Obviously, it’s not the end of the season,” Kelce said. “3-4. 2-1 in the division, we still have a lot of football left — a lot of games left, over half the season, so it’s not the end of the world by any means. All you can do is watch film and improve.”