Four Downs: The Eagles’ Humiliating Defeat
The Eagles lost to the Buccaneers, 45-17, in an embarrassing display at The Linc. Here’s what we saw.
MOST TELLING STAT: 131.6
That’s Jameis Winston’s passer rating, which was close to perfect for much of the game. Although he made some nice throws, Winston had open targets running all over the field. E.J. Biggers was particularly bad, and Nolan Carroll struggled in the red zone.
The Eagles were constantly burned by the slant-and-flat concept when two receivers cross, and did an especially poor job of communicating with each other. Davis’s scheme against the Giants worked very well, and I expected to see more of it today. However, they either didn’t call zones where they hand off receivers to each other or they didn’t execute. Either way, the result was horrid.
Carroll was in coverage against a touchdown-catching Buccaneers receiver three times, but it’s unclear if he was simply beaten on the plays or if communication was the problem. On one touchdown he appeared to expect more help from Malcolm Jenkins, and on another it looked like he and Biggers weren’t on the same page.
After an impressive start to the season, the Eagles defense gave their team no chance to win this game.
DID YOU NOTICE?
The Eagles’ run defense was dominant at the beginning of the year as they allowed fewer than four yards per carry several times and rarely gave up touchdowns on the ground. However, since playing the Panthers, the unit has struggled.
The Buccaneers rushed for nearly 300 yards and averaged about seven yards per carry. The defensive line had their moments, but the linebackers and defensive backs were often out of position or tackled poorly. Defenders also took bad angles and made many uncharacteric mental mistakes.
There’s no positive takeaway for the Eagles’ defense, which is reflected in the fact that they allowed more than seven yards per play.
Mark Sanchez threw two touchdown passes, but he played poorly as he added three interceptions — including one pick-six. On some passes he overthrew his targets, and on others he wasn’t even close. He got off to a good start as he had the Eagles’ operating at a fast pace in the first quarter, but that didn’t last long.
Sanchez’s exchange with Darren Sproles after his third interception will grab the headlines, but the running back expressed frustration throughout the game. They seemed to never get on the same page, even on simple screen passes. The same can be said about Sanchez and several receivers as well.
This team is not winning the division. For much of the year, I’ve remained steadfast that the Eagles haven’t been good, but could be if they played up to their potential. We’re 10 games deep into the season and that potential hasn’t materialized into production at all.
Are they mathematically out? Obviously, no. But if they can’t beat the Dolphins and Buccaneers at home, I don’t know how you can expect them to beat their three opponents after Thanksgiving: New England, Buffalo and Arizona. Chip Kelly shouldn’t be fired (an argument for another day), but his critics will have a field day after this loss.