Wake-Up Call: Eagles Look In Mirror After Loss
Sitting on a stool shirtless in the Eagles locker room after losing to the Dolphins yesterday, Lane Johnson paused to consider the question.
What was the turning point in the game?
The offensive lineman had a plethora of possibilities to choose from. Was it the blocked punt that gave Miami the ball at Philadelphia’s 12-yard line? Or Jarvis Landry’s touchdown catch that bounced off Connor Barwin’s helmet? What about Mark Sanchez’s interception in the end zone?
Perhaps the number of options overwhelmed Johnson, because he struggled to identify one.
“I felt like we had the game won a few times,” he said. “This one slipped away, in a bad way. We had a chance to win that game, and just didn’t. It was right there at our fingertips.”
Johnson’s sentiment was shared by several of his teammates. Connor Barwin called Miami “a team that I feel like we should beat every time,” while Malcolm Jenkins attributed the loss to the Eagles “doing things to give it to the Dolphins.”
Defensive players discussed not forcing turnovers, whereas offensive players touched on not taking advantage of scoring opportunities.
“We have to pick it up. It doesn’t matter about any other team,” Brent Celek said. “We’re worried about ourselves and we have to fix the mistakes that we’ve made. In all of these games that we’ve lost, it’s really been us beating ourselves.”
The Eagles did have a number of self-inflicted wounds, as Chip Kelly calls them, but they also had their own luck. They recovered all three of their fumbles, and benefited from a questionable roughing the passer penalty that negated Sam Bradford’s interception.
Regardless, the Eagles slowed down as their offensive line struggled after scoring 16 first quarter points. Philadelphia averaged just 2.3 yards per carry while allowing four sacks and 10 quarterback hits. When they did move the ball, their drives often stalled because of penalties, including Riley Cooper‘s illegal shift that nullified Zach Ertz’s 22-yard touchdown catch.
“We didn’t play smart,” Kelly said. “We had too many penalties that I think negated big gains for us. A lot of them — I think there are only seven when you look at the game sheet, but there was a lot of them that were offsetting, so we obviously had more than that. But we had way too many penalties on the offensive side of the ball to be productive. ”
The defense did their part by limiting the Dolphins to 20 points and scoring two of their own. After Miami’s kick returner slipped and gave his team the ball at their 1-yard line, Walter Thurmond came untouched on a blitz to sack Ryan Tannehill and force a fumble that went out of the end zone.
Later in the first quarter, Ryan Mathews ran one yard for a touchdown that gave the Eagles a 16-3 lead. Philadelphia appeared poised to blow Miami out, but the Dolphins scored 10 unanswered points in the second quarter.
Neither team scored in the third quarter, while Landry’s touchdown came at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Billy Davis theorized after the game that if Barwin didn’t hit the ball, the Eagles would’ve intercepted the pass because of their coverage on the play.
“That’s kind of how the game went,” Barwin said. “It was in the air for four seconds; it has to be a pick. There were a couple of plays there that rolled their way, but that’s how the game goes sometimes.”
Still, the Eagles had four drives after that and scored just three points. Ertz’s called-back touchdown occured with 11 minutes left in the game, while Sanchez’s red zone pick happened with four and a half minutes remaining.
“We were a couple of plays away,” Walter Thurmond said. “It always comes back to us. We had a lot of missed opportunities. A team hasn’t really come out and beaten us down for four quarters. It’s always been in our control.”
WHAT YOU MISSED
Chip Kelly’s post-game thoughts and analysis of his team’s defeat.
“We’ve just got to finish.” Mark Sanchez couldn’t lead the Birds to the end zone.
Four downs: Offensive line struggles lead to a loss for the Eagles.
Sam Bradford left the game with a concussion and left shoulder injury.
Instant observations: What T-Mac saw yesterday as the Birds fell to the Dolphins.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Chip Kelly’s poor decisions have cost the Eagles, writes Bob Brookover.
We saw two more head-shaking moments Sunday near the end of each half against the Dolphins.
Up by 16-13 at the end of the first half, the Eagles got the ball back with 16 seconds remaining at their own 19-yard line. They had one timeout remaining and were set to receive the football at the start of the second half.
Jason Kelce said he played the worst game of his career yesterday, reports Reuben Frank.
Eagles center Jason Kelce, a Pro Bowler last year who’s had an up-and-down season, suffered perhaps the worst performance of his five-year career Sunday afternoon in the Eagles’ 20-19 loss to the Dolphins at the Linc (see Instant Replay).
He was dominated throughout the game by Dolphins big-money free agent pickup Ndamukong Suh, he struggled with his shotgun snaps and he committed multiple penalties (see 10 observations).
Chip Kelly will address the media at 1 p.m.