Eagles Offense Shut Down in Loss to Patriots

Ed Kracz

The Eagles had just finished up one of those long, grind-it-out touchdown drives that traveled 95 yards, lasted more than nine minutes and spanned 16 plays to take a 10-point lead on the dynastic defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.

That was it, though.

That was all the offense could do throughout the rest of the second quarter and the entire second half as the Patriots flexed their defensive might and ground out a 17-10 win on Sunday to improve to 9-1.

The loss snapped the Eagles’ modest two-game winning streak and left them at 5-5 with a home game set for next Sunday afternoon against MVP frontrunner Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks, who had the week off.

New England Patriots’ didn’t need Tom Brady to win this one. All they needed was their top-ranked defense to discombobulate the Birds, helping them overcome what was a rather pedestrian game from the future Hall of Fame quarterback who was just 26-for-47 throwing with 216 yards, no touchdowns and a passer rating of only 67.3.

The Eagles were slow coming out of the huddle throughout the game, often times approaching the line of scrimmage with 10 seconds or less on the play clock. At no time did they try to go up tempo. Head coach Doug Pederson that was on him, that he needed to get the play call in more quickly, and added that his offense was never able to generate much momentum in the second half in order to get to an up tempo situation.

“You can go up tempo all you want if you’re moving the ball,” said Pederson. “I felt like the second half we weren’t doing that so it’s kind of hard to get into any kind of rhythm.”

The Eagles could only convert three of 13 third downs and quarterback Carson Wentz, who was sacked five times and looked totally out of his element, spraying the ball erratically throughout most of the game.

“They had a really good plan,” said Wentz, who was 20-for-40 with 214 yards and a passer rating of 74.4. “They always do. That’s a really good defense, so hats off to them. They did a great job taking away some of the things we wanted to do. It’s frustrating because we came out pretty hot. We didn’t convert the first drive but got three points then went down and scored and that was it. That was it for our offense.”

The Eagles’ offense held the ball for 31 minutes, 35 seconds but mustered just 255 total yards.

The mantra from most in the locker room was that “we didn’t make enough plays.”

The one the Eagles offense did make was the 5-yard touchdown throw from Wentz to tight end Dallas Goedert with 12:36 to go in the second quarter for a 10-0 lead. It was Goedert’s fourth TD reception of the season, which leads the team.

It was also Wentz’s 13 straight game with a touchdown pass, which is tied with Wilson for the longest active streak in the league right now.

That was about all the good news for an offense that played without number one receiver Alshon Jeffery (ankle) and number one running back Jordan Howard (shoulder).

The two pseudo newcomers, receiver Jordan Matthews and running back Jay Ajayi, were of little use. Ajayi didn’t play and Matthews was targeted six time but had only one catch for six yards.

The Eagles also lost right tackle Lane Johnson in the second quarter with a concussion.

The Patriots allowed Zach Ertz to catch nine passes for 94 yards, but did a good job clamping down on running back Miles Sanders in the pass game. The rookie was the team’s leading rusher with 38 yards on 11 carries, but he had just two catches on four targets for nine yards.

“I noticed that every time I would go out, they started putting safeties on me instead,” said Sanders. “Even when I would go on swing routes or flats, the end tried to get a piece of me and with the back over top. They tried to make it real difficult for me.”

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