What They’re Saying About the Eagles

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Photo Credit: Benny Sieu - USA Today[1]

Photo Credit: Benny Sieu – USA Today

Here’s a roundup of what the national and local media are saying about the Eagles this week.

Peter King of the MMQB[2] rounds up NFL Week 11:

The Fine Fifteen

8. Philadelphia (7-3). Hard to know what to do with a team that got smashed into a million tiny pieces at The Tundra. I guess I’m passing it off as the Packers will score 50 on anybody these days. Move on, nothing to see here.

Special Teams Players of the Week

Micah Hyde, safety/punt-returner, Green Bay. When the game against Philadelphia was still a game—two minutes left in the first quarter, Green Bay up 10-0, a Donnie Jones punt spiraling down to Hyde at the Packer 25—Hyde went into another gear immediately, speeding past the first line of defense and sprinting 75 yards up the right sideline for a touchdown.

Ten Things I Think I Think

5. I think that was a pretty short Mark Sanchez honeymoon, Philadelphia.

Doug Farrar of SI.com[3] gives the updated playoff picture with the Birds sitting third in the NFC:

As for the NFC East, the Eagles proved in their loss to the Packers on Sunday that they are no sure thing to take the division with Mark Sanchez in charge (not that they were a lock with Nick Foles this year, either), and the Cowboys could rise up in the rankings.

Chris Burke and Doug Farrar of SI.com[4] give Week 11 superlatives:

Head-Scratching Decision: Philly’s gameplanning on both sides of the ball

Eagles head coach Chip Kelly and defensive coordinator Billy Davis are generally two of the better game-planners in the NFL, but both are going to take their lumps after Philadelphia’s loss to Green Bay. Early in the game, Kelly seemed to call a lot of short crossing routes, which backup quarterback Mark Sanchez generally has trouble reading. The result was an indecisive Sanchez, and as the Packers were piling on the points, Sanchez was trying to get a bead on the routes and running for his life. Green Bay’s pass-rush often overwhelmed Philly’s offensive line on the slick Lambeau Field turf (maybe we should mention the equipment manager, too), and when Kelly sent extra blockers in (not often), that didn’t seem to work, either.

When Sanchez succeeded against the Carolina Panthers last Sunday, he was set up with easier reads and more complex route concepts. This time, Sanchez was required to wade through a stronger defense, and his limitations showed. There were a few splash plays — his 40-yard completion to Jordan Matthews with 50 seconds left in the first half was a beaut — Matthews had tight coverage, and Sanchez threw it perfectly to Matthews’ right shoulder. And this third-quarter touchdown to Matthews, too little too late as it may have been, showed how Sanchez benefits from outside route combinations.

Chris Wesseling of NFL.com[5] covered the Eagles-Packers game in the Around the NFL’s Thirty-Seven Things You Need to Know From Week 11:

1. The rest of the NFC contenders have to be hoping the Packers don’t seize homefield advantage for the playoffs. They have jumped out to leads of 30-3, 45-0, 38-3 and 42-0 in the four home games since Rodgers’ R-E-L-A-X admonition. They have posted a 50-burger in consecutive games for the first time in their 93-year franchise history. Rodgers’ touchdown-to-interception is 31:0 over his last 13 home games. The Pack’s average score over the past seven games overall is 39.4 to 20.9.

2. Green Bay’s defense has shown gradual improvement throughout the season, cresting with Clay Matthews’ move to inside linebacker the past two weeks. Julius Peppers became the first player in NFL history with at least 100 sacks and four interceptions returned for touchdowns. He has returned to Pro Bowl form after a disappointing final season with the Bears. Defensive end Mike Daniels and rookie safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix are making plays every week. Jordan Matthews’ garbage-time touchdown was the first the Packers have allowed at Lambeau Field with Rodgers still in the game since Week 2.

3. Mark Sanchez missed too many throws, calling to mind the majority of Nick Foles’ performances this season. He was also battered by the Packers’ pass rush. This was a clear step back after one of the most impressive games of his career in his first Eagles start.

Mike Sielski of the Inquirer[6] believes the Eagles are fighting a losing battle with Mark Sanchez:

Since replacing Nick Foles, Sanchez has committed six turnovers in three games, and although the Packers already had buried the Eagles by the time he began burping up the football Sunday, Sanchez is still showing the same disturbing carelessness that he did in 2011 and 2012, when he led the NFL with 52 turnovers.

That’s the concern here. That’s the problem that he and Kelly and the Eagles have to solve next week against the Tennessee Titans and beyond.

This game was gone early for the Eagles, and after Sanchez’s solid and turnover-free performance against Carolina last Monday night, after Foles spent the first half of the season backpedaling from pass rushers and throwing too many interceptions himself, Sanchez didn’t have to lead a crazy, miraculous comeback to retain everyone’s confidence. He just had to keep things from getting out of hand, from opening himself and his teammates to ridicule, and he couldn’t.

Paul Domowitch of the Daily News[7] talks about Aaron Rodgers‘ day against the Birds’ defense:

The Eagles needed to get pressure on him and they couldn’t. Sacked him just once and seldom hurried him.

They needed to disrupt his timing with his receivers and they couldn’t. Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson, who combined for 14 catches for 238 yards and a touchdown, had few problems getting off the line of scrimmage and into their routes.

They needed to prevent Rodgers from extending plays and running for first downs and they couldn’t. Rodgers ran for 32 yards on three scrambles and got outside the pocket several times.

They needed to foil Rodgers on third down and they really couldn’t do that. He completed seven of 11 passes for 127 yards and a touchdown on third down. Converted six – count ’em, six – third downs of 7 yards or more, including a third-and-18, two third-and-10s and a third-and-9.

Jimmy Kempski of Philly.com[8] hands out 10 awards from the Eagles-Packers game:

1) The “Beat Somebody Worth Beating” Award: The Eagles

Yeah, yeah — “Every win the NFL is tough to get,” or something like that. But it’d be nice to see the Eagles beat a good team. They did beat the 6-4 Colts Week 2, although the Colts’ record is artificially inflated by the six games they get to play in their awful division. Otherwise the Eagles’ wins have come against crappy teams, and they have not taken care of business against the good ones.

The Eagles are a little bit like Penn State. Sure, they’ll beat Temple every year, but when Ohio State comes rolling in, forget it.

2) The Tiebreaker Award: Other NFC teams

The three teams the Eagles have lost to are the 49ers, Cardinals, and Packers, all of whom are NFC playoff contenders. Their conference record is just 4-3. At the end of the season, if the Eagles find themselves with the same record as another team vying for a wildcard berth, the Eagles are likely not going to win that tiebreaker. It could be NFC East Champs or bust.

Matt Cassidy is a journalism student at Temple and an intern at Birds 24/7.

Endnotes:
  1. [Image]: https://www.phillymag.com/?p=2871263&preview=true
  2. Peter King of the MMQB: http://mmqb.si.com/2014/11/17/nfl-week-11-jonas-gray-patriots/
  3. Doug Farrar of SI.com: http://www.si.com/nfl/2014/11/16/nfl-playoff-picture-week-11
  4. Chris Burke and Doug Farrar of SI.com: http://www.si.com/nfl/2014/11/16/nfl-week-11-superlatives-jamaal-charles-eli-manning-jj-watt
  5. Chris Wesseling of NFL.com: http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000429336/article/thirtyseven-things-you-need-to-know-from-week-11
  6. Mike Sielski of the Inquirer: http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/eagles/20141117_Eagles_fighting_a_losing_battle_with_Sanchez.html
  7. Paul Domowitch of the Daily News: http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/eagles/20141117_Packers__Rodgers_has_field_day_against_Eagles__defense.html
  8. Jimmy Kempski of Philly.com: http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/sports/eagles/Handing-out-10-awards-from-the-Eagles-Packers-game-2014.html

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