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Eagles Clearly Let One Slip Away

Eagles Clearly Let One Slip Away
The Eagles are finding out that a defending champion receives every team’s best shot. What had to be frustrating with Sunday’s 26-23 OT loss at Tennessee to the Titans is that The Eagles had several changes to put this game away and couldn’t do it.

The other concerning factor for Eagles fans is seeing the defense not able to finish the deal. In the OT, Tennessee was 3-for-3 on fourth down conversions, including one 19-yard gain on a fourth-and-15 play.

This was a Titans team that didn’t score a TD in its previous game, a 9-6 win over Jacksonville.

No doubt, the Eagles missed injured safety Rodney McLeod, who suffered a knee injury last week and his return this season is uncertain.

McLeod is one of those underrated players who doesn’t get a lot of notice, but whose importance was demonstrated in his absence.

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Titans QB Marcus Mariota, who despite being hindered by an elbow injury, completed 30 of 43 passes for 344 yards, two TDs and one interception.

He also hurt the Eagles with his feet, rushing for 46 yards and a TD on 10 carries.

What is interesting is that Mariota’s 99.4 passer rating was the exact same one of Eagles QB Carson Wentz.

In his second game back from a December knee injury, Wentz completed 33 of 50 passes for 348 yards, two TDs and no interceptions.

That is the type of performance that should be rewarded with a win.

Yet for the second week in a row, the Eagles offensive line, considered among the best in NFL, let Wentz get hit too often.

He was sacked four times, making it nine in his two games. Some of that is on Wentz, who likes to hold the ball for that extra second, but it wasn’t all on the Eagles third-year QB.

The positive point from an Eagles perspective was that the offense moved the ball against one of the better defenses in the NFL.

The other positive was the return of receiver Alshon Jeffery, who missed the first three games following offseason shoulder surgery.

Jeffery played with that bad shoulder last year and did so with great results. And he showed no rust on Sunday in his season debut. He was targeted nine times and had eight receptions for 105 yards and on TD.

Even with Jeffery back, the Eagles are still lacking a true burner who can stretch the defense. Say what you want about departed receiver Torrey Smith, but he made some key catches (along with several drops) but he also stretched the defense with his speed.

As we mentioned in the past the world isn’t falling in on the Eagles (2-2). They still should win the division, where Dallas (2-2), Washington (2-1) and the NY Giants (1-3) all have serious flaws, more than the Eagles.

That said, the Eagles want to be more consistent, and cut down the mistakes. Against Tennessee, the Eagles were penalized eight times for 77 yards.

So there is a lot to clean up, but the Eagles, while not where they want to be, still appear to be the class of the NFC East by a wide margin.

 


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Author: Marc Narducci

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