Instant Observations of Eagles' 37-19 Loss to L.A. Rams

Ed Kracz

PHILADELPHIA – The Eagles defense came into Sunday’s home opener ranked No. 1 in the league.

The stay will be short-lived based on how it not only bent but broke several times in a 37-19 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in the Eagles’ home opener at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday.

It is the first 0-2 start for the Eagles since the 2015 season, which was Chip Kelly's final year. They will try to find their first win of the season next Sunday when the Cincinnati Bengals visit the Linc.

The run defense was particularly poor in this one, never more glaring of a weakness than right after the Eagles trimmed their deficit to 24-19 with 12:07 to play on a 33-yard field goal from Jake Elliott.

On the first play from there, the defense allowed Darrell Henderson to rip off a 40-yard run to the Eagles’ 35-yard line. Two plays later, tight end Tyler Higbee was on the receiving end of a 28-yard touchdown pass, his third score of the game.

Covering Higbee was a problem all day for the Eagles, who tried to use Nate Gerry on him. Gerry was nowhere near Higbee on the 28-yard throw that made the score 31-19 with 10:53 to play.

Gerry was also on the spot on Higbee’s first TD grab, a four-yard out in the end zone that gave L.A. a lead it would never relinquish, growing it to 21-3 at one point.

The Eagles allowed the Rams to run for 191 yards on 39 attempts (4.9 yards per carry) and two touchdowns

The pass defense doesn’t get, excuse the pun, a pass, either.

Quarterback Jared Goff completed his first 13 passes for 158 yards. He didn’t throw his first incomplete pass until just over three minutes were left in the second quarter.

Goff was the first overall pick in the draft in 2016 with Carson Wentz picked No. 2. Goff was 20-for-27 for 267 yards, three touchdowns, and a passer rating of 142.

Higbee ended with five catches for 54 yards to go along with his three touchdowns and Cooper Kupp had five receptions for 81 yards.

On this day, it looked like the Rams made the right pick with Goff over Wentz.

HERE ARE MY INSTANT OBSERVATIONS

GROWING CONCERN

Wentz is now 0-2 for the first time since becoming the starter five years ago in his rookie season.

It isn’t so much the record as it is the mistakes that keep piling up at bad times.

He did a better job of getting rid of the ball when hurried, though, the pressure on him wasn’t as intense as it was in Washington, but there were some air-mailed throws and some bad timing connections, particularly to Zach Ertz over the middle.

Then there were the interceptions. He had two more of them after having two in Washington. He now has four on the season to go along with just two touchdowns.

He didn’t throw his third pick in 2019 until Week 6 and his fourth didn’t come until Week 7 on Oct. 20. It’s also the first time in his career he has thrown two or more interceptions in two straight games.

Went’z first interception on Sunday was the turning point.

It came after the defense forced the Rams into a three-and-out for the first time all game. Trailing 21-16, Philly got the ball back with a chance to take its first lead and it looked like they were on their way to doing exactly that, marching all the way to the LA 21, with DeSean Jackson, quiet in the first half, coming alive for a few key catches.

Once at the 21, though, and on first down, Wentz tried to force a throw into the end zone to a well-covered J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. The ball was intercepted, and the wind just seemed to come right out of the Eagles’ sails, especially after the Rams went on a long drive that ended in a field goal and 24-16 lead.

MORE ON DEFENSE

The Eagles defense continues to be exposed in the red zone. The Rams scored on their first three trips inside the Philadelphia 20 and were four-for-5 overall. Also, the Eagles defense was unable to force a turnover from L.A.

SACKS, TOO

Brandon Graham had one for the Eagles, but that was it. On the positive side, the Eagles did not give up a sack a week after surrendering eight. It certainly helped to have Lane Johnson back at right tackle, but to the line’s credit, it lost starting left guard Isaac Seumalo to a knee injury in the second quarter. Matt Pryor took over for Seumalo.

SPECIAL TEAMS DIALED IN

T.J. Edwards' forced fumble on Cooper Kupp’s punt return, which was recovered by rookie K’Von Wallace, gave the Eagles the ball at the Rams’ 11 with 46 seconds to go in the first half. Miles Sanders’ 5-yard TD run with 39 seconds left pulled Philly to within 21-16 at halftime.

DONADL UNDER CONTROL. Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald was part of an L.A. win over Philadelphia for the first time in his career after going 0-3 in previous games. The star DT and two-time defensive player of the year, however, still does not have a sack in each of the four games against them.

NO FANS

played without real fans though cardboard cutouts occupied the sections behind the end zone and at the 50-yard line behind both teams’ benches. It was weird.

JALEN HURTS SIGHTING

The rookie quarterback was active and Nate Sudfeld wasn’t. Hurts was on the field for a few plays, once in the slot and another in the backfield, and another as a receiver. He never touched the ball, though.

SANDERS RETURN

Miles Sanders made his debut, but on his third touch of the game, he fumbled, allowing the Rams to set up at the Eagles’ 41. LA took advantage of the field position to score a touchdown.

Sanders was sound for the remainder of the game and had 95 yards on 20 carries with a touchdown and three catches for 36 yards.

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