Eagles Offense Overcomes Incompetence Against Colts

Robert Scheer, IndyStar/USA Today Network

The Eagles coming off their lone loss of the season against the NFC East-worst Commanders on Monday night.

After a week in which they lost Dallas Goedert and Marlon Tuipulotu and added Linval Joseph and Ndamukong Suh, the Birds took on the Colts after seeing the most roster turnaround they’ve faced during their 2022 campaign.

The game started out with what should have been a three-and-out, but wound up being a touchdown drive as the Ganon decided that it’d make sense to have the team’s fifth-best corner, Josiah Scott, cover Michael Pittman (with the assistance of edge rusher Haason Reddick). To the shock of no one other than Jonathan Gannon, this did not work in the slightest. Then the Colts did as expected handing off to Jonathan Taylor the rest of the drive and allowed the Colts to score a touchdown on the opening drive for the first time since last season.

On offense, the Birds botched their own first drive by throwing rookie draft pick Grant Calcatera, who really has only value as a pass catcher, as a blocker where he held and turned a conversion on third-down into a third and six that could not be converted. Calcatera as a blocker is just a wild decision after the Eagles activated Tyree Jackson, who is more talented as a blocker, at the tight end position and have Zach Pascal serving as their fourth receiver – both of whom would offer more value in a blocking role.

The offense’s second drive looked very promising before the referees called three ticky-tack penalties in a row against the Eagles. That came just two plays after Jalen Hurts was hit just like Taylor Heinicke on that “personal foul” last week went uncalled. So a second straight punt was determined for them as they could not convert the 1st and 35. They followed that up with another successful drive that earned just three points following a high-snap to lose 10 yards on second and goal. Then on their next drive they had third and two and got Kenny Gainwell to run a slow-developing run up the middle. Shockingly, that also didn’t work given that he’s the worst back the Eagles have at fighting through contact, the most moronic decision the offensive brain trust could have come up with after a timeout for the two-minute warning.

While the defense held out despite Gannon using Quinn and Sweat in coverage for the rest of that first half, the Eagles offense did everything they could in order to score no points. Everyone from Steichen/Sirianni to Jason Kelce to Tyree Jackson served to make the Eagles otherwise potent offense look worse than that of your local high school’s JV team.

Luckily, Nick Sirianni must have had a rousing half-time speech that inspired the offense to come out and fumble the ball away on the very first play of the second half. Then they followed it up with Jalen Hurts stepping out of bounds behind the line on fourth down. This after he missed several wide-open receivers on the same drive to allow the fourth down to even happen.

The Eagles offense did manage to put together a single drive to end the third/start the fourth quarter. Then the defense got a turnover to hand the offense a short field. Unfortunately, AJ Brown’s biggest impact on this game was him catching an eight-yard reception and then proceeding to fumble it into a pit of six Colts defenders.

The offense came back out and scored on their final drive in order to take their only lead of the game after Hurts ran the ball in for the score, leaving the Colts 1:20 to score just two points. Brandon Graham came up with huge sack on third down to put the Colts well behind the chains and secure the win for the Birds.

Overall, the Eagles defense managed to step up after that first drive and managed to keep the hapless offense in this game until the fourth quarter when they managed to stop shooting themselves in the foot long enough to sustain a pair of drives and move the team to 9-1 on the season.

Offensive MVP: DeVonta Smith

This was an absolutely brutal game for the offense, but DeVonta Smith was perhaps the biggest bright spot for this team’s offense. For well over three quarters of this game, the Eagles essentially refused to run the ball and the one player who showed up when his name was called was Smith. He wound up with six catches for 78 yards to lead the team.

Defensive MVP: T.J. Edwards

Brandon Graham’s sack certainly was the highlight of the defense, but the Eagles had others with more complete performances. Although Edwards was not a highlight real player in this game, he made 10 tackles and two of them were for a loss. He did an excellent job of reading a few screens and making the tackles on those to limit the Colts ability to extend their “running game” into their passing game for most of the game. He also came up with the fumble that accounted for the Eagles defense’s lone turnover.

Game Notes

  • There was no reason that the Eagles shouldn’t have held the Colts scoreless in the first half of this game. The incredibly stupid decisions by both Jonathan Gannon and the midtrust of Shane Steichen and Nick Sirianni directly lead to the Colts ability to score each of their points before the half.
  • Jordan Mailata let rushers reach the pocket unopposed multiple times. It was an absolute embarrassment by the big man and Andre Dillard should be out there if that’s the performance that they can expect from the Aussie.
  • The Eagles seemed to have hired Chip Kelly to their offensive coaching staff with the way they used players today. No Dallas Goedert; let’s go heavy tight ends with two guys we never play. A rush up the middle through contact; lets put in our least physical runner. Need to drive downfield; let’s have AJ Brown on the sideline. Behind the chains; a screen to a covered Boston Scott with no blockers will do.
  • Former Eagle Rodney McLeod was a large factor in this game making the open-field tackles that kept the Eagles out of the end zone.
  • Hurts had perhaps his worst game this season against the Colts. Between stepping out of bounds behind the line on fourth down, missing wide-open receivers on several drives, poor decision making on the RPOs and even that 23-yard scramble he had where he ran in an entire circle in the pocket despite there being no pressure, Hurts looked almost like a rookie quarterback out there making mistakes that you’d be upset if a college QB made them. He has the talent to overcome some of those things and to make sure his box score stats wouldn’t show it, but that was a brutal game by him and needs to be addressed by next week.
  • On the drive where the Eagles took their first lead of the game, Hurts again managed to gloss over an example of his poor decision making: Hurts ran in a touchdown on third and goal from the seven-yard line but on the previous play Boston Scott should have had a four-yard touchdown run where he would have been untouched – Hurts instead chose to keep it to try and beat three defenders.
  • In a vacuum, Hurts’ running abilities were a huge factor today with the coaches refusing to run for most of the game. Hurts had an impressive 86 yards on 16 rushes despite a few negative plays running.
  • The recent signing of Suh seemed to actually have more impact in getting some additional pressure in the passing game for the Eagles this week. The signing of Linval Joseph seemed to do a solid job of filling that run gap, however as Joseph managed to get the stop four times in his rotations (he also contributed to a sack). It’s hard to imagine players off the couch making an impact so quickly (just 2-3 days of practice) but that’s what the Eagles intended by signing the pair of 13-year veterans. If they can keep this up, the Birds may run into an interesting roster crunch decision when Jordan Davis and/or Marlon Tuipulotu are able to return.

Injury Notes

  • No currently known injuries from this game.

Philadelphia Eagles at Indianapolis Colts – November 20, 2022