Instant Observations: Panthers 30, Eagles 22

Here are my instant observations from the Eagles’ 30-22 loss to the Panthers.

OFFENSE

* Bryce Brown was the story all night for the Eagles. He carried 19 times for 178 yards, an Eagles rookie record. In quite possibly the team’s most impressive play of the season, Brown got around the right edge and pushed it into a special gear, racing past Panthers defenders for a 65-yard touchdown in the first quarter. Later, he got around the right edge again for a 5-yard touchdown.

* There was an issue with ball security, however, as Brown fumbled twice – both in the third quarter. He also got stuffed on a fourth-and-inches run in the fourth.

* Nick Foles was up-and-down, going 16-for-21 for 119 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions. The Eagles got a gift in the third on a 51-yard pass interference call against the Panthers. Foles was looking deep for Jeremy Maclin, but the ball didn’t have much of a chance to be completed.

* The Eagles put together a nice nine-play, 62-yard drive to open the game. Nick Foles connected on throws to DeSean Jackson, Maclin and Brent Celek. But once the Eagles got to the red zone, Foles was nearly picked off – twice.

* Jackson left the game in the first quarter with a sternum injury. X-Rays were negative. He did not return.

* On the second drive, King Dunlap got beaten badly by Greg Hardy, who sacked Foles. Dunlap left the game briefly in the second half and was replaced by Demetress Bell.

DEFENSE

* Cam Newton completed 18 of 28 passes for 306 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. He averaged 10.9 yards per attempt, hitting on big play after big play to wide-open wide receivers.

* The Eagles allowed an eight-play, 72-yard drive to start the game. Newton hit a wide-open Gary Barnidge for a 24-yard touchdown. DeMeco Ryans initially covered Barnidge, but then looked like he was expecting help.

* On the Panthers’ second drive, Newton hit Brandon LaFell for a 43-yard score. The Eagles blitzed Brandon Boykin on the play, and LaFell was wide-open. It looked like Nate Allen might have been out of position on the play.

* In a play that looked similar to last week, Newton hit Louis Murphy for a 55-yard completion, even though the Eagles had two defensive backs – Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Kurt Coleman – in the vicinity. Last week, Santana Moss caught a 61-yarder in between Coleman and Boykin. The Panthers went on to score on the drive, courtesy of a Newton 1-yard run.

* Trent Cole had an active game with a couple tackles for loss and a QB hit.

* Mike Patterson came up with a sack on third down in the third quarter.

* Vinny Curry entered the game at right defensive end on the first possession. It was the first time all season he’s dressed for a game. Curry’s best moment came in the third when Newton spun out of a couple sacks before the rookie delivered a good hit on him.

* Horrible stretch in the fourth as Jason Babin, Brandon Graham and Cedric Thornton were called for offsides on consecutive plays.

* Fletcher Cox left the game in the second quarter because of a lower back/tailbone injury. X-Rays were negative, but he did not return.

* Boykin delivered his best return of the year – a 44-yarder – before fumbling in the fourth quarter.

* Mychal Kendricks broke up a pass intended for Steve Smith on third down in the red zone in the fourth, forcing a Panthers field goal.

* Strange scene to start the game. A lot of empty seats as the Eagles came out onto the field as a team and did away with player introductions.

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  • atlvickfan

    Mike Vick for MVP

    • RealityCheck

      Hell No

    • BlindChow

      Yeah, we were losing games with Vick under center, too.

      I’d say the fumbles lost us this one, with an assist by Bowles’ patented “soft zone coverage”.

  • Eagles_Fan_in_San_Fran

    From the ESPN radio broadcast tonight:
    Birds have been outscored 75-17 in the first quarter this year.
    Way to have your team well-prepared, AR!

  • JM

    Can anybody honestly say they have seen anything from Foles to indicate he is going to be a good or great QB? I understand he’s a rookie and rookies struggle but they usually show glimpses during their struggles and he has just looked like a nothing player to me the more snaps he gets.

    • Kimbafuzz

      I’ve seen nothing that says “Potentially GREAT QB” or “Damn, he sucks!!”. He’s just…. there. Like parsley. Replace him with a robot…. and would anyone notice?

      • morgan c

        I agree with your take on Foles and still not knowing one way or the other at this point, but your comparison to parsley I take serious issue with. Copious amounts of parsley spread over a plate of linguine with clams makes a huge difference.

    • JofreyRice

      yeah, mentioned below, but he only made a few throws where he looked like an NFL QB. He actually looked spastic and frenetic throwing the ball on a shovel pass, I didn’t think that was possible!

    • atlvickfan

      He looks OK, but Kevin Kolb looked better as an Eagle to be honest.

    • atlvickfan

      More importantly I don’t think any QB would look good behind this line. It was obvious (to me anyway) when Vick was in and it’s obvious now. Until he plays behind a real line it’s hard to know how good Foles can be.

    • BlindChow

      He checked into run plays. I can’t believe Morhinweg called that many runs. Foles repeatedly hearing the playcall, saying, “Screw this, we’re running it,” then handing off to Bryce Brown, would elevate my opinion of him greatly.

  • Run Eagles Run

    Jackson with pain in sternum area? I dont like to question players hearts, but that joke just writes itself

    • AH

      It does, but Jackson has been one of the few players that has shown some heart this season.

      • morgan c

        hmmm except the x-rays were negative. the dude is porcelain. his body can’t last in this league. i honestly think he just has some bruises and the team is saying they are broken because he doesn’t want to really play the rest of the season. djax is a pussy. sorry. straight-up.

    • daggolden

      At 150 pounds to step on a NFL field I will never question his heart.

      • Run Eagles Run

        IM not, I was simply pointing out the humor. I like DJ, and I dont like when people question anyone’s heart.

  • Kimbafuzz

    Wait… they didn’t do player introductions?

  • Run Eagles Run

    So far, Foles has looked very… eh. I know. He is a rookie. Its just two starts. They are keeping it simple. But I see nothing that makes me say, “wow, this kid needs a little polish but he has something”. I dont want to wait for 2 years while foles grows into the position. I want to win next year. rebuild? rebuild the vet. I want a veteran qb, or a rookie next year who comes in and blows them away with talent. this team has some talented vets. just need the coaching and system replaced. but I think it can be competitive next year. trade maclin, the o line is ok if healthy, just need depth. new safeties, and the team is headed in the right direction.

  • JofreyRice

    Actually an enjoyable game, since this was a pretty even matchup of bottom of the barrel NFL squads. Unfortunately, the talent differential between their roster & the Eagles was a little too much to overcome at the end. Saying Foles was “up and down” is being a pretty easy grader, he looked like dogs^*!@ to me. He made about 4 “NFL” throws, by my count. The rest of it was either checked down, or really poor decisions. The PI call was a gift, since it was underthrown, and Maclin would have never caught it. I was actually advocating Foles over Vick, but he’s looked really bad in these games. Wish there were a QB worth drafting, this team needs one; they might have had a shot at RG3 if they had they not reeled off those 4 meaningless wins against backup QB’s & Mark Sanchez at the end of last year.

    I thought Kelly did a pretty nice job at RT. Maybe they actually have something, or maybe a guy just playing OK looks like a miracle with this group, it’s hard to tell. Dallas Reynolds was miserable, as usual.

    Curry held up pretty decent against Jordan Gross, and was hustling his ass off. Still waiting on Graham to close the deal one of these days.

    I agree Allen was out of position for the one TD where Boykin & Coleman blitzed. I thought Coleman was out of position on the first blown coverage TD. I laughed when Kendricks got nailed for defensive holding on that last drive, since I thought he got away with it on Smith on the previous one. Might have been a makeup call.

  • daytoday

    What happend to nick foles gives the eagles a better chance to win? another game were he could have thrown 4 INTs…its SOOOOO funny seeing all these people saying nick foles “gets the ball out so quick”..”makes good choices with the ball”..among other things, just DISAPPEAR, where did they all go?
    – Brian baldinger?
    – Sal paolantonio?
    – Tim McManus?
    what do you have to say now?

  • Myke Lowery

    let’s not forget Kendricks gave up a defensive holding call on third and really long during the game. the lack of situational awareness seems..well lacking. the three penalties in a row summed up the season. as did the blown coverages. eleven games in and still can’t get it right.

  • daggolden

    What do you expect from Nick Foles? He wasnt a top prospect in college so what makes you think he is a top prospect on the next level. Its so hard for QBs who are top 10 picks to make it in NFL what do you think the odds are that a 3rd round pick makes it? The odds dont increase. Everyone acts surprised. Hell you act like the Eagles have a good track record of drafting players in the top rounds lol.

  • daggolden

    I have a question. I thought it was very strange for Jon Gruden to bash Nick Foles the way he did. He criticized Foles the whole game. Thats usually not his style. He also runs the QB camp and he never spoke about Foles evaluation. Gruden is usually very positive with young players. Not with Foles. What could be his agenda? Please dont say for a job here in Philly. Gruden can get a HC job anytime he wants.

    • Tom M.

      His agenda may have been to tell the truth.

    • BlindChow

      I thought he was fair. I remember Gruden complementing Foles’ skills on a quick out to Maclin late in the game, plus he repeatedly gave his approval of Foles’ changing plays at the line of scrimage.

      The only times he really lit into Foles were the three or four really awful decisions when he was too hesitant and almost threw interceptions.

    • JM

      Could it because Foles sucks? Should have been picked off at least three times, even with play calling that catered to a rookie.

  • BlindChow

    Yeah, as much flack as Foles seems to be getting, he didn’t lose this game. I’d blame the three fumbles (though it’s difficult for me to be too hard on Brown, as he was the only reason they were still in the game to begin with), the pathetic Carolina penalty drive at the end, and Bowles’ insistence on calling “unpredictable” soft zone coverages on third downs.

    Actually, I just assume the Eagles were in soft zone coverage whenever a receiver ends up that wide open. It’s hard to believe there wouldn’t at least be SOMEONE nearby in man coverage. Oh, how I long for the golden days of the Castillo era…