By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor
The Eagles entered the half after another putrid offensive showing.
The only plays called in the first half seemed to be screens with the occasional play resulting in Hurts rolling to the right to extend the play for a throw out of bounds.
Following the half, brief deviations from that offensive plan allowed the offense to see some success while the defense buckled down and allowed just three points to clinch the win.
Honorable mention to Miles Sanders, who I’ll cover below, but it was Watkins who really got the Eagles offense into some sort of a rhythm with a 53 yard catch that brought his total on the day to 48 yards (nick play calling, Siriani). Really, that play should have been longer and for a TD but Watkins had to slow up to catch the ball and that allowed the safety to get back into the play. Watkins was also open a few other times for deep shots that Hurts just missed. That, combined with the short throw on the 53-yard play and terrible play calling, is really what limited Watkins’ output in this one.
It was the defense that kept the Eagles in this one and that was really due to sack and turnovers. The Panthers were driving the ball well when the defensive line couldn’t get quick pressure three times in a row, so it was Slay’s two interceptions that really turned the game around and put the anemic offense in a position to take a lead. He also registered three tackles (one for loss) in the game.
- Sanders didn’t have a great day running the ball (albeit on limited attempts) before the icing drive, but he had a much better day receiving than the stat sheets will show. Officially, he had five catches for six yards, but that was more due to Sirianni’s terrible play calling. Four of those catches were seven yards behind the line with no blockers, so Sanders actually made up an additional 28 yards and beat tacklers on those plays. Look at it as five catches for 34 yards where he had to beat tackles, and it looks like a much better game. His going out of bounds when icing the game cannot happen, however.
- Speaking of that last offensive drive, there’s no reason that the team can’t do that throughout every game, particularly with Carolina selling out for the run.
- A lot of poor passes from Hurts again in this one that cannot be missed if he’s going to be a franchise QB. A few examples include an offsides where he had a free play and threw it out of bounds instead of giving someone a chance to make a play and a third down where the ball was thrown 20 feet over Ertz’s head instead of to Ertz or Watkins, who was free behind the defenders.
- Credit should also go to TJ Edwards for blocking a punt and Steven Nelson for registering his own interception. They really locked down the game for the Birds in a way the offense could not.
- Despite the win, something really needs to change with the play calling.
- It’s interesting to note how Hargrave was breaking the game early on and, as soon as the double team shifted from Cox to Hargrave, Cox registered his first sack of the season.
Philadelphia Eagles at Carolina Panthers – October 10, 2021