Here are instant observations from the Eagles’ 34-13 loss to the Bengals.
* Turnovers were the story once again for this group. Jeremy Maclin fumbled on the first possession. Nick Foles was picked off on a deep ball he underthrew horribly in the third. Bryce Brown fumbled in the third. Clay Harbor did as well. And Cedric Thornton fumbled away a short kickoff in the fourth. The Bengals got 31 of their 34 points off Eagles turnovers.
* Foles went 16-for-33 for 182 yards, a touchdown and an interception. After the Eagles ran a series of screens in the first half, they faked one and hit Maclin deep for 46 yards. The play set up an 11-yard score to Riley Cooper.
* Marvin McNutt got manhandled by Dan Herron on special teams in the first as the Bengals blocked Mat McBriar’s punt and ended up with a field goal on their ensuing drive. McNutt wasn’t out there on punt coverage the next time. Either he got pulled or he wasn’t supposed to be out there in the first place. Some of you have Tweeted at me, saying the radio broadcast indicated Ryan Rau might have been at fault. We’ll find out soon enough.
* Horrible red-zone sequence at the end of the first half. The Eagles had a 1st-and-goal at the 2. Dallas Reynolds was called for an illegal snap, moving the line of scrimmage back to the 7. The Eagles got back to the 1 on a completion to Clay Harbor, but Foles then threw two incompletions. One was to backup center Matt Tennant, who had not played a snap all season.
* More on the turnovers: Maclin was stripped by Carlos Dunlap on a wide receiver screen. Foles’ pick came when the Eagles had some momentum. The defense had just sacked Andy Dalton twice in a row and forced a punt. Brown was hit behind the line of scrimmage on his fumble. Wallace Gilberry scooped the ball up and took it 25 yards to the end zone.
* Brown struggled once again, carrying 16 times for 34 yards.
* Maclin was the team’s leading receiver with four catches for 73 yards.
* The defensive performance was not nearly as bad as the scoreboard indicated. Actually, the defensive line turned in its best performance of the season. Brandon Graham had a career game with 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble. Fletcher Cox had 1.5 sacks. Trent Cole was active throughout with a sack and five tackles. And Cullen Jenkins added a sack/forced fumble. The bottom line is it’s difficult to keep the opponent off the scoreboard when the offense and special teams are making so many mistakes.
* All five of the Bengals’ scoring drives started in Eagles territory – at the 44, 11, 40, 13 and 33. The other score was a defensive touchdown.
* BenJarvus Green-Ellis picked up 29 yards on a run to the right on Cincinnati’s first play from scrimmage. It looked like Jamar Chaney and Mychal Kendricks got blocked, but I’ll have to re-watch to be sure.
* Andy Dalton completed just 13 of 27 passes passes for 127 yards. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie stayed on A.J. Green for much of the game. Green finished with six catches for 57 yards, including a 5-yard touchdown.
* The Eagles missed several opportunities for interceptions early on. Rodgers-Cromartie missed a chance for a pick-six in the red zone on the Bengals’ first offensive possession. The ball went right through his hands and into Green’s for a completion.
* Nice job by Colt Anderson on a deep ball to Green in the first. Anderson helped Rodgers-Cromartie over top and nearly had an interception.
* DeMeco Ryans nearly had an interception on third down in the first.
* Green-Ellis carried 25 times for 106 yards.