Weekly Report Card: Eagles show improvement is needed

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Well, here we are again, looking at another humiliating loss for Chip Kelly's bunch. The Eagles showed very little in a 40-17 loss at the hands of the Cardinals.

The Cardinals clinched the NFC West as a result. The Eagles meanwhile took a two-week span of improvement and a chance to make the playoffs and put themselves on the brink.

Here is this week's report card.

Pass Offense: We're starting with the best. Aside from his two interceptions, Sam Bradford has a pretty solid game all things considered. While turnovers were the separating factor between the two teams, Bradford was playing evenly with Carson Palmer through the first half and made several impressive passes. His two interceptions and fumble, all coming in the second half, hurt the Eagles chances of a comeback. In a similar way, Jordan Matthews had one of his best games of the season and Zach Ertz continued to build on a solid season, but it's hard for one or two receivers to do it all. B

Run Offense: What can you even say? The Eagles running game was invisible. Ryan Mathews gained just 58 yards on 11 carries. Darren Sproles carried the ball six times for nine yards. DeMarco Murray was in for just eight snaps and carried twice for three yards. D

Pass Defense: Pass defense goes two ways. In terms of coverage, playing without Eric Rowe and Byron Maxwell for almost the entire second half, the Eagles had the odds against them anyway. Despite that, holding Carson Palmer to 274 passing yards and the trio of weapons he has — Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd and John Brown — to 12 catches for 151 yards and one touchdown combined, that's not such a bad job. Particularly, Fitzgerald, who's been an Eagles killer in his career, was limited to three catches for 43 yards. But there was essentially no pass rush. Palmer was sacked twice, but didn't face adversity or pressure for much of the night. So in one way, the Eagles actually did really well. In another, they didn't do nearly enough. B-

Run Defense: In a word: pathetic. For this game, it seems like the entire Eagles defense forgot how to tackle. While David Johnson could turn out to be a very solid running back in his career, allowing 187 yards and three touchdowns to a rookie running back who a few weeks ago was the third-string back is downright horrendous. You know what the Eagles third-string running back did: gained three yards on two carries. F

Special Teams: Special teams didn't really play a factor, but the one thing that has really remained consistent all season has been Caleb Sturgis. Since joining the team in Week 4, he is 16-for-20 on field goals and 25-for-27 on extra points. But he hasn't missed an extra point since Week 5 and has made every attempt since Week 12, nine extra points and four field goals. Josh Huff did have a solid 39-yard kick return during the game as well. B- 

Overall: When the Eagles were faced with a truly talented team, similarly to the Carolina Panthers — who may very well run the table this season — the Eagles have not come close to reaching a similar performance level. You could argue, given Fitzgerald's below-average numbers in this game, that this wasn't the best game for the Cardinals. But 12-2 teams can make some of the games that don't look great turn into big victory. Perhaps the most telling thing about this game was a general lack of mistakes. The Eagles two touchdowns came on blown coverages and the Cardinals committed one penalty in the entire game while winning the turnover battle, 4-0. That will win you a lot of games. It was admirable that the Eagles held in there through the first half and certainly had a chance to climb back into things throughout the third quarter, but by the fourth, it went from a potential dogfight to the finish and turned into a laugher. D-

Kevin Durso is managing editor for Eagledelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.

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