Eagles soap opera continues

by Marc Narducci | Nov 29, 2021
Eagles soap opera continues

Last week there were people (including this writer) suggesting that the Eagles have a good shot to make the playoffs.

The Eagles had won three of four games and faced the easiest part of the schedule with five straight games against teams with losing records. 

Then reality hit on Sunday when the squandering New York Giants somehow came up with a 13-7 home win over the Eagles, bringing on the doubters once again in record droves. 

The Eagles are now 5-7, just ahead of the 4-7 Giants, who the week leading into their game fired offensive coordinator Jason Garrett.

Even with forcing four Eagles turnovers, the Giants were able to muster just 13 points. 

The defensive game plan was to force Jalen Hurts to beat them with his arm and that is where the Eagles fell short. Hurts was just 14 for 31 for 129 yards and three interceptions. He produced a minuscule 17.5 passer rating.

Granted, the Eagles, led by Jalen Reagor, had several key dropped passes, but Hurts showed on this day that when the Eagles have to rely on his arm, he wasn’t able to come through.

Hurts did run for 77 yards. The Baltimore Ravens are the only team in the NFL that relies on a quarterback’s legs more than his arm. Even Lamar Jackson has clunkers such as Sunday night when he threw four interceptions. The difference was the Ravens still won the game, 16-10 because Jackson was able to make some key throws, such as that insane 13-yard touchdown pass to Mark Andrews when he eluded all sorts of pressure to get the ball off.

Hurts doesn’t possess either the arm or legs of Jackson, so he needs more to go right for the Eagles’ offense to prosper.

Just as Hurts should not have been anointed as the quarterback of the future after the previous four games, nor should he be dismissed after one bad performance. 

With as bad as he was, had Reagor caught that incomplete fourth down pass at the goal line on the Eagles’ final play of the game, they could have stolen a game from the Giants.

As for the playoffs, the Eagles are still very much in the race. 

Through Sunday the Eagles were behind three 5-6 teams for the final spot – Minnesota, Atlanta and New Orleans. The Eagles own the important head to head matchup with wins over Atlanta and New Orleans. 

Before a season-ending game with Dallas, the Eagles face the New York Jets, Washington twice and the Giants again. 

So the playoffs remain a very good possibility, but not if the Eagles played the way they did against the Giants.

The Eagles aren’t good enough to take a weak team for granted and there may have been some overconfidence entering the game.

For the second straight week, the Eagles have to travel to MetLife Stadium when they visit the lowly New York Jets (3-8) on Sunday.

It can be argued that the Jets, coming off a 21-14 win at Houston, are a worse team than the Giants. (Imagine being a football fan in New York these days). 

Jets rookie quarterback Zach Wilson returned from injury to face the Texans, where he had just a 58.5 passer rating.

The No. 2 overall pick in the NFL draft out of BYU, Wilson has struggled mightily, so the Eagles should take advantage of his inexperience.

Next to Wilson, Hurts has looked like an All-Pro. The difference is Wilson was selected second overall and the Jets won’t bail on him for quite some time.

Hurts? It is a week to week proposition with the Eagles quarterback, who took a step back in his bid to be the franchise’s quarterback of the future. 

Photo: Courtesy of Philadelphia Eagles

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Author: Marc Narducci

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