The Philadelphia Eagles dropped their second straight game on Sunday. The Los Angeles Rams defeated the Eagles by a score of 39-17. In a game that almost felt doomed from the start once Miles Sanders fumbled on his second carry, the Eagles struggled all afternoon.
There are very few to take away from this game, but there are some positives.
The Eagles offensive line returned to form and limited the Rams to 0 sacks and protected well. The Eagles threw double teams at Aaron Donald and neutralized him to 1 total tackle and 1 QB hit. They also opened up some running lanes for Miles Sanders who finished with 95 rushing yards and a touchdown on 20 attempts. It was a good afternoon for the offensive line. Jeff Stoutland can coach up offensive linemen.
The play of the outside starting corners remained consistent. None of the Rams outisde receivers had any game breaking moments. Darius Slay held Robert Woods to 2 catches for 14 yards.
That was about it on the good spectrum of things.
The safeties got worked on deep balls and a bit in run support. There were several long catches by Rams receivers in this game. Van Jefferson had a catch for 21 yards, Josh Reynolds had another for 20 and Cooper Kupp had one for 24. Jalen Mills whiffed on a tackle in the 4th quarter that Darrell Henderson took for 40 yards. Rodney McLeod said after the game, “It was identical to what we practiced.” McLeod said that the Eagles weren’t surprised by anything the Rams did offensively and that the team wasn’t “present”. If that is the case then there is a lot to be worried about for the Eagles defense.
The Eagles pass rush has been non-existent to start the season. In two straight matchups where the Eagles should’ve feasted on opposing offensive lines, they’ve yielded just 2 full sacks (There were several 0.5 sacks against Washington). The thing is though, the defensive line that has been the Eagles calling card, also sank against the run against Los Angeles. Darrell Henderson, Malcolm Brown and Cam Akers gashed the Eagles for 141 rushing yards. Each back ran with decisiveness and purpose every time they touched the ball. As a whole the Rams rushing attack finished the day with 191 yards on 4.9 ypc.
Nickell Robey-Coleman was hyped up a lot this offseason. A report even came out that said the Eagles organization view him as a top 5 nickel corner in the league. While Robey-Coleman may be just that, against his former team, he didn’t show it. Cooper Kupp had a field day against Robey-Coleman. Kupp finished with 5 catches for 81 yards on 16.2 ypc.
The Eagles linebackers are abysmal. There’s no other way to put it. Nate Gerry and Duke Riley consistently got lost in coverage or appeared they were oblivious to the on-field situation. The Rams starting tight end, Tyler Higbee had 5 catches for 54 yards and 3 TDs. 3 of his 5 catches were touchdowns. The Eagles redzone defense has been atrocious to start the year.
Carson Wentz is struggling right now. His mechanics are off (eyes on Press Taylor), Wentz isn’t processing as well as he has shown the ability to, and he isn’t throwing with as much anticipation and accuracy as he has in the past. Wentz’s streak of 20 straight games with a passing touchdown came to an end on Sunday as he finished the game with 242 yards, 2 interceptions and a 56.5 passer rating. While Wentz’s play isn’t the biggest reason the Eagles are 0-2, it take a big chunk of the pie. Wentz is in year 5 and he’s paid as an elite QB, but he isn’t showing that. For example, with 8:14 remaining in the 3rd quarter, the Eagles were trailing the Rams by 5 points. They were moving the ball on the ground and through the air. At the Rams 21 yard line, Wentz took the snap, scanned the field and locked onto his target and fired. JJ Arcega-Whiteside was the target. With a throw a bit more in front and with a little more velocity it may have been a touchdown, but it was intercepted. This play was a microcosm of the Eagles season so far: close but no cigar.
Overall, the Eagles lack something. That something may be creativity, innovation or utilizing players to their strengths. Ultimately, it comes down to player execution and the Eagles don’t currently have that on either side of the ball. Jim Schwartz was out coached in this game. Doug Pederson, once again didn’t really cater his offense to his QB’s strength. Wentz excel’s when the pocket is moved, however, the Eagles rarely called concepts where Wentz rolled out. Contrastly, Sean McVay did this all afternoon. Rolling Jared Goff out, allowing him to scan the field and execute the Rams offense. Ultimately, as Carson Wentz said after the game, the sky is not falling. It’s early and there was no preseason and the amount of on field practice time the team got this offseason was limited due to the pandemic. While the sky’s not falling at the moment, at 0-2, it very well may begin to slide if the Eagles don’t get ahold of things and get ahold of thing quick.