A sequence late in the first half told the whole story.
Final minute of play. Third-and-1 from the Dallas 42. Nick Foles takes the snap, finds an open DeSean Jackson along the right side, and misfires. Jackson smacks his hands together in frustration before heading to the bench to steam.
Meanwhile, Chip Kelly decides to send Alex Henery out for a 60-yard field goal attempt, which predictably fails.
Poor quarterback play. Bad body language. Questionable decision-making. That about sums up the Eagles’ 17-3 loss to Dallas Sunday.
“To be so flat, to be so sporadic and just inconsistent the whole game,” said Jason Avant. “Usually inconsistency happens for a half or a quarter, to have it happen the whole game is very bizarre. It was definitely frustrating for us.
“I don’t think it was [lack of] motivation or people being flat in their personalities. It just was one of those games where we didn’t execute, and it happened the entire day — it was like a horror movie.”
For the fans, this is more like a recurring bad dream. The Eagles have lost nine straight games at home — a new franchise low. They haven’t won at the Linc since September 30 of last year against the Giants, the night they retired Brian Dawkins’ number. A lot of the losing streak is tied directly to the Dawk-less defense, but Billy Davis‘ unit cannot be held responsible for Sunday’s defeat. Seventeen points against the Cowboys attack is pretty commendable.
It was the offense that was “flat” as Avant said, and at a very peculiar time. A divisional game at home with first place on the line. Ranked second overall in the NFL, this group was coming off one of its most impressive performances of the season against a respectable Bucs defense and with Foles at the helm. This was the biggest moment of Foles’ young career, a chance to perhaps snatch the starting gig away from the injured Michael Vick. Instead, he put forth a very poor performance (11-of-29 for 80 yards) before being knocked out in the second half with a head injury.
How can a player go from reigning NFC offensive player of the week to that kind of showing in a span of seven days?
“I don’t have an answer for it,” said Kelly. “I think it’s everybody on the offensive side of the ball. I don’t think we blocked very well, I don’t think we caught the ball very well, I don’t think we got off routes very well. It was 11 guys on offense. It was all of us on offense, me calling plays, everybody. It’s not just one guy.”
Foles had a bad day any way you slice it but didn’t get a whole lot of help from his receivers, who dropped several passes Sunday. LeSean McCoy (18 carries, 55 yards) called this one of his worst performances since his rookie year.
“I don’t think, as offensive weapons, we gave him much of a chance. There are plays that we should have made, there are plays that I should have made, to help him out,” said McCoy. “We didn’t give him a shot.”
Troy Aikman, part of the television broadcast crew, apparently didn’t like everything he was seeing out of Jackson.
— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) October 20, 2013
The receiver appeared frustrated on a few occasions, including at the end of the opening half. Jason Kelce went over to have a talk with him on the bench shortly after Foles’ third-down pass sailed over his head and out of bounds.
“DeSean was a little frustrated with a play that happened that previous drive,” said Kelce. “The biggest thing, you can’t get frustrated or down during a game. I think that’s when things really start compounding on you. So I was just trying to get after him, came to pick his head up. He’s probably our most dynamic weapon when it comes to man coverage so I was just trying to get him back into it.”
Asked if some players allowed their frustrations to get the better of them, Kelly responded: “I didn’t see that, no.”
The Eagles now sit at 3-4. Their top two quarterbacks are hurt and they remain winless at home. For all that, they are still right in the thick of the NFC East race and have a shot at another divisional foe, the Giants, next week. And it comes right here at the Linc. It will be another opportunity to exorcise some ghosts that continue to linger, despite the organizational reboot.
“The fans spend a lot of time and hard-earned money on the organization, season tickets, packed houses year after year,” said Kelce. “This product that we’re putting out there, it’s not acceptable. We’ve got to get it corrected.”