Eagles fans are asking the question “What happened in the fourth quarter?” I’ll tell you what happened… the Carolina Panthers outplayed the Eagles completely on both sides of the ball in the fourth quarter. After looking at the tape, it wasn’t any mystery that the Panthers’ best players Cam Newton and Luke Kuechly took over the football game and they dominated. They made the plays when they needed to and that was the difference in the football game. You can’t just blame it on one specific area of the Eagles football team because everybody played a hand in the loss.
When the game was on the line, not one area of the Eagles football team could make a play. Not offense, defense nor the special teams. Not Carson Wentz, Zach Ertz, Alshon Jeffery or Corey Clement could make a play. Nobody on the defense could get it done. Not Fletcher Cox, Michael Bennett, Brandon Graham, Malcolm Jenkins, Jordan Hicks nor Nigel Bradham could come up with something. They were very close a number of times, but they couldn’t get it done.
“You can’t just blame it on one specific area of the Eagles football team because everybody played a hand in the loss.”
All of them had opportunities — but they just couldn’t execute. If either the offense, defense or special teams had made a couple of plays it would have ended the Panthers come back. So now, we’ve just got to give the Panthers credit. They didn’t play well for the first three quarters, but in the fourth quarter, Cam Newton was on the money with his throws. He was sitting calm in the pocket and his throws were pinpoint accurate. He was seeing the field clearly and delivering strike after strike.
Kuechly made a few great plays as well, where he anticipated the Eagles offense and made the play in the backfield.
On the Eagles’ last drive and on the fourth down play, Lane Johnson and Brandon Brooks, who had been doing a great job the entire game were beaten with a stunt by the Panthers. They broke down as Carson Wentz spotted a wide open Alshon Jeffery, but couldn’t get the ball to him.
In the fourth quarter, every time the Panthers needed to make a play, they made it and that’s what happened to this game which the Eagles should have won. That’s the reason the Eagles are now three and four. Defensively in the fourth quarter, the Eagles cornerbacks were playing tentatively. When they needed to make a play, they were guarding against getting beat deep and they did a good job of that. They weren’t going to be beaten on the deep route but in that fourth-quarter Newton was taking all the underneath stuff and they were giving it to him. The Panthers would be able to march down the feel three times for three unanswered scores.
“In the fourth quarter, every time the Panthers needed to make a play, they made it and that’s what happened to this game which the Eagles should have won.”
Ronald Darby made a bad mistake on one of the touchdowns, by falling for a Devin Funchess’ double move, but that wasn’t the only thing. Everybody had a hand in this loss. They just got outplayed in the fourth quarter and nobody could make the changes fast enough to stop the bleeding. One play in particular stands out to me — it was the fourth down play where Newton found Torrey Smith. He was about to be sacked, but Jalen Mills slipped on the play. Smith’s speed forced Mills to play off of him, so when Torie went inside he was wide open. Newton got the ball to him, then Mills slipped and the Panthers had a big play, which was just what they needed with the game on the line.
These types of plays are the reason why in that fourth quarter, the Panthers had all the momentum.