Wake-Up Call: This Time, Turnovers Costly


NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Arizona Cardinals

GLENDALE, AZ —  The Eagles were coming off a 27-0 stomping of the Giants, his team was 5-1 heading into the bye and everything seemed right in their world. Chip Kelly, though, stepped outside the glow for just a moment to address one area of concern during his postgame press conference.

“We’ve got to do a better job [when it comes to team turnovers] because you can’t do it at that rate and end up on the right side of the ledger. The turnover differential is really big in this league in terms of being an indicator of wins and losses,” he said.

The Eagles entered Sunday’s game against Arizona minus-5 in the giveaway/takeaway department. Through six weeks, they were the only team out of 12 in the red that had a winning record.

This week, their failure to protect the ball finally caught up with them. They lost the turnover battle 3-1 and it proved costly in a tight game between two quality teams.

Nick Foles was responsible for two of them. He ended 36-of-62 for 411 yards with two touchdowns and a pair of interceptions. (That’s obviously a very high number of pass attempts and certainly didn’t help in his efforts to keep the ball out of the opponent’s hands.) He now has 12 turnovers (nine interceptions, three lost fumbles) through seven games after turning the ball over just four times all of last season.

“I don’t know,” said Foles, when asked about the spike in turnovers this year. “I told you all at the beginning of the season that those games last year don’t really help me this year. I have to keep playing. I’m going to give it everything I have for my teammates. Yes, I made mistakes but I will continue to work to correct them. We can’t have turnovers. It’s really tough to overcome turnovers.”

The first pick came midway through the second quarter. With the Eagles in striking distance, Foles took the snap, shifted to his left and failed to set before firing a ball into the end zone that was intended for Josh Huff but was instead picked by Antonio Cromartie.

Cromartie got another one early in the fourth when Foles misfired on a pass intended for Riley Cooper.

“I thought Cooper was open,” said Kelly, “but the ball wasn’t where it was supposed to be.”

The other turnover was committed by Huff, who was stripped by Frostee Rucker while trying to pick up extra yards near the goal line.

The Eagles’ 14 turnovers heading into the game were the third most in the NFL behind Washington (15) and Jacksonville (15), two teams that have a combined record of 3-12. After three more on Sunday, Kelly’s team ranks 31st in an all-important category.

“You can’t turn the ball over and be a successful football team,” he said. “We’ve got to clean that up, especially in a game like this. It’s so close against a really good quality opponent. We turned it over twice in the red zone, and you do that, you’re going to lose the football game.”

WHAT YOU MISSED

The Eagles got beaten by the “X” Plays (plays of more than 20 yards) against the Cardinals, and it cost them.

Instant observations from the Eagles’ loss to the Cardinals.

With the trade deadline tomorrow at 4 p.m., the Eagles have apparently inquired about wide receiver Vincent Jackson.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Jeff McLane of the Inquirer lists the Eagles players who are trending up and trending down after the trip to the desert:

LeSean McCoy

UP – Kelly got away from McCoy and the running game too early and placed too much on Foles’ shoulders. Only when Kelly went back to the tailback did the passing game open up with short passes off the play-action.

Jason Peters

DOWN – The game’s best left tackle – or at least one of the top five – was penalized three times, twice for illegal use of the hands and once for a third-down false start.

Cody Parkey

UP – In the first seven games of his NFL career, Parkey has three 50-yard-plus field goals, including Sunday’s best of 54 yards. It was the longest by an Eagles kicker since David Akers in 2003 (57 yards) and is tied for the third longest in team history.

Bob Ford talks about the big plays that the defense surrendered against the Cardinals:

Had the defense of coordinator Bill Davis justified Kelly’s confidence, this would have been regarded as perhaps the culmination of a long journey for that unit. Locking down this win, on the heels of the pre-bye shutout over the Giants, would have calmed a lot of fears. Instead, it was a gut punch to a defense that had to question itself on the long ride home. (Not to mention the confidence of the offensive players who had to wonder why Kelly didn’t trust them to win the game.)

“They made a play, man,” said cornerback Cary Williams, who had coverage, along with safety Nate Allen, on the long touchdown pass to receiver John Brown, a rookie from Pittsburg (Kansas) State who has speed to burn and used it to burn the Eagles. “I thought I’d be able to catch him, but I wasn’t able to make that play. He was fast enough to get away from us.”

COMING UP

We’re on our way back to Philly and have plenty more coverage on tap. Kelly speaks at 1.