As if it needed to be said, football is an unpredictable game. The Philadelphia Eagles walked into Atlanta as favorites but left with both loses on the scoreboard and on the roster. It was a rough outing for the Eagles, as the offensive game plan quickly went out the window with key injuries to Alshon Jeffery, Desean Jackson, and Dallas Goedert. These offensive struggles paired with a poor showing from the defense led to the Eagles downfall. With this being said, let’s take a deeper look into what really went wrong against the Falcons.
Carson Wentz showed flashes, but the same can’t be said for everyone
The Eagles’ offensive woes weren’t just limited to injuries, although they played a huge part. Many receivers were put in unrehearsed positions, and the lack of preparation was evident. However, there were also many plays left on the field. Nelson Agholor’s drop in the last drive is a prime example. Zach Ertz’s inability to get beyond the sticks on fourth down is another. When the Eagles had chances, they shot themselves in the foot often, ending drives and, eventually, losing the game.
Another major issue was the amount of escape-artistry Wentz had to show off. It seemed like every play, Wentz was either evading or taking, a hit in the backfield. The offensive line was exposed, something which doesn’t happen often. This was especially highlighted through the lack of production in the backfield. The running game was effectively shut down, leaving the bulk of the offensive load on Wentz’s shoulders. Wentz looked effective and made a handful of game-changing plays, but by himself, the offense was stagnant most of the evening.
Defense shows potential, but couldn’t come up clutch
The Eagles’ defense showed two faces. On one side, there was a defense which made Matt Ryan uncomfortable and forced turnovers. On the other, the struggles in the defensive backfield were put on full display. What could be attributed to this struggle is unknown, but something needs to change. The defensive line can’t bail out the backfield as often now that yet another defensive tackle, Timmy Jernigan, is out for six weeks minimum. With the interior defensive line depth all but crippled, for now, the rest of the defense must step up. There are plenty of talented offenses the Eagles face this season, and another so-so game won’t cut it.
Slow starts define the start of the Eagles’ season
Much like what we saw in Washington week 1, the Eagles team started very slow. The offense only put up 3 points in the first half, a number that, with this roster, is unacceptable. Although injury can be attributed to a lot of it, that can’t be a common excuse for the season. The Philadelphia Eagles need to start finding their rhythm earlier to eliminate the need for massive second-half rallies like we saw in Washington and almost in Atlanta. Head coach Doug Pederson needs to make this a priority. Slow starts might be acceptable against teams like Washington, but as we saw last night, the better teams will take control of games from the start.
The game didn’t end how we expected, but it’s time to look forward
The injury concerns surrounding the whole team aren’t ideal. Malik Jackson and Timmy Jernigan both have broken feet. Desean Jackson, Alshon Jeffery, and Dallas Goedert all going down in the same game limits the offensive efficiency. There are a lot of guys who have a chance to step up and show what they can do. Whether or not they do could determine a lot of games down the road.
The pieces are there–the offense is stocked full of playmakers, and the defense is filled with young talent. It’s time for the Philadelphia Eagles to take a step forward. After the Super Bowl championship two years ago, there’s been an air of complacency throughout the organization. Last night highlighted that. The talent this team has isn’t unknown. On paper, the Eagles field one of the best rosters in the league. It’s just time for them to show it.