Disappointing Defense Highlighted By Brutal Secondary
The Eagles defense was the most disappointing aspect of today’s game.
With no Adrian Peterson, no Toby Gerhart, and one of the league’s worst quarterback situations, this is a team that the Eagles’ defense should have kept under wraps.
Instead…they gave up 48 points.
That’s right, 48 points to an offense led by third-string quarterback Matt Cassel, third-string running back Matt Asiata, and an offense, that with Adrian Peterson in the lineup, struggled to score more than 20 points a game all season.
The defense couldn’t get off the field, and had no answers for this patchwork offense. It was their worst performance since the Denver game in Week 4.
They couldn’t get off the field during a grueling sequence that saw the Vikings score on 16-play 75-yard drive that ran nearly eight minutes off of the clock.
The unit allowed the team to fall behind even further as the first half began, allowing Matt Cassel to run for a touchdown on a drive that went 52 yards in just four plays. Cassel finished the day with 382 yards and two touchdowns, the Eagles allowed him to look like a competent quarterback.
The secondary was at their worst today. Blown coverages and bad penalties were a frequent trend throughout the game. Safety play in particular was horrendous. Patrick Chung began the game by giving up the 57-yard touchdown pass to Greg Jennings in the first quarter. Nate Allen, Kurt Coleman, and Colt Anderson all played significant snaps as well, and all of them were guilty of missed tackles and blown coverages of their own. Jennings had one of his strongest games of the season, with 11 catches for 163 yards and a touchdown.
Matt Asiata made a name for himself, scoring three touchdowns in his first start of the season.
I think Chip Kelly put the Eagles defense in a bad position by choosing to kick away from Cordarelle Patterson all game and giving the Vikings a short field every time they got the ball. Once it became apparent that the defense was having trouble matching up with what Minnesota was doing, he should have adjusted and trusted his special teams to handle Patterson. However, given the talent that they were matched up against, the Eagles needed a much stronger effort from their defense.
Foles Hangs Tough Through Adversity
Nick Foles wasn’t at his best today, but I thought he hung in there and did his best to fight through adversity and give the team a chance to comeback.
Foles recovered from a third quarter interception to lead the Eagles on two quick scoring drives before the end of the third quarter to make it a five-point game. The second-year man made a nice throw to DeSean Jackson to cap a six-play 70-yard drive in just 1:29, and then found Zach Ertz on a three-play 45-yard drive in just 1:03.
It was a difficult situation for Foles to succeed in. With the defense uninterested in playing competitive football, and his offensive line allowing a constant pass rush on him (the line gave up four sacks on the day), that’s about as tall an order as you can give an passer in this league. The young starter kept his cool and did his part. The defense and special teams needed to help him out, and they were unable to raise their level of play.
Foles finished the game with 428 yards and three touchdowns with one interception, and also added 41 rushing yards on five carries.
- LeSean McCoy did a great job a screen pass that set up the team’s third field goal. Foles threw the ball a little high, but McCoy was able to haul it in and take it for a big gain, staying in bounds long enough to pick up 24 yards and make the kick attempt much more doable for Alex Henery.
- McCoy finished with just 38 rushing yards, but did manage to add 68 receiving yards on five catches.
- It was another strong game from DeSean Jackson, who had 10 catches for 195 yards and a touchdown.
- Jackson also had a touchdown run on a 4th and 1 wiped out by a blocking penalty on Nick Foles.
- Jason Avant caught his first touchdown pass since the Kansas City game.
- Riley Cooper was targeted twice on both two point conversion attempts, and managed to catch one of them.
- Amazing one-handed grab by Zach Ertz on his touchdown reception.
- Trent Cole played a great game against the run today, making several plays behind the line of scrimmage. Cole finished with seven tackles, and was one of the few defensive bright spots.
- Fletcher Cox got his hand up and batted the pass that was intercepted by Mychal Kendricks.
- The defense did manage to pick up three sacks today. Connor Barwin, DeMeco Ryans, and Mychal Kendricks all got Cassel.
- Bradley Fletcher called for a pass interference penalty that gave the Vikings a first down at the one-yard line before the half.
- Earl Wolff was inactive once again, giving Patrick Chung another start in his place.
- Najee Goode was also among the inactives for the second straight week.
- Alex Henery kept the team in the game early by connecting on three field goals in the first half,including a 51-yarder.
- After getting burned twice in the return game last week, the Eagles’ plan of attack was to kick the ball away from Cordarelle Patterson. Alex Henery spent the day performing squib kicks. While the Eagles were spared dealing with the dangerous Patterson on kickoffs, the trade off was that they gave the Vikings great field position throughout the game.
- Brad Smith had a couple of nice stops on kick coverage.
The defensive effort in today’s game was incredibly disturbing.
This effort today was the type of pitiful performance that we would have expected from this unit at the beginning of the year.
How concerned should the Eagles be with their defense after today’s game?
I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.
They were an absolute disgrace today, but they’ve also been the backbone of this team’s success over the last two months.
Bad games happen from time to time. Hopefully Billy Davis and his defensive staff will get everything cleaned up by next Sunday night, if they thought Greg Jennings was bad today, they’ve got to deal with the top receiving tandem in the league next week in Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey.
With Week 17′s match against the Dallas Cowboys shaping up to be a showdown for the division, Denny Basens and Jeff Kolsky are planning to get a group together to watch the game at XFINITY Live, and we would like to extend invitations to any and all readers of GCobb.com to come out and join us. We sincerely appreciate all who read, comment, and make this website great, and we’d love the opportunity to meet some of the readers and experience a great game together.