The Philadelphia Eagles returned to South Philadelphia this past Sunday after a disappointing prime-time heart-breaker in Atlanta against the Falcons the previous week that ended with tight end Zach Ertz being inches away from a potential victory.
However, this week was different, and the now humbled Eagles returned to the Lincoln Financial Field to face the Detroit Lions in what was supposed to be a relatively easy win.
It was also a quasi-rematch of Super Bowl 52. Lions head coach, Matt Patricia, was the defensive coordinator of the 2017 Patriots when the Eagles defeated them in the Super Bowl. They could only hope for a similar fate on Sunday.
Another similarity from the current 2019 Eagles and the 2017 Super Bowl Champion Eagles team has been (unfortunately) the mantra of “Next Man Up.” Injuries have plagued the Eagles this season as three of Philadelphia’s top offensive starters were declared out early in the Atlanta game last week.
Wide receivers Alshon Jeffery (calf), DeSean Jackson (abdomen), and tight end Dallas Goedert (calf) were all critical pieces that led to a Week 2 loss in Atlanta where the offensive playbook was critically condensed into a losing game-plan.
Heading into the Week 3 matchup with the Lions, the cards were now in the hands of head coach Doug Pederson and offensive coordinator Mike Groh to have a prepared playbook for Carson Wentz and company to win without the likes of DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery.
Although bearing significant losses, the Eagles still had massive offensive power to use against the Lions, including Super Bowl Champions Zach Ertz, Nelson Agholor, Mack Hollins and newly touted “young weapons” such as running back Miles Sanders, WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, and newly acquired, former leading rusher for the Bears, running back Jordan Howard.
The Eagles’ first offensive drive of the day looked promising, with a 40 yard pass to Miles Sanders on third down putting the Eagles in near red-zone range, only to stall and result in a 25 yard Jake Elliot field goal to put the Eagles up early, 3-0.
This would be the first offensive points for the Eagles in the first quarter for the 2019 season thus far, after being shutout in the first against both Atlanta and Washington.
Immediately after this Eagles score, the Lions returned their opening kickoff 101 yards to the house. It would not be more than 9 minutes into the game that the Eagles would have their first touchdown and only lead of the day as a result of a one-yard Jordan Howard rushing TD.
The South Philly crowd was electric and it had seemed that Groh and Pederson had finally figured out the formula for rushing and passing to success.
This was further implemented as the Eagles continued to run the ball, that is until rookie Miles Sanders fumbled, putting the ball on the ground and giving the Lions great field position at the 50 yard-line.
Offensive woes were thought to be behind them after this rookie mistake, until the next Eagles drive when veteran wide receiver Nelson Agholor fumbled at the 50 and gave the Lions perfect field position yet again. Detroit would retain the lead for the majority of the game and it looked to be all but over as the Lions lined up for a field goal, leading 27-24 with 1:53 left to go in the fourth, until Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins charged through and blocked the Lions field goal attempt, giving the Eagles fantastic field position to win or at least tie the game and send it into overtime.
The Eagles, however, would run four pass plays and turn the ball over on downs as a result of a drop from J.J. Arcega-Whiteside that hit him in the hands on the one yard line. Arcega-Whiteside was drafted by the Eagles this past year due to his “1 on 1” catching abilities against tight coverage, only for him to commit another rookie mistake and drop the ball entirely.
A game filled with drops, rookie mistakes, coaching critiques and an uncharacteristic home loss left Eagles fans with a bad taste in their mouth.
Sure, it’s still September, but the Eagles are now 1-2 with a home loss in a packed NFC Conference.
The Eagles are now two games behind the 3-0 Dallas Cowboys and have a short week ahead as they travel to Lambeau Field to take on the white hot Green Bay Packers defense and future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers on Thursday Night Football.
The Eagles need to take a long look in the mirror before Thursday and learn the definition of the word “accountability,” as many players have flocked to Twitter and Instagram to defend themselves and teammates for sloppy, college-like performances, unwarranted of a Super Bowl Champion only a year and a half ago.
The Eagles play against the Packers Thursday, Sept. 26 at 8:20 p.m. on FOX.
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