Four Downs: Eagles’ Season Effectively Over
The Eagles fell to Washington, 38-24, and have been eliminated from the playoffs. Here’s what we saw.
MOST TELLING STAT: 365
That’s how many passing yards Kirk Cousins had, as he had open targets running across the field for much of the game. Because the Eagles struggled to generate much of a pass rush, Cousins had plenty of time to find holes in the Philadelphia secondary.
Trent Williams did a good job of protecting Cousins’ blind side for most of the night, and he consistently stymied Brandon Graham. Fletcher Cox was the only Eagle who put much pressure on Cousins, and he recorded Philadelphia’s only two sacks.
However, the Eagles’ back end wasn’t very good in coverage, and the inside linebackers especially struggled; Mychal Kendricks, DeMeco Ryans and Kiko Alonso all had bad snaps in the red zone that resulted in Washington touchdowns. Billy Davis had no answer for Jordan Reed, and the tight end finished the game with nine receptions for 129 yards and two touchdowns.
DID YOU NOTICE?
Despite two rushing touchdowns, the Eagles’ offensive line struggled both in the run game and the pass game. Philadelphia averaged just 2.8 yards per carry, and they allowed five sacks. Bradford was often hurried when he dropped back to pass, and he didn’t have enough time to hit several of his open receivers.
Despite a 12-yard run, DeMarco Murray lead the Eagles in rushing with just 15 yards on six carries. Darren Sproles totaled nine yards on five rushes, while Ryan Mathews added five yards on four carries. Mathews and Murray also scored one touchdown each.
One Bradford highlight you’ll see a lot of is when he overthrew Zach Ertz on what likely would’ve been a touchdown. Bradford also overthrew Nelson Agholor in the end zone, after the rookie became wide open on a great route.
However, he made several impressive throws as well, including a 38-yard pass to Jordan Matthews along the left sideline with perfect touch. He also displayed his improved footwork as he eluded pass rushers and delivered a great ball to Riley Cooper deep down the field, although Cooper dropped the pass.
Agholor cost Bradford a touchdown pass as well, when the rookie dropped a good throw that hit him in his hands in front of his chest. Bradford finished the night by completing 37 of his 55 passes for 380 yards, one touchdown and a 93 passer rating.
This was a fitting end to the Eagles’ season. Turnovers? Check. Dropped passes? Check. Missed touchdown opportunities? Check. Poor pass coverage? Check. Bad offensive line play? Check. Losing to a mediocre team? Check.
Although the Eagles still have to play the Giants next week, they’re now eliminated from the playoffs. It’s unlikely they’ll have a great draft pick as 11 teams still have a worse record than them. Five more teams could also have the same record if they lose this week.
As you can tell from the litany of mistakes above, changes need to be made. Many people have called for Davis to lose his job, but he’s used as a scapegoat too often. Chip Kelly needs to lose some of his power over the personnel, and a general manager needs to be brought in.
Kelly has been very clear that 10-6 is an unacceptable record, and he made a lot of adjustments to get closer to a Super Bowl run. Clearly, those decisions have backfired, and significant upgrades need to be made. Adding quality offensive linemen should be a top priority this offseason, and the Eagles will have a big decision to make at quarterback.