The Super Bowl defending champion Philadelphia Eagles fell to 2-3 on the season Sunday after a brutal 23-21 loss at HOME to the Minnesota Vikings.
Tackling, blocking, execution, play calling, passion, and intensity are all things the Eagles have prided themselves on and have been doing very well.
Doug Pederson pulled an Andy Reid after the game yesterday and told his team, “It’s on me.” Through five games this year, it seems like every button Doug pushes is the wrong one.
Jay Ajayi didn’t get a carry until the second quarter, Pederson challenged a first down call that he had no business challenging, and way too much pressure has been placed on his franchise quarterback for the second week in a row, calling 42 passing plays and 13 designated run plays.
There is something about this team that is just not the same. “Next man up” and “bend but don’t break” were two phrases we heard a lot when describing the success of the 2017/2018 season.
Last year, the Philadelphia Eagles took the entire city on a magic carpet ride that ended with NICK FOLES being named Super Bowl MVP.
No matter what the situation was in any game, you felt confident the Eagles were going to make a play when it mattered the most and find a way to win.
This year, it seems like the complete opposite.
Where Did the Defense Go?
When you look at the numbers of the defense, they actually aren’t that bad – second best run defense in the NFL (66.4 yards per game allowed) and 10th best defense in overall yards allowed per game (343).
The issue with this defense is not in the numbers, but rather when it is time to make a big play and get off the field, they simply can’t. With the game on the line in the fourth quarter, the defense couldn’t get off the field. Starting at their own 11-yard line with just more than nine minutes to play, the Vikings drove with short, methodical passes followed up by a few key rushes from running back Latavius Murray on their way to go 55 yards in 11 plays and taking 6:24 off the clock.
The defense simply was not able to show up in clutch situations on Sunday. Missed opportunities, an ineffective pass rush, and huge plays given up in the secondary devastated the Eagles on a day where the offense needed all the help it could get.
New Year, Who This?
Last year, Kirk Cousins would never go 20/24, throw for over 200 yards and a touchdown in the first half AT THE LINC. Last year, Cousins doesn’t connect on a 68 yard pass completion down the field when the Eagles’ defense is desperate for a stop or turnover AT THE LINC. And last year, on a 3rd and 1 with five minutes left, this Eagles’ defense makes a play to get the ball back in the offense’s hands AT THE LINC.
But it’s not last year any longer, and this year it seems like the magic has ran out. Maybe a trip to the Meadowlands is just what this team needs, time will tell, but for now, this year has certainly not been pretty.