Eagles – Panthers Recap: 7 Drops

I can’t even….

This was always going to be a tough game, on the road against the undefeated Panthers. Carolina has a legit defense with two outstanding linebackers (Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis) and the league’s hottest CB (Josh Norman), a tough workhorse RB in Jonathan Stewart, and Cam Newton, who can put his shoulder down and power for a TD or first down better than any other quarterback in the NFL. And give Carolina credit for having the best special teams unit the Eagles have faced in a long time, one that matched Philadelpia’s excellent special teams squad-toe-to-toe.

There was some room for optimism, since the Panthers have faced an easy schedule, and the Eagles defensive strength against the run matched up well with them. But the Eagles have struggled all year with chemistry problems and a rash of injuries among offensive linemen and inside linebackers. Vegas favored the Panthers by anywhere from 3 to 8 points.

The Eagles played sporadically great defense and intercepted Cam Newton three times. They ran well (177 yards) against a tough rushing D, and Sam Bradford was actually fairly decent in a Checkdown Charlie kind of way (26-46 for only 205 yards, no TDs, and one interception that wasn’t his fault).

But this loss was especially frustrating because it was so winnable. The Eagles were well on the way toward stealing this game, with three interceptions (they lead the NFL with 19 takeaways) and a beautiful 63-yard touchdown run by Ryan Mathews. But that hope was killed by a ridiculous number of drops and stupid drive-killing penalties on offense. Jason Kelce leads the NFL in offensive holding flags this year with six, one of which helped blow a very promising early drive.

I usually write a numbered list in this place after every game. Not this time. Seven drops is just that – the number of bad drops that Eagles receivers had today. Defining a drop is subjective, I get that. There might actually have been more. Even if you don’t count edge cases such as Zach Ertz’ potential touchdown – where Josh Norman tipped the ball and it floated in front of the TE, tapping his helmet – there were at least seven catchable passes muffed by Philadelphia’s receivers. Completing even half of them would have made this a win tonight.

It started on the very first drive. After three runs by DeMarco Murray for 20 combined yards — an excellent start — he bounced a perfect swing pass off his hands twice and dropped it. Then a false start penalty on Lane Johnson wiped out a 12-yard pass to Zach Ertz for a first down and a sack killed the promising drive.

The next drive was a single play — a four yard pass to (and a little behind) Jordan Matthews that went through his arms. As safety Colin Jones tackled him, the ball moved around and was pinned against Matthews’ stomach, but even then the wide receiver couldn’t get his hands on the ball and Jones pulled it in for an interception.

On it went all night. Matthews again. And again, until Chip had to bench him. Zach Ertz. Sproles, on a screen in the red zone (at the 11 yard line). Josh Huff — who had 11 receptions on 14 targets this year before tonight — in the back of the end zone, a great pass that should have been a touchdown. Then Miles Austin, who had previously caught 4 passes for 52 yards in the game.

The game ended, fittingly, on three ineffective checkdowns to Sproles and a drop. Actually the last play was more like a Hail Mary batted down, but by then it was far too late. Drops and penalties had limited three excellent scoring opportunities, stemming from interceptions, from touchdowns into just two field goals (and a miss that long snapper Jon Dorenbos took responsibility for).

These weren’t Sam Bradford’s fault for once. I count at most two of the drops where Bradford’s throw was a significant contributor, thrown behind the receiver as is Sam’s style. And it wasn’t just one or two receivers, (though Jordan Matthews was especially bad)– they were so common and crushing that the mind races to find some global explanation.

Greg Richards took the technical approach.

Greg Richards Tweet 10-25-2015

That may seem like a crazy idea, but it was seriously considered and posed to actual Eagles players after the game:

josh paunil tweet 10-25-2015

Kyle Scott had a more cynical take that, sadly, seems almost realistic:

kyle scott tweet 10-25-2015

It’s not the end of the world, going into bye week — the Cowboys lost, and the Eagles hold the tiebreaker over the division-leading Giants if they pick up a game on them, which shouldn’t be too hard. These problems should be fixable, but we’re almost halfway into the season and at a certain point, these flaws become what this team is.

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40 Responses

    1. I have been telling you the whole problem is Lurie. He has failed at everything he has ever done in life. Eagles worth $1.5 billion? His aunt gave him $200 million to buy the Beagles 22 years ago and with the NFL structure, every owner got rich.

      Ever notice his mug is on camera every time they win but is no where to be seen when they’re losing?

      1. BTW, Don’t get the Sunday night party in two weeks together to watch the Eagles Dallas. I am sure Ralph Roberts, King of Concast , has called NBC in New York to say opt both of these losers out and get me a Sunday night game I can get ratings. Put those choking Eagles back on at 1 PM on Fox.

  1. Reminder : My Instagram is off private status. Stop by and cheer yourself up by seeing how hot I am. There are a bevy of selfies you haven’t seen and I’m also posting clever quotes. Let’s all move on from that beaver toothed cleat chasing traffic ho bag and divert your attention my way!

    1. She was looking good this morning in that red dress finally show off them big tities.

    2. She’s been especially preachy and uppity lately too which has moved her on my barometer from “annoying because of all the selfies and self-promotion” to “insufferable”.

  2. Eagles wr’s are all trash. Can’t believe they traded up to draft that loser still butter fingers Jordan Matthews . Could have stayed put and drafted Allen Robinson that draft . Dude is a beast

    1. This receiving corps is beyond horrendous and it all goes back to Chip. I hold a tiny bit of hope that Matthews, Huff, and Agholor are young and will develop much more as time goes on, but I am starting to get he feeling they are what they are.

      1. Any of these receivers would be awesome on a team with a good QB. Bradford has weird timing and bad vision, he is always throwing his guys into huge hits, especially Jordan Matthews. Bradford and Murray are the main problem. Sanchez plays better at this tempo.

  3. FLY EAGLES FLY!!! ON THE ROAD TO VICTORY!! FIGHT EAGLES FIGHT, SCORE A TOUCHDOWN 1,2,3! HIT EM LOW, HIT EM HIGH, AND WATCH THOSE EAGLES FLY. FLY EAGLES FLY, ON THE ROAD TO VICTORY!!! E A G L E S EAGLES!!!!

  4. The panthers had an easy schedule coming in. Really, so did the Eagles and the panthers were 5-0 and the Eagles were 3-3. Also, the panthers just beat Seattle in Seattle. Who was the toughest team the Eagles faced prior to last night??

    There’s room for optimism? Why, so they can sneak in the playoffs and get blown out in the first round. The Eagles are light years away from competing with the top teams in the league.

    Oh and what a surprise, Chip Kelly can’t beat a good team. Haven’t heard this before

    1. That is the mantra of this blog, Angelo Cataldi, Anthony Gargano and all the other Chip Kelly cheerleaders in this town. They talk about just making it to the playoffs as being some sort of amazing achievement. They make the playoffs and they’ll lose by 30 in the Wild Card round. But these Kool Aid drinking acolytes will be blowing Chip for his “two NFC East Division titles in three seasons!”

      Remember when not winning the NFC Championship game got people angry? Now, just making the playoffs is something to be celebrated.

  5. Bradford looks like a high school QB, Oline is Swiss cheese, and your backup RB is better than the starter the coach refuses to demote. What happened to passing the ball downfield

  6. Hey, are you feeling down about the Eagles loss??? Well come on down to colonial Nissan of Feasterville and we will cheer you up!!!! I got 0 down and 0 first year apr on all brand new Nissans!!! Plus, I will whip my dick out and jack off on your old trade in!!!!

  7. Seriously how long is the leash for BoB. Do more then 100 ppl watch that pile of trash. Rob Ellis has the personality of a fake bowl of fruit. Guy couldn’t cut it on radio so why would somebody think he could on TV?

  8. Did you see that final “Hail Mary” from Bradford? He threw it as far as he could and it went about 40 yards.

    The reason the WRs are dropping these passes is because when they do catch the ball they are almost getting decapitated . Their first goal when going on a route (esp across the middle) is 1) don’t die and 2) catch the ball.

    1. he was rolling to his left and had a D lineman bearing down on him — what a shock, Bradford running for his life. You’re an ass.

  9. Seems to me the root of the problem is obvious and the solution passingly simple! Chip said last year, “We’re from Philly and we fight.” All that’s needed is for Coach Kelly to remind the receiving corps, “We don’t fight the football.” Or am I really missing something?

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